In my last blog post, I talked about how to determine which traditions to keep for everybody and which traditions will likely go by the wayside. These are obviously very personal decisions – and you will probably want to discuss these with your older children.
There are some other traditions that we have kept in part. These traditions are ones that we still do with our at-home kids, but we invite the olders to as well.
The key to having traditions that you want to include everybody for but that you do not want to obligate them to is to use the phrasing that my husband uses all the time in dealing with our older children:
This is an invitation, not an obligation!
This is not only a Christmas tip, but if you have older kids, especially if they are married, you want them to feel included, but at the same time it is unwise to put pressure on them to do and be everything – especially when it comes to extended family. If our older children went to every single event that the grandparents and the grandparents’ siblings have, Memorial Day parties, Christmas get-togethers, etc., they would not have enough time for their own families.
The same thing is true with things that we continued on at Christmas time with our tweens and teens as the older siblings went to college and/or got married. We want to make the adults feel included, but we do not want to infringe on their own family life.
So for some of our Christmas festivities, those that they and we have determined together will not necessarily always include everybody, we remind them that this is an “invitation, not obligation.”
We say this often, and we want them to know that we mean it. We want them to put their own families first. We want them to put their spouse before their siblings. We want them to put their home about their parents. This wording gives them the freedom to do so – and remind them continually that we place a high importance upon their adult lives.
See this post where I describe our “in-laws-first Christmas”—and why I recommend having this!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the podcast episode about Christmas With College and Adult Kids!