It’s almost that time of year again. I love the holidays, but sometimes they can be super stressful. It’s hard to squeeze in visits to both sets of parents and families, especially when you’re hundreds of miles away from both. My husband and I have kind of rotated who we spend time with over the holidays – Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my parents one year, then with his parents the following year. It has worked out great. We somehow have always managed to make our visits to my parents’ house coincide with my brother and sister-in-law’s visit as well, so that we can all spend time together.
But now that we have a baby, (he’ll be 7 months at Christmas) I REALLY don’t know how the holidays are going to work. Of course we want to see everybody, but I don’t want to spend baby’s first Christmas flying to Florida or driving seven hours to see relatives. You want to see the baby? Come visit! The more, the merrier! (I think.)
The thing is, we already have some of our own traditions, and now, it’s important to us to start our own as a family of three.
Like Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has been just my husband and I ever since we moved in together. I came to visit my husband (then boyfriend) in DC and go on a job interview a few years ago and ended up not going back to Florida because they wanted me to start right away. It was so close to Thanksgiving that I didn’t have a chance (or the money) to buy a last-minute plane ticket to spend Thanksgiving with my parents. So for the past few years, Thanksgiving has been just my husband and me. We spend weeks planning our menu and then spend all day making entirely too much food for just two people. But we love it. And while the crowds are out shopping on Black Friday, we drive up into the mountains and cut down our own Christmas tree. This year, (and next year) that won’t be a big deal to our son, but in a few years? It’ll be so great to do stuff like that as a family!
Christmas will be different this year. My parents (my mom, especially!) always go crazy at Christmas. Huge tree, tons of presents, too much food… But like I said, I don’t want to spend our son’s first Christmas on the road. I want to wake up on Christmas morning in our own house for the first time as a family of three.
My mom loves the holidays so much that she always jokingly said that she wasn’t having Christmas anywhere but at her house until either my brother or I had kids. Then she’d travel. I guess it’s time to remind her about that.
There are some logistical problems, though. My mom works as a retail manager so she usually has to work on Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Plus my parents live in Florida, so it’s not like they’re just going to hop in the car to get to DC. In addition, they need to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law, who also live in Florida. My sister in-law will be 37 weeks pregnant around Christmas, so she and my brother won’t be going anywhere, and I don’t blame them.
I’ve always managed to spend some part of the holidays with my family. Even though we are pretty close, it’s one of the few times during the year that we all manage to get together for an extended visit. We always get out the cards or board games and make gingerbread houses while “A Christmas Story” plays on repeat on TV. My sister-in-law and I end up wrapping all of the last-minute presents my parents didn’t get a chance to wrap yet. And we’re all together, and it’s wonderful.
So, yeah… I’m preparing myself for the fact that the holidays just aren’t going to be the same as they used to. My husband’s parents moved from Florida and now live five hours away, so maybe they’ll be able to join us. Maybe my parents will come for a visit after Christmas; I don’t know how that will work. We’ll celebrate eventually, I’m sure. It’s already hard enough when you’re a new couple and you’re trying to figure out how to spend equal time with both sets of parents. How in the world do other people with small children and scattered, spread-out families do it?
As much as I want to spend time with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law, I also want to be at home. I want to wake up on Christmas morning in our house. With our presents under our tree. I will miss being around my family, but there will be other holidays. We’ll only have our baby’s first Christmas once. So I’ll be home for Christmas… Our home.