Does anybody else have a love/hate relationship with Christmas time like me?
Do you actually enjoy the maddening crowds while shopping for food and gifts? The arguments about how much to spend on said food and gifts?
As a child I used to love it. It was always a special time, my mom made sure of that. But it started changing as I grew older, and the biggest change happened after I got married.
You know – you get married, and suddenly two different worlds collide. Two ways of thinking and doing. Two different people with different ideas of how Christmas should be. Each person feels their family did it the best way, because that is all they’ve known for or all of their lives. Up to now…
How does one solve this conundrum?
It is not an easy one. We ‘solved’ it by deciding from the start – one year with my family, the next with his family. That wasn’t too bad, it actually worked quite well. But, ‘my family’ was basically only my mom, so the years I did not spend with her, I had a knot in my stomach because I knew she was alone, and the festive season lost a lot of its sparkle for me.
Start your own traditions? That’s another good idea, but then you sort of have to shun your families and the way they do things – do it on your own. And it is fun spending Christmas all together, isn’t it? So, let everybody spend the day with you, and your new way of doing things. That means two families – moms, dads, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, dogs – all congregating at your house! Do the two families get on well? Will it be fun to have all of them around you? Or are you going to stress because my sister hates your sister’s guts? And my mom cannot stand your dad – how are you going to keep them apart?
Lets talk about the cost of a big, family Christmas. Even if you have small families, mom and dad, and a sister or a brother, with their respective spouses and children, it is going to cost you big time! Of course everybody can bring something to eat so it is not all on you, but what about gifts?
I can stretch this post out for hours, because it is a very complex and very real problem with lots of facets, and it is not a modern problem caused by technology or Corona. Believe me, this one has been around for a long, long time. Ask your grandmother!
I believe every family should work this one out for themselves. Obviously there is not one solution that is going to work for everybody, and it might take a few years to figure it out. But ultimately it is once again about give and take, compromising to accommodate most of everybody’s ideas and feelings. You WILL have to give up something, somewhere along the line – accept that.
For that very reason, I will always have a very serious love/hate relationship with Christmas, because every single year, something will not be quite to my liking, and some years more so than others. C’est la vie.
Until next time, stay calm and drink lots of eggnog, if you have to. 😉