My oldest son has been living out-of-state for several years now and has always managed to get home a few days at Christmas. Last year the planets didn’t align for more than a 48-hour visit to our hometown, and the opportunity arose for us to begin a new family tradition.
Sprinkled with all the “little things” that had made our Christmas days so special through the years, the new plan was this: my youngest son and I joined him in New York for the actual Christmas holiday, with the three of us driving up on Christmas Eve – an exciting adventure in itself! Smitten by the magic of the holiday season that seems to follow you no matter where you go, we packed their childhood stockings (handmade and identical to my own childhood stocking), presents (of course!) and a cooler filled with Neese’s sausage (none of that in New York!) to continue our long-time tradition of sausage biscuits on Christmas morning. Thinking back, it was the first time in my 50-something years I had not been “home” on Christmas morning, but I was quickly reminded over the next few days that “home” is the people you are with, right?
If “grown-up” Christmas traditions are looming in your life and you may be celebrating the holidays in a new spot this year, look for creative ways to keep your family traditions alive, and embrace new adventures as you share the holidays with your adult children!
- Take along those sentimental foods from home that have always made Christmas time sweet for your family: a special tea blend, hot cocoa from a family recipe, or your kids’ favorite Christmas cookies. If you’re the designated gravy master for holiday lunches, make sure you’ll have all the ingredients there to whip it up as usual.
- Celebrate a couple days before – or after – if that’s what best suits everyone’s schedule. Your son or daughter may be adjusting to the corporate world, and may not be blessed with a week’s vacation. The date doesn’t matter, only the company and the holiday spirit!
- Make time together your main gift, especially if you are flying or driving a long distance. Or, pick up fun items along the way, and new keepsake ornaments from your adult child’s new home state.
- Bring the best traditions along with you. For us, it was childhood stockings; for your family, it might be heirloom ornaments that you travel with to hang on a new tree, or catching “It’s a Wonderful Life” together before bed on Christmas Eve.
- Include your favorite holiday music in your visit. Nothing stirs memories of home like holiday tunes and old-fashioned carols.
- Enjoy this chance to explore the new state where your adult child has landed. Because my son lives in New York, there was no shortage of holiday happenings and amazing decorations, but no matter where your son or daughter lives, explore their new surroundings and enjoy local festivities. It’s a good chance to meet some of your son or daughter’s new friends, too.
Savor every minute you have together, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to next Christmas when you may add yet another new tradition to your holiday normal!