Changing Christmas Traditions

changingchristmastraditions

After the uncomfortable dinner at my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, I’m not returning for Christmas.  Although I haven’t told my kids yet, nor my brother and his family, I’m not reliving another holiday there.  I know it’s going to cause major upset and put them into a tailspin.  It’s a bold move for me.  It may even be the start of an ending of a relationship, but frankly the relationship hasn’t been good for a long time.

My friend Coco and I were talking about it the other night.  I was telling her how I am afraid to make the announcement that I’m staying home with my kids on Christmas Day and not going to my brother’s house again.  My kids don’t want to do it either as they were tired of the fighting of their cousins and the non-family atmosphere that pervades his home.

Because my kids are like me.  They don’t like fighting.  They don’t like people who talk meanly to one another.  They know that family is unconditional love and support.  Sure, we can get annoyed with each other at our house, but we talk it through until everyone has heard everyone else’s side and then we calmly come to a compromise on whatever we are discussing.  By family, I mean the 3 of us.  My kids are now seeing how my Ex and his family and my family are dysfunctional  We are all seeing people for who they really are and unmasking the dysfunction.  Although we really haven’t discussed the word narcissist, the knowledge that they have been gaining is real.  Just like me, their eyes are being opened and at times, it’s not a pretty sight.  I know nobody’s perfect and I’m the first to admit that I’m not.  But the desire for peace and love is real in our lives and we only want to be surrounded by just that – peace and love.

But because we are a family, my brother won’t understand that I am choosing to stay home with my kids instead of being with him and his family on a holiday.  He will make it into a big deal of how I’m not acting like family.  But at this point, at 50 years old and being that this is my first divorced Christmas, I want to just be with my kids.  If my brother and his family want to stop by to exchange gifts, that’s fine.  But I want to just enjoy my kids that day.  A lazy day in our pjs with a good meal together.  Maybe we will play games or watch Christmas movies.  Maybe their friends will stop over to say hello.  Maybe mine will.  Maybe I’ll have an informal open house (of course that means I have to shower and get out of my pjs lol) but I want to mix it up this year.  Maybe I’ll have another friend’s family over because they are sometimes alone on holidays.  Maybe I will just enjoy the sanctity of Christmas for once in our new home as a family of three with peace and love surrounding us.

Wish me luck on this journey.  It may be a really bumpy ride, but the time is now for me to emerge from the broken shell and be authentically me!

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38 Responses to Changing Christmas Traditions

  1. SDC says:

    It will be fine and a new start. These matters are all about setting precedent, and then once you do it all becomes dust in the wind. We used to go to my weird uncles house every christmas day and then when we had our second daughter he asked and I thought…No. I dont want to be on the roads on Christmas day or have to get anyone dressed and pack diaper bags and worry about their dogs that don’t like kids. So…No. I want to be at home with my kids on Christmas morning for goodness sake. He took it personally and of course they never asked again but in the end it didn’t make the relationship any more awkward than it already was 😂 I just had to set the precedent. Which I’m learning to do a lot in the new life situation but it works great for holidays too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TJ Fox says:

    It is terribly difficult to speak the truth to those that refuse to hear it. Especially if you have a soft heart and don’t like to hurt others or deal with conflict. When I first decided I needed to step away from my family, I wrote out a really long, detailed letter trying to explain why I needed to make the decision I was making. When I was done, it was over 5 pages long and Hubby pointed out that it would just spark even more arguments. I realized that one of the reasons why I needed to step away was because no one ever cared to listen and that letter would be no different, that I was just wasting my time and effort. Instead, I kept it very simple and just said I was doing it, that I needed to do it, for me and for my kids.

    What so many extended family fail to realize when they start tossing the “family” term around like a weapon to get their way is that, as a parent, you have this whole other family and a responsibility to them, their health, well being and happiness. As a mom, your kids need to come first (right after your self care), even over parents and siblings. That is part of growing and becoming an adult and a parent. Family members that fail to grasp this, even when their own life experiences tell them otherwise, are dead set on you staying in the role they have determined for you and cannot accept that you don’t fit that role and probably haven’t for a very long time.

