I didn’t expect my kids to be so bummed about a change in our holiday traditions. It just so happened that schedules and travel dates interfered with our normal Christmas Eve plans and my kids took it a lot harder than I expected. (Note: Christmas Day and Christmas Eve celebrating are very different in our family.)
My girls are 17 and 12. They have a pretty realistic and down to earth approach to the holidays. Celebratory and full of joy…but realistic and flexible. I absolutely love it.
In fact, when we announced that we were changing the way we focused on giving last year, both of them were excited and totally on board. They didn’t complain about getting “less” presents. They weren’t even concerned about if the gifts would be equal (value) between the two of them. They liked the focus. Heck, they looked forward to it this year even though they already know what one of their presents is thanks to Taylor Swift concert tickets going on sale right before Christmas.
Which is also probably why it’s December 17th and I’m super NOT concerned that there are no presents under my tree yet. Do they really need anything else for Christmas? To that I say NOPE.
Okay, okay…we may have a couple of other ideas to finish out the something they need/wear/read off the list but you can maybe see how flexible these kids are.
And maybe why I was so taken aback by how bummed they were by the change in our holiday plans.
I have a lot of guilt that I didn’t pay more attention.
* * *
The past few months have been really, really busy and full of change. The entire month of October and part of November found some (or all) of us out of town or otherwise overscheduled. On top of all that crazy, there has been so much pressure with college applications and everything that goes along with those processes. There have been projects and tests and school events and studying for finals. It’s been a lot of juggling and then picking up the pieces when we dropped everything when it got a bit too heavy.
I realize now that we were all looking forward to normalcy and tradition.
I realize now that this is our last Christmas before A LOT changes for our family.
I realize now that I shouldn’t expect my kids to be flexible or easy going about this when they have been so flexible and easy going about everything else.
* * *
What is probably the most frustrating part of the change in plans is that I have no control it. As a parent, you want to fix all the things.
Sometimes you can’t.
It’s important to me that my kids know that their feelings matter and it’s okay to be disappointed. That’s an important life lesson for all of us. I mean, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I have it all figured out and that I’ve made all these fabulous Christmas Eve plans. There is still a lot to be decided. But, yes, I do realize how blessed and lucky we are. If it’s just the four of us at home in our PJ’s eating frosting from a container watching Elf…well, that’s kind hilarious and I think we’ll have a blast.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll find a new tradition that fits us just right and blows all the other traditions out of the water. YOU NEVER KNOW FROSTING IS DELICIOUS YOU GUYS. All that matters is that we’re together, right?
Yes, I’m very well aware of how incredibly cheesy that was. Go drink your eggnog.