Yay! You Made It Through the Holidays


We're happy to see you here

by Stephanie Kaloi, Content Manager

couple walking in confetti

This holiday season was a little bittersweet for us. In mid-November we began planning a cross-country to the Bay Area (aka APW territory), meaning we were preparing ourselves for leaving loved ones in the southern US. We’ve moved across the country before (…more than once), so we’re kind of pros, but it’s still nearly impossible to avoid getting a little weepy about it. We spent much of the holidays with different sets of family—our plans included spending the night at three separate parent homes—and watching our favorite holiday films (Love Actually, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown… etc.), while cheers-ing over mimosas or cocoa, depending on age.

This is our ninth holiday season as a couple (and eighth as a married couple). We’ve spent some holidays at home together, some at the homes of friends (especially when living across the country), and others by catching up with family over late lunches or early dinners. We got married pretty early in our relationship, and subsequently found out we had several years of relationship building to do—both between ourselves, and also with the various new members of our new, bigger family.

Which, when you think about it, is the nature of long-term commitment and new family. Part of getting married means you all of a sudden bring on another family as your own, and you have to put in the work of getting to really know one another, forming bonds, and fostering relationships both within and outside of the duo that is your marriage. Some years, this means you end up getting into a big fight with the in-laws that don’t get you. Other years, this means you and your mother-in-law happy-cry about life on the back porch together, while the dudes do the cooking and the child sleeps. Every year in a marriage or long-term commitment brings new lessons, and the holidays usually carry the year’s penultimate lesson.

So now we’re gearing up for life in a new-to-us spot, complete with figuring out the best bike routes, farmer’s markets, and home school-friendly stuff. Here’s hoping your holidays were equally chill, since 2017 is likely going to be a tumultuous year for many of us. I would love to know what you did (and didn’t) learn this holiday season—what worked for you, and what absolutely did not. What relationships you’re so happy to have, and which ones you hope to keep working on it. It’s a process, you guys. We’ll all get there.

How did the holidays go for you? Did you start any new traditions—or did you make sure to observe your favorites from years past?

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! 😊 🎉 🎉).

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  • Amy March

    Being at my parents house from Wednesday to Sunday over Thanksgiving just isn’t working for me. We get along great but I live close to home and see them all the time anyway. Making a mental note to self that next year I need to be more intentional about my plans for that time.

    But Christmas/New Years worked really well. I’m completely exhausted and haven’t spend two consecutive nights at home without plans since early December, but in a really good ready for January hibernation way.

    • Jess

      Figuring out how to manage the length of time with family seems to be what most of my friends are going through right now, even ones who have great relationships.

      Hooray for the January Hibernation! I have a large Goodreads list, a library card, a cozy blanket, and three new kinds of tea. I plan to not come out until Groundhogs day.

      • Amy March

        I am drinking so much tea this month! And my new Kindle needs my love.

        • Jess

          New Kindles need constant contact. This is a well known fact.

        • Violet

          I’m getting my very first Kindle later this month as a birthday gift! I’m very excited to be able to read more without lugging heavy books around/trying to find places to store them in our apartment.

          • Laura C

            If your local library has ebooks it is the absolute best. Not just because you save money but because you can be like “huh, I have half an hour and I would like to read something new” and get something from the library then and there. And sure, sometimes the things you really want have a wait list, but there’s almost always something to get.

          • Violet

            I am very psyched for this aspect as well! For fiction I read mostly what’s already in the public domain (I like… old literature) but for non-fiction I want the current stuff!

          • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

            Yes! I’ve discovered so many books I should have loved my whole life! I think my favorites are the Katy series by Susan Coolidge.

        • Rebekah

          If you have Prime, you get a free kindle book every month.

          • Violet

            WHAT!? This is gonna be so great.

          • GotMarried!

            Is it a specific book for free or just whichever one?

      • lildutchgrrl

        Hibernation sounds lovely. (I also got new tea, and soft peppermints for my hot chocolate.) Instead I have arranged to do some major decluttering while I put away holiday decorations. We’ve also instituted a “2 things out for 1 thing in” rule this year to avoid so much Stuff.

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          I’m starting my decluttering project tonight! I’m mixing a drink and listening to Lauren Graham’s autobiograpy while I do it, and I’m so excited.

  • Ashlah

    *whisper yells* I’m pregnant! We found out two days after the last Happy Hour. It happened a lot quicker than we anticipated, and we were completely astonished (and excited! I always assumed it would take husband some time to move from anxious to excited, but he cried tears of joy later that day). We’ve only told my mom and his parents (and his parent only because there were no good excuses for not drinking with them Christmas week). I’m about six weeks, have very mild symptoms so far, and our first ultrasound is in a week. I simultaneously want to tell everyone I know, and not tell anyone until baby is here. Very weird to be literally carrying around a secret inside you. Thinking of other APWers who are trying to conceive. I hope you had similar luck over the holidays, or that it finds you soon. <3

    • Jessica

      congrats!

    • Lisa

      Eeeeeeeeeeee, congratulations!! I’m so happy for you guys!

    • Gaby

      yaaaaayy, congrats!! How exciting.

    • emilyg25

      Congratulations!!!

    • idkmybffjill

      Oh my goodness congratulations!!!!!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      Aaaah! Congratulations!!

    • BSM

      Congrats!!!! So excited for you, Ashlah!

      It didn’t happen for us in December (we’ve decided my uterus needed some time alone after that horrific IUD removal experience the week before…), but ovulation happens again this weekend :)

      • Ashlah

        Oof yeah, that sounded awful. Best of luck, I hope this is your cycle!

    • AGCourtney

      Yayyy! Congratulations, Ashlah.

  • a. non

    my husband ended up telling me right before christmas that he wants us to spend christmas with his family (across the country from mine) next year. it’s a completely reasonable request because we’ve never done that (he’s never asked before and has always worked a job that wouldn’t let him travel during that time), but it meant I felt kind of sick to my stomach going through all my family holiday traditions this year thinking I wasn’t going to get to do them next year. a lot of tears from me and dreading next year instead of being able to enjoy this year. other than that the holiday was great, which I really am thankful for, but the idea of spending christmas somewhere else next year is making me dread this whole year.

    • Amy March

      Oh I hope this feels less awful for you soon!

    • sofar

      I feel you. My husband and I did separate holidays this year (so we could each be with our families) but I know I may eventually have to spend Xmas with his family someday. And it kills me. Because my family’s holiday traditions are WAY more awesome. And it will require some hard-core adulting to not be a moody, pissy Christmas-ruiner for his family. I know I’m a grown-up and I’m not supposed to feel that way, but, when the day comes, I WILL CRY SO MUCH.

      • a. non

        I really want to suggest separate christmases but I know that when he’s envisioning christmas with his family, I’m a part of that. but it is only january 3rd and the idea is already/still giving me asthma attacks.

        • Ashlah

          I think it’s fair to bring it up and discuss it. My husband and I have always done separate Christmases, though I understand (I think) that your husband has always been with your family, so it’s not quite the same. Still, it’s always fair to simply have a conversation, especially if it’s causing you this much grief. At the very least, it might help you feel better to have your husband acknowledge your feelings (and maybe you’ll find he’s struggled with some of the same over the years).

          • Jess

            Having my feelings acknowledged always helps me feel calmer about things.

            You can even say, “I know you’ve been through this, since we’ve done Christmas exclusively without your family, so I’m hoping you can relate to me right now and let me know that what I’m feeling is ok. I’m feeling sad about the idea of not seeing my family at Christmas and [insert other assorted feelings here].”

