One of the things that was difficult for me in having college and adult kids with Christmas was not being able to continue all of the traditions that we had formally done. I mentioned earlier that through homeschooling, we actually spent a lot of time on Christmas. Our entire December was centered around Christmas readings, unit studies, Christmas baking and cooking, and more.
In a previous blog post, I discussed the importance of finding out those traditions that mean a lot to your college and adult kids so that they do not feel left out of the things you are doing in your home – especially the things that you used to do when they were little. In another post, I talked about the invitation versus obligation. (Read that here…that’s important!)
This post will focus on the latter. We try to continue many traditions with our high school kids and our college kids living at home, but at the same time, we don’t want to leave out the adult children who are away from home–or impose upon them either. This is a fine balance. Because of this, we recommend that you invite them to some of those things, but be sure that they do not see those things as obligations.
One of the ways that we make our Christmas Eve super special is through special gifts and games (besides the traditions from long ago of singing carols, reading Christmas stories, and having the sibling gift exchange). Our Christmas Eve is a full evening of food, fun, fellowship, worship, reflecting, reminiscing, and play!
In the past few years as our family has grown, we could no longer fit around the table for Uno, Kemps, or Pit, so Ray did some research on group games and discovered something called “Minute to Win It” (we have been without television for years…and only in the past few with Netflix and Hulu do we know what’s out there! LOL). Anyway, he found things online, our daughter found some things for him on Pinterest, and he was off with new Christmas Eve traditions—Minute to Win It games.
Christmas is a time of spreading good cheer. It is a time of giving gifts. It is a time that we remember the best gift ever given to the earth. And yet it quickly becomes a time of selfishness when it comes to get-togethers, “getting” Christmas Eve or Christmas day for your get together when your kids are grown, etc.
Maybe this was easier for me because when our kids were little, we decided that we would not have a Christmas day that was filled with running around to multiple grandparents, especially with divorced ones making another place to go. Thus, if we had an extended family get together on the 25th, our Christmas day was simply a different day. It was easy, and our children came to realize that if they did not wake up to open presents on the actual December 25th, that was fine. Christmas was just longer and even more fun!
One of the things that I love about our adult children having such close relationships is when they ask for group gifts (still!).
It is not uncommon for them to ask for things like these:
1. Restaurant gift cards to a place that they all want to go to together but that the college kids couldn’t afford without a gift card.
Christmas with college and adult kids can easily turn into a fiasco if family members are not careful to put other people first. Selflessness is the key to family harmony at all ages—but especially with college and adult kids simply because when someone has a bad attitude or is selfish, parents really have no recourse with grown kids. (It’s not like you’re going to send a twenty-four year old to his room!)
My advice for this is not going to be the most helpful for families with grown kids THIS Christmas. But families with younger children really need to grasp the idea that whatever is happening in your home among siblings now is likely not going to magically go away when they are adults.