The holiday season in this shiny home is over run with trips. We drive to some one’ house for Thanksgiving (this year it was in New Jersery with B-man’s family, last year we split the day between the two families and ate twice), and then we have a few weeks to filled with holiday parties and church get-togethers, then we spend Christmas Eve with B-man’s family, drive to my parents’ house and spend the night there so that we can be there for Christmas morning. Then a week later we drive to New Jersey for another B-man family get together over New Years.
As much as I love family, mine and his, I can’t help but long for a simpler life. One where B-man and I get to spend the holidays creating our own nuclear family traditions, instead of trying to make everything work. Part of me is sad that I miss out on my own family’s Christmas traditions, which happen on Christmas Eve. The reading of The Forgotten Carols, putting on a family Nativity, eating delicious lasagna, and opening a present, which inevitably is always pajamas.
Getting married has basically required me to give up a lot of my favorite traditions, and we haven’t made any of our own traditions.
I’m having a hard time balancing spending time with our family (who for the most part live in the same area as us), and enjoy my nuclear family with our own (not created yet) traditions. How do we make things special, with out essentially having three separate celebrations? This is something that will be an issue for as long as we live in NoVa, so while Ginny is little and won’t be much of a participant this year, the same can’t be said for the years to come.
Ideally I would want to finish earlier with B-man’s family, so that Christmas Eve is ours, and then go to my parents’ home later, so that Christmas morning is ours as well. I want to have a time, a part of Christmas, that is focused on us just spending time together, instead of “us spending time together to exchange presents”. We haven’t formally decided this, but we have talked about when to exchange our presents with each other, and when we will give our presents to Ginny (in the future). It just feels like too much, trying to find a different time. Three present-opening times. Mind blowing.
With so much focus on present giving I feel like it will be difficult to help Ginny remember the reason for the season. What I want to do is only keep gifts for other people (not me, B-man, or Ginny), under the tree. Then when we get ready to go to the Reed Christmas or the W Family Christmas it will be an exciting thing to dig through the presents under our tree and find the ones we are GIVING away. Then at some point our nuclear family gifts will appear under the tree in a smaller gift exchange. My parents have generally limited the number of gifts they gave to us to three. The number chosen because of how many gifts Christ received from the wise men. Also – having five kids can get expensive when you don’t have a limit in place. I like it. This year B-man has bought a gift (or two? I don’t know.) for Ginny, and I am making her a quilt.
We are very blessed to live so close to our extended family, and to have such generous relatives. I am sure that Ginny will never want for anything, and for that I am very grateful. But with clothes and toys coming from extended family, I wanted the gift she receives from me to be meaningful, and something that will last.
I’ve considered maybe going to Mass on Christmases that don’t fall on a Sunday, because the LDS church does not do a meeting specifically for Christmas. Maybe I’ll look at other local denominations and see what type of things go on around town. Do religions other than Catholicism typically have a Christmas service?
Some times I just need to put my big girl panties on and get over myself. This is one of those time. I think next year we are going to observe advent, and I plan to make a daily advent calender with scriptures and more of the religious side of Christmas incorporated.
Do you try to incorporate more Christ into your Christmas? And how do you balance spending time with relatives, while still being your own little family?