TALK BACK: Christmas decisions

Okay, this is your safe place to share: who calls the shots in your family about how Christmas is spent? Do you have default routines for each year? Do you and your husband agree on where to go and what to do? How do you balance time between your family of origin, your in-laws, and your own nuclear family?

Are you happy with the way you spend your holidays? What things would you like to change, if any, and what do you need to do to change them? How do you find time to create traditions within your own nuclear family, amidst the travel and bustle of the season?


  1. This is such a good "Talk Back" and I cannot wait to read how everyone else navigates the holidays. This is always a tough one for me. I have a huge value for both sides - wanting to spend time with our extended family (both sides with the fun of crazy cousins hanging out, and spending the day with aunties, uncles and grandparents), but also to have time for our wee nuclear family to be able to enjoy our own christmas traditions and have a little bit of peaceful downtime. We are really blessed to have both of our families within driving distance, but unfortunately, at holiday times, that means a lot of pressure to connect with both. I sometimes think that peeps with families across the country have the holiday advantage of being able to stagger the visits.

    We do have a tradition of creating our gratitude box, and I am thinking this year we will start a new tradition of making our own pizzas either on Christmas eve or christmas.

    I am always thankful for the fun family memories at the end of the holidays - even if it came at the expense of a whole lot of hustling and bustling!

  2. We do Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine-- and we both have mom's side/dad's side to visit. So it does make for a hectic holiday. Now that we have a kid we've adopted more of a "You'll get what you get and you'll like it" attitude. We don't want to spread ourselves too thin or stress our little family out trying to please everyone else. We're just cherishing the time together and "getting there when we get there". :)

  3. We always have Christmas day as just our family. It's a sweet tradition. We used to visit my parents for New Year's and do Christmas then, but the last few years we've gone to their place before Christmas to celebrate. My in-laws live far away, so we never do Christmas with them. We did a couple times when they were closer by; usually a week or two before Christmas. It has never been a subject of real debate for us, though. We both always have agreed that Christmas Eve and Christmas morning were for "just us."

  4. Since we live 1000 plus miles away from family, we spend Christmas in our home and see grandparents when they can make it out, but so far, never on Christmas.

    This year is a little harder for me. My hubby is on the worship team at church and they are having four Christmas Eve services (5,6,7,8pm). I am super bummed that I have to do Christmas Eve all by myself with the kids. It is one of my favorite days of the year and I won't have my husband to share it with.

  5. I live in Asia. This year we are going to be traveling in Vietnam on Christmas. For the past couple years before that we celebrated with a brunch with friends. Until this year we only got Christmas Day off as a holiday so it was really easy to not go overboard. I didn't buy gifts this year for anyone except a few things for Christmas stockings on St. Nicholas Day. I think we will have a really special and memorable holiday even though it is lacking in tradition this year.

  6. When we lived in CA we flip flopped holidays between my parents (who lived in the Sacramento area) and my hubby's fam (who were in Orange County). But now that we live in TN we stay here and sometimes family comes in the week before or a few weeks after. We miss the kids being w/ grandparents and seeing family but it is what it is. But even so we always invite them to come to us for the holiday since it is far easier for 2 adults to fly then all 4 of us. But they can never swing it due to work schedules or the expense of flying at Christmas. So oh well. I really like the tradition of doing Christmas in our home w/ the kids, waking up, eating monkey bread, reading the Christmas story, opening gifts, etc.

    We do a Happy B-day Jesus party w/ friends normally a week or two before Christmas for the kids and they eat cake and we ask each family to bring a used toy to donate to a non-profit. My kids love to do it (surprisingly) and it is teaching them about giving.

    I like Ali’s idea about the gratitude box and since our anniversary is right at the beginning of January last year my husband and I took time to reflect on the year and previous years together and made the box together. But now I think it would be fun this year to include the kids on the discussion since my almost 5 year old is starting to understand the whole act of gratitude. It would be also a sweet tradition as a family.


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