I'll Be Home For Christmas....No, Not Really...

Kirk and I have decided that we must be the only family in America that doesn't spend Christmas morning in our own home. No...you don't understand...we have NEVER spent Christmas Day in our own home. Ever.

I guess it comes with living so far away from our families. It also comes with just being suckers.

I love spending holidays with family, but we fell into a trap early in our marriage of making the long trek north for holidays....THE holiday, to be exact. And...it stuck. Our kids came along and we kept trekking north. Now we've been going strong with this little pattern for 11 solid years....we might start a revolt if we ever decided to change the way things are.

But, this makes me sad. It really does. Santa has always come early for us. Like we're special or something....either that or not special enough for Santa to "bother" with on Christmas Eve...not sure which side of the coin that one will land on. We tried to do the whole Santa thing at Grandma's, but then we had to deal with all the cousins that don't have the "same" Santa that we do, and that just gets weird and awkward for everyone.

I'm not sure what to do to fix it. (Right now Lisa is screaming, "Put Your Foot Down!" -- I hear you, Lisa!!!) But, I'm such a pleaser by nature, that I can't. My foot is forever stuck....up (??).

It does make me sad that my kids have no idea what it is like to leave out milk and cookies for Santa in their own home...on the right night. It makes me sad that I have to come up with all the bologna stories about getting an email from Santa about needing to drop off our presents early because the elves had ours ready early and he needs the room in the sleigh Christmas Eve (yes, I really said that....sigh). It makes me sad that we don't know what it is like to stay in our jammies all day playing with all our new toys....without having to pack a suitcase to go somewhere else.

Now....I have family who reads this blog....so here is where I insert all my pleas for understanding. I LOVE SPENDING CHRISTMAS WITH MY FAMILY! I really do. Each holiday is full of love and laughter and joy, and I come away so happy and so glad that I spent the time with the people that I love so much. It is just pangs of envy for those who have the luxury of their own homes. For those whose kids sleep in their own beds on Christmas Eve knowing that Santa is coming...because that is what Santa does. Not sleeping in Grandma's floor knowing that Santa isn't stopping at their house Christmas Eve, because he was too busy, so he had to come early.

It all comes down to sacrifice I guess. And although I dream of spending Christmas in my own home with my own little family doing the things that our little family does.....I'm not really prepared to give up such amazing time spent with our extended family. Time is precious with them, so right now that is priority. So, I'm really okay to sacrifice milk and cookies on THE night and opening presents on THE morning for spending time with OUR family.

What about you? What does your family do?


Jo said...

Beaver Cleaver-type families in the 1950's or thereabouts, are the ones who had "traditional" milk & cookies on Christmas eve and stay in jammies half of Christmas day. It was because most of their extended families still lived in the same town.
I'm sure that today, many people would be thrilled to be able to drive to "Grandma's house" for Christmas. So many people now live too far away to drive or can't afford airfare to get home for the holidays.
At least that's why I didn't come home for Christmas very often when I lived in Oregon.
Have a great trip to Michele's!
Aunt Jo

Jim said...

I confess there are times when it sounds nice to have a "stay at home" Christmas, even with just the two of us now. As you know, packing, lugging, and living out of a suitcase has been our lot for a lot of your life, and I do get tired of the PL&L. The flip-side, as you have said, is the joy one gets out of watching the kids make their own winter wonderland of wrapping paper snow around the tree. How do you experience that without the sacrifice? So, the "beat" goes on, trading years for the holidays with the other grands. I do remember the truth of what Jo said. Everybody did live closer in the "Leave it to Beaver" years. Had it not been for our "step" grands, Jo and I would not have had extended family to enjoy at all. Nanny's folks passed before I was born, as did my Dad's mom, and his dad was only seen once in a blue moon. I sometimes wonder how it might have been to know them growing up. Ah, well, we're building memories now though. Of course, the fact is that work schedules being what they are, many don't have the luxury of Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter at home and still have time to visit folks at a distance on the days after.

Hey, why don't we talk about it next week?
Love you,

Kristin said...

Hmmm...that is a tough one. Could you maybe switch up and stay home every other year?

When we had just the one child we would go to grandma's house. Now, with 3 boys though, we stay home on Christmas morning until mid morning. Then we drive to my mom's house for Christmas brunch.

Of course, it is easier for us because my mom lives close by.

My husband's family lives further away and we try to visit them the day after Christmas or the following weekend.

Last year we did kinda put our foot down and say we were going to start some of our own traditions with our kids. This didn't go over great at first but after we stuck to our guns and explained our feelings it is being taken better this year.

Regardless, I know what you mean about loving to spend time with family during the holidays but being a little torn on wanting to spend it in your own home now and again too.

I hope it all works out for the best and that you and your little guys have a great Christmas.

