Utterly Brilliant Thoughts: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
11.10.2006
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
If you've been in any kind of retail establishment in the past few weeks, you're aware that the holidays are right around the corner. I used to look forward to the holidays, especially Christmas. Hanging out with the people I love most in the world; eating my weight in chocolate, cookies & pie; giving & getting presents . . . what's not to like?

I'm sorry to say that those days are gone. Last year, we ate our first Thanksgiving dinner (lunch) at noon, our second at 5 & didn't get home until midnight. In between, we spent 4 hours driving back & forth. I'm not a math whiz, but by my calculations, that makes a third of the holiday spent in the car. Between the traveling & the tryptophan, we were so exhausted, Chris nearly drove off the road. That will wake you up pretty damn quick. For Christmas, we're basically trying to be at four different places in two different states in the space of 24 hours. Oh, & also find time to, you know, sleep & bathe & stuff. And, not to point out the obvious, but we don't have kids yet. Can you imagine the horror of spending a third of the holiday in the car with cranky kids? *shudder*

For the past few years, we've struggled to come up with a solution. Given our close relationships with both of our families, we wouldn't really be happy alternating holidays between them or celebrating alone. It's not practical or reasonable to expect Chris' entire family to drive two hours to come to us (especially when you factor in seven kids, two with strict nap- & bedtimes), or to expect both of our families (roughly 40 people) to be willing to gather in a "central" location, like a restaurant. And, it should be said, no one else is really motivated to deviate from the status quo anyway. They all have the luxury of sleeping in their own beds & traveling within a 20-mile-or-less radius, if at all.

The first Christmas Chris & I spent together, I consoled myself with the thought that we were lucky to have so many places to be when countless people are alone for the holidays. (Which, although true, doesn't make it any less exhausting.) And I would definitely rather have to deal with this little issue than not be with Chris at all, of course. But I also assumed that we would find a way to celebrate with both of our families without making ourselves crazy. In fact, I thought I had a fabulous solution: celebrating the holiday the week before or after. That way, anyone who has other places to be on the holiday can really enjoy that time & not have to rush off to the next place. Plus the added
benefit of making the holiday last longer instead of for just one or two days. It's the holiday equivalent of the Birthday Week! Isn't that a spectacular idea? Yes, well, since Chris & I are the only ones who seem to think so, I don't think that's going to happen.

Fortunately, holidays also mean bourbon slush, wine & even-more-than-usual opportunities to drink
champagne. Maybe that & the pie will get me through.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous quinn said...

I hear ya. The holidays are truly exhausting. My husband and I don't have kids either, so we are always the ones expected to do all the traveling and schedule-rearranging. Just once we'd like to have a cozy holiday at home, without the guilt!

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Blogger Mary said...

Hm. I, too travel all through the holidays (as you know). But I have the luxery of parents in widely separated states so they *can't* expect me to get there in one day. Maybe I have less patience than you, because I would be sticking out my tongue and crossing my arms and saying THIS IS WHAT WE ARE DOING. Hmph. But I love, love, love your family, so I can see why it's harder...sigh. No one said being an adult was easy.

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