Holidays becoming untraditional

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Holidays becoming untraditional
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 11:48am

Okay let me apologize up front, this may be long and I may sound bitter and angry, so sorry but my family is really not acting like a family anymore.


"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." --Beverly Sills


Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 4:58pm
Sweety, you're not alone. I use to bake and decorate my house during the holidays. It used to be, holidays depressed me, you can't get me out of bed! That was when the kids were younger. Now they're older, they'd rather wait for invitations to have Christmas, Thanksgiving at DH's family's house, or one of his younger sister's house. So, why bother decorating my home if no one's gonna show up? Frustrating. I really give up. Christmas morning, everyone's home for breakfast and open gifts. Then off they go to so and so's house for the rest of the day AND NIGHT. Four hours at my house, is not what you call tradition. Tradition went out the window along with christmas wrapping papers five years ago. OK, don't mind me, I'm going back in bed where it's warm and be comforted. Where's my blankie?
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 6:55pm

Go right ahead and vent all you want... that's what we're here for. I know it hurt me too when the "traditions" I'd been accustomed to seemed to die, but had to realize that's just how families evolve.

The hardest was when my mother died on Nov. 2 (1983) and my siblings and I had to face Thanksgiving and Christmas without her, when Mom was always the one keeping traditions alive. We could have done the same Cmas dinner, gifts, etc. just like Mom did, but the pain of her death was still too new... instead, we chose to have an untraditional dinner (our favorite ethnic foods... luckily someone remembered the Pepto... can you imagine a table set with German sausage and kraut, french wine, spicy enchiladas, and Moo goo gai pan? Geez!) We had great laughs (and gas) over that, and knew that Mom would have enjoyed it, too.

In your case, I think your family is just in transition, like all families do at one time or another. Sometimes many times in a single lifetime. Your sisters are grown with husbands and families of their own now, and time for them to start their own holiday traditions separate from each other and Mom. Hence, the trip to Disneyworld and spending Cmas with the husband's family instead of yours. One day you will likely want to start your own holiday traditions, but I'd be willing to bet you'll model yours after your Mom's. I can envision one day, you and your then-DH and children, having Cmas in front of your OWN tree, and Mom and Dad coming to visit YOUR house for the holiday dinner.

But you know, having in-laws does make things complicated! Do you spend Cmas day at your own house, your parents' house, or HIS parents' house? Or do you just avoid all the confrontations and do it at Disneyworld instead? All these decisions require changes to the old, familiar traditions if you hope to keep Cmas alive and joyful for everyone involved.

Whenever I get upset over my holiday plans being scrambled because of someone else's actions, I like to remember that Christmas isn't just about traditions - it's about togetherness, love, joy, generosity, and all that stuff. Of course you know that, and I'm not preaching - just stating that it helps me to remember this when the messed-up traditions get me down, too.

Hope this helps you and all of your family have a happy one, too!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 12-11-2003 - 8:05pm
msfit, thanks so much! Your post made a lot of sense to me, and don't worry I didn't take it as preaching, you made several good points. Thanks! And happy holidays to you.


"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." --Beverly Sills


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2003
Fri, 12-12-2003 - 5:03pm
i have started recently to wonder if the traditions i remember were only in my head! i understand you 100%. our traditons decline started a few years ago with mothers day being moved to the Holiday Inn buffet. FINE, its mothers day-if thats what mother wants then i am happy...NEXT, fathers day, again the Holiday Inn buffet-but again, it makes dear old dad happy-but then it was Easter (Holiday Inn buffet, see a pattern?)- so we had to rush to church, then RUSH to make out 1pm reservation. Nothing like relaxing on Easter....then last year my parents moved away, and after years of BEGGING them for a real xmas tree, they get one the year after i move out. then of course i miss xmas dinner to spend 6 hours sitting in traffic in a blizzard. never had dinner that night. then my grandfather got married, hey at 83 thats good right? so he moves off to his new wife's apt in another state. so now for every holiday i am expected to chauffeur my elderly great aunt around (i dont mind but i would really like to be asked)-so this past thanksgiving, my first my bf and i celebrated after an 8 year breakup, i was told my mother did NOT want to entertain and i would understand once i had kids who were grown and moved out (meanwhile my DAD cooks), then my new grandmother decided that she did not want to bother HELLO restaurant...remember this is they all cart into my neighborhood, cause by now id blown a fuse with the frustration cause they changed plans on me 10 times and were quite nasty about it, and we have dinner (sit down cause my new step grannie did not want to get up for a buffet!)-now it would not have been bad, except my new grandmother told us WHOM we were to sit next to, several people in the family are hard of hearing so it involves shouting and at a table of 8 thats not good...the food was , well imagine eating eggplant parmigiana for thanksgiving...but again its the company...right? but unfortunately you cant carry a conversation cause of the shouting! so after lunch my bf and i go back to our apt to await his mothers call for dessert (which came at 8:30pm with a come tomorrow for dinner) (did i mention we had finished lunch at 3? needless to say OUR thanksgiving meal was heated up mexican appetizers, but at least we had enter xmas. i had asked my mother to PLEASE do xmas eve, she agreed...what started as a dinner, got moved now to a brunch cause my grandfather and his wife need to leave early to attend i was told to be sure to pick up my great aunt early so i can get there on xmas eve, i get to head out at 8am...i was also told to leave my dog home (and i bring her everywhere)... then i find out that my brother is cooking xmas dinner and out traditional feast is being turned into cornish hens...roast beef, cornish hens...i opt the roast beef...btw im pregnant, getting grief from the family cause i am not married...and i have already decided that come next year-when i can hold my baby in my arms-that if people want to see me they can come to ME! cause i am going to start my own traditions to replace those my family has so carelessly thrown away

but then they tell me i act if i dont want to be aprt of the family...nerve

what really gets me is that i would love to host a family gathering, granted, my apt is small, really small, but im offering, and my offer is shunned repeatedly...

i understand how you feel, just try to focus on who is there for you to celebrate your holidays with-keep the traditions alive with your mother and your bf...your sisters and there families will lose out in many ways-and perhaps they will ralize what they took for granted

and should a pregnant woman be tubing? if so let me know cause id love to go!