December 21, 2011

Time for a Change

For years, we divided our holidays between families. Sometimes we would eat dinner at one house and dessert at the next, or we would spend the evening with one family and head on out the next day to be with the other. Round and round we'd go making sure we fit everyone in, making sure everyone else was happy.

In the early years of our relationship, my husband and I were slowly finding our own way and separating from the way we lived with our parents and siblings to the way we lived as young adults, then as a married couple, and then as parents in our own right. It's not that easy for everyone to adjust, including husband and wife. Holidays were another matter.

In the years to come, we started spending more time on the road than actually making merry with our families, never mind enjoying the day with one another. Looking at twinkling break lights instead of the lights on our tree did not put us in a festive mood. The holidays were starting to feel more like and obligation than a celebration. As much as we loved seeing everyone, I finally put my foot down—Christmas would be spent at home.

Our families weren't too thrilled with our declaration. Their feeling was that holidays, every single holiday, should be spent with family—parents, siblings, the whole shebang. They never really said anything out loud, but they weren't fooling anyone. Pained silence said it all. But, we stuck to our guns. Now we spend Christmas day in our PJs watching old movies and walking around crumpled up wrapping paper. Presents remain under the tree and I don't have to worry about the house being meticulously clean for company. Dishes get piled in the sink because we're too busy throwing popcorn at the dogs, and at each other, and filling our mugs with more hot chocolate.

We have melded old and new traditions together, let go of some old and started some new ones, too. We host Christmas dinner every other year for anyone who doesn't mind coming our way for a change. And we don't begrudge anyone if they don't. We get it. Everyone deserves to spend the holiday they way they want to. And that includes spontaneous popcorn throwing.