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New Traditions

It seems like the last 8 years or so have brought us new life circumstances and we’ve struggled, or at least I have, to find our way through those circumstances and establish new holiday traditions.

When you have adult children and grandchildren, you do sometimes have to adjust the ways you used to do things. When you have children at home, you do things a certain way that works for your family. You go to grandparents homes and family gatherings. But when you get older and have no children at home, things change.

You do need to consider everyone, but really at the heart of it all you must consider your needs and those of your spouse because if you’re not able to physically do the things you’ve planned, it’s a bust. I’ve discovered that adult children don’t always understand the levels of exhaustion or pain that we sometimes experience as we age, and they don’t understand the plans we make to accommodate those limitations.

For example, I tire more quickly than I once did, so I start even earlier in the week making plans for a family dinner. Also, my husband doesn’t want to travel on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so I usually offer to have events here at our home. Not all adult children understand this, and they say that it’s hard to travel with small children. It is, I know! We did it for many years with the 5 of our own.

We do have to try to accommodate everyone, but we can’t always do what everyone wants. This can lead to hard feelings if we’re not careful to add the words of kindness along with our plans.

Sometimes an adult child wants to have the celebration at their home. I do get that! I liked having my family in my home when my children were young. So we have done that through the past few years as well.

What we’ve settled on for the past two years is having our family gathering here on Christmas Eve and then those who cannot attend are welcome to come on Christmas Day at any time. I make a breakfast on Christmas Day and everyone who can come is invited. What this means is that some years there are two or three and some years there are more.

That is perfectly fine with us. And it allows me to cook only one big meal for the holiday, with a less formal breakfast on the 25th. This is what works for us.

What I’ve learned is this: If your holiday traditions are stressing you out, leaving you sad or broken or unhappy, then it’s time to change those traditions. You might not love all the facets of the new ones, but if you give a little and take a little, you’ll soon have new, meaningful traditions that everyone can participate in and love.


  1. Jill Pittman

    I agree. No need to stress out or work yourself to the point of pain. I was so happy to have Thanksgiving at my son’s house this year. I told my son’s fiancee that that was the best Christmas present she could give me. 🙂

  2. Tracy Waldrop

    I totally agree. I’ve been very fortunate that as I moved from my parents home to my own home with children, both my parents and Brian’s parents were able celebrate together. My children have both sets of grandparents at Christmas and Thanksgiving. As we are getting older and Brian has more mobility issues, I worry about what these celebrations will like in the future. The boys are so close to leaving the nest. I just hope and pray that they will find time to celebrate with us. I don’t care when just as long as we get to be together.

    • Sylvia Britton

      Hi Tracy
      Thanks for stopping by:)
      I feel much the same way, as long as I get to see everyone, I don’t care what day! Sometimes our oldest and his children don’t get to come by on Christmas Day for example but they come and spend a day ot two after Christmas. That is wonderful to me. I think your boys will always make time to spend with you and Brian, they’re such good boys and they do love their mama and daddy!

  3. Terri Jorgensen

    Some of my adult children could benefit from reading this blog. May I share it to FB, or will you post it there so I can share it?