        • LucyPirates

          I had a crying meltdown in the middle of Christmas shopping when new husband kept overriding the plans and things I was suggesting for Christmas as we were spending it with his family and it was my first year away from mine and I felt like he was RUINING Christmas with his stupid family things they always do, not like mine… #mature. As he is less close to his family, I don’t think he understood the turmoil I felt.

          However, fair is fair. There are sometimes you have to suck it up and as Grace above wisely suggests, an open mind has helped me embrace some things that I actually do really love and want to incorporate going forward (going real tree shopping!) and some things that Mr Pirates has seen from my family and said maybe it is better to do that.

          I actually wouldn’t be averse to separate Christmases but as someone who is very close to her Family of Origin, I think it is better in the long run for me to prioritise my new team a little more.

          • GotMarried!

            I try and cling to my husband and my alternating schedule with this. Yes, the holidays we spend with his family of origin suck for me. They don’t celebrate RIGHT :). But I know that next year/next holiday will be “MINE” and he’ll go along with pretty well whatever i want to plan. In the long-run, I hope we can develop more “our” traditions, but as this is our first year married and second as a couple; I have to focus on the silver lining.

      • idkmybffjill

        We did it for the first time this year. His family doesn’t really have traditions. It was sad, but next year is my year woohooooo!

    • Grace

      As someone who has been there, it’s definitely hard to be away from your family and traditions on Christmas. There were tears my first Christmas away from my family, but after a couple rotations (and a couple just me and my husband), I feel like I appreciate the way they do things. With my family, Christmas was always a rush through a couple different states trying to see both sides of the family. With my husband’s, everyone is local or gone, so it’s much more relaxing. Plus his family has littles, and mine isn’t there yet, so that’s a lot of fun. You can know you’ll be sad, and feel the sadness, but also leave yourself open to other traditions (or lack thereof) and appreciate a different way to celebrating. And if you call your mom on Christmas Eve and/or day sobbing because it’s not the same, well you’re not the only one.

  • Jessica

    This was the hardest holiday season I’ve ever been through. My husband is in full-on mental breakdown (depressive episode is the clinical term), not spending nights at home and is in such a dark place I have seriously worried that he will end his life. I finally told his mom what was going on when they didn’t hear from him over Christmas and she called me to tell me she was worried.

    He seems to have turned a small corner after the weekend, coming home last night and telling me he was feeling slightly better about everything. I’m still extremely worried about him overall and he is resistant to getting help. He is spending most days and nights at coworkers’ homes and I have no way to contact them.

    I also sprained my wrist yesterday. Everything hurts.

    • Another Meg

      Oh darling. I’m so sorry that you’re going through all of that – family with mental illness, sprained wrist, the whole enchilada.

      I have no sage advice for you situation. I can only say that I hope you’re taking care of yourself while dealing with your husband’s illness, and that your internet friends are rooting for your family.

    • Nic.

      I am sorry for you, please take care of you, sending internet-hugs and good vibes.

    • Amy March

      I’m worried about you! I hope you are taking care of yourself through all this and that you are getting the help you need to process and figure out healthy boundaries.

      • Jessica

        Other than the emotional stress than would be inevitable, I’m OK. Hanging out with friends, back to work today, connecting with family, exercising, and I just started taking a low-dose anti-depressant (which helps keeps negative thoughts from spiraling out of control).

    • Jess

      Sending you a big bundle of comforting thoughts and strength.

    • Violet

      I was thinking about you and wondering if/hoping things were improving. It sounds like there’s some movement in the right direction. *hugs*

    • Ashlah

      Thinking about you. I hope things start to get better, and that you continue taking care of yourself. <3

    • Katherine

      Sending good thoughts your way. Take care of yourself and be proud of yourself for surviving these tough times.

  • Nic.

    To the wonderful person who directed me to Captain Akward ? I’ve been reading the “rejection” section like mad and it’s doing me a bit of pain and lots of good.
    Thank you APW readers for being awesome :-)
    (otherwise? horrible holidays where mom gaslights dad, childhood friend committed suicide and two friends lost their dads, let’s try this new year shall we?)

    • Jess

      I love Captain Awkward. So full of good approaches and attitudes.

      I’m sorry that your holidays had so many hard things going on. Loss at a time that tends to be family focused can be really really tough.

  • ruth

    The holidays were tough this year – my parents are currently in the process of getting divorced after 45 years of marriage – and I’m trying to figure out how to handle their divorce as a 33 year old adult. I think people have the assumption that if your parents separate, you were a child at the time – and also that a parents’ divorce is easier on adults than it is on children. It is and it isn’t. Sometimes I find myself longing for the pass we give little kids to grieve/ scream/cry/be emotional – whereas as an adult I feel like I’m expected to handle it well, be very adult about it (maybe more adult than my parents are currently being.) It’s a very necessary divorce – I certainly wouldn’t want them to spend their remaining years together if they were going to be miserable. I love them and I want them to be happy, but I’m still grieving the family I had. It’s also a sobering reminder that your relationship is never really out of the woods – I genuinely believe my parents were happy together at 20 years of marriage, even 30, but not at 40. I find myself crying to my husband asking what we’ll be like 20 years from now. He assures me we have the kind of good communication skills my folks always lacked. And I think that’s true. But one never knows. Anyway, it was hard to go through the motions of holiday rituals with my folks (which they were hell bent on doing) without the emotional reality behind them.

    • idkmybffjill

      Man, I am so sorry. That would be devastating. My parents have been divorced since I was 2, but if my stepmom and my dad broke up it would shake my world. I’m glad your husband has been there for you!

    • Emily

      I can really empathize with this. My parents divorced when I was 19, and as the eldest children I was also expected to handle it like an adult. It’s hard having to put on that face. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

    • slmrlln

      My parents divorced when I was 28 and it was tough, for exactly the reasons you describe. I love both of my parents and they are clearly happier apart, but their divorce changed my own internal narrative about myself and my childhood in ways that I wasn’t really prepared for and that upset me a lot. Grieving your family is important. Even if all of your family members are still there in your life, even if your individual relationships remain strong, losing the collective family bond still hurts and it’s important to acknowledge that. Even if you think the divorce is a good idea for your parents’ sakes, you can still be sad about it for your own sake.

      And for the future, you and your husband can do things in your own way. I guess every marriage has rough patches, but yours can be different than your parents’, and you can have different outcomes. I got married about two years after my parents divorced and while it did make me more anxious about the future, my now-husband’s support helped me keep it together through the worst parts. That makes me hopeful for the future.

      • ruth

        Thank you. Thank all of you. This was incredibly touching and helpful to read. Sometimes the kindness of internet strangers brings tears to my eyes. So thank you- and I sincerely wish you all the best

    • Louise

      Oh I know this. Ugh. My parents divorced when I was 19 or 20, and I did not expect to have an emotional reaction because I knew it was coming (and it was LONG overdue). I agree, its not worse or better whenever your parents divorce, but there are some sneaky things that pop up when you’re an adult child of divorce… there’s the part where your parents lean on you for emotional support, (even if they don’t mean to–they are hurting and what are you going to do, ignore that?) and then there’s how to divide up your time (this is the part that I hated the most– if you’re a kid when your parents divorce, THEY negotiate where you’ll go for holidays, etc., and then maybe that sets a precedent for when you’re an adult. But when you’re an adult when they separate, YOU have to negotiate and make sure everything is fair, etc, which is exhausting. It took a few years, and thankfully we have all settled into a set up that everyone can deal with)… and the part where you are supposed to not care as much or at all because you don’t live with them, etc. I ended up getting panic attacks and eventually getting on anxiety meds for a while (which helped immensely for my particular situation–probably some underlying anxiety all along…) Let yourself take time to deal with it, and don’t hesitate to talk to a professional!

