In the US, there’s a lot of pushing and pulling that takes place during the winter holidays. It happens in other countries, too, but here, there’s enough space to truly separate loved ones at special times. Most of it is centered around the triad of Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah and New Years. If you’re married or engaged, you know all about the juggling act that can make even the most sane person a little cuckoo by the end of December.
Thanksgiving is easy enough because, if you’ve played your cards well and live semi-near both families, you can gorge yourself at both a noon-time meal and then at a dinner-time meal. There are no operating instructions when it comes to Thanksgiving, just families who are, or are not, willing to work things out.
Christmas and Hanukkah— not so much. Any evening is good for the Festival of Lights and gifts are given each night of the whole eight days, but there will be evenings which are more conducive to get-togethers. For Christmas, you might be able to choose between Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, should you need to divide up your time.
And of course, New Years is not so special in itself, other than New Year’s Eve and counting down till midnight. If you’re smart, you can claim that the kids are too young, or you are too old to have to stay up that late, so you could just beg off. Or, possibly plan a New Year’s brunch.
The real crunch comes when your family is strewn across the globe, or cross-country. You can always say that you need to develop your own nuclear family traditions, but generally that could result in a family nuclear war…. It’s a delicate dance where you have to pick and choose which holiday might be more meaningful to which side of the family.
This year, when our kids (late teens and entering their twenties) may rub us the wrong way now and again, we keep in mind: this will not be forever. One day, they may have to be absent, or attend celebrations here, there and everywhere with a carfull of kids of their own, or plane schedules to arrange just to get together for the holidays.
Time marches on and all we can do is try to enjoy the times we have together in the right here, right now. This holiday, remember that your family is a present and perhaps one of the greatest gifts you could ever receive. Celebrate them.
—————Tags: celebrating kids still at home for the holidays, Christmas split between family, enjoy family times together, family time as a gift, holiday travel and get-togethers, nuclear family holiday traditions, splitting holidays between relatives, tug-of-war where to go for the holidays