Holiday! Celebrate!

Maybe. Holidays often seem to cause some sort of drama. Maybe it’s the uncle who drinks too much, or the divorced parents, or the annoying babies. Or sometimes it’s just deciding where to go.

I’m sure this is a normal part of any serious couple. Where to spend those important holidays? Being young and so close to my family, it’s practically inconceivable to not see my family and participate in those traditions on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanksgiving is the lesser of the two. The “kids” (my cousins and I) always draw names for a Christmas gift exchange. And we eat lots of traditional Thanksgiving food.

Christmas is the big one. Christmas Eve, my immediate family always goes to church. Sometimes the childrens’ mass, late in the afternoon, where the kids put on a Christmas play. Other times we go to the midnight mass where there is lots of candle light and a beautiful choir. Last year I went to both! And David actually accompanied me. It was wonderful.

The night of Christmas Eve is usually full of a delicious dinner made by my mom, and lots of Christmas cookies. We sit by the tree and watch old home videos and play games and talk and laugh. My mom used to read us the Christmas Story or The Night Before Christmas. She still reads it to my youngest sister and we all end up listening in.

Christmas morning is when all the excitement happens. The opening of presents. The execution of this has run the gambit. I remember waking up at 4 in the morning just to peek at the tree, going back to bed, and waking up at the crack of dawn to open gifts. Then I got to be a teenager and loved sleeping so much that I wouldn’t drag myself downstairs until 9 or 10.

Last year was the first year I didn’t sleep at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. Even still, I was over at their house around 8 am to open presents and have breakfast. My mom makes a wonderful Christmas breakfast.

Then we get packed up to go visit with my extended family. “Dinner” is usually around noon and includes a larger part of my family than Thanksgiving. My mom has 5 brothers and sisters. All are married and all but two have children. That’s a lot of family to visit with.

With all these important holiday traditions, how can I possibly find time to celebrate holidays with David’s family as well? I suggested we just do things with our separate families, and then come together afterwards. That did not go over well. Of course I want to spend these special days with him, but I just don’t know what parts of my family celebrations I can give up. I know I’ll have to eventually, but I just don’t know if I’m ready for that.

The thing is, I like his family too! I love spending time with them. I feel selfish with my family obligations. I’m feeling a little unwilling to budge. I’d love to work something out that doesn’t inconvenience anyone and makes everyone happy. But I don’t know if that magical solution exists.

The thing I love about our relationship is that we can talk about all of this. There will be (and already has been) some anger, frustration, and tears. It’ll take some brainstorming and some compromising, but we’ll figure out the best possible solution for us both to enjoy the holidays with our families and each other.


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