It’s already that time of year & talk of the holidays is starting to bubble…
If you’re single, you might travel to your parent’s house.
If you’re in a relationship, you might compromise by alternating between your families.
If you have kids…..Well that’s a totally different story. Everyone wants a piece of the
pie, I mean kids. So, it can get a bit stressful when you try to please everyone. Which, is totally not the point of the holidays… but I think we’ve all been there.
Let me tell you a little something about a mother who didn’t know better…
My very first holiday season with my son, I was a single mother already. As if it wasn’t comical enough to watch me imitate a sad pack mule as I tried to juggle an infant car seat in one hand & everything else in the other, I also felt a bit like I didn’t get to relish in the joy of my son’s first holidays.
On Thanksgiving, I started the day out at my cousin’s house with my mom’s side of the family. Then I made my way an hour west to spend the day with my son’s father’s family (thankfully, we’re still very close.)
Christmas Eve was spent at my son’s grandparent’s house, all happily helping my son unwrap his first presents together. Come Christmas day, I felt like a chicken with my head cut off! We woke up late, already exhausted from all the festivities & that meant everyone at my dad’s house was waiting on us… By the time we got our act together & made the hour trip their way, it felt like it was already time to depart for our next destination, my aunt’s house.
By year two, I needed to calm the crazy a bit. To stop stressing about making everyone else happy because it’s not possible. By this time, I had already fallen in love with & moved in with my partner now so, we hosted the holidays at our place. This made perfect sense since everyone that wanted to see us could come to us and anyone who couldn’t or wouldn’t, that was fine too. No hard feelings! Everyone was invited and it turned out to be the most gratifying decision we made. I sat back for a moment just filling my heart at the sight of our beautifully blended family all sitting at the same table in our dining room. Enjoying a meal, talking, finding common interests and just all being here, with us.
In between the “official dates” of celebration, we spent countless days at Christmas parties, family dinners and making time for each other. We couldn’t RSVP to every event but I will tell you, there was plenty of time throughout the season to give our love and make memories rather than try to cram it all into one day.
Christmas day was equally as amazing. I get teary-eyed just remembering how much it meant to us, once again to have so much of our family in one place. My gramps even made the “trek” up the mountain to our house.
For the following year, we agreed to alternate being the host. As much as we love it, it is also a lot of work. I remember a bit of stress creeping in the night before Thanksgiving, that year when my partner was out plowing in a snow storm all night and the power went out. I accidently cut up far too many pounds of potatoes in the dark…
Whatever you decide, try toning it down a notch. There is no way on earth we can see every single person on every single holiday or special occasion. But, we can do our best and we’ve found that what’s best for our family is to remember what the holidays are really about. It’s not about presents or stressing out about where you’ll be or feeling guilty for not pleasing everyone. It’s about the feeling we get when we are able to come together. Or the smile on my son’s face when he looks around at all the people who love him and that makes whatever we do, well worth it.
Here’s a little tip that I hope you take to heart. When you plan your holiday schedule, plan it around the people that live in your home. Do what works best for your own family. If you think that’s selfish, it’s not. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, might moan & groan at first but guess what? They’ll get over it, especially if they let themselves miss out. I bet they’ll even be more willing to compromise next time…
Here’ to a guilt-free holiday season,