Celebrate Christmas With Your Extended Family or Just Your Own?
What does Christmas mean to you and your family? For some it means family traditions and getting together with parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and all the distant cousins you might not otherwise see during the year. While these traditions can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season, they can also be overwhelming.
Disagreements can erupt over who will be hosting and sometimes unhealthy family history can mar your entire celebration. Some also find it to be stressful with so much activity and excitement, and may not be able to afford to buy gifts for everyone in the family. How do you decide the best way to celebrate the holiday, for you and for your children?
There is no easy answer as to the best way to celebrate the holidays, but your decision needs to be what’s best for you and your family, not what other family members demand. Your parents or a certain aunt may be very accustomed to hosting a large family dinner for the holidays and may insist that everyone attend, but you have your own family to consider now. Your children may get stressed and upset when around those distant cousins they don’t know, or your significant other may not appreciate spending their entire holiday with your family while missing their own.
One solution to the problem is a compromise, or something more balanced. For example, you might visit your parents’ house for their large dinner but rather than staying the entire day, linger and socialize for a few hours and then leave. This may work if you can convince your parents or your in-laws to adjust their dinner schedule, so you can share the day between both families by visiting one for the first dinner and then visiting the other family. This can also alleviate stress with your own children so they’re not spending the entire day with cousins they don’t know.
If you do want to forego the large family gathering altogether, you may want to make it up to your family in other ways. Your parents may be worried about seeing you regularly as they get older, so visit with them on Christmas Eve and regularly throughout the year so they don’t feel like the family is drifting apart. Send small gifts to your extended family so they don’t feel overlooked.
Having your own family means blending traditions and making up your own during the holidays. You may want to host a dinner at your own home so you can control the number of guests and visitors, which might include your parents and your in-laws only. However you work out the day, be sure it’s something healthy and enjoyable for you and your children especially.