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

Oh Amber, don't feel sad! Your kids will look back at your tradition of traveling with fondness. They won't be worried about where they were or when Santa came because what they'll really remember is WHO they were with! When I was growing up our family "tradition" was getting up early on Christmas morning, opening what Santa brought and then picking one or two of our favorites and hopping in the car for a 4 hour ride to Grandma's in Mississippi. Our traditional Christmas dinner was whatever we could find at whatever convenience store might be open on the way. My mom has always felt guilty that we had to spend all day in the car instead of at home playing with our new toys. But I wouldn't trade those trips for anything. I still miss eating at convenience stores on Christmas Day! It didn't seem strange to me...it was just what we did. I thought everyone did it that way. The first Christmas that Wes and I stayed home was kind of a let-down. We were lonely! Of course, that started our new tradition of going to see a movie on Christmas afternoon. Tradition is whatever you decide to make it. Your kids will never regret missing out on whatever it is you're afraid they're missing because it's YOUR tradition and that's just the way they'll like it.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I love my extended family, but I love Christmas at my own home more.

They don't love it AT ALL that we choose to spend Christmas at home. It didn't help that John's parents traveled to see BOTH sets of grandparents every year when John was a kid. It sets up an expectation that I can't (maybe just won't) live up to.

This year (for many reasons) we are traveling, and I'm struggling with some resentment about it. I just can't get pysched up for this trip even though I know it's important that we go.

Living far away doesn't always make traveling possible, but I will say that the expectation for us to be home at Christmas never diminishes. We have the same conversation every year..."Ya'll think you can come for Christmas?" When we lived in Arkadoo, we were only an hour away from his parents, and 3-4 from mine. PLUS, he was a pastor and pastor's usually work on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, so it allowed us to be home, and I loved it.

So...just wondering if you could host Christmas at your house next year?

(Reading back through this sounds like I'm so negative. Not really. I just prefer to stay at home).

Thanks for sharing your honest emotions in this post, Amber.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

PS--Tell Lisa that I remember eating at Wendy's with them one year on Christmas Eve. That was strange to me, but I love remembering that every year. I think the Garners were there too.

Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

Well we are in a different situation b/c we have the only grandkids at my moms so we can do Santa there.

I'm mixed...I like doing it both ways.

I know Kate still takes all there Santa stuff to her moms...in fact it's there now.

Jennifer said...

We usually travel to W. Texas for Christmas. A couple of times we've spent the night with my mom and dad. Once we had Christmas at our house w/ in-laws. This year we're going to have our first Christmas at home...just the four of us!! Then, off to my mom and dad's after presents and b-fast, OK City on Friday.

buscher3 said...

I don't think we'll get to spend Christmas in our own home either. When Darin and I married, it worked out that his family was always together on Thanksgiving and my family all gathered together on Chritmas. Worked out perfectly....but...that means that Thanksgiving, we're in Illinois and Christmas, we're always in Dalls...never in little ole' Arkadelphia.

Mich said...

Hmmm...ok sis, if anyone understands, it is me! In fact my family is still in shock that we don't have to travel at all this holiday...a first! However, I guess the Santa thing doesn't bother me like it does you ( mainly because I messed that up early on :)) but I also remember as a small child never being home either. We had Christmas Eve with Nanny and Christmas day with Granny. I have to agree with Lisa...family "traditions" are what you make of them.

Becky said...

Last year was our 11th Christmas and our 1st year to be home Christmas morning. I, like you, love going to my family and holidays just aren't the same w/out being around them.....but I wouldn't trade being home last year for anything. When Ethan came along we decided that every 3 years we would be at home Christmas morning...1 year my family, 1 his family, then 1 at home. We did that the last 3 years but now that Justin works at a bank he has to work every other Christmas Eve so we will be home again this year! We will pack up and leave after opening our Santa to enjoy the wonderful craziness called family.

Others are correct your kids will have great memories no matter where they are....but you sound like YOU will have regrets. Yes, it is okay to put your heart's desires and your wants 1st once every few years. With a family as awesome as yours seems to be they will understand! Remeber that the 2 things...staying home and going to family...are not mutually exclustive. On years like this one you could be home Christmas Eve then leave later the next morning to spend the weekend w/family.

I love being w/family but I also love knowing what it is like to be home on Christmas morning! Also, you have no guarantee that your boys will make the same choice that you have made. If I gave up every Christmas w/my kids waiting til the day when everyone would come to me would I be okay if they decided not to come to my house every year? Would I regret not having a few years of memories at my home? When I thought about that I saw things a little differently. I struggled w/it but realized that making hard decisions to put my little families desires 1st a few times was okay. It is hard b/c I love my family and want to see them. Luckily, we haven't had to sacrifice anything to do it...we still see family every year.

I know this is long but I'm wraping up. Family can surprise you sometimes too. I told my mom this year that I would love...just ONE year...to spend Christmas in the mountains at a ski resort. Her reply, "You should do it one year. We'll understand."