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Cultivating Holiday Traditions


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Forgive me I'm a slight bit bored these days but I thought this would be a fun conversation idea. I'm not particularly religious but I feel sometimes in my disinterest my kids don't get as much excitement out of the holidays as they could. I do believe ritualistic celebration is good for the soul though and would like to maybe cultivate some new traditions for my boys to enjoy. What family traditions do you and yours hold dear? For me Thanksgiving has always been my big family holiday, it's really the only one I look forward to every year. Not for Americana reasons or the food (though that is excellent) but because my family always has our reunions that week due to the ease of getting time off.

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Mine are generally go to some relatives house and have your soul sucked out of you.

 

If I wanted a good holiday it would involve family I like. But I never get the chance.

 

Christmas is extra special for me. It must always include a candle light service. Close to midnight is best.

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Yeah my uncle really wants to have like a family camp out every year which would probably include most of the people I really like in my family. Not that I hate anyone but there's a fairly major shift in values between generations in my family so gatherings can get heated at times. The older generation is not a huge fan of this idea cause sleeping on the ground is hard (hah) but my siblings and cousins seem favorable so it may happen. Hopefully I'll be able to start planning something for the spring but who knows.

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I LOVED the mild gambling at my 2nd ex husband's Thanksgiving Day celebration. We played Left, Center, Right for dollars. This family also had

The Christmas Jell-O I hold dear now.; red, green and some insane foamy, whitish, fruit filled layer in the middle.

 

ALSO, when I was a kid, Christmas Eve was always for immediate family and Midnight Mass in Latin and later, sexy time in new relationships.

Christmas Day was for annoying/story-making/soul-sucking extended family. I did naked Xmas fireside dinner for the first husband,

the first year, I think.

 

In post-relationship, divorce years, I've hung with Jewish friends and had Asian in the ID, gone to Hawaii, Mexico and Florida.

Never liked the warm weather Christmas

 

SPAM-Camping is a fantastic idea. You can rent some pretty fancy campers now for people who need a regular bed. GLAMPING, YES!!

Under Canvas or Treebones FTW!

http://www.sunset.com/travel/outdoor-adventure/yurt-camping/view-all

 

One of my friends has a small family and everyone gets a chance at choosing family vacations. Each gets turns. The parents guided the

choices only when the kids was little to avoid The Moon and The North Pole-type suggestions, but the older he got, the more interesting

places they went. You could do that with a local radius in mind to make it more affordable for a 3-day weekend.

 

Lots of people here rent cabins in the woods and have the whole family stay in the mountains or at the beach.

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We usually rent a house at a halfway point (so Oregon, but we did Vegas one year) and that way everyone is a guest. We do a bagel and lox deli tray from a Jewish deli on Christmas morning since half the family is Jewish. This year we're going off script and flying with our 2 heathens to SoCal because great-stepgrandma is not doing so great. This also means Isis is stuck at a kennel this year. Sorry, pooch. My husband really wants to do Hawaii for Christmas in a few years. I told him to wait until the kids can swim.

 

Growing up, we always drove to Nebraska and left 10 hours behind schedule. When I got my license, I got stuck driving the whole way (and it was usually at night, then they always wondered why I was so damn grumpy the next day). 2-3 of my grandma's 4 kids and all their kids and then girlfriends stayed at my grandma's house and it was general insanity. Card games every night. We'd do Christmas Eve at my dad's parents 25 miles away with all of his family. They had a blue Christmas tree, and I really miss it. My Grammy made sugar cookies every year (I made sure I got the cutters at the estate sale and the recipe). She always made my dad a confetti angel food cake for his birthday because his birthday is on Christmas. My mom's mom always invited my dad's parents over for dinner on Christmas day, and they would bring the cake for everyone (literally like 20 people, it was a zoo). Christmas morning, we'd all get up and have to wait for my local aunt and her family to get to my grandma's house (after they got to open gifts, of course) and then we had to open gifts in a circle, one at a freaking time and appropriately ooh and ahh and thank the gift giver. It was as terrible as it sounds, and I was nowhere near legal drinking age. Did I mention grandma only spent $25 per grandkid and cared more about quantity than quality so it was like 10 dollar store gifts? It took FOREVER. For this reason, I'm so glad my in-laws just let everyone have at it. I really miss my grandma's house and the insanity with my cousins, but it was a lot of drama and by the time I was a teenager, there was always a big fight.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh yeah there's some super awesome camping gear now. We have extra tents and pads too cause we're always trying to get our relations to go with us on our trips. My younger siblings keep saying they will come but so far no luck haha. I'm going to try to plan something big for the early summer after my brother and sister in law are out of school, then those kiddies will have no excuse!