    It was so hard to take that step. It hurt and tore me apart, but all of our lives are so much better for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janieleeds says:

      I am extremely proud of you TJ and I really get it. I wanted to write as well, but as your smart hubby said, it would spark a fight and I agree with him, but I understand your need to explain to them because I feel the same way.
      I haven’t had the guts to tell him yet because it’s too early and I don’t need the hassle before it’s time. Honestly.
      I am glad that your lives are better for it and I am going to do the same here…for the kids and for me. I am sure I will post when I do say something, but in the meantime, thanks for sharing and thanks for your support xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • TJ Fox says:

        You’d think it would be easy to do the things that make you happy, but sometimes, those are the hardest to actually do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • janieleeds says:

        TJ, you are so right because it’s really hard!! Coupled with the fact that I am/was a people pleaser and could easily be swayed by – don’t you want to spend time with your family? Why not? Don’t you like us? Why are you being so impossible? What do you mean you want to spend the holiday with just the kids? What about us? What about FAMILY??? And so on and so forth….you get the picture, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • TJ Fox says:

        There was never really a no from me when it came to events (we are such homebodies and rarely ever had other things going on). Not for a really long time. The one time I did say no, you’d think I’d thrown a puppy of a cliff and peed in the living room. It was worse because I was the only one to ALWAYS be there for everything and wasn’t allowed to miss, but it was totally fine with every single other member of my family to have other, more important things going on. Just one in a long line of wake up moments for me.

        Hubby and I quit having date nights towards the end because I’d get the guilt trip of “Why don’t you want your kids there? They would enjoy that.” when I’d ask for my parents to watch the kids for a couple of hours. It was kind of a flip side to the whole obligation thing. That my entire life needed to revolve around my kids, that it was horribly wrong to want a little time with just Hubby and I alone. And here I thought I wanted to be a good example to my kids of what a healthy relationship looked like.

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      • janieleeds says:

        TJ, I get it! I am the one who is responsible for everything and everyone in my family. Since the divorce this year is the first that I’m not having the holidays and it’s like I did something wrong. I begged my ex to have dinner just the two of us and he did back when things were good and our parents did babysit for awhile. But you need that time with your hubby to reconnect without the kids because it’s important. I hope you still go out now that the kids are older!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TJ Fox says:

        We do things like lunch when he takes a day here and there to get some things done. It isn’t quite the same, but it is still time alone. Now that MC and BG are older and OC is no longer here, we can trust them to stay by themselves for a few hours, but we haven’t had the time lately to actually have a real date night.

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      • janieleeds says:

        Well, TJ – get one on the calendar girl! You deserve it and so does he! Finish your project and take photos for us to ohh and ahhh over it! Then go take a drive to see the Christmas lights and get a coffee or a drink together to bond! You both deserve the time together! I am glad the kids are older now…even a semi-date is good!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TJ Fox says:

        We will be doing our lunch date tomorrow in the middle of working on our project. As a stay at home mom, I think I appreciate the days he takes off and helps me almost as much, if not more, than a traditional date. We still get our dates, they just don’t follow any traditional lines. We do need to find something to do that isn’t a “getting things done” event. We used to do his company winter party in January, but it so isn’t our thing other than getting to go all out dressed up. I’d rather stay at home, eat lots of yummy finger foods and watch a movie, though I do miss getting to get all dressed up.

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      • janieleeds says:

        I’m so glad you have time together tomorrow! Yay! Enjoy every moment! I totally understand. Maybe you can go out for New Year’s Eve all dressed up? Early dinner then home! I love that you both know it doesn’t matter where you go, but that you go together when you can! 🙂 I used to enjoy going to my ex’s work parties and gettng dressed up. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. L. Rorschach says:

    It sounds like you have a lovely day planned – I’m sure your kids will love and appreciate the new Christmas tradition.

    Your brother can just deal with it. 🙂

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  4. I spend a lot of time thinking about how much time you really need to spend with family, and if there are instances where interaction should be limited or terminated…..it’s a tough call, but I admire your thoughts on the subject

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  5. Good for you, just say thank you for inviting me but we have decided to do something completely different this year. Maybe next year. 🙆‍♀️

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  6. Jad says:

    Stay strong and firm and you will be fine!!

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  7. I applaud you for going boldly where you haven’t gone before. Authenticity is always a good choice. Sending peace and love to you and your kids!

    Like

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