Just Heather
Bah Humbug

The holidays should be all about family. They should be fun and relaxing, what with not having to work and all. Instead they are stressful, tiring and full of headaches. They end up being about which in-laws you can piss off the most.

Each year we load up the car with children and presents to travel…somewhere on Christmas day. One year it’s my family, the next year it’s his. It’s tiresome, but the one year we attempted to put our foots down and go nowhere it just didn’t work out. We ended up going to his grandmother’s house—in our pajamas—anyway. On a full year, we have 6 rounds of Christmas in addition to our quick morning at home after Santa has visited.

This year Round 1 is this weekend. Despite the fact that it is 2 weeks prior to the actual holiday, it will be my favorite. It will be calm and peaceful. No one will be rushed to get to the next location. I won’t spend the entire day wishing I were somewhere else. My children will have the opportunity to actually enjoy their gifts—and the loved ones who have provided them—instead of just watching a blur of wrapping paper fly by on our way out the door.

Christmas Eve is the worst. On a night that should be peaceful and warm, we start off at one of the coldest places on earth—my mother-in-law’s house. Then we all go to his grandmother’s house until it’s too late to enjoy leaving cookies for Santa. I never have the opportunity to sprinkle reindeer food for Rudolph with my children. I never get to enjoy reading a Christmas story in our new pajamas. We don’t sip a cup of cocoa after we’ve hung our stockings. By the time we get home they are too exhausted to do anything but whine.

It’s not that I begrudge him the opportunity to see his family. I don’t begrudge our families the time with us—or let’s be honest, our three children. I just want the opportunity to create holiday memories with my children that don’t center around the perplexing puzzle of fitting everything in the trunk. I want our own traditions, our own time as a family, and memories that my children will look back on and smile.

3 Responses to “Bah Humbug”

  1. Heather, there just is never an easy solution to the holiday scramble. No matter what the in-laws and out-laws get ticked off. I think the best any of us can do is just stick to our guns about what is best for our immediate families during the holidays and the hell with everyone else. Well, that and make it a personal resolution to be as understanding as possible when the day comes that our own children have children and want to create their own traditions. Perhaps that will be the real test of holiday patiences? Hang in there. :)

    Luckily, I’ve been blessed with amazing in-laws this time around and last year, my MIL actually told us not to worry about traveling to her house with all of the boys but instead, stay home with them and create happy new memories for all of them and give them good family times to blend and find their places. They all came to visit us the day after Christmas. Her understanding and acceptance of our changing family situation was the best gift I had recieved in many years.

  2. You apparantly have forgotten the hectic holidays you had with us here in Vincennes. We always tried to leave early from Grandma Smith’s so we could have our time. You will just have to leave earlier and make it home in time for you and your children to spend that special time together. Life is short and before you know it those relatives won’t be with you to share that time with, so enjoy and do the best you can. That is all we can do. Love you Mom

  3. I have a feeling I’ll be facing the same problems in the near future! Let me know if you find a solution! :o )

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