Saturday, August 30, 2008

The 24 Hours of Christmas

For the last several years I have struggled with the 24 hours of Christmas. This time frame was decided by my husbands parenting plan with his ex wife. Every year flip flops between which week we have the kids - Christmas week or New Years week. However, we ALWAYS have the kids noon Christmas eve to noon Christmas day.

In the past Christmas eve would start with going to my parents house for dinner, church (once it was midnight mass) and opening gifts then get home at some ungodly hour only to wake up at the crack of dawn to celebrate with my husbands parents and grandparents. We would rush gift opening and breakfast so we could meet our obligation to get the kids to their mom by noon. That is a lot to get accomplished in 24 hours.

Never once did hubby and I stop to figure out what our holiday traditions would look like. We were always focused on being as equal as possible to both sides of the family without rocking the boat. We thought that was how you were supposed to do it. It made us unhappy and stressed out every year. We always came the the conclusion that if we lived in a different state it would be easier. Or wouldn't it be fun to go to a cabin in the woods without cable and ski the entire time?

The things we despised about the holiday eventually became the focus of the holiday. We were no longer enjoying the holiday as we wanted to. My in laws always over spend. My parents, although debt free and frugal are misers when it comes to their time and how they think things should run. It's tradition really has become equated to a four letter word for us.

Enter the holiday season of 2008. Hubby and I have been talking about how we want to handle the 24 hours of Christmas. We have come to the same conclusion about what we like about the holiday and what we don't like. Spending time with my family opening gifts and passing around the communal Whitman's sampler Christmas eve. Waking up Christmas morning to spend time with the kids as they open their presents and we all have breakfast at the table together. After the kids are dropped off hubby and I see one (or three) movies and go out to eat.

This year we are getting back to basics and celebrating the way we want to. We hope not to offend our respective families and we plan not to overspend. I would like to make some hand crafted gifts as well. Maybe we will even discover some new traditions.

For today though - I'm going to go watch the Cougar's play Oaklahoma.

Go cougs!

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