Do you love, hate or love to hate the holidays? I mean not the holiday itself but the stress. The unnecessary stresses like cooking for a group or fighting over whose turn it is to host or for you to travel to or shopping…
My favorite spoof song is the The Twelve Pains of Christmas because I can relate to most, if not all of them.
Holidays for my family, growing up, were a lot less complicated than most peoples. The reason being we lived over 600 miles from both sets of grandparents who lived on different sides of Upstate NY. My parents decided when we were very young that it was not feasible to travel that distance in that kind of traffic with small children. So we were home every year for our holidays. My mom’s parents would travel down to see us around New Years after hosting their other five children, spouses, and all their other grandchildren at their home for Christmas. We would travel to NY for a week every summer when my parents would bring presents for all our cousins.
I tell all of that because I grew up blessed by my situation. I didn’t realize the reality of the problem of deciding where to plan the holidays. I saw my parents’ other stresses. I saw them trying to find new places to hide Christmas presents and my mom cooking but not about deciding where to go…
Then I married into a divorced family. Where things are not so rosy so many years later as they were when the divorce was fresh. And so every year, Jeff is torn apart by his parents and adding my family to the mix made things less than easy for Jeff. When we didn’t have kids we just trudged from place to place (my parents and his mom) and called his dad (who lived 2 states away). Then we had kids and didn’t want to load them up and go someplace on the holiday. And Shelby presented special needs, particularly if we went to his brother’s home which has many, many breakable things. And we wanted to establish our own traditions. So a couple of years ago we instituted a policy of not going anywhere for Christmas Day but allowing Jeff’s family to visit us every other year. We had quickly decided to go visit my parents around New Years as my grandparents visit still at that time each year. My parents celebrate 12 days of Christmas. They were cool with it. Then, this year, Jeff’s Dad and Step-Mother moved 40 minutes from us. And Jeff’s mom was hospitalized and is undergoing rehabilitation in a facility right now.
Let the complications begin.
We don’t want things to be complicated so we clearly communicate our plans and that there is no negotiation where our plans are concerned. Unfortunately, some people cling to wiggle room that was never there to begin with. So we have misunderstandings that wouldn’t be if people took us at our word. We have stress that shouldn’t be because we are being honest, not playing games.
I want Thursday to be a day of giving thanks. I am praying it will be and not of hurt feelings.