Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Family Traditions

Ever since Hubs and I have been married, we switch off spending the holidays with our families:  one year with my folks, the next with his.  We decided to do this after learning a valuable lesson during our first married Christmas together (and it also applies to everyday life):

Trying to make everyone happy never works.  

Being the usual people-pleasers we are, we decided we could do it all!  Fulfill all of our family visiting obligations in 3 days!  In the end it was too much back and forth, my folks live two hours away from us so we spent a lot of time driving and there was always that rushed feeling of needing to be somewhere at a certain time and needing to cut visits short in order to leave early.  Then when we had to drive two hours and rush back home for a Christmas Day supper that was supposed to have started at 4pm....and didn't actually start until 8pm..........that was the last straw and a decision was made then and there to split the holidays.   We have been happier ever since! (even though our parents had to get used to the  It became our first holiday tradition.

Anyone else have to lay down the law during the holidays?

This year, we are going to my parents' place.  All of my side will be there this year, which will make it we know every year will not be like this.  Both of our families celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve (Polish and Ukrainian traditions) - the meatless 12 dish supper (which includes perogies - Hubs' favorite), opening of presents, singing of Christmas carols and attending Christmas Eve mass.

Christmas Day is usually very low-key.....turkey supper, lounging around, visiting, reading, watching movies. 

And of course, there's the before Christmas ritual we cannot forget (besides decorating the tree)....

Watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!  Remember, it's one of my favorite movies....and for those in Canada, the movie is airing on Sunday night on CBC!

Happy Weekend!


  1. That movie is one of our Xmas must watches and switching venues does make sense....
    Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  2. That's my favourite Christmas film too!
    I've never gone to my in laws on Christmas day, we're all quite distant, ho hum.

  3. Hello:
    Even in the days when our parents were still with us, we never succumbed to the impossible arrangement which you describe here and which, like you, can never work other than to leave everyone involved feeling less than satisfied.

    As we do not have any family, we are very used to Christmases either on our own, which we do not mind at all, or with friends. This year we shall celebrate with friends on 24th. in a traditional Hungarian way which cannot be so different from that of Poland or the Ukraine.

  4. Hostess - Happy Holidays to you as well! Do you have snow where you are? My Dad just came back from visiting my grandma in Kelowna and his flight was delayed because of the snow! Kelowna had more snow than we do here on the prairies. Shocking, I know! LOL

    Tabs - I laugh throughout the entire movie, so zany! We have some distant family members too ...but it's a good thing (sorry to say!)

    Jane and Lance - Your Christmas plans sound wonderful, and I am sure Hungarian traditions are similar to Slav traditions! One of our best friends used to teach English in Hungary years ago and she still talks about it all the time, I know she misses it.

  5. We are having my in laws this year with my lovely brother and sister in law and children, less lovely sister in law will pop by - save us! we tend to do my family more as they live abroad and it is usually the only time i see them - it is always tricky balancing families within themselves let alone two - i quite like the crimbo's just me and the man to be honest we have a lovely little family with our pets x

  6. As an only child, I never could bring myself to leave my home town (Oklahoma City) for as long as my parents were living, so I never found myself in the position of having to choose. My aunts and uncles did, however, and I think the only sensible thing is to either do Christmas Eve with one family and Christmas Day with the other (if both are local) or to alternate years as you are doing. My grandmother was quite uncooperative about this (being jealous) and it made her son and daughter-in-law miserable...eventually driving him away. She was foolish in that and I've always thought it best to be flexible in these things. Bill's kids spend Christmas Day with their mum, Boxing Day with us. As they marry I can see this will change...and we'll just go with it. Perogies sound lovely - and lots of work to make!

  7. NL's Griswald movies are classic. Thanks for the heads up, we may tune in on Sunday night, if I remember and football doesn't take precedence. ;^)

    I've had to lay down the law. We live close to the in-laws. We try to travel to my family home in the Southern U.S. every other year and my MIL gives my husband grief over the fact that we won't be at her house for Christmas dinner. My husband's family has drama and MIL always plays the lead. My family is pretty laid back. If you can make it that's wonderful, if not then a phone call will have to do.

  8. F & F - less lovely...ha! I'm going to steal that phrase. hope you do have a lovely time with the in-laws!

    Shelley - It is a good idea to be flexible rather than to cause stress. Perogies are a ton of work to make, I will have to ask Mom to give me a tutorial one day as Hubs absolutely LOVES them (I call him "The Perogie King"). My Mom makes the potato and sauerkraut kinds and my mother-in-law makes the baked perogies....all fabulous!

    Xoxo - LOL I had lunch with some friends today and they both have 'fun' with the in-laws too, especially around the of my friend's in-laws sent them a holiday card (and they live in the same city) but they barely spend any time together over the holidays...all of us have some kind of story or drama to share!