    • Sosuli

      This is a couple days late, but just wanted to say I feel you 100%. I was 25 when my parents divorced after 30+ years together. Two and a half years on it is still hard. I cried more than once over the holidays remembering how happy our family used to be at Christmas time. The thing I’ve appreciated in hindsight is learning how important both grieving and forgiveness are. Make sure you have the space to express yourself to someone honestly about how you’re feeling will really help in not taking out the hurt on your parents.

      ETA: I’ll look out for you here on Happy Hour, do post if there’s anything you need to let out.

  • Another Meg

    Survived! Only a couple of weird moments where people put their hands on my belly without permission! Family was at a predictable level of terrible, which is better than I expected.

    2017 is going to be better. Or we’ll all die in a nuclear holocaust. Woo!

    • Ashlah

      My husband’s great aunt put her hand on my stomach at 4 weeks along and told me I was having a boy. “Well, there’s not really anything there yet…”

      • Rebekah

        “Muriel, that’s just a bowel movement.”

    • So much uninvited belly touching. Also generally being made to feel like a vessel vs a person. Still got one more trip home (to my family, holidays were spent with my husband’s family) before I can’t travel anymore… where several more people will probably address me to my bump. My eyes are up here!

      • Another Meg

        “My eyes are up here” is perfect. I’m going to remember that. I have to survive this until May.

        Fingers crossed that your family doesn’t drive you too crazy.

    • Yet another Meg

      The belly touching thing is so weird…my mother-in-law is especially fond of it. I was however at a Christmas party recently where the first words from a friend of my husband’s family were that she promised “not to be a creepy belly toucher”. I thought that was quite nice of her.

  • Gaby

    I had my first real “introvert hangover” on the 27th after four days of constant socialization with friends or family. It was a wonderful holiday weekend but I called in and spent the day barely even talking to my husband and recovering, we both needed it! New Year’s weekend was much more relaxed and we spent a lot of time at home watching things together and cooking, though we did go to our friend’s party. I think we’re learning and doing well on telling people when we’ve hit our hosting limits and need someone to take over for a weekend.

    • Morgan D

      Even as a 50/50 extro-/intro-vert, I was really struggling by the end of the 7th straight day with no solo or private time with my partner. Good on you for respecting and advocating your boundaries :)

      • Gaby

        It’s not easy! My mom is very extroverted and she was still exhausted after having some visitors over for a week. I think constantly having to be “on” can be hard for anyone.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      That’s awesome! I spent most of the weekend at home, and we had just a select few friends over for NYE. It was perfection.

    • Katherine

      Oh my goodness, I felt this so bad throughout the holidays. I was actually relieved to go back to work after Xmas since everyone was still on vacation and the office was quiet and empty.

  • Alli

    Thanks for all the advice on hosting Christmas everyone! We ended up having about 25 people in my very small rowhome, so instead of a regular Christmas dinner, I made everyone bring finger foods and we all just grabbed a bit of everything. It was a hit! People kept telling me it was such a good idea and that we should do more holidays like that. My cousin and her gf were kind enough to remind me to drink (both water and wine) throughout the evening and I actually quite enjoyed myself.

    Anyone wanna share their resolutions? Someone here mentioned doing positive resolutions so I tried to keep mine from being negative. Mine are:

    – Reach the next level in bouldering. I’m stuck at V2/V3 and can’t even start V4s still.
    – Skip some family holidays and spend the time alone – ugh this one, my dad’s side has like a monopoly on holiday time. I’m expected to go to every single holiday at my grandmothers and have gotten crap for not attending a barbecue or dinner. No more!
    – Set up our guest bedroom
    – Go camping at least once

    • lildutchgrrl

      This year’s resolutions are:
      Reduce spending – no coffee, no soda, no fast food, no buying of “extras” without family discussion
      Increase exercise – 30min/day of walking, dance break, etc.
      Reduce clutter – 365 items or more gone by the end of the year (I sent 37 off today with givebackbox.com)
      Increase self-sufficiency – plant and harvest food, set up emergency supplies

      What kind of camping do you want to do?

      • Alli

        Ooh I’ve never heard of Give Back Box, good to know about that! I’m trying to clear out clutter this week.

        I want to backpack. I’ve got all the supplies to do a couple nights. We’ll probably do a loop trail for our first trip, one that’s maybe two days of hiking where we camp halfway through, just to get used to it and not be too far from the car just in case lol.

    • Amy March

      I usually do something fun (eat more oysters! watch more foreign films!) and I have a few along those lines I’m toying with (take dance classes! Swim every month of the year!). But, if I’m being honest with myself, my biggest goal for the year is losing weight. I hate how cliche it is, I hate how un-feminist it is, I don’t like that it feels negative, but even with all that it’s something I really really want to make happen. We’ll see- New Year’s resolutions aren’t finalized until the end of January right?

      • sofar

        I think doing something you WANT to do with your body, because you wanna do it, is the most feminist thing in the world. No matter what it is.

        But, yeah, with losing weight comes all the “congratulations” and mainstream approvals from people who you KNOW are approving of it because “female beauty = thin.” And it’s like, you can’t tell these people to eff off but at the same time it’s like, “Auhhhggghhh I don’t want your compliments, Judy, because I know it’s coming from a shitty place!”

        Over the years, fitness has happened to me due to other goals (ie, doing activities I love that require me to be SUPER fit). And lots of people around me feel like that’s an invitation to approach me with fat-shamey comments about other women because, hey, I’m fit and do fitness-y stuff, so I MUST think it’s OK to disparage others. It shocks the hell out of them when I respond with, “Hey, that’s an effed up thing to say. Be better than that.”

        • Anon for now

          This is such a hard time of year for me because so many people this time of year make weight loss resolutions and I struggled with anorexia throughout college. I genuinely have no idea how to be supportive when colleagues tell me “I want to lose weight and be thin” because I have such a complicated history with the topic.

          However, focusing on fitness as a resolution is something I can totally get behind (and really helped me during recovery). I do hate how fat-shamey it can make people, though. Body shaming is never cool.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            I have this same issue. My relationship with food and weight has been so negative over the years that now as an adult, I don’t know how to have realistic goals for my body or strategies to achieve those goals.

      • idkmybffjill

        If you wanted to make it “positive” you could totes just do, “Cook x number of meals myself, login into MFP every day” etc… those things will likely aide in wait loss but feel happier :).

      • scw

        I really like what sofar said below: “I think doing something you WANT to do with your body, because you wanna do it, is the most feminist thing in the world. No matter what it is.” don’t feel bad, cliche, or un-feminist! go for it!

      • Laura C

        I am not a resolutions person, but your pre-Christmas comment about resolving to do fun things inspired me to declare my resolution to be drinking more wine from our favorite winery … and then my husband gave me a membership in their pre-release program as a birthday present, so that worked out beautifully.

        • Amy March

          This is a fantastic resolution!

      • Katharine Parker

        I hear you on losing weight and why it is a difficult resolution for all the reasons you mention. It’s my resolution, too–only even more cliche, because I want to lose weight before my wedding. I’m casting it publicly as “taking better care of myself” but really, I want to look thin. Yes, working out, cooking more, and eating well have many more positive benefits, but right now, for me, it’s the weight loss.

