Maybe you who have walked in these shoes before me can help me conjure some enthusiasm for having a holiday meal offset from the actual date. This year due to work shifts and a planned (birthday) vacation two our of three of our adult children will be absent on Christmas Day.
I am planning to have a meal the Sunday before and I am toying with forgetting about the big meal with all the trimmings and doing a buffet style meal to put the emphasis on the enjoying the company instead. Help me sort out what to do by sharing some of your ways of celebrating a holiday on an alternative date.
Tell me if you pick up on any 'whining' in my message. I am trying to keep it together and be mature about the changes of pattern. Life brings change.
There are five kids in my family. We live in 3 different states. We almost ALWAYS celebrate Christmas on another day. This year we are meeting up on the 30th. It will be fine...go about your normal day minus the big meal. Church every Christmas? Go! Watch Christmas movies, bake, etc...
Remember Christmas is about family too...no matter WHEN you do it!
I've been doing this for a while ~ due to family living spread out around the country, work schedules, and the lack of affordability to fly during the Christmas week.
Anyway, as you and others said, it's about the people more than the actual date. I think your idea of a buffet sounds nice. I would make some of the same, traditional family dishes (you know the ones the kids always remember) to keep the spirit of the holiday meal, but more casual would increase the time you spent together.
Try to build new traditions instead of trying to replicate Christmas Day - that way it won't feel forced. For instance, one year my family went to a musical together.
And for you and DH on Christmas (I assume) - just keep it low-key, make a huge brunch instead of a big dinner, and go to the movies!
As an empty nester I feel your pain but the important things is that you are able to be together at some point for the holiday.
We treat it just like Christmas Day no matter what day we gather. Although the meal does vary, some years it is traditional, other years it is not. One year I made chili & two different soups. I served that along with good bread, crackers, cheese, & veggies. Other times I make a regular lasagna and a veggie lasagna to serve with bread and salad. I like those because soups and lasagna can be made ahead of time. If the kids have already had a traditional meal elsewhere they enjoy the change of pace. We, of course, have desserts and other appetizer like snacks.
Make sure you treat yourself and your DH on Christmas. Rent a movie, have a good meal with some wine perhaps, open some little gifts to each other. If the thought of being alone is too hard for you than look for a place to volunteer to serve a meal or help someone else.
Take care, the changes just keep coming.
I'm celebrating Christmas on December 19th with my daughter and grandkids, my husband's daughter and son and grandkids and my brother and his grown sons and children. This is the first year we've done this BUT I think it will be great! We're having prime rib and salad and potatoes. Everyone will be able to see everyone and then on Christmas they can stay home with their children and/or visit the other inlaws.
On Christmas I'll be having turkey and the fixings for my husband and I and anyone else that drops by.
Life does bring changes and by celebrating the week before, it will be a great family day )
My mom started doing this years ago, when my brother had to work Christmas day. Now that I am divorced and have to share Christmas Eve and Day with my ex, it works out even better. We do the big meal at Thanksgiving, and @ Christmas she usually does a ham and buns for sandwiches, along with lots of munchies. We usually do better ones than normal, shrimp, crab, fancier cheeses, etc. Think upscale cocktail party with a ham and buns so there's something for the kids....I love it!!
We always do this, too! For as long as I can remember, we've done holidays on the day of with my dad's side of the family and on another day with my mom's. (I'm sulking myself about the mom's-side Christmas this year, but because it's like 2 hours before I have to be at the airport to come home, not because it isn't on Christmas.)
For Thanksgiving we (or they; I haven't made it for Thanksgiving in several years) always have the traditional spread, more or less, with modifications due to the fact that I think vegetarians now outnumber omnivores on that side of the family. But I feel like there isn't such a "prescribed" meal for Christmas, so we do mix it up some. It's still very much a holiday meal, though, and always feels like it. And afterward we do the gift-opening and some bizarre traditions that are unique to my family (I hope!), like the dance that goes along with the 12 Days of Christmas.
It is hard to accept the changes in life sometimes...but good for you for trying to do so in a postive way. I am also going through this acceptance and I will say this is my 3rd year and I am still learning to accpet it at times.
I will have Christmas Eve traditional dinner with husband and inlaws. We will have Christmas Day Dinner with stepson and my mother-in-law.
On the Wed. after Christmas we will be at my parents (5 hours away). My sister is also coming into town with her family and we are thinking about doing Itailian for a post Christmas Meal and opening all our presents to each other.
It is not so much about the actual date of Holidays for me anymore but rather about celebrating with family and friends and enjoying old traditions and creating new ones.
I love your sweet reminders of how to keep the spirit in the face of change. You'll never know how your taking the time to post your messages on this thread has given me a boost to my plans.
I now have a cocktail party like menu ruminating in my head.
Something old, something new on the menu to keep up with the theme of change. It's true I cannot recreate days gone by but will try to make the present something to remember for my loved ones as we gather round the tree once more. Good cheer to you and yours as you do the same!
Last edited by bonnybelle; 12-13-2010 at 05:48 AM..
I sit here with tears..change is hard. This post is just what I needed. You have reminded me of what is imortant at this time of year and have given me some choices to make the holidays special, albeit different I am bookmarking this post so that I can refer to it when I begin to have my pity party...thanks PTs
Since my parents divorced when I was 9, we've always had Christmas at different times. Now that I'm married, it's even more spread out. This year our plans include:
next weekend: Christmas with mom and her husband (presents and a casual meal)
Christmas day - split between my dad and DH's parents' house (presents and a huge meal compliments of my mother-in-law)
New Years day: Christmas with my dad's family (around 70 people). My aunt and uncle host this event, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, a gift exchange and my grandpa telling the Christmas story from the Bible
a couple of weeks after Christmas: a huge seafood dinner made by my mom's husband (who is a chef)
I love this time of year! To me, it's about family and the time you get to spend together. I would much rather spread things out than try to do everything in one day or miss seeing loved ones because we were too busy. I would suggest doing what you would normally do for Christmas on whatever day you celebrate it. Your kids shoud appreciate carrying on your family traditions even if the day is different.