Most people’s lives don’t resemble movies, especially when it comes to the holidays. Even for those who have happy memories of their family gathering together for the holidays, the reality these days is different from anything Hollywood writes.
No longer are families consolidated in a single area of the country.
You’re more apt to be traveling across the country for a visit to your parents’ house than you are to trek across town.
You and your generation aren’t the first generation to experience this, but it’s likely even more commonplace today than when you were growing up.
Traveling adds to the stress than many people already feel about the holidays. Whether you’re staying with friends, family, or at a hotel, you’re away from the comforts of home.
On top of all of this, you have to learn how to share your kids.
For some families, sharing kids is a part of the regular routine. Kids may spend the week with Mom and weekends with Dad, or they live with Dad for most of the year and visit Mom on alternate vacations. Obviously, this kind of sharing continues over the holidays, but it’s not the only “kid sharing” you might be faced with.
Even in families with both parents living together, it’s important to share your kids with your extended family and you have to share your kids with their friends too. When your children get older, you have to share them with boyfriends, girlfriends, and even in-laws. Suddenly, “your” family looks very different and trying to plan your holidays has gotten more complicated.
While you may still dream of a holiday worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting, many people will happily settle if we don’t reenact movies like Home Alone or Bad Santa.
Of course, you should still envision the family holiday that you want. Just keep in mind that you cannot create in anyone else’s universe and their vision of the perfect vacation may be quite different from yours.
What is the best way to handle sharing the kids, no matter the age or circumstances? By talking it over with everyone involved, including the kids themselves.
You can each talk about how you’re feeling and what you’re most looking forward to this holiday. What if your college student has his heart set on going to Cabo with his buddies or your daughter-in-law wants to host the family dinner for the first time? Or maybe your youngster wants to stay with his mom this holiday because he has a special tournament he would have to miss if he spent it at your place?
Since it’s not possible for anyone to be in two different places at the same time, you may have to use some creativity and flexibility. If you focus on the feelings you want to have as opposed to the exact experiences, then you truly can have it all. After all, nothing stays the same, including your family. Your traditions may just need to be able to evolve a bit so you have years of happy holidays ahead.
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