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Where do you spend your holidays? Do you stay home or visit relatives?

Posted by on Nov. 29, 2013 at 9:36 AM
  • 43 Replies

Creating the Best Holiday Traditions: Go to Grandma's, or Stay Home?

by Linda Sharps

Ever since my husband and I first got together, we've traveled for the holidays. If not at Thanksgiving, then definitely for Christmas. We've always lived miles from family -- if we wanted to spend the holidays with our loved ones, someone had to make that endless trip up and down I-5. It was usually us, because not only does most of our family live in the same general area of Oregon, but our house in Seattle wasn't particularly well-suited for having people visit.

Now that we live in Oregon -- and our living room is a little more accommodating -- we'll be hosting Christmas this year. But as we look forward to the (hopefully) many years to come, I wonder what sort of holiday tradition is best to establish, now that we actually have some options to consider.

Should we do it at our house? At the grandparents' house? My husband's brother lives here too, what about his house? How do you pick where to spend your holidays -- and is it possible to make the WRONG choice?

It sounds like sort of a dumb (or at least extremely privileged) question, I know. We have so many loved ones nearby, what should we do? Isn't this a TERRIBLE problem to have?

But I have an actual reason for wondering. See, when I was a kid, we went to my grandparents' house in Michigan for almost every Christmas. I have wonderful memories of those visits: snow everywhere, the giant tree they always had, the familiar ornaments and treats and all their lovely holiday traditions.

Years later, though, my mother told me she wished we'd done more Christmases at our own house. She said she'd wished we'd established some of those beloved traditions at home, instead of having it all associated with something that could not last. My grandparents moved, grew older, and eventually they both passed away. By then I was no longer a child who was easily charmed by Christmas magic, of course, but still ... it never felt the same.

So that's what makes me think about my own children and how to create the traditions they'll treasure. Does it make a difference in the long run where they have their Christmas morning each year? Is it important to establish a pattern: we always do X on this day, and Y on that day? Does any of it matter at all, as long as there is love and family togetherness?  

Some say that changing holiday traditions can be upsetting:

Anytime families deviate in any manner from a long-standing family tradition, they’re bound to generate emotional responses from some family members.

To me, though, it seems like the most important thing is creating those special holiday feelings, and the location shouldn't matter nearly as much as the sentiment. That said ... god, I'm thankful not to be driving seven hours on a freeway this holiday season.

What's your approach to family togetherness during the holidays? Do you insist on being at home, or do you travel, or do you switch things up each year?

by on Nov. 29, 2013 at 9:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Silver Member on Nov. 29, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Now that the kids are young adults, we've been going to my mom's for a Christmas meal on Christmas eve and to exchange a few gifts.  That way Christmas day, we are home to open our gifts and have a Christmas brunch.

by Gold Member on Nov. 29, 2013 at 10:08 AM

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year, but Christmas we will be staying home for a few days then going on a mini vacation. 

by on Nov. 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Had Thanksgiving with friends.  Lots of wine and pie!  Best holiday ever!

by on Nov. 29, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I prefer spending the holidays at home, all of them.  I wll begrudgingly go to family gatherings.

by Anonymous 1 on Nov. 29, 2013 at 11:14 AM

We stay home and I cook for DH, myself and our 3 kids, (2 mine 1 his, but still ours), and our GD and our DD's BF. Then the kids go to the other parents. My family lives 1200 miles away and we barely speak to his family for various reasons. 

by on Nov. 29, 2013 at 11:41 AM
We don't celebrate TG and we always travel for Xmas.
by Platinum Member on Nov. 29, 2013 at 11:44 AM

When we first got married my ex & I discussed it & decided to visit with my family (who lives in town) the day before & then his families (his mom's side & then his dad's side) the day of because his mom's side lives 40 north of us & then his dad's lives 90 minutes east of us (so going from one to the other was a good 2 hour drive). The mornings of (Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day) I always get up & make cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We would then get everyone dressed & then be on our way by 8am.

Now that we are divorced we still keep the cinnamon roll tradition. And we still do the my parents thing the day before. But the day of all depends on who's year it is to celebrate with the kids. This year I have the kids all weekend for Thanksgiving. That's not to say if he wanted them I wouldn't let him have them! But he opted not to take them for whatever reason. We always decorate for Christmas on Thanksgiving Day. And Christmas Day is split between us- this year I get them in the morning & he gets them at 1pm. We also do a Christmas Eve service at my church, then go to my parents afterwards for Christmas with them.

by on Nov. 29, 2013 at 12:58 PM

 Thanksgiving we go to my MIL's. Christmas we stay home.

by Platinum Member on Nov. 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM
This year we are staying home for both holidays. It just easier. All our family lives out of state.
by Mrs. Tennant on Nov. 29, 2013 at 1:11 PM

 We went to my grandmother's.

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