Holiday traditions can definitely be a huge point of contention when it comes to making plans throughout the holiday season. Many wives and fellow mamas I talk to don’t even want to think about the holidays because of the stress that can be brought from simply scheduling everything, let alone worrying about gifts, food and all of the things.
A tough realization to make as a wife and parent is, you’re not a kiddo anymore. The magic of the holiday season is up to you. Stress does not bode well with being cheery and full of joy!
Whew, now that that’s been said, we can focus on how exactly to keep the cheer alive throughout the holidays, and keep the blending of holiday traditions turmoil to a minimum!
When I got married, I was dreading the “where to spend the holidays” conversation. It was something that I definitely felt strongly about because my family has always had such strong traditions, especially for Christmas.
When the conversation couldn’t be put off any longer, we decided to start broad and then work our way down to the nitty-gritty details. We began with sharing about our families, what holidays were the most important to them, and which holidays held the most tradition. Surprisingly, we found that his family did a big Thanksgiving, and smaller Christmas, while my family did the opposite. (I seriously am not sure how I lucked out on this one!)
Now, I understand that many families won’t have compatible traditions, and that’s okay! The most important thing is the communication. Finding out what overall days are the most important to every person involved gives you a starting point for scheduling, and then you can move forward from there.
The “C” word
Compromise. (I said it.)
No one likes to sacrifice what they’re used to. No one likes to have serious FOMO (fear of missing out) during the holidays. But like we already covered, you’re no longer the kiddo. We all want our kids to remember the holidays as being as magical as possible, just like we remember. We don’t want them remembering the holidays as the times their family argued the most because everyone was set in their own ways.
One thing to remember: when you blend your life with someone else’s, changes and compromises have to happen. They happen because you love your family and your significant other. At the end of the day, being together and enjoying each other is the piece that your kids will remember, not the music being played during Christmas Eve dinner.
Think of it this way: you’re adding more important and enjoyable traditions to your life. Embrace it!
Keepin’ traditions alive (but a smidge different)
Once you’ve covered what the most important things are to everyone, you can start to work out the details. A good thing to remember is that you can keep traditions alive without doing them EXACTLY how they’ve always been done.
If you always make Christmas cookies on the morning of Christmas Eve, you can still have the fun tradition of making all your favorite recipes and cookies and do it the day before Christmas Eve. The enjoyable act will still be done and the cookies will still be delicious. If the worst part about the slight change is having cookies for an EXTRA day, I would say that sort of compromise is a good one!
Changing things up just a smidge could alleviate some scheduling conflicts, and still allow for the tradition to live on in your kiddos’ lives. Kids LOVE having fun, especially this time of year. So the more fun days that they have and the more traditions they get to enjoy, the better! (Yes, you will be exhausted, but it will be totally worth it!)
Take care of your people first
One of the biggest reasons that people allow holiday stress to take complete control is this obsession to please others.
Yes, we all want to enjoy our whole families during the holidays. Yes, we want to make everyone happy. But, unfortunately it is impossible to please every single person in your lives as you try to navigate what activities will be the best for your family.
This is the BIGGEST thing that I want taken away from this post: you need to take care of your people first. Your significant other and your kiddos are what make your world go round. They are in every single day of your lives and most of the time, our lives as mamas revolve around our people.
It’s so important to take a look at every option and ask the question, “Does this fit for us?” Most of the time the answer will be yes. But there will be some instances where you’ll have to say no, and know that’s okay. At the end of the day, your people will be happy and taken care of.
Families are quick to forget that they also, at some point, had to make changes to tradition to take care of THEIR people. You’re just doing the same. They may seem upset because you have to say no, but in reality they’re just mourning a part of your childhood that may have to be changed a little bit, and that’s okay, too. (Remember that you’ll be there someday, too!)