It is that time of year again…time to celebrate the holidays. And as with many families, we are looking at how to divide the holidays between my husband’s parents and mine.
Growing up, my family celebrated as a small unit – just the four of us. There were no massive get together with aunt, uncles, cousins or grandparents. This was true for my husband’s family as well. When my husband and I were first married we divided our time between the two families – one got us for Thanksgiving and the other Christmas.
Then we moved farther away, and it was just the two of us celebrating. Soon after we moved to San Antonio, my parents moved to a neighboring town, and we began celebrating all the holidays with them.
(I will say that I did offer to go visit my in-laws during several Thanksgivings but my husband always said no. In fact, during the fourteen years we lived far away from them, we only visited them two times – and both were non-holiday related.)
So for the past nine years (and for the whole time we have been parents), we have spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house and Christmas at ours. My husband and I declared right after our son was born that we would be spending Christmases at our house. We couldn’t imagine having to lug all the presents to someone else’s house and then back home. If you want to celebrate with us, we told our family, you are always welcome to come to our house. And my parents have always done that.
Things were rolling along fine with this set up until last year when my in-laws bought a house about 30 minutes away from us. Now we need to incorporate them into our celebrations.
The thing is his parents have pretty much given up celebrating some of the holidays. They no longer cook a turkey on Thanksgiving. And because his parents don’t want to socialize with my parents (for reasons I guess I will never understand), they won’t accept an invitation to eat at my parents’ house. (Their official excuse is they can’t leave their 35-year-old son at home alone on the holiday. Of course, he is invited too but is anti-social so you know that isn’t going to happen.)
Again, this year my parents invited his and again they declined. My husband suggested we host Thanksgiving but since I already cook a big meal on Christmas, I wasn’t thrilled with adding another big meal to my list of duties. Plus, I think his parents still would have declined – after all the other grandparents would be there and would be commanding some of the grandkids’ attention. And heaven forbid they have to make small talk with my parents.
But that leaves us with Christmas, and I think we have found the solution. My husband’s family always did most of their celebrating on Christmas Eve. (I still think it is odd to open all your presents on Christmas Eve, though they did have Santa’s gifts on Christmas morning.)
So right now, we are planning on having his family over Christmas Eve, and the grandparents can watch the kids open a few presents. Then my parents will be over Christmas morning to see the kids tear into the rest of their gifts and enjoy Christmas dinner. I think it will work out well for everyone.