Posted by: whimsigal | December 19, 2007

Our Plan for the Holiday

Sean and I talk all the time about how things seems to get totally crazy when he’s home on the weekend, or when he gets home from work at night. The kids, who all day are good, normal-crazy, get totally wild when he walks in the door. It drives Sean to the edge of insanity and since he’s going to be home for a very long Christmas vacation, I gave him some advice last night to help him make it through the holiday without yelling at the kids. Have no expectations. Many times, he will get an idea, and it will be a great idea, but the boys just aren’t into it and he will take that personally and let his feelings get hurt. Sometimes I do, too, and the best thing to do is, when making a suggestion to the boys, don’t have an expectation that they’ll want to do it as much as you want to. For instance, he’s had a hard time this year getting beyond the fact that they are not into all the old Christmas specials on ABC Family: Rudolph, SC is Coming to Town, etc. Ryan still likes them a little but Iain would rather watch Pokemon Christmas or something like it. Sean gets really upset because he wants to watch the old specials and snuggle up on the sofa with the boys. We talked about it last night and he realizes that he can’t have expectations like that. What’s important and nostalgic for us has no meaning to them. Why can’t we watch Pokemon Christmas and snuggle together and then later, Sean and I can watch the older specials together? I still don’t like, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and there are plenty of oter things than my parents can wax on poetically about and I just could care less. It’s no slight against them, it just doesn’t interest me.

The point is, we are just going to concentrate on being together and not worry about doing all the Christmasey things we think we “Should” do. This year we’re not going to Sean’s mother’s house for Christmas Eve and we’re not planning to do anything big deal that night. It’s hard because we certainly feel a little isolationist by spending Christmas Eve on our own but at the same time, Christmas Eves in the past have been hectic, hurried, and unpleasant, trying to get through dinner, open gifts there, load the car up with the gifts, come home and unload the gifts, get the kids calm enough to go to bed, and then spend the rest of the night setting up their Christmas gifts. We love seeing our family but it was just too crazy for us to go through all of that. When I was growing up, our grandparents came to our house for Christmas when they could and that just makes more sense to me. They don’t have all the loot to haul back that we do! 🙂 Plus, we’ve spent Christmas Eve there every year since 1996, except for one, and we’d like to start our own traditions with our kids.

I’m really looking forward to this Christmas holiday. Sean is going to be home for so many days, the boys are finally old enough to “get” Christmas and they’re exchanging gifts with each other for the first time which is going to be really fun. We asked Ryan what he wanted the most from Santa and he said,”I just want a Merry Christmas,” completely without guile, he really meant it and it just melted this momma’s heart. He and Iain say things like that all the time and I feel really blessed to have these utterly sweet boys in my life. I thank the powers that be that I am allowed to have them at home with me so I can witness the magic of their childhood. It has been an incredible year.

What do you do for the holidays? Whatever it is, and I hope you’ll leave me a comment telling me all about it, I send my most sincere wish that it will be joyful. I’ll post again before Christmas but just want to say Happy Holidays to everyone!

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Responses

  1. Too funny, I was over here reading when I get the notification that you just left me a comment! 🙂

    Christmas is pretty stress free these years. We head over to the in-laws, eat dinner, read a book out loud, sing some carols, and open presents. Then we go home and sleep. The next day we drive around, drop off cards in empty mailboxes, head back over to in-laws for breakfast/lunch, watch a movie, and then go home.

    Used to be that we’d go to my family’s house first where we wouldn’t eat anything (dearest mother likes to put “things” in the food) and open gifts and then be ranted at that we are not giving them exactly equal time as the in-laws or that we should divorce because my Dearest declined and “invitation” from mother so there must be something wrong with him. Gah. I am so glad to be done with that!

  2. “Things” in the food? egads, I’m afraid to ask what they might be!

    My parents went though a slightly jealous period when Sean and I were first married because I was saying how much I enjoyed myself at my in-laws and my dad said,”Well, I’m sorry we’re so boring.” Good grief.

    Sounds like you guys enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas! I wish everyone’s could be like that!

  3. Things not limited to but including “special” herbs from her garden. Fun times, yo. I’ve always been wary of stuffing so thankfully I was never afflicted!

  4. OMG! The craziest my mom ever added was apples or sausage or walnuts!

    That’s crazy!

  5. Happy holidays! We are planning on going to visit the in-laws for a short visit. One of these years we will get around to having Christmas at home.

    I loved what you said about having no expectations. I wish I could remember that all the time.

  6. Apples, sausage, and or walnuts sound yummy!

    I think the no expectations advice is good year round. It is just amplified at the holidays, but life is like that.

  7. I miss having Christmas at home. It is so much harder being married! Last year my parents moved 15 minutes from my in-laws so now we are forced to go visit them all at Christmas. When I lived at home we always made a point of staying at home for Christmas and just enjoying time together. Those are precious memories for me. I just wrote about it over at V-dub. 🙂

    http://vanderbiltwife.blogspot.com/2007/12/my-favorite-christmas-memory.html

  8. For the first time EVAH, we are staying home Christmas day! Yay! We are still catching some flack about it from family members who are taking it personally, but they will get over it.

    We are going to my mom’s on the 23rd and then lunch at the in-laws on the 24th. Then the kids will set the pace. I have a cooking plan, but that too can change if the kids decide to.

    I have just gotten sick of hearing that all this holiday crap we usually do is “all for the kids” when really it is so not. So this year for us it will be. Even though I have to remind myself every few minutes, it seems, to let go of my expectations. Damn those things, they really sneak up on ya.

  9. Hey Carri! It’s good that you all are doing what makes you happy for the holidays. Life is too short to do anything else.

    LOL The expectations do come from out of nowhere, don’t they? I keep reminding myself, too.

  10. We stayed home for the first time about three? years ago.
    We’ve never looked back!
    🙂
    We used to cram everything in in one day – Christmas Day, traveling and scurrying and hurrying.
    Then one year Trev was old enough – and we were like – Um, we’d like to stay home and be at our leisure and enjoy ourselves and our little family!
    Amazingly enough – the others got over it, and now we’ll be visiting the in-laws on Sunday (“if that works okay for you?”) and visiting my sister’s maybe Christmas Eve afternoon, or else they’ll (with my mom) visit here the next day.
    Splendid!
    Eventually you (I/we) just get to a point and think “Well, I”d like to be happy, too,” you know?

    It comes in especially useful now, cuz Trev is a sort of “let’s open it and play with it for two hours” sort of kid.
    Sometimes drives be batty – but I’m determined to enjoy it this year!
    🙂
    xxoo

  11. Steph, I get so excited when I “see” you here because it feels like I never do anymore!!

    It sounds like you all know how to spend a lovely Christmas morning together. Iain is much the same as Trev. Ryan sort of tears through it all like a whirlwind.

    I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, my friend!

  12. It’s hard to let go of expectations. I used to get hung up on carrying on my own family’s traditions when one year Rob said, “Those are YOUR memories” and made me see it was no use forcing the issue. It can be fun to create new traditions based on what you all want or the kids inspire. Pokemon Christmas? Why the H*ll not! That would be a hit here, I can guarantee!

    Have a lovely quiet stress-free Christmas Eve!


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