Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Make It Work

The holidays seem to bring stress to everyone. Of course they also bring your weight in sweets and alcohol, good cheer from family and friends but as I'm experiencing this year more so than holidays past, lots of stress.

You see, Fiancé and I have been dating for two years but this year is our first year spending the holidays TOGETHER. Usually, it would be the day after or the days before and then meeting up to travel back here to DC from New England together. His family lives in CT and mine in VT and while it's nice that they're close, really, a five hour round trip drive is suddenly ten hours and an entire day in the car.

We negotiated staying here for Thanksgiving which was nice - really nice actually. Instead of fitting in two families that live five hours apart in four days, we relaxed. I ran the Turkey Trot, we hosted a couple friends with lots of food, and lots of good cheer. We shopped, and attended a couple parties - all in all - it was one of the best holidays I've had in recent years that was 200% (okay maybe 150%) stress free.

This year, we had Christmas cards to send, cookies to bake, packages to send, not one but TWO families to shop for (three actually since my parents are divorced), a house to clean (that is not yet clean I should note and we leave Saturday morning). We've gotta make sure the dog has enough food for the week, is up on her meds (flea prevention, etc...) before boarding her, and of course while juggling holiday parties.

Trying to manage two schedules, which nights we'll be home, who we need to send cards to is nothing but stressful. I've been counting down the days till we get out of this town since we got back from Thanksgiving break. I'm ready for snow, and cold temperatures and seeing my city lit up in all its Christmas glory (if you've ever seen Downtown Burlington, VT around the holidays you'll understand).

But at the same time, I've been struggling this year as it's my first holiday without my family. I see cousins, and aunts and uncles (i have a larger family) two, maybe three, times per year. July at our annual Family Reunion (if I make it), and the holidays. But this year, since we bailed on Turkey Day, and we'll be in Connecticut for Christmas, I'm a bit saddened that I'm missing out.

I know, I know, I know that it's "our families" not just "my family" or "his family" but it's a huge compromise - I remember seeing my parents struggle with it - my father (according to my mother) forced us to spend each holiday with his family (which is preposterous since both families live in the same area) and well, my step-mother now "forces" my father to spend each holiday with HER family.

One thing I learned through our Pre-Cana classes is that there needs to be some compromise. He's promised that next year I get the holiday of my choice with my family. Thanksgiving this year was going to be too expensive to travel and board the dog and we were tired from the past two thanksgivings of fitting in too much and being exhausted for days after from all the traveling. From here on out, we agreed that thanksgiving is a one family holiday. Christmas on the other hand - is easy to break the week up and spend time with each family.

So we promised to alternate, each year, each holiday with a different family. I know it'll get easier, but it's still that whole becoming ONE couple not just with a "mine" or "yours" but with an "ours" now is...difficult when you already don't see much of your family.

But on the bright side, at least we get to spend it together which in the past two years of us being together, we have not yet done!

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Blogger AmyJean {Relentless Bride®} said...

i totally agree. we had this alternating idea, but FH claims it didn't start until we said it... i.e., last year, which was so unfair... unbeknownst to me, he surprised me with a ticket home. so i will spend christmas eve with his family and fly out early christmas day to spend the actual holiday with mine ! :)RelentlessBride

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true. The holidays bring up so many issues. The three area JCCs are actually offering discussion/support groups this winter and next spring for engaged couples. They are only $75 for four sessions and each facilitated by a psychologist or social worker. Check out our websites - washingtondcjcc.org, jccnv.org, and jccgw.org or call Sarah Gershman at 202-777-3237 for more info. This is a great way to focus on some of these potential stressors BEFORE the wedding!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:27:00 AM  

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