Several years ago, as my four children transitioned to adulthood with jobs, spouses, moves to new locations and children of their own, for Christmas I gave my children – well, Christmas.
As times were changing and I thought about what meant the most to me during the holiday season, I realized that for me, what was most important seemed to be less about the day itself and more about family. What I love is having my children, their spouses, and now my grands all together to celebrate the spirit of the season.
And, I remembered the many years of packing our car with the kids and all their gifts (hidden, of course!) and driving a full day to Ohio to visit my husband’s and my “growin’up” families. Frequently half of Christmas Day was spent in the car driving from one end of Ohio to the other – opening gifts in the morning with one family and sharing Christmas dinner with the other. What stuck with me about those years was not the joy of Christmas and the pleasure of spending time with loved ones, but just being tired.
So I gave my grown children Christmas. I gave them the opportunity to be in their own homes, to worship in with their own faith communities, and to establish Christmas traditions of their own.
Now our family Christmas is always the weekend before, when all who can come gather at my home. We take time to kick back, catch up, perhaps enjoy a special event, and simply celebrate being a family at this wondrous time of year.
For several years, all four kids lived in Illinois and everyone was able to join in. However, the only constant is change and since the original “weekend before” routine, two of my children have moved, one to Tennessee and one (with my “baby grands”) to Texas. With the older grands’ school schedules and activities, the “weekend before” isn’t always easy. But the dates are on the calendar and those of us who can make the trip gather together, always holding all our family in our hearts.
Join the conversation: How have family transitions changed your holiday celebrations? What do you do to make the season special for your family?
Jeanne Foster, National Tutoring Manager for Oasis, has four children and eight grandchildren. Three of her kids and their families will join her in Saint Louis for the “weekend before” and then she’ll travel to Austin, Texas to spend time with her son and his family. Happy holidays, everyone!