My family has celebrated Christmas the same way for years. The food, parties, gifts and games have evolved with the times, but the structure is the same as it was 20 years ago.
This is what made sense to me and quite selfishly, became the “right” way to celebrate.
Then I got married.
Last year was my first Christmas as a married woman. Unnaturally, we packed up our things at my parents’ on Christmas Eve and headed toward my husband’s family.
I knew this day would come, but everything inside of me protested the change of events. I love his family dearly … after all they did create my better half, but selfishly I didn’t want to leave.
Last Christmas was a little rough.
We had a great time, our families blessed us beyond belief and we gained the usual five pounds, but my attitude was terrible. I was so wrapped up in my own little world of wanting things done my way, that I was unable to experience the true delight of Christmas. Instead of finding joy in being part of a new family, I focused on the differences and turned each change into a negative.
Thankfully now I’ve had a year of learning and growing up.
Last month when we created our holiday travel schedule, and I did my best to look at the situation through my husband’s eyes. Instead of selfishly manipulating things to go my way, I tried to focus on his needs and desires. The conversation was peaceful, didn’t turn into an argument and we came up with a fair solution.
This year we are also trying to craft some of our own traditions. By creating new Christmas experiences we do as a couple, it will take some of the emphasis off how we both grew up, and build a foundation and identity for our own family.
Whether this is your first Christmas married or your 20th, holidays can add stress to any marriage. There are financial strains, in-law relations, travel and the normal rat race.
This year I challenge you to find peace in the season by focusing less on your own needs. If there is ever a time of the year to be selfless, Christmas seems to be fitting.
When things don’t go your way at the holiday get-together, get up, grab another chocolate truffle and think about the blessings of family, despite the occasional dysfunction.
What are some ways you balance the holidays between families?