This is my contribution to PAIL’s Monthly Theme post topic for November, “Traditions.” Click here to join in!
When I started thinking about the topic of traditions, I realized that in order to determine what traditions I wanted for my daughter and our family as a whole, I needed to start with figuring out which traditions were important to me and to my husband individually and decide how we were going to meld the two. Following are a couple examples of our differences in regards to the upcoming holidays – we are both super close with our families, but we do have very different traditions.
- Me: A big family meal (generally 20-40 ppl) at a relative’s house with all of the extended family around. This was followed by laying around on couches watching football, drinking beer, and napping. Low stress + lots of family time = my favorite holiday.
- Char: A family trip to the big city (6 hrs away), a stay in a hotel, Thanksgiving Dinner at OCB, hitting up a local sports bar to watch the football games, and then getting up at 2am to go Black Friday shopping (in which they picked out their own Christmas presents, which were then wrapped and put under the tree).
- Me: Christmas Eve service at the local church. Then Grandma and Grandpa came over for dinner, we sat around and read the Christmas story from the bible, and we all got to open our gifts from Mom & Dad. Christmas morning meant an EARLY morning in our PJs, opening our stocking stuffer gifts and the 1 big gift from Santa. All gifts were a surprise! We then had breakfast together and spent the rest of Christmas day lounging around in our PJs watching new movies from our gift pile.
- Char: Christmas Eve service at the local church. Open 1 gift from the parents that night if they were good at church (which he says they always were!). Christmas Day, eat breakfast as a family (first! as in – before gifts – craziness) and then sit around and open a gazillion presents, most of which they already knew because they picked them out themselves (see Thanksgiving above). Hang out as a family all day.
So yeah, it’s not that his way was “bad” per se – I love that he is as close with his family as I am with my own. However, the traditions are definitely different. I started thinking about how we were going to integrate the two moving forward, and I realized that after eight years together, we already HAVE started integrating.
- If we’re in MN where my family lives, we do it the MN way. 🙂 However, if we’re in Colorado (where his parents live), the shopping is now out. It’s now a stay-at-home family event at Charlie’s parents place (YAY!), but it also includes a lot of our friends. We live in an area where many people don’t have extended family that live close by, so my in-laws have opened up their home to our friends for the past few years. For example, this year it will be my MIL/FIL, my SIL, me/Char/Stella, and 5 of our friends that live in the area who don’t have family around. We’ll spend all day eating, playing board games, drinking, watching football, and repeat. <3
- Christmas Eve service at the local church, then we go home. We still go to Charlie’s parent’s house on Christmas morning, eat breakfast, and then open gifts together (1 gift each – we draw names and everyone buys a $25 gift for whomever they got). We spend the day as a family hanging out.
As for the future, this is what I’m hoping for…
- Exactly what we’re doing now! Moving to Colorado taught me that family doesn’t necessarily have to be related by blood, and our friends mean SO much to us here. A day (any day!) at home filled with friends and family and good food and fun times works for me. 🙂
- Christmas Eve service at the local church. Then we’ll head home (with grandparents welcome to join), read the Christmas story, and Stella can open her presents from us that night at home. Christmas morning will be early morning gifts from Santa, and then most likely we’ll head up to Charlie’s parent’s house for breakfast and a day spent hanging out with the extended family. Not a bad compromise, right?
After I wrote everything above, I asked Charlie if he had any traditions he wanted to make sure to do for Stells moving forward, and he said no, not really… but then he turned to me and said:
You know what I just thought about? One of us gets to get up at three in the morning someday and put the presents under the tree from Santa and eat the cookie and drink half the milk. That’s pretty cool.
My God we are blessed.