Years ago, when Tom’s older kids were still teenagers, we started the tradition of having pizza on Christmas Eve. Tom’s divorce agreement meant that his kids came over to our house on Christmas Eve, spent the night, had Christmas morning with us and then were back at their mom’s house by noon on Christmas day.
Well, since Tom’s oldest son was eighteen on our first Christmas together, that was the first and last Christmas Eve he spent the night but for the next few years, he did still come over and have pizza and open some presents.
The pizza thing, though, is one we’ve continued with the girls. Now that the older kids have families and lives of their own, we make plans to visit one or the other son’s house sometime around Christmas (this year, we’re heading down on New Year’s Eve.) or we invite them to drive up to see us. It’s only an hour and a half drive but it’s easier for us to make the trip since A and O are older than the grandkids and, well, there are only two of them and between them, J and D have six kids.
Another tradition is that I don’t want to go anywhere on Christmas Eve. Wait, let me clarify. What I mean is, I don’t want to have to go shopping on Christmas Eve if I can help it. I will travel to see family but shopping…please no.
This year, that tradition was derailed when the girls opened their Christmas Eve jammies and we realized that the Monster High onesie (a sleeper with feet?) that I’d gotten for Olivia JUST fit her. As in, if she grows another inch it will be too short and too tight. So I did go to Walmart on Christmas Eve to exchange the onesie for the next size up. Yep, my ten year old needs a size 14/16 onesie because girlfriend is just that tall.
But I was home by noon on Christmas Eve and we still had our pizza and hot & sour soup (a new tradition I started this year because…yum) and played our board games and I was done wrapping presents by 4:45 that afternoon, just in time to play The Game of Life with my girls.
Traditions, if they work and you enjoy them, keep up the fun. I’m learning, though, that if the traditions don’t work (you know, like the kids grow up and start to have lives of their own) you roll with it and let them go. You move on and find new traditions, new ways to make memories and have fun without the stress of upholding someone else’s idea of how the holidays are supposed to go.