Before a woman gets engaged or married she often fantasizes about her future with her beloved. She may dream about the wedding day, the honeymoon, the birth of their children, and then being very old and walking through the park holding hands with her beloved.
I am willing to bet that none of us fantasized about sitting at the kitchen table going, "No honey, its fine if we spend ANOTHER Thanksgiving with your mother."
Thanksgiving is really the big social holiday on the calendar. The original inception of Thanksgiving was as a big dinner party, as opposed to Christmas, which has really been a smaller gathering since its inception over 2000 years ago.
Hubman and I have never really bickered about where to spend the holidays. When we were first married I worked retail, so the fact I had to be at work the day before and after Thanksgiving and the day before and after Christmas dictated that we would spend the holidays with his parents as they lived about 2 1/2 hours away, as opposed to my parents, who lived five hours away.
Once the kids became old enough to appreciate Santa, we determined that Thanksgiving would be our flexible holiday, while we stayed home on Christmas. We are also lucky that our families get along well and truly enjoy each other's company.
However, I often hear horror stories involving hurt feelings, fights or people going to five houses in one day in order to satisfy everyone, when in truth all you get is exhaustion with wired, sugared up, mildly nauseated children.
I find that the modern family in all of its permutations makes the holiday's even more difficult. With divorces and remarriages and the accompanying siblings and step and half siblings, it is not uncommon to have a minimum of four different family members to spend each holiday with. This is the case for us as well. Thankfully Hubman's Dad's girlfriend hates hosting, and I do not speak to my father, or we would be negotiating four or five locations instead of two or three.
Hubman and I are fortunate to not live right near our relatives since this keeps us from getting sucked into the holiday madness.
I think the smartest thing to do is sit down with everyone involved and schedule the holidays. Put everyone on a rotation and stick with it. Or decide that you will travel for Thanksgiving, and host people for Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day is a home day for all involved. If you have parents that had a nasty divorce invite one parent for one holiday with the in-laws and the other parents with the other in-laws the next year.
Without even dealing with logistics and hurt feelings of the relatives there is also navigating the preference of each member of the family. From stuffing choices, to pie selection to obnoxious Uncle Fred and his farting and annoying politics, the Thanksgiving holiday can be fraught with annoyances for everyone.
For the third year in a row, we are traveling to New York to spend Thanksgiving with my mom's family. (Hubman's mom is a 10 hour drive, so we are not going there-literally) While Hubman loves my mom and stepdad, Thanksgiving is a bit much for him, as he deals with the primary stress of the drive down. Another stressor is that my mom crams close to 30 large and loud people into a space meant for about 15. Combine those issues with the fact that my sister does not seem to discipline her kids and no one can remember exactly what Hubman does for a living, Thanksgiving can be a bit of a trial for him.
However, he knows how much I miss my mom, and how I crave the occasional loud family gathering with way, way too much food and he humors me because he loves me so much.
Personally, what I find more challenging than dealing with the logistics of where to spend the holidays is trying to pace the Christmas shopping so each parent feels that they are being treated equally, especially in the matter of gifts from the Grandchildren. But that is another post for another day.
So what is your experience with the Holiday's? Are you on a simple schedule or is it a time of year fraught with hurt feelings and stress? What is the one thing about your holiday plans or traditions that you would change.
Big thanks to Shelle from Blok Thoughts for letting me join the group. Some of you might recognize me as Veronica, wife of Hubman, from Hubman's Hangout. In the interest of full disclosure, Hubman has a rather naughty blog. On my blog, Another Suburban Mom I can guarantee naughtiness on Thursday since I regularly participate in Half Nekkid Thursday, and on the 15th of the month when I write erotica. However, with the exception of Friday's which is when I post recipes, I cannot promise that I might not be naughty on a random Tuesday or Monday. So enter at your own risk.
1 year ago