Sometimes I’m jealous of friends who have both sets of parents in town. They get a stronger showing at violin recitals and increased moral support when teenagers start wrecking cars.
That said, I’m thrilled that I only have one family nearby around the holidays! I can’t tell you how many people I know who completely stress out, not because of the frenzy to find the perfect scarf for the secret Santa who doesn’t like chocolate (what?), but because they can’t take the emotional toll that comes with trying to please their own parents and the in-laws.
My clan is in Kentucky, so when the rugrats/presents became too numerous to schlep, we simply announced: “We are henceforth and forever more staying put for Christmas.” Fights over where to spend the 24th, which grandparents get to see the kids first on Christmas morning and which family is ultimately being short-changed are virtually non-existent in the Wilson abode. Truly magical! Plus, when we do finally make it to Louisville, we are treated to another round of festivities. It’s literally a never-ending Christmas.
Don’t get me wrong. I still miss partaking in the Morris family holiday extravaganza. Christmas Eve mall shopping, late-night movie re-enactments of “Mommy Dearest” and my British brother-in-law’s famous roast beef feast will always mean “Christmas” to me. But giving ourselves permission to celebrate with one family at a time has been a wonderful annual Christmas present to ourselves, and one we plan to continue for many years to come.
Good luck to everyone splitting the holly days. And if you see a ginger-headed teen in a white mini-van, beware! Peace out.