I’m beginning to feel like Ebenezer Scrooge. The words, “bah humbug” are floating around in my head and I don’t like it! Christmas has in the past been one of my favorite holidays, not because I receive presents but because of all the camaraderie that revolved around the holiday. When Sean and I were first dating, he invited me over to his house on Christmas Eve and I loved it. It was joyful and boisterous. His father sat in “his” chair and his mother sat in hers like a modern day Archie and Edith, doling out gifts and jokes all in one fell swoop. The love that filled that room was tangible, breathable, drinkable. You would have had to be a soulless person not to feel it and I was drunk from it. Not only was I in love with Sean but I was in love with his family, too. Going to my in-laws on Christmas Eve and spending Christmas Day with my family became the tradition that was honored for many years. Three years into our relationship and three months before Iain was born, my father-in-law passed away. We still had Christmas Eve at my MIL’s house but obviously things had drastically changed. After Ryan was born and Iain was a bit older, I think around 5 or so, we decided that going to my MIL’s on Christmas Eve was too much. It left us with a lot of work to do to get the kids presents ready for the next morning and I was yearning to start traditions of our own. So we bowed out that year. It was lonely and we went the next year. Then we bowed out again. This time, it was more because of drama between my MIL and me than anything else. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Not completely because of that because I did want the boys to grow up with a sense of Christmas tradition in their own home but the angst between my MIL and myself certainly didn’t make me feel inclined to head over there and celebrate the holiday with her.
Now instead of going to my MIL’s we stay home on Christmas Eve, just the four of us, and while it is very nice to be at home and not out running around, I would be dishonest if I said Christmas was perfect that way. It has always been my dream to celebrate a big family Christmas. When my sister and I were kids, we didn’t have any family in town until we were older, so we either traveled over the holiday or we stayed home by ourselves. Sometimes our grandparents would come up but many Christmases were spent with just the four of us. I think I’ve been seduced by all the holiday hype and marketing that says Christmas isn’t Christmas without the big family get together, I don’t know. At any rate, I feel like instead of focusing on family, I’ve been focusing on myself and what I want. Is that what I’ve been doing? Am I depriving my children of some Hallmark-perfect memories because I want to begin traditions with them of our own? Am I making it harder than it is?
Things are still rough and unsteady between my in-laws and myself. My MIL and SIL came over the day after Christmas to see the boys and give them their gifts and it was reeeeally awkward. Not on my or Sean’s parts but it was very obvious that they were uncomfortable and would have rather been anywhere else than in our home. They didn’t stay long and hugs were exchanged before they left but still. Neither of them wanted to make eye-contact with me and any that was made was incidental and brief. They had to interact with us because the kids are kids and they did their own thing. It upsets me that after all this time since our fight (one year in March) and even after an apology was given, they are still holding a grudge. Sean could care less because the way he sees it, we didn’t socialize with them much to begin with but for me I just want the boys to know them. Life isn’t perfect and relationships aren’t either. There are family members on my side that I don’t associate with for various reasons but I was hoping to spare my boys of that.
This year, Sean and the boys and I spent Christmas Eve together and it was really wonderful! This was the first year that we’ve done something where I really felt like the boys were into it and I think I can begin to see what our tradition will be. Instead of dinner, we had appetizers which was much more casual and comfortable. The boys were allowed to open the gifts they got each other and then we snuggled up and watched a couple of our favorite Christmas movies. We let the boys choose. 🙂 After that, they put out the milk and cookies for Santa then headed off to bed leaving Sean and me to enjoy a little Christmas magic of our own. We watched “A Christmas Story” and “White Christmas” and wrapped the boys’ gifts before putting them under the tree. It was cozy, homey, and fun! Christmas morning was great and the boys really loved all their gifts. Later in the day, I hosted the annual Christmas dinner for my family (my in-laws are invited but never come) and it was wonderful as well. Here are a few pics for you from Christmas Day:
You can see my sister and two BIl’s on one side with my parents on the other. You’re probably wondering about the crowns. Here is more info about them!
I hope you all have enjoyed the holidays thus far and also hope you have a very Happy New Year. We’re planning an evening similar to the one we had on Christmas Eve. Appetizers, movies, and love. Happy New Year friends!!