 

My family does do Christmas Eve at my grandmas but we don't really do gifts anymore, the recession hit my family kind of hard and now we do homemade things or just enjoy a good dinner together. I'm actually happy for this change, until a year or so ago I couldn't afford to do any Christmas just for my children much less the rest of my family haha. I really do like the idea of a trip. Since I live in the desert I may try to talk Nate into an annual snow trip, like a drive up to Flag or something so my boys can enjoy the snow. My older sons live in San Diego part of the time so they would probably like it as well... or not cause they are apathetic teenagers but dammit I'm trying lol.

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My wife's family has pretty much ruled our family for the past 10 years (gosh, we've been together that long?) but now her brother won't go to her mom's house, and they're out of the country for a few months now, so I don't know what happens here. I would love to start some new traditions for our kids, but who knows? As the kids get older, it may be possible to push for more change.

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Does her brother have kids of his own? I know my husband's family has started kind of congregating around us cause we have the only child in the family and everyone likes to see kids open presents. It happened the last couple years, they just invited themselves out too, like without even consulting us first. The first year this happened was really alarming because when his dad said he was coming we didn't even have our house yet, we were living with my sister looking for a place. Anyway if you have the majority of the kids...you might be the new tradition. :p

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That sounds awesome, Seth.

 

My brother-in-law has three kids, but I don't know what the deal is going to be from now on. I would prefer to just tell people they can come to us if they want to see us. But the downside is that my wife is obsessive when it comes to hosting and making things special, to the point that I always start wondering why I married her.

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I think you, and everyone, should every few years just say no to family. Tell them you're doing Friendsgiving that year and just take a break.

 

I'm not sure if people in close geography with family can get away with it, but if travel is involved it's so worth it.

 

I guess if you have demanding family it can be hard, but I remember when the kid was little and the former Mrs. Driver and I thought about going anywhere with a kid we just got anxiety.

 

Do any of you face being disowned if you tell mom you'll just see her next year?

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My mom gets pissed if we don't do something for Memorial Day. If we skipped out on a real holiday, we'd be in hell.

 

When my daughter was born, I was going to be written out of her will because we didn't want visitor's at the house for the first few days. Everyone came to the hospital, so it wasn't like she hadn't seen or held the baby.

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Family is weird. My Mom's pissed because I chose to spend this holiday with my Dad and step Mom and step brother building a shed in my step brothers backyard. You won't make everyone happy so I say fuck it and make it so you and your family are happy because in the long run you live with them. Driver's got the right idea!

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My mom gets pissed if we don't do something for Memorial Day. If we skipped out on a real holiday, we'd be in hell.

 

When my daughter was born, I was going to be written out of her will because we didn't want visitor's at the house for the first few days. Everyone came to the hospital, so it wasn't like she hadn't seen or held the baby.

I had forgotten about that... you've told us enough about your mom to paint a pretty clear picture of how she is. How does she respond to you saying you're going to holiday with your wife's family?

 

I don't think you can ever keep her happy-- you can't fight crazy and win. Your own sanity is important too. My dad used to be a giant ass about seeing my son, but he'd never come visit me. There was a great speech about how he's the patriarch and due respect and blah blah blah and that we owed HIM and had to travel to him. Truth is, he's lazy and cheap.

 

He threw a fit when we didn't visit once and threatened to cut my from his life. After a year he realized all he'd done was make it so he couldn't see his son or grandson. He's a pigheaded alcoholic so he'd never acknowledge he was at fault, but he did seem to catch on that not being an asshole to me magically made things easier.

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Man I'm sorry I don't know how I'd deal with that, my parents are not really part of my life so I don't have real direct experience with anyone from my end demanding anything. The rest of my fam is just happy to see me when they can cause they know I'm a recluse. My MIL lives with us and does gets kind of annoyed with me cause I'm not all uber excited about hallmark holidays and goes out of her way to get my youngest into things. I like Tank's idea of a friendsgiving a lot. Sometimes it's just nice to have a chill grill day with your favored family and friends.

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But the downside is that my wife is obsessive when it comes to hosting and making things special, to the point that I always start wondering why I married her.

Ooof, you married one of those, too? We threw Quinn a birthday party at home this year, and it was such an ordeal I'll never do it again. Obsessive planning for weeks beforehand. We got way too much stuff and it made me crazy. Spending the extra money on something fancy next year, it will be worth my sanity. And Ethan is never having a birthday party. Sorry, kid.

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