Monday, August 30, 2010

holidays...together and apart

Since September will be here in two days (wait, WHAT?!), I began thinking a bit about the upcoming holidays. I want to try to get things arranged a little sooner this year, as I always seem to wait until the last minute and end up super stressed. Of course, I know I am far from the only one who does this, but I'd like to avoid it, if possible!

We have a trip to Iowa in October for a wedding, and then there is Thanksgiving and Christmas. We also have a wedding in London, Ontario the weekend of Thanksgiving.

Since our very first Thanksgiving as a couple, Steve and I have spent the holiday together. We began dating in September and two months later, he came home to NH with me for the weekend. Since then, we have alternated Thanksgivings; one year in NH and the next in Iowa. It has worked out well. I think we've actually driven to both places most of those years. Yes, both are long drives, but worth it to not have to deal with airlines! Also, I like the adventure of a roadtrip.

As for Christmas, we've always, up until last year, been apart. We would do our Christmas together here in DC, and then go to our respective homes. It was never an issue and has always been just fine. Last year, Steve was graduating from Iowa State with his Master's and walked in December. The ceremony was the week before Christmas, so we flew to Iowa for that, spent a few days there and then I flew to NH. Steve actually flew to NH late Christmas Eve and was with my family on Christmas Day.

Now, Steve is telling me that we are going to Iowa for Christmas, since we were in NH last year. I suppose that makes sense, right? It is only fair, right? Still, I can't help be sad about it. It would be my first Christmas without my family. Even when I lived in Poland, I came home at Christmas and was with my family. That was also the worst Christmas in my memory, as my beloved grandfather passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly just a few days before. We were like zombies that year, I have very little memory of that day, which maybe is a good thing.

Growing up, I was so fortunate, I will admit. When I say that, I mean fortunate in the sense that my family was all close by. I grew up in the same town that my father grew up in, so his parents still lived there. My aunt lived about an hour away and my uncle was just a town over from mine. My mother grew up about an hour south of my hometown, but my grandparents moved to the town next to mine when I was six or seven. I have vague memories of their old house, but I really don't remember too much of them not being right there. My aunt, my mother's sister, lives about an hour away, not too far from my other aunt, my father's sister. Everyone has always been within an hour of my house. Christmas Eve is always spent with my father's family and Christmas Day is spent with my mum's.

I know how lucky I am to have had my family so close and was able to spend holidays and everydays with them. It really makes me sad that my children won't have this. With my family in NH and Steve's in Iowa, we will always have to choose.

How did you choose? How do you and your significant other decide where to spend holidays? Was it an easy decision? How do you make it easier on you, when you are away from your own family?


Anonymous said...

my bubs and i are spending the holidays apart from our families this year as well. we've been going to my parents place for the past two years because my husband doesn't get along with his parents and they do BSC things and have ruined many a christmas for him.

this year, due to my (hopeful!) internship interviewing schedule, funds will be tight and we're going to stay in the area for christmas. we invited his parents up to our place for xmas, but we'll see if they come. it's my first time away from my parents for christmas and every time i think about it, it makes me want to cry. i feel like my heart will be empty without them on christmas.

but i know it's an appropriate transition and we'll all be okay!

VA Gal said...

I feel for you. It's hard to decide which family to see at holidays. It's hard for me because my family has a lot of traditional get-togethers associated with Christmas and I hate to miss these. Also, I have lots of extended family to see and at the in-laws, it's usually just immediate family. We usually alternate, but it's still tricky.

Mel said...

We do one thanksgiving on our own or with his family since mine don't celebrate and we alternate if we travel to see his family for Christmas or thanksgiving. If its christmas with my family that year we spend christmas eve b/c thats when my family traditionally celebrates. We spend christmas day with his extended family.

He has a bigger family than we do.

Carolyn said...

This is incredibly difficult for me every year. My fiance and I always do my family with a later visit with his dad. His mom lives in TN, while we've talked about going down, we never have - it's too expensive to do at the holidays. My family is much closer and larger than his, so we're always doing mine.

My parents are divorced, my brothers both have significant others, and my parents are all about trying to get all of us together at the same time. I'm usually tasked with the responsibility of figuring it all out because I'm the responsible one that always returns the parents phone calls.

We usually get it figured out, somehow. I always dread that part of the holidays, though. My dad is much more easy going than my mom who's insistent with having ALL of us together.

Meg said...

Oh my gosh, my boyfriend and I were just discussing this... ack. It's a mess.

Like you, I grew up with family nearby -- and have always, always spent holidays at home. In the past, boyfriends have either not had family nearby (so they were with us) or have just opted to stay in Maryland (so they were with us). I've never had to "choose."

Spencer and I are only dating -- and for less than a year -- but I know that he's going to want to go home for Christmas to New York while I stay here in MD, and it makes me sad that we'll be spending the holidays apart... but I can't see any other way of doing it. I can't imagine not being with my family. :(

I feel for you, too -- it's a really tough decision, and it seems like no matter what, someone will be hurt. For Thanksgiving, Spence's family is driving here to Maryland -- but I'll still have to divide the day between my family (hopefully earlier) and then his family (driving over later). I'm sure that'll cause a minor ruckus, but what can you do? I'll have to leave one early but still be late to another. Can't win.

Sommelier0124 said...

Ah the Holiday Dash. For us we try to be fair and rotate holidays. So one family gets easter and the other gets thanksgiving that calendar year. Then we rotate in the new year. What this means is that my parents got us for thanksgiving 09/easter10, and scotts family gets us thanksgiving 10/easter 11. It's not perfect but both families like it that they can get every other of those dates with us.

XMAS is a completely different story. Xmas eve is my parents @ my grandmothers in Boston, then early early breakfast/presents in the boro. We jump in the car and get to Agawam (100 miles away) by noon. Then it's presents/dinner there & bed time. Next morning by 9 we are back on the road to the boro for my dad's b-day. Living in MA it was a lot to do in 3 days- now that I relocated to TX I have no IDEA how we are gonna manage. Got any suggestions?

Shoshanah said...

It's hard especially since we live only a few minutes away from his parents and have a country away from mine. For the past 3 years or so, we've gone out to California for Thanksgiving or Christmas each year. And then we've spent the other with his parents. It kind of sucks that I don't get to be home for each holiday every year, but there isn't really an easy solution with my family halfway across the country.