Before having our girls, Brian and I had a pretty good system of honoring both of our family traditions during the holidays. We did a pretty good job spending time with both families. It was easy to visit both families on the same day (our parents live about 40 minutes away from each other). I remember wondering why my friends with kids seemed so stressed after they traveled all day doing their "holiday rounds."
Then, we had kids. OK, we got it. We understood really quick.
Brian and I were the first of all of our siblings to enter the world of parenthood. Until you are a parent, you don't get it. You don't get nap schedules. You don't get the importance of getting the kids to bed at a decent hour. You don't get the importance of having a well stocked diaper bag. You don't get the importance of not giving little kids a ton of sugar before bed.
A rushed holiday morning is just no fun. For a few years after having kids, we would do this. Rush around like chickens with our heads cut off, making sure we get to house #1 in time for a formal meal. Spend a scheduled amount of time there (heaven forbid you are not fair to both families), rush off to house #2 and force feed ourselves more pumpkin pie and turkey because it's Thanksgiving and that is what you do. No thanks.
Last year, we made a change. We made a commitment to make the holidays about 1). our faith, 2) each other and 3). our children. We LOVE our parents and our extended families but they come next. Every year, we both got more and more annoyed with the stress of running around instead of taking it slow, enjoying the moments, letting the girls relax on Christmas morning, stay in our pjs a little longer, make a big breakfast and breathe. I would have these visions of all of us sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace and laughing and enjoying each other but in reality, it was me telling everyone to hurry up because we couldn't miss Grandma's turkey and stuffing. Not fair.
As the holidays quickly approach, Brian and I have talked a lot about what traditions we want to have. His family have a bunch and my family have a bunch. It's impossible to do them all. We wish we could still be a part of everything but it's just not possible. We sat down and strategized and came up with 6 ways to start our own holiday traditions (without hurting any feelings):
1. Celebrate on different days for different families. For my mom, she would rather us all be together and eat two days after Thanksgiving. That way, we try to rotate each year who we eat with on the actual holiday. For example, this year, we are eating at my parents on Thanksgiving. We ate with Brian's family on Thanksgiving last year. We try our best to be fair. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. It gets harder and harder as our siblings get engaged and married because they each now have in-laws and extended families as well.
2. Don't feel like you have to explain your decisions. We have learned to do what works best for us and for our kids. We are blessed to be able to live pretty close to both of our parents, so if we miss a holiday with any of them, we are sure we will see them a few days later anyway. We have learned to turn down events that don't fit into our plans and guess what? It all works out. Our parents would rather not see us stressed!
3. Remember what the holiday is really about. We talk about this a lot. We want to keep the holidays simple for ourselves and for our kids. Few toys. More experiences. Less stuff. Less pressure. More faith. More love. We have expressed this desire with our families and they are onboard. It's amazing what can happen if we all just communicate.
4. Pick one favorite from each family and make that the priority. We lucked out because my family does their huge celebration on Christmas Eve and Brian's family does theirs on Christmas night. So, those our the priorities for us. We make sure we go to our favorite mass with the girls and spend time with each family on different days. No more driving from house to house on the same day. Heaven!
5. Don't be pressured to do what everyone else in the family does. One sibling may spend an entire week with your parents. Another may just call. Whatever. It doesn't matter. All that matters is what you and your hubby want to do and what is best for the kids. Don't want to buy your parents another gift card? Want your kids to make Grandma and Grandpa gifts instead? Go for it. I bet your parents will LOVE whatever you do.
6. Keep them simple and from the heart. We live in a busy world especially around the holidays. Holiday traditions don't have to be elaborate Pinterest-worthy ideas. I bet your kids will remember simple things. They will remember your smile when you relaxed by the fireplace on Christmas morning and watched them open their presents. They will remember that tasty breakfast you made. They will remember the way you smelled in your big bathrobe. Don't overthink it and enjoy.
Enter to win!
Also, enjoy entering to win a beautiful holiday apron from Chelsea Made and a holiday tea towel from Eden Gray. The apron is a child's half apron, cotton, fully lined, navy blue with scalloped bottom, Anthropologie-inspired pocket. One size fits all. $35 value. The tea towel is 100% flour sack cotton with shimmery plaid accent fabric. $5 value. Both are machine washable.
Oh, and yes, you can still sign up for the 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Recipes online program! We started November 12th but we are going until the 23rd. Still time to get some yummy holiday recipes and support!
1. To enter the giveaway, you must be a fan of BMoore Healthy on Facebook. Also, you must be receiving my monthly newsletters. Click here to sign up for my newsletter.
2. Use the Rafflecopter tool right here to enter to win. This giveaway is available to US residents only. Good luck! The contest ends Monday, November 24th at 9:00 PM. A winner will be announced shortly after that.