        We can’t all be perfect bastions of body positivity all the time. If you decide that losing weight is your goal, good luck, be well, and I hope you find joy in it.

      • Jessica

        My resolution last year was to lose weight (after weighing in at the doctor after Thanksgiving and seeing an uncomfortable number, then thinking about what I was eating and how much I was drinking, it became and obvious thing to start doing). I became more mindful of being active every day, saw a personal trainer a few times and joined circuit training classes at my gym. Happily, I can now say I weigh an amount I’m comfortable with (and most of the time happy with!), but mostly I feel a ton better than I did a year ago.

        The thing about fitness is that weight is the easiest thing to measure, but if you’re goal oriented you can also do time trials in swimming, weight or rep goals that gradually increase, or logging walking/jogging/running miles if that’s your thing.

        I’m super goal-oriented, but also kind of lazy, so weight was my first goal. This year my fitness goal is to be able to do 100 push ups and hopefully a couple unassisted pull ups. I have to re-calibrate my current squat weight, but I’ll add that as a goal for lower body as well.

      • AmandaBee

        There’s nothing wrong with aiming for weight loss if it’s what you want and you approach it in a balanced way. But if it helps, I usually make health-related resolutions “positive” by focusing on the behaviors/habits associated with weight loss, rather than the pounds themselves. So this year I’m focused on stuff like:
        – making sure I’m getting 4 doses of veggies and 8 glasses of water a day (see also, not subsisting on coffee and wine)
        – preparing my meals instead of eating out, except for pre-planned meals out with friends/husband
        – being consistently active, but not beating myself up if that just means a walk some days
        – finding things to do with my emotions other than eat (or drink) them away

        My one “negatively” framed goal is to avoid drinking in January, but I’ve framed that in my head as re-evaluating my relationship with wine and coming up with other ways to relax/connect with friends that aren’t alcohol-centric.

        We’re all different and some people like the solid indicator that weight/weight loss gives them, but I’ve always found it frustrating and limiting because my weight depends on so many things that have nothing to do with my health. So if you find yourself struggling with that, focus on consistent habit-building (which can be more concrete than my wishy-washy goals) will likely lead to weight loss, but possibly work better for you.

        • louise danger

          re-framing things like that has been super helpful for me (both in terms of concrete goals and in a broader sense – “sorry i’m late” re-framed as “thank you for waiting for me!” or “sorry i forgot to start the dishwasher” re-framed as “thank you for understanding why we’re drinking out of solo cups this evening”) and my anxiety.

          good luck with your january goal! i believe in you!

        • Jane

          I’m doing a dry January too! And you’re right, I don’t think of it as a negative so much as helping me keep my relationship with alcohol healthy so I don’t just jump to alcohol for unwinding, socializing, celebrating, etc.

      • Emma

        I want to lose weight because my sister was just diagnosed with diabetes brought on by her weight. I would like to avoid that fate.

      • Arie

        I try to make those resolutions positive as well, and more concrete. Instead of saying I want to lose weight, I pick some things I want my body to be able to do by the end of the year, and I figure it’ll look however it needs to look to be able to do those things.

    • Meredith

      Your resolutions are awesome! Fun and productive. Me too on the guest room! I spent the weekend working on organizing and starting to decorate my guest room. It was turning into a dumpster and there’s nothing on the wall. It was such a sad place.
      Good luck with yours!

    • Morgan D

      Oh! Always nice to encounter another climber! Never got past V2 myself (except for the occasional mantle-y route). My resolution is simply to get back on the wall (top roping) after a year off :)

      • Alli

        I’d love to try top roping again at some point. My gym has it but I absolutely panic when I get high up, which is why I’ve stuck to boulders, and mostly low problems at that!

    • scw

      goals for the new year: defend my dissertation and finish my phd program, get a job, go on a vacation, prioritize self care

      your christmas sounds great! we decided to do something similar for nye, menu-wise, which was just graze on finger food all night and it was perfect. I think ate more and felt better the next morning than I would have if we’d just done a sit down dinner because I was constantly soaking up the bubbly.

    • Gaby

      I’m probably going to steal the camping one! It’s been over two years for me I think. The rest is a rough draft because as Amy March said, resolutions don’t get finalized until the end of the month :) So far I have:
      -finally take a big trip somewhere overseas
      -get more organized at work (so that I don’t bring work home with me so often)
      -write
      -make that book of mom’s recipes I’ve been promising her for years

    • MC

      The big one is that I want to go to Mexico & take a Spanish immersion course – I used to be good at conversational Spanish but it’s lapsed over the years. I would also like to go backpacking twice (have only ever managed to go once a year) and be a good auntie & friend to my SIL and friends who have new babies.

      • RNLindsay

        I like the last part! 2 friends had babies this past year, and found out over christmas my brother and wife are pregnant now! I’m having fun playing aunt and it’s making me a little more comfortable around kids/babies

    • JC

      Happy to share mine!
      1. Reduce waste. This is going to mean more buying in bulk, cutting out plastic packaging, and shopping for groceries at farmer’s markets and CSA opportunities. I’m including eating more vegetables here, because I love vegetables and am excited to go pick them out.
      2. Take care of my knees. This means regular exercise, cutting sugar and oil (I got lazy during the holidays), and taking all my meds regularly.
      3. Making a three year plan with the boyfriend. Topics include vacation planning, savings and budget goals, wedding planning (?!), and other things we might want to do, like take dance classes.

    • Katherine

      I want to set up a Vanguard account, take at least one weekend trip a month (we love road trips), and run my first trail marathon! So stability combined with a health dose of adventure.

    • Grace

      I was at that plateau for a while! Does your gym have any technique classes? The gym I used to go to had a whole progression of classes from beginner to more advanced techniques. It really helped me get to the next grade of bouldering!

      • Alli

        They do but at times that are more geared towards college and high school students :/ I’ve suggested weekends but they’ve yet to add them. Here’s hoping 2017 brings more convenient class times!

    • Hopes for the year:
      Daily:
      – Restart my daily yoga practice: Just finished up six months of physical therapy and I’m really excited to get back into a regular yoga practice
      – Swap phone games for reading time (downloaded a bunch of free classics to my phone)
      Monthly:
      – Monthly massages: both for simple self-care and on the recommendation of my physical therapist
      – Get that side hustle launched: partner’s med school match is just over a year away, so I’m looking to start on some small projects to hopefully build into a bit of a side income that can see me through the impending move
      Yearly:
      – Solo travel: hopefully this looks like a trek to Europe to visit my sister and explore a little
      – Backpack locally at least once

  • Mary Jo TC

    Is anyone else small-talked out? Our holidays consist of a few BIG parties with lots of people that we see rarely, so we end up telling the same 2-3 funny anecdotes about the kids to every person, and feeling no closer to anyone. I wish I knew a way to have deeper conversations in settings that seem designed to prevent that from happening (large crowds, lots of noise, lots of interruptions, small children to mind).
    Also, I realized that I find the way my family makes plans really stressful because I have some baggage around being constantly left out that makes me anxious. I got a little triggered when we were planning a weekend trip in April that my parents are gifting my siblings and me, and also when we went out to see Rogue One together on the 26. There are a lot of us, and we insist on consensus, so it feels like there’s pressure to go along with what seems to work for everyone else, even if it doesn’t work well for you, so you’re not the one making it hard for everyone else, and not left out. Also smaller plans like the movie night get made at the last minute, and my mom fills up all our extra time while we’re in town visiting her with last-minute trips to the zoo or whatever. When I mentioned that the family trip, while better than material gifts, can sometimes be such a hassle to plan that it’s more an imposition than a gift, my siblings shut me down so hard that I feel like I can’t even voice any opposition to any plans, no matter how inconvenient.

    • Violet

      Not quite small talk, but my in-laws tell the same stories over and over. And it’s like, I guess it’s cute/funny the first time you hear it? But by the time you’ve heard it a dozen times, it’s like, don’t you have anything else to talk about other than things that happened 20 years ago!?

      • Mary Jo TC

        Ugh, that’s the worst. For me this time, it was explaining my 3-year-old’s latest entertaining game: pretending to be Frosty the Snowman–put the hat on his head and he opens his eyes and says Happy Birthday. Yes, it’s adorable, but by the 8th time I explain it (and the 537th time I play it with him) I’m sick of it.

      • lizzers

        Yes! And I’m not sure if they have forgotten that they’ve told me this story (which, okay maybe for some of them) or if they remember they’ve told me but just keep plowing forward! I think my MIL feels like she needs to re-tell me the family stories to imprint them on my memory and I don’t know how to politely say that I can maintain adequate recall after a single telling.

        • Amy March

          My family tells and retells stories to each other all the time. Nothing to do with forgetting or needing to imprint on you, it’s more of like sharing the family mythology and taking pleasure in storytelling.

          • Jess

            I am going to re-contextualize those who tell the same stories all the time to sharing lore. Thank you!

        • CII

          My MIL does this, and I can’t figure out a way to stop it. I’ve even politely said “Oh, you told me this last Christmas” or “Oh, is this the one where [spoiler] happens?” but those go unnoticed or uncared about…the story goes on.

        • Jessica

          My MIL will tell me the same story 2-3 times IN A ROW. It gets bad. I have no idea how to stop her. Her children have no idea how to stop her (and have called her out on it). It’s just something she does.

        • Violet

          In their case, I’m pretty sure they know they’ve told it a million times. When they talk about things that happened decades ago, it seems to maybe be a bonding thing for them? Maybe if I’d been a player in any of the stories, I’d enjoy them more. But since I wasn’t there, then I’m excluded from the bonding and have to force-laugh along. And let’s be clear, I’ve had a dozen holiday seasons with them, so it’s not like we haven’t had time to forge new memories. They just… don’t seem interested in doing that.

          • Ashlah

            But since I wasn’t there, then I’m excluded from the bonding and have to force-laugh along.
            Isn’t that exhausting? I think I’ve just realized this is why our visits with my husband’s parents are so tiring for me. They spend hours reminiscing and telling stories about people they know/knew, which makes for great bonding time for my husband, but I am so beat by the end of our visits. Socializing is exhausting enough as an introvert, but when there’s nothing for me to relate to or contribute…whew.

          • Violet

            I’m not an introvert or extrovert, but I find it dull! And really, either they’re socially inept and don’t realize how boring it is, or they do realize and they don’t care. Which is a little mean. I’ve tried to come up with a more charitable theory, but knowing them overall, it’s probably a little of Column A, a little from Column B, with a side dish of they really don’t have much in common with each other except for being related. So I deal. But yes, as you say, so tiring!

        • Emma

          My MIL does this too and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I say “ohh yess, I think you told me about this!” as if I too am just remembering and it’s ringing a bell. But she still plows on and tells me for the 2nd (and more often 3rd, 4th and on) time anyway…

    • idkmybffjill

      Oh. my. god. yes.
      My husband and I spent Christmas with his aunt (also his adoptive parent) just the three of us. We don’t really connect with her (although of course we love her) so it is just small talk all day every day. Toward the end I was like, “LET’S PLAY A GAME” and kicked myself for not thinking of it sooner.

    • JC

      My situation is different, but I’m feeling some of the same things you’re feeling. My cousins have been pushing to move from gifts for everyone to a gift exchange (secret santa, but probably not actually secret) for a few years now. It just doesn’t work well for me, for the way I give gifts and show affection, for how my family of origin does holidays, for how my boyfriend and I do holidays, and the fact that my boyfriend and I are the only ones who don’t live locally. I felt pressured into saying yes in order to be a good family member, as well as rather offended that my gifts and preferred gift-giving method were being called “junk” and “not good enough” (mostly implicitly, a little bit explicitly). It feels like an imposition I agreed to under duress.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        My husbands family moved to a gift exchange this year, and it was SO awkward. My love language is gifts, and I LOVE Christmas and buying things for everyone. Their family isn’t even that large. It just felt like “getting you an individualized gift is just not worth our time.”

        • Ashlah

          Our family moved to a White Elephant exchange a few years ago. Logistically and financially it does make sense because we have 35 people at our Christmas, but it was (and sometimes still is) an adjustment. Part of my joy came from the big loud mess of a bunch of people unwrapping gifts at once, and the gifts were at least somewhat personalized. Now we take turns, and the gifts are as non-personalized as possible, and vary a lot in basic usefulness. This year my 6-year-old cousin opened a shot glass that had some slogan on it about being a bitch. I’d rather draw names, or maybe do a themed exchange or something, so there’s some thought put into it.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            I’ve never been a fan of White Elephant. I always try to buy things that anyone would love to receive, but not everyone puts in as much effort. My main joy in exchanging gifts is spending the time curating something for a specific individual and knowing that they did the same for me. I think I just build it up too much in my head.

        • JC

          Ugh, I’m so sorry. That’s very much how I felt at the suggestion. Hopefully, over the years, the new tradition starts to feel more natural and you find other ways to express your love for them with other gifts!

  • lildutchgrrl

    This year my wife and I changed up Xmas a little — we did the traditional family dinner/gift exchange on the 24th, and kept breakfast/presents/movie at my parents’ on the 25th (although we switched it up a little to account for work schedules), but then we moved on to other gatherings with friends — a Yule potluck and a Jewish Christmas Chinese buffet with karaoke and board games — and spent the night at our own place. That was good. I’m still hoping very hard that it will be our last holiday season without kids (oh! also, we asked some friends to lead a ritual to help us handle the adoption wait), so next year we could lean in on family traditions or create some new ones with the baby family. I liked the potluck (swordfish is yummy! did you know?) and Tarot NYE gathering, too. No fireworks, no booze (except for what was in the divine chocolate mousse), no noise. Lovely.

  • RNLindsay

    Some of you might recall a post to happy hour about my in-laws deciding in late Nov that we would all fly to DC for Christmas to be with my SIL’s parents (and I would have to catch a flight 1 hr after my shift ended on Christmas Eve)… well after lots of stress, things worked in our favor! SIL & BIL had a fight right before Thanksgiving. SIL and her parents pulled out on Thanksgiving last minute and also cancelled Christmas in DC! We had already booked the flight which sucked but it meant a small cozy Christmas with my local in-laws. It was nice and calm, with only one Trump reference, since BIL & SIL weren’t there (he tends to be the instigator in family fighting/drama if you can’t tell). We still don’t really know what’s up with them – they are acting as if nothing is wrong and its no big deal to cancel holidays like that, after everyone has already made travel arrangements.
    We spent NYE weekend with my family in CT, pretty low key. And I got to take my Grandma out to a nice lunch which was lovely. We don’t get to spend as much quality time together lately as I would like.
    We have a pretty packed next few months- lots of friend things and a 2 week vacation in March to China and the Maldives! As an introvert, it overwhelms me a bit but we plan to start trying to get pregnant later this year, so I feel like now is the time to say yes to allthethings and enjoy our lack of responsibility as much as possible! Happy New Year all!

    • Jess

      Minus the sunk cost of the tickets, I’m SO GLAD that the holiday arrangements fell through. That whole situation seemed absurd, and it sounds like it worked out really well.

  • Violet

    Holidays were very interesting. My spouse and I took a vacation for Christmas rather than do family stuff like usual. (Though I did do a little thing with my mom and sister the weekend before.) And it was… awesome. Would highly recommend.
    Missed you guys!

  • Emma

    Stephanie, I completed related to this line “Some years, this means you end up getting into a big fight with the in-laws that don’t get you. Other years, this means you and your mother-in-law happy-cry about life on the back porch together” – while I’ve only been married for 1.5 years, my husband and I have been together for 10 (!!) and it seems that every time I see my in-laws I do not know what to expect. Glad to know I’m not alone in this!

  • rg223

    I missed the last Happy Hour so I was really looking forward to this today!

    Aside from the world making it hard to get excited about the holidays, my dad got a cancer diagnosis two weeks before Christmas, and had a tumor removed the week before – making my parents unable to join me, my sister, and both sides of the family for the holiday weekend. BUT, we got word on Christmas Eve that my dad will not need radiation and chemotherapy!!! Which is Christmas-miracle-level, especially because my dad has a wide variety of other health problems (including a terminal illness unrelated to cancer), and bad news feels par for the course for him. So, all things considered, my holidays were overall positive – and I loved watching my son play with his cousins and great-grandparents, say ‘wow’ when he opened a present, and point out stars on the Christmas tree (he is one, so this is a big deal). Happy New Year to everyone here!

    • Ashlah

      Wow, what a stressful holiday! SO glad you got good news after his surgery!

      • rg223

        Yeah, me too – thank you so much! The most stressful thing was waiting to hear the results and potentially having bad news before Christmas – but thankfully it all worked out!

    • gonzalesbeach

      oof that sounds extremely stressful, but glad you got positive news on Christmas eve and made some lovely memories with your son.

      • rg223

        Thank you!

  • Laura C

    Survived is right. Pretty much. I got up to change and feed the baby at 2:45am the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning before Christmas and ended up having to call through the baby monitor to my husband when I found myself nearly passing out, bathed in sweat. If it wasn’t a norovirus, it was doing a damn good imitation — super intense stomach bug that, thankfully, passed pretty quickly. Only then my husband got it 25 hours later. And obviously we were assuming the baby would. Then my MIL got sick the day after arriving here and not getting to see my husband and barely getting to see the baby, but luckily I knew she hadn’t caught it from us because the incubation period didn’t work. She ended up going to urgent care and being told to go to the emergency room in case of appendicitis, but turned out to just have some inflammation from something she ate. But the baby didn’t get sick and everyone got at least somewhat better, so we made it to the VRBO about 18 hours after we’d planned, but feeling like we’d dodged a bullet. And it was gorgeous — hot tub, sauna, incredible views — except … there were ants everywhere. I mean everywhere. Apparently they come out when it rains, and California has had so little rain that they didn’t show up as a major feature of the VRBO customer reviews, but this year, it’s been raining.

    Anyway, I just wrote this year off as not really Christmas. Bay area weather does not give me any kind of Christmas feel, we weren’t anywhere with a tree, we didn’t have the energy to even wrap presents because of being sick, etc. So Christmas dinner was on the table an hour late because my MIL burned her first lemon cake and instead of scrapping it, tried to do another before dinner? And the vegetables had been cooked hours earlier and sat out getting cold and were unappealing, so I just served myself meat and potatoes, and then I went to put the baby to bed in the middle of dinner because he was melting down because of the hour late thing and when I came back my plate had been cleared so seconds were out of the question? Eh, it was kind of bullshit, but it didn’t happen on Christmas as far as I was concerned.

    And then it ended on a nice note because my husband and I and his brother and cousin went out and hung out in the hot tub under an amazing set of stars, and my husband and I and the baby stopped at our favorite winery and at In N Out on the drive home then next morning.

    • Ashlah

      Oh my, that sounds horrible! Not much of a vacation at all! So sorry to hear. I’m glad you’re all feeling better and are back home. That last night/morning at least sounds wonderful.

  • guesty guest

    my youngest niece, who is now about ten, sang “where are you christmas?” as part of our annual christmas play the kids put on, and it made me realize I might want kids after all. I started crying right then and there, but luckily everyone else was crying too so no one noticed. ha!

    • guesty guest

      was trying not to give any clues about my identity away by saying “who is now about ten” but it just made me sound like I don’t know how old my nieces are.

      • Jess

        I just interpreted that as 10 give or take a few months.

      • Lexipedia

        Hey, I lose track of how old my siblings are. No judgement.

      • :) I can just about keep track of how old my own kid is, but not really anyone else anymore, so it always surprises me more when people do know how old other people’s kids are.

  • lamarsh

    The holidays went very well. My fiance and I spent the whole week with my family and since we are usually spread out over three states and never see each other for more than a few days at a time, it was a very nice treat. On the flight home, we volunteered to move to a later flight (since our flight was overbooked) and got $1000 in travel credit. You would have thought we won the lottery. I heart Southwest.

    And one small brag, I finished the RunStreak this year where you run at least 1 mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Very proud of myself since I ran almost 100 miles and December is always the easiest month for me to give up on exercise, but I’m also very exhausted. I am ready for some yoga and rest this week.

    • Gaby

      Kudos on the streak! I’d never heard of it before but I think it’s a good idea, I found myself doing yoga youtube videos often in December to keep active despite not wanting to go out into the cold for the gym. Also yay for the Southwest credit! I also heart them and their affordable prices.

  • Sarah E

    So happy to have loving, awesome in-laws who provide us a cozy home whenever we go to visit. If the worst thing I can say is that they like to see us open gifts, so we had to fly back weighed down with books and bathrobes, I think we’re doing pretty well.

    Still working on relationship with Dad. Felt really good about helping him out around the house rather than sitting around chatting for a few hours. He needs it done, I feel better having actually taken care of something. Still a work in progress.

    We also moved for the first of January, and though it felt less Christmas-y because the apartment was in tatters, definitely recognized the importance of our best friend, who is basically the third person in our family. Between Christmas day naps/meals/movies, and Boxing Day moving loads, she’s hugely important to us, and we always appreciate spending Christmas with her.

    Also still working on acceptance of the fact that if I’d like to stay in the service industry (specialized though I aim to make it), I will be working on holidays, and I can either do that grumpily or cheerfully. All my anti-capitalist rants will not magically make the owners show up to bartend on Christmas Eve, nor do I wish to quit my job any time soon.

    And rituals. Definitely need more defined rituals (carol sing, tree lighting, food, whatever) to make it feel like a festival and not like another day off.

    • Gaby

      I like the sentiment of making it more like a festival, I might carry that with me for 2017’s holidays.

  • Kate

    A bittersweet Christmas and end to 2016. Suppose it’s comforting that such a hard, hard year is over. My mother’s only brother died in November, so our usual holiday rituals were punctuated by tears and grief. Hearing my mother sing along to the original version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” through tears broke my heart: “Someday soon we all will be together, if the fates allow. Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow, so have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”

    • Lexipedia

      Why does nobody sing that version? It’s so much more meaningful, and yet all of the recorded versions seem to replace it with the “hang a shining star…” verse.

      I’m very sorry to hear about your uncle, I hope that 2017 brings you all a bit of joy to temper those tears.

    • Ashlah

      This brought tears to my eyes. So sorry for your family’s loss.

  • Jess

    We survived. Family was family, my mom tried to dump some of her disappointment of my brother and his gf splitting time between both families onto me. I did not allow that to land on my shoulders for more than a couple minutes (a win!).

    We got to hang out with my brother for a couple hours, which is always awesome, and took a walk to see Rogue One, which was pretty fun.

    New Years was great, but had a lot of peopling – game nights and a party and a long night at the bar and snowboarding with a friend and bachlor watch party. As my brother and his gf have started saying, I feel like I’m “out of words”, so it’s time for a nice January tea-and-book hibernation, with occasional excursions for snowboarding.

    • Noelle

      Hell yeah for surviving the holidays.

  • Anon

    This holiday season when we applied what we learned throughout 2016. Last Christmas ended with a blowup fight between my parents and my husband and I, which nearly ruined our marriage. We spent months in therapy working through how to manage our relationship with them and how to become a better couple. I wasn’t so sure how 2016 was going to end, but I’m so so happy that it ended with my husband and I feeling more like a team than we have in years. We worked on implementing boundaries for ourselves, which included a limited time stay with my parents (2 night max!), backup plans in case things went south, and not being afraid to stand up to them if needed.

    Despite that positive note, I had so little holiday cheer this year. I hardly listened to Christmas music at all (something I usually can’t wait to do even until Thanksgiving, often sneaking listens in after Halloween), and while we did put up a tree, we didn’t put on any ornaments – just the tree with lights. But, while I took notice of how weird that was for me, I just let it go and didn’t care. We made it through the year.

  • flashphase

    The holidays were great… for my family. For my fiance, not so much. He found out his mom was lying to him about something big for months. On top of her not only not helping with the wedding, but actively making things more difficult. And Christmas time is always hard for him because he feels sad that he doesn’t have a large, loving family (he has a small, toxic family with lots of drama). I’m not quite sure how to deal with this because you can’t change the family you get; on the other hand, he’s marrying into my family, which has been extra awesome around the wedding, welcoming him, etc. I am sympathetic but on the other hand I think there’s some just getting over it – this is the family he’s had his whole life, and it’s not going to change. Has anyone else dealt with this?

    • Ashlah

      Sometimes I struggle with how to help my husband deal with his feelings about his parents. I want to be supportive, but I also am tempted from time to time to want him to just get over it. Their unhappiness (or what he perceives as their unhappiness, which I don’t always agree with) can send him into a spiral sometimes, and I would love to help him get to a place of, “That’s their life, their choices, and it doesn’t have to affect me.” For him to be able to accept the Truth of who is parents are without it hurting him so much, because there is nothing he can do about it, would be a weight off his shoulders. But I know it’s not as simple as that. It is hard though. Solidarity.

    • Gaby

      I come from a large Hispanic extended family with too many cousins to count. I only have one more sibling than my husband but his family has been toxic and distant in the past. They’ve reached out since our engagement and our wedding day was the first time I met his dad, who lives in town. He’s definitely been down before about his family’s dynamics and the fact that they pretend everything is fine now and refuse to discuss the past. I think it just gets better over time the more he spends holidays with your family. Even with a language barrier, I can see that my husband has gotten more comfortable and is more himself every year that we get together. It’s easy for us to say “look they love you because I love you,” but it takes a while for that settle in for them to really feel that.

      • Jess

        “It’s easy for us to say “look they love you because I love you,” but it takes a while for that settle in for them to really feel that.”

        SO MUCH OF THIS! :D

    • Jess

      I am the person with a difficult family. The fun part about toxic families is that even when I know that they will hurt me, or let me down, they find new and surprising ways to do so. And every time, I think, “This time. This time is the one that I am going to be good enough that they will show up for me.” (Spoiler: there is no “good enough” for that).

      Your family being The Best Ever doesn’t change the fact that his family sucks. It doesn’t replace his family of origin, it doesn’t make up for parents rejecting him. It gives him people who do welcome him, but it doesn’t magically erase all the hurt.

      Personally, I have a hard time considering myself part of R’s family of origin, even though they have been mostly welcoming. I’m not saying that’s universal, but it may be part of what he’s feeling. It’s unfair to expect him to be like, “Yay new family now! Parents, your shitty-ness can’t touch me!”

      The idea of “getting over it” is sort of true – if I could flip a little switch and not care what my family does, I would have no more problems interacting with my family – but it’s a longer road than just rubbing some dirt in it and bucking up. Getting over it means blowing out the tiny candle of hope that I am worth having family that doesn’t try to hurt me. That tiny candle of hope that kept me going when I was a child and a teen and stuck where I was.

      Plus, a lot of times we normalize what we grow up with, and it’s only as adults that we realize that it was super screwed up. So “his whole life” really translates to “since he left home.” I’m not sure how long ago for him that was, but it took me about four years away to realize how things really were and I had a pretty severe breakdown when I did.

      It’s a hard journey, and even six years after breaking down, my wedding brought up a lot of opportunities to be let down by family again, which left me pretty raw about the whole thing.

      So… basically, if he’s working on it, patience and understanding that sometimes things are going to hurt. Make sure you’re not internalizing that pain and are taking care of yourself.

      If he’s not working on coping with the being let down? Maybe start getting him to a point where he is.

      • Vanessa

        I feel like you just wrote my life down. Dang. Thanks for sharing.

        • Jess

          It’s nice knowing we’re not alone. I’m also really sorry that this is true for you too.

    • Cellistec

      Yep, that’s us. I come from a big, warm, loud family, and my husband comes from a tiny, difficult (bordering on toxic) family. We’ve been together 6 years and this holiday season was the first that he didn’t have a meltdown about the contrast between my family of origin and his. Two things that helped were 1) therapy for him and 2) getting a dog, who (no joke) is my husband’s best friend now. The dog makes him feel like we have our “own” family that he can seek comfort in, rather than putting all his “family needs” in the family of origin basket. (As always, YMMV.)

  • Pingback: Yay! You Made It Through the Holidays – Jewelry Finder 4 U()

  • Fushigidane

    After 2.5 months, my clothes and hair accessories are here from China. Since it’s from China I was super nervous about things coming out and getting here ok. Even they were nervous about the hair accessories not breaking in transit. Now I have too many options since I bought a few different hair pieces in case something didn’t work out or broke XD. It appears I splurged quite a bit too. It’s such a relief to know that nothing got broken or looks poorly made. Here’s a preview of the dress

  • Emily

    This holiday season was…weird, in a word. My Grandpa went into hospice on Christmas Eve Eve and died the day after Christmas. He was 89, had a wonderful life and a good death, but it still has been really hard. I keep wanting to downplay it (“He was 89! So old”) but I was very very close to him and I ache. And the fact that he won’t be at my wedding? I can barely think about it. But the other big part of it was that I wasn’t there. I live in Chicago and he was in Portland with the rest of my family, and between not being there for him, for my mom, for my siblings, hurts. And actually it’s one of the [many] catapulting reasons my fiance and I started discussing moving back and settling there. I also think this holiday season was a big emotional one. It’s the last one I have before my fiance and I get married, before I turn 30, and I feel like a large part of my childhood was shed, for better or for worse. There’s some soul searching and mourning going on right now, but it’s good. I think I’ll come out on the other side more…me.

    I hope everyone had a lovely end of a tumultuous year!

    • Ashlah

      I’m so, so sorry to hear about your Grandpa.

    • MC

      Internet hugs – my husband & I are super close with his grandparents, who are in their 80’s, and I can only imagine how hard it will be when they die, even though they’ve had such a good long life. It’s totally normal to be mourning. Hope you get to be with your family soon.

    • Violet

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandpa. If you’re close with someone, it really doesn’t matter how old they lived until; you still want them around longer.

    • Jane

      Offering up more internet hugs. Your experience mirrors mine from 3 years ago with my own Grandpa and I struggled a lot with not having him at my wedding and still struggle substantially with the holidays. With respect to the wedding, what helped me was to find an unspoken way to honour him at the wedding. My bouquet (if you can even call it that) included one flower for each person who had passed. My dad also constructed our wedding altar out of wood from my grandparent’s property. I knew what these symbols meant but not having to talk about them helped me stay present and enjoy the day.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you’ve had a lovely relationship with him. Hugs to you.

    • Sorry for your loss. I felt the same way when my great-grandmother died. She was 94, she lived a good life… and how many 26-year-olds have a great-grandmother anyways? I even told my husband (then fiance) that he didn’t have to take off work come home with me for the funeral.

      But it was still sad and I bawled at her funeral. It’s ok to feel the loss, even if they were very old, even if you knew it was coming, even if they did have a good life and a good death. They’re still gone and you’re still allowed to be sad about it.

  • MC

    This Christmas/holiday season was very weird. Earlier in 2016 my mom & her partner of 15 years, who I think of as a stepdad, broke up, and this Christmas was the first time visiting her without him being there, which was sad. On top of that, my mom’s new boyfriend made a few misogynistic/xenophobic comments during the time we spent with him which really bothered my husband & I. It also bothers my mom and she calls it out, but it’s not a dealbreaker for her, which feels like a betrayal on some level since my mom raised me to be an outspoken activist on so many issues. It just sucks to have to adjust to another person in my mom’s life, and thus in my life, especially one who did not make a good first impression.

    BUT, positives: While in Florida Husband & I took a quick road trip to Miami and had SUCH a fun time and want to go back. I got to meet two of my cousins’ new babies. We had a relaxing and productive week home after Christmas before going back to work, and I had a great NYE & New Year’s Day celebrating with lots of friends. And we’re traveling next weekend to go meet our 2-month old nephew for the first time!

  • Fushigidane

    After 2.5 months, my clothes and hair accessories are here from China. Since it’s from China I was super nervous about things coming out and getting here ok. Even they were nervous about the hair accessories not breaking in transit. Now I have too many options since I bought a few different hair pieces in case something didn’t work out or broke XD. It appears I splurged quite a bit too. It’s such a relief to know that nothing got broken or looks poorly made. Here’s a preview of the dress https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8447f651d43f2b55bf993f783046bbfd550d4fdf4fdb97b92cb70c6cef82c582.png

  • Nicole

    I also have a *whisper yell* to share: talk of marriage and engagement got far more serious over the holidays between the bf and I – even though we spent them apart. I think we might actually get engaged in the next two months, which is A+++++++++. But, it also means I am starting to feel anxious about emotions and memories of my broken engagement getting stirred up. It’s been five years, I’ve done bucket loads of reflection and therapy, and have learned plenty about myself during time spent single and dating a few other people. But I haven’t been this close to getting engaged with anyone else I’ve dated, and honestly, the last days of my first engagement feel so close to me right now in some ways. This feels dorky to admit, but it is so strange to still be reading APW, 5-7 years later, on the brink of being engaged again to a different person. (And one who is so, so, so, SO MUCH BETTER for me in every single possible way.)

    • Ashlah

      Exciting!! I’m glad you’ve found someone better for you, and I hope you keep working through your complicated emotions and are able to jump in feet first with joy :)

    • louise danger

      as someone else who was engaged before, i will say that some of those echo-y feelings don’t really go away. but take comfort and strength from the knowledge that you picked the person you’re with now for a reason, and from what you said there: this person is “so, so, so, SO MUCH BETTER for [you].”

      also, you have a neat perspective on this thing – having ended one engagement, you have a chance to focus on the important-to-you parts of the wedding in a clearer way, to sift through the marketing more easily. relish that!

      /solidarity high-five

  • JC

    The holidays were great! It wasn’t easy to be away from his family, just as it wasn’t easy to be away from my family last year. But we had my whole mom’s side of the family together, and it was really delightful– there were so many little kids and lots of great food and we snuck in a bottle of wine that we managed to make go around the big kids’ table. Surprisingly, my vegetarian contribution went over very well, and it has a new name, given by my ten-year-old cousin, “JC’s Meatball Surprise,” the surprise being that there’s no meat in them.

    We realized over the weekend that unlike Christmas or Thanksgiving, we’ve never spent a New Year’s apart, so it’s starting to feel like “our” holiday. It was a fun discovery to start the year.

  • Brittany

    I was a little underwhelmed by our family Christmases (3 in total, since my parents are divorced.) Both my parents seem to not really care about Christmas anymore, and his parents (who we always stay with) are usually the ones who have decorated/are excited, but even they weren’t feeling it this year. It made me quite sad, since I LOVE the holiday season. I couldn’t help but think how much more fun it would be to be by ourselves, creating new rituals, and being really really jolly and not feeling awkward about it. Of course it was good to see everyone, but we’re seriously considering staying home next year and going out for a visit some other time. (And spending so much less on plane tickets!) We’ll have to see, I suppose.

    ETA: I did get to hold a month old baby niece, which was magical.

  • toomanybooks

    Yay, APW is back! I’ve been looking forward to this! :)

    Made some good strides in planning over the holiday period – and in crafting too! I finished making all of my favors (and a little sign for them) and packaged them up in a box so that they wouldn’t be disturbed. I’m going to be making my chapel-length veil next and just have to figure out a graceful way to “round out” the edges of the big piece of tulle I’m using. And I’m working on table numbers. Yaaaaaay!

    Also, I’ve been in touch with my officiant and asked my best friend from high school to do a Shakespeare reading during my ceremony. I’m so excited that she has agreed to do it – it’s something I’ve been hoping to include for a long time.

    As the wedding inches closer I’m feeling good about planning progress! I just have to get over my out of control vacation sleep schedule…

    • rg223

      Ooooh, which Shakespeare reading? We had one for our ceremony too – Sonnet 116 (which is maybe not the most flowery or romantic, but fits our relationship perfectly).

      • toomanybooks

        Haven’t decided yet! Though my friend suggested 116!

  • Booknerd

    We survived!! I had been really struggling with the holiday spirit for some reason but when I left work on the 23rd it seemed to show up and we had a really lovely christmas, split between his family and mine (we all live in the same town). I was feeling very very burnt out after all the parties and celebrations so for NYE we got takeout and rented a movie and were in bed by 10, which was very much needed!
    Also we decided to start TTC.. and I am very very private and haven’t shared that with anyone but a bunch of internet strangers. Excited but also nervous that my somewhat anxious personality is going to ruin this time for us.

    • nutbrownrose

      I just want to commiserate about anxiety about anxiety. It is truly the worst. All I can say is focusing on other things (like saying “here, brain, worry about this inconsequential cross-stitch project to drown out the background existential dread”) seems to help me.

      • Booknerd

        Yeah I’ve got lots to keep me busy thankfully! Everyone I know seems to be having babies so I’ve got lots of knitting projects to work on :)

      • Worrying that your anxiety over being nervous that you worry too much about