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!
Regardless of the reason for the ease of it, when our first child married eleven years ago, I knew that I didn’t want the traditional “part of the day here and part of the day there.” Joshua married a gal who was the only girl in a family of three children. I knew from the beginning that I did not want to request Christmas Eve or Christmas day as one of our get together days simply because I did not want to ask my new daughter-in-law, the only girl in her family, to give up time with her family in order to have our Christmas. I also didn’t think it sounded very fun to have an hour or two or three here or there, with kids coming and going and no real family unity.
Thus, when Joshua and Lisa got married, I told Joshua up front that her family could have Christmas day and potentially even Christmas Eve if desired. We would simply have our Christmas celebrations at a different time/different date. (During part of this time, my dad had Christmas Eve—and my kids tried to make it to that whenever possible.)
As I mentioned earlier in the blog post about continuing with traditions, my kids did not want a couple of hours with siblings just dropping in. They wanted a day together – and even the evening before. Thus, our Christmas Eve and Christmas day have been as early as the 21st and 22nd of December and as late as the 29th and 30th. It doesn’t matter to us.
Fast forward eleven years, and two of our kids were married last year. One of them, our second son, married a young lady whose mother died suddenly of an aneurism nearly six years ago. I have been even more grateful for the tradition of “the in-laws-first-Christmas” I’m happy that my son and daughter-in-law, she the firstborn in a family of four children, do not have to choose between coming to our house or spending the day with her father and siblings.
Our third daughter was married last year, and her husband’s family lives in South Carolina. I am equally happy that we have chosen this route for them as his parents do not get to see them as much as we do. I am thrilled that they will get to spend several days with his parents and get to have Christmas Eve and Christmas day with his family.
In a season of goodwill among men and selflessness, is it too much to ask not to have things our own way? Is it too much to ask we would put the new members of our family – our daughters-in-law and sons-in-law – before our own wants and desires?
I know this wouldn’t work for everybody as not everyone would be in town on the right dates, etc., to “do Christmas” a different date. But if nothing else, I hope this post leaves you with the thought of really considering your grown kids and their new families when making your holiday plans. And helping them to focus on their own new family. And spreading goodwill to all! 🙂
P.S. Listen to the podcast episode about Christmas With College and Adult Kids!