Growing up, I had many lofty visions of future holidays with my own family. In my dreams, my husband and I would wake up well-rested and full of energy on Christmas morning. We’d enjoy our coffee while watching the kids gratefully open their gifts. We’d spend a relaxing morning at home, head to church, and then have lunch with the entire family. Everyone would be present; the food would be delicious, and all would be merry and bright. Is anyone laughing at me yet?
Then I became an adult and realized just how stressful the holidays actually are. Between sending out Christmas cards, making sure the perfect gifts are bought, baking cookies, moving the elf on the shelf every night, wrapping the presents, and having fun activities planned for the kids, the Christmas season is exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best, most magical time of the year, but it’s a lot of work.
On top of everything that goes into the holiday season, the task of coordinating the logistics of when, where, and how you can possibly see everyone in your family is the most stressful part of it all. Trying to please everyone is exhausting. I’ve also learned that it’s impossible.
There is just not enough time in one day. The solution to all of this is easy … Christmas does not have to be celebrated on December 25th. The date on the calendar doesn’t make the holiday. The people you are surrounded by and the love of the season does.
Families today are complex. When I married my husband, I was also lucky enough to gain an awesome stepson, Alex. We then added two more kiddos to the mix. Throw in our parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended families … and it seems like the list continues to grow year after year. It quickly became apparent that we would not get to celebrate with everyone on December 25th, and I think many families have this same dilemma.
Coordinating the holidays with blended families is no easy task, but it is not only blended families that have to learn to navigate these issues. Families with multiple siblings have to figure out when they will be with their own families versus when they will be with their in-laws. Some families who don’t live close enough to everyone may have to alternate years of who they see, while other families just chose to stay home and celebrate with their immediate family (thank you COVID).
I will admit that in the beginning, it was hard to wrap my head around not celebrating Christmas on December 25th. After all, that is how we had done it every year of my life since my entire family was in a 10-mile radius of one another. I have quickly come to realize that Christmas can be celebrated early. It can be celebrated late. Heck, it can be celebrated in July if you want!
Some years (like this one), we don’t have Alex on Christmas day. So we will celebrate early. That just means Santa visits different houses on different days. It’s the magic of Christmas that makes it possible! It also means we may celebrate on multiple days with different people and that’s okay too! All that truly matters is being together as a family and making the holiday season memorable.
So Merry Christmas to you and your entire family…whenever, wherever, and however, you choose to celebrate!