As a kid growing up we would set out cookies for Santa next to the fireplace watch Christmas movies laying next to the warm fire and then in the morning the presents were under the tree. Thanksgiving was usually just family around the table it didn’t matter if we were in Vermont, in Kansas City or in West Orange. As we got older we have been trying to balance families. My husbands large family that we live near always wants to do things together. My parents don’t care what we do as long as they get to see us. It just so happens that holidays are when we get off from school and work so we can visit them (they have more room than we do). Last year we juggled the holiday because we had the rare opportunity to see my brother before he moved to Australia. My husband’s family also celebrates 3 kings day which is like a 2nd Christmas for them.
The first year we hosted Thanksgiving in our small apartment, and we had a party with his family for my husband’s 25th. The first christmas we spent Christmas eve at my in laws and Christmas Day with my family. We attended 3 kings at my husband’s Aunts house. The next year we hosted Thanksgiving and Traveled for Christmas. The year after we traveled for Thanksgiving and pulled double duty for Christmas again and we hosted 3 kings day. It was our last 3 kings with the family. We then celebrated 3 kings with Archer’s God parents after he was born. We also have spent every new years with them or at home. Last 2 years we’ve done some type of Thanksgiving celebration here with the in laws and in some cases did a 2nd one at one at my parent’s houses (neither of my parents homes are closer than 4 hours away). Christmas we have traveled the last two years.
The whole point of these are leading up to this year. Usually this is the year we spend Christmas eve at my in laws. There will be a minimum of 17 people in a small space 20-30 minutes away from our home. I hate traveling for Christmas, even to my parents house. For clarification we don’t travel to my parents house for the holiday we travel because they live in freaking paradise and we need a damn vacation. In PA my parents have 7000 square feet of space, a movie theater, and a freaking in door pool. In NC they have beautiful weather, another movie theater and just a relaxing screened in porch. The kids have all the room in the world to run and play. My parents always come to us when we can’t travel to them if its for a holiday so our location is irrelevant when it comes to spending time together. We have every day opportunities to spend it with my in laws if they chose to but our time with my side is limited due to distance.
I get it. My in laws want all their grandkids in one spot… they have “9” currently and will have 11? by June of 2018. But I hate traveling for Christmas weekend period even to my own family which is why it’s always longer than a weekend when we do… they are also currently 8 hours away. Usually Joel ends up working on Christmas eve but this year it’s a weekend so he’s free. All we want to do is circle around the fire, watch Christmas movies and cuddle. The norm would be for us to haul our kids down to Germantown stay for 2-3 hours drive them back where they will fall asleep then wake them up take them up to bed, deal with cranky kids because we woke them up and then start Christmas morning as usual a few hours after that. Usually my parents arrive at my house while we are out so they are present for Christmas morning. It’s a system that has worked.
Am I wrong for wanting to break “tradition” though? I would prefer that we do a daytime gift exchange that doesn’t interfere with sleep schedules for a local celebration or even go back to celebrating the dreaded (there are literally a minimum of 27 adults and 20 kids) 3 kings celebration with the in laws… actually I really prefer not to do that. We want to break the having to bounce around and spread ourselves thin. We use the holidays to visit people we don’t get to see often but on short days like the 3 days this year we just want to be home together. I can see everyone local at anytime. My sister in law and I do a gift exchange earlier. I send gifts to my mother in laws 2 weeks in advance so she has them for tree placement regardless of where we will be. It’s frustrating. At the end of the day we will do what we want this year, the hard part is trying to explain to everyone else we are tired of doing what everyone else wants from us. I put a lot of work into making Christmas magical for my kids, this year my business has allowed for some extra magic so we’re taking a Merrytime (Christmas themed) Disney Cruise in November to kick off our holiday season.
Any ideas on how to break the news to my in laws? I feel bad because it’s a tradition they had before we were married and it’s one we have a difficult time holding up now that we have 3 kids. I want to start something new… any ideas?