This year my holidays are experiencing a change, from the where's and whens to the hows. Most folks experience changes in holiday traditions and circumstances at various times. Our kids grow up, families or or geography change, and traditions for the holidays have to adjust as well. Children grow up and we either leave the stockings behind or make it so all the families can contribute. Our adult children have partner/spouses and holidays are divided or alternated. Gift giving habits change as well. We may downsize or simplify the holidays by choosing only gag gifts, making gifts or drawing names.
In our case, once our children were at a certain age we opened stockings after returning from Christmas Eve church services. We were all of a mind to sleep late, or as late as canine family members allow. Everyone had a chance to contribute to said stockings prior to leaving for church. This is just one example. In the early years, we always had homemade lasagna on Christmas eve. One year I was too ill to do this and we had plates full of appetizers and eggnog for dinner (many store bought and ready to go). This was such a hit that we alternated for many years between the two options.
For years, I was buying eleven gifts for family in Dallas, and various organizational gifts as well. Lists were exchanged, and many requests were of the gift card variety. I tend to be rather two faced on this one-I love giving gift cards but prefer to shop for gifts. This year, the family as a whole decided a change was in order. As such we entered our names in a program and each person drew one name-with an eighty dollar limit. This was a more sensible solution with my in laws in a retirement home and literally ALL of the teen/adult second generation in school full time. Small family groups still share gifts.
In our case, we do fairly involved stockings and a few gifts. Believe it or not, I've reverted to the old standard for my adult children. Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read (or watch or play). Since both of my children are in school full time, the something they need will be Amazon cards for school books (does anyone actually buy textbooks at the school bookstore any more)? Here in Denver, we share gifts of various amounts without lists. It's what works here and now. As always I give one large full sized quilt each holiday and this year my brother the "old timey" quilt lover is the recipient.
As far as the travel, where to spent what holiday where, well.........changes are in the spectrum. This year at least, I see a one eighty in terms of change. I had thought to travel to Dallas for Thanksgiving, however the logistics simply don't seem to work. Thanksgiving is late, and final exams follow immediately on the Monday afterwards. Also, frankly I am in a new house, with a new living situation and not even unpacked all the way (don't ask).
My daughter was here for four days, so we spent time together. As for Christmas, well, my daughter is spending the holidays with her significant other's family. She was considering how to divide the holidays with her father's family in Dallas, me here and his mother (his father died on Easter) in Houston. I gently explained that that idea was folly. She needed to choose a place. We agreed that she would spend THIS Christmas in Houston and NEXT Christmas here and she can work out the Thanksgivings. I have seen families rush from brunch to lunch to dinner, and even without kids involved I did not want her to have to do that. This is a calm, happy solution for all.
So....... the end result is that I will most likely spend Christmas in my new house and travel to Dallas after the holidays for the new year-when there are no school holidays and I can spend time with my daughter and her boyfriend and puppy. It does mean that I will need to travel about to see everyone versus one holiday meal, but that may be the less stressful option anyway. As I said, a full tradition reversal at least for this year
So with that decision aside, I am ready for my holiday challenges - beginning with how to combine TWO households full of collectible Christmas objects, where to put my Christmas Village, making (and buying) gifts, baking and decorating on my budget and more.
As I've shared before, I am a lover of all holidays, especially Christmas. I am not one to forgo the gifts, the food, even the entertainments. For me, this means a bit of DIY (appreciated in my family), occasional gifts of time and experiences, a small amount of organization, alternative solutions and making sure that I have plenty of time to enjoy the season.
And now I'm off to bake and make memory pages-which I'll soon be able to show you all. Note to self: when you drop a camera on the cement floor, forget about repair. Get another one and fast. and be more careful with the second camera.