Holidays are all about traditions, aren't they? I remember the year that my parents suggested we make a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, and my brother and I about flipped. Even though both of us were leaving a few days after Thanksgiving to go back to our respective colleges, and it was only going to be four of us for Thanksgiving dinner, it just COULDN'T BE Thanksgiving without the wings and drumsticks, could it?!? Well, we had a turkey breast and it was still Thanksgiving, but it was a good first lesson in changing things up a bit.
My husband and I grew up about 3 miles from one another, so our holiday time sharing isn't as extreme as most people I know, but it has still taken some creative problem-solving to appease everyone, and I'm sure we'll continue to tweak our holiday traditions as the years go by. We were together for about 8 years before we got married (3 of those years living together in Texas.) For those three years before we were married we'd travel home together but then go our separate ways - A. to his parents' house, and I'd go to mine. Since getting married we stay together, but try to split our time fairly evenly between the houses.
We usually end up having two dinners on Thanksgiving Day, but luckily Christmas is a little easier. A's family does most of their celebrating and gift exchanging on Christmas Eve, whereas my family does everything on Christmas day. I love being able to enjoy both days without having to shuffle back and forth and feel like we're missing something. A's family does a delicious Italian feast on Christmas Eve, and it has become a really special part of Christmas over the past 9 years I've attended.
As much as I love our current holiday traditions, I also feel like we aren't really creating our own traditions yet. I've been told a lot of that comes when you start having kids and making the effort that goes into creating traditions for them, so we're a little while off from all of that. So for now, we'll continue our shuffle, but we're making an effort to do holiday things in our home before we travel. I've always preferred that we exchange our gifts privately, so we've traditionally either found a few quiet moments to do so or we'll do our exchange a few days early. We also try to treat our trips as vacation and do some fun things by ourselves. For Thanksgiving we stopped in D.C. for a night in a hotel downtown, and over Christmas we're looking into a few day trips to local attractions. Because we haven't had a chance to go on a real vacation this year (that's what happens when you live far away from family and friends - we traveled to a lot of weddings, plus the move), we like to make the most of our time away.
What holiday traditions do you love? Are you creating any new holiday traditions on your own?