You know the saying, “The only thing that is constant is change”? Nothing is more true. We grow, we adapt, we change.
Except for one thing; Christmas!
No matter how much change you went through during the year, no matter how old you get, Christmas is always waiting for you in December with the same traditions to comfort your soul and to make you feel like a kid again.
That is until you get married.
Yes. I’m giving you permission to judge. I’m even calling myself out. I’m being a big selfish baby.
If you’ve been around these parts for the past month, you know how much I love Christmas. We also all know that marriage is all about compromise. Ryan loves Christmas almost as much as I do, so this shouldn’t be a problem, right?
But no matter what anyone else will ever tell me, my family’s Christmas day and traditions are the very best ones out there. None will ever compare. I don’t care if you tell me your family brings in real reindeer and offers magical reindeer rides. Or that you have 7 Christmas trees in your house, or that you fly to a gorgeous chalet in the Alps and celebrate like royalty, or that at your house you can eat as much of your favorite holiday food as you want and actually lose weight, or that Santa is actually your dad and you go to his workshop in the North Pole every Christmas eve and help. Nope, not going to change a thing.
My family Christmas is still better because it is ours. It is my family, the loves of my lives. It is the only Christmas that I have known. It has defined what this holiday season so all about for me. But that is changing.
Okay, before you start judging me even more and thinking I’m a total selfish B, please know that we are splitting Christmas and I’m very much looking forward to sharing Christmas with Ryan. I’m looking forward to celebrating with his family for the first time and to trying something new. It’s just HARD.
To you, my Christmas may sound pretty ordinary. My brother and his wife – who I see about 3 times a year, if I’m lucky, travel up to PA this weekend. On Christmas Eve, my family always goes out to our favorite local pub for a fun dinner followed by a night of games, drinks and music. We still wake up early on Christmas morning, eat some baked oatmeal and attack our stockings like we are 5 year olds. We then slowly open our gifts in front of the tree. One gift at a time, taking time to oohh and ahhh over each thoughtful gift. By 11:30 it’s time to head to the kitchen and do the final preparations for our mid day dinner for about 14 guests. We pour the wine and Amaretto and try to stay calm. It’s that fun kind of stressful though, right mom?! After the dinner, same menu for the past 30 years, we gather around the piano with drinks for some happy Christmas sing a longs. The night ends with us having some leftovers, eating too many cookies, and enjoying some laughs over drinks and toasting with Buttery Nipples. The day is special because it is ours. Because it is tradition. Because it stays the same.
This year, we are moving our mid day dinner earlier in the day so that Ryan and I can promptly leave and head down to his family’s Christmas celebration 1.5 hours away. I’m excited to see his own family traditions and celebrate with my new family. I’m sad to miss out on the singing (my favorite) and the relaxing evening and simply being together with everyone. Give and take, isn’t that right? Tis’ the season?
Why am I being so selfish? Because I’m proud of my traditions because they define me so much. Because it is stressful to have to pick and choose. It’s stressful because someone will always be hurt – be left out. Simply put, I don’t like too much change. Christmas is about family, and we have two now, mine and his.
But, really there are three. Because, what about our new family. The family that is just Ryan and I?
We need to start our own holiday traditions. My goal this week is to be sure to carve out some time to celebrate Christmas in our own way. To remember we are our own family. We hold the power to combine both of our traditions and make something totally unique to us. The definition of our holidays is written by Ryan and I, and I can’t wait to discover what that is. I’m sure it will be simply magical, considering how completely crazy we both are over the spirit of Christmas.
Oh and don’t forget about the Christmas spirit of the dogs too!
How do you handle sharing Christmas?