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Value in the Calendar Date?

Forum: Christian Parenting


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December 26th, 2012, 11:02 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,084
Sorry if this ends up being really long, but I'm having a really tough time understanding this, and it kind of ruined my Christmas evening.

So this year we hosted my dad's side extended family christmas with my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandpa on Dec. 21st. My mom's side got together on the 15th. This has become tradition in order to free everyone up for their celebrations with their inlaws and immediate family closer to the 24th/25th.

My own family (mom, dad, brothers, and their girlfriends) were all available to do our own Christmas on the 22nd. So we hung out, ate lots of yummy food, exchanged gifts, and had a great time of conversation, and getting along (THAT doesn't always happen!)

DH worked Evenings (3pm-midnight) Christmas Eve, and then again 5pm-Midnight on Christmas day. DH's grandparents live just over an hour from us in Ont. (we slip down through the states to save on travel time) We managed to drive out and back all before dh's shift Christmas Day.

My mom called that evening while Dh was working, and I was home alone. She was really upset because "Everyone else gets a 'real' christmas on the 24th and 25th and she gets to stare at the wall".
When I reminded her that we already had our celebration but to her that wasn't good enough, because that's when other families spend time with 'less important people'... To her, it wasn't special because it wasn't on the 'right date'.

This issue really comes down to She wants to from now until forever host at her house Christmas Eve and whoever comes can be there, otherwise you miss out. Fair enough, right?

Well the problem here is that DH, my brother, and my dad all work Shifts, and will from now until forever likely work a MIN. of every second Christmas. Meaning we will NEVER spend the 24th as a whole family. Someone will always be missing.

It would be one thing if we lived close enough for me to take our kids over to my parent's alone for Christmas Eve if dh was working, and still be home together Christmas Day, but my parents live over 3 hours away.

With dh's schedule this year we were able to make it out to his families Christmas day, and my mom was really upset that we 'make it work' for his family but not her. To her, unless he switches his shifts (which is not ok with us at Christmas, because then someone else has to work it and miss their family holiday, AND you OWE them big time down the road... so not right) we aren't 'trying hard enough, and it'll be clear where she stands in our books'.

The thing that gets me is that I can't wrap my head around choosing a calendar date that holds zero significance to me, over choosing a time near Christmas that you can have all your kids together. And then blaming your kids for your feelings of lack of self worth because they CAN"T make it!

Her only valid argument is that I can't think of anyone else who celebrates with their parents on a day near, but not on Christmas... My understanding is that circumstances would say they either make it or they don't, and there's no pressure if they can't.

I guess I'm wondering what significance you hold in the calendar date, or is it more important to you to spend time with your family as a whole? Do you always get together with your family on the same date each year? Do you alternate between your family and your inlaws each year, or are you close enough to do one on each day? Do you or anyone you know get together with their family before or after Christmas in order to spend time together vs only having part of the family there on the date?

I'm finding it really hard because with our own little one on the way, I really want to establish our own family traditions, and to me the priority is my children, but my mom thinks the priority should be her. I am feeling really stressed and torn and it's frustrating when I have a whole year before we even know who's working what/where we can be. Anyone able to help?

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December 26th, 2012, 08:38 PM
mamaginger's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,305
This is hard.....I am someone who likes to do things ON the date. Maybe it does seem silly but in my mind, the date is a special day and you know everyone else is together with their families. I can see why it is important to your mom. However...things DO change when your children become adults and have their own children. Christmas in particular becomes about the little ones. Both sides of our families...parents and siblings...live in town so it's easy for us to get together with everyone all in the same day. I know most people don't have this. If there were a lot of distance then we probably would switch and do one family christmas eve and one christmas day or something like that. We literally did my family at 1:00 on Christmas Day and my husbands family at 5:00 because they live right next door. We use to all go to my parents house on Christmas morning but once my sister and I had kids we didn't want to have to spend our christmas morning taking showers and rushing to go somewhere so we started having my parents come to us. They didn't really like it because now there's no "fun" for them on Christmas morning. THey have to wait until 1:00 to come to one of our houses because we like to have time to let the kids play with all their stuff and then get cleaned up for company. But I think ultimately they understand even if they don't like it very much. Growing up just changes things. Traditions have to change. But yeah, I'd say having your whole family together on a different date is WAY more important than having an event on a particular calendar date with people missing.
~ Ginger

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb...I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made...My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together...Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 13-16

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December 27th, 2012, 07:16 AM
Buggymom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,117
First off....I see you are having a baby boy...congrats!!

We actually only have my side of the family to have Christmas with so it makes things easier. I think if your mom wants to try and host it at her house from now on...you should let her know that you will not be able to make it every year. Maybe you could reach a compromise. If not, then you may have to just do it every other year. My mom and brother live in my neighborhood so they come over Christmas Eve and also my niece too. Christmas Day my mom comes over. The reason my mom came Christmas Day too was because my brother had to work and she was alone. We're lucky to live so close. If there was distance I would probably just do Christmas Eve and spend Christmas with my hubby and daughter. I have done the 22nd before which is also my birthday because it was actually a better date for my niece. Christmas morning brings tradition and fun for the kids so I think staying at home is awesome. My mom came around 1:30 so that we could spend the morning together. We're lucky that hubby gets both days off. If he didn't we would have to put our family first. I hope your mom starts to realize and understand and not take things to heart too much about the date. If you are all together on the same date near Christmas that should be what it's about.
Trisha--proud stay at home mommy and wife.

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December 27th, 2012, 02:53 PM
Orangebrittainy's Avatar Queen of Randomocity
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Small Town NC
Posts: 4,817
I live 10 hours from my family. I have only been there on christmas day once in 6 years. I feel that its more important to have time together as a family than to celebrate the specific date. Christmas is centered around my nuclear family, not all the extended family. If we are able to then we visit grandparents and aunts and uncles, if not then I will see them when I can.

Thank you *Kiliki* for once again doing such amazing work on a siggie
I can do all things through Christ which Strengtheneth me. (Phil 4:13)

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