Remember being a kid and the only holiday stress you had was convincing your parents you were asleep while secretly plotting your position for attempting to catch Santa swooping down your chimney (well, that, and if you’re like me, wondering whether he would come at all, given that you didn’t have that all-important brick structure in your living room)? In those days, turkey magically appeared on the table, along with pumpkin pie and that gelatinous cranberry stuff. Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins came over, and joy abounded right there in your dining room.
Then you became an adult. Maybe you got married and realized that the inner workings of such a magical day involved more than you had been led to believe. You became aware of the conspiracy to hide from children the dark side of the holidays, the one in which Grandma and Uncle So-and-So argued for half an hour about whether the turkey was really done, and you were spared from witnessing that car ride with your cousins in which they were threatened within an inch of their lives to not to torture the dog—like they did last year—or to face the direst of consequences at home. Not to mention the whole decision process of where Thanksgiving was going to be and who to spend Christmas with. (“Your family again? We always spend the holidays with your family.” Yes, that discussion). For many years, I too was protected from this less-glamorous side of the holiday season, but now, having been married for a few years, I have learned a few lessons about avoiding holiday disasters and keeping that “happily married” thing going into the New Year.
You can’t force anyone else to use a calendar. Luke’s family are big calendar users. They know their Thanksgiving plans weeks or months in advance. My family (not all, but in general) are a bit more “free-spirited” in their planning and often don’t announce holiday plans until a few days beforehand. Continue reading Not-So-Newlyweds: How to Keep the “Happy” in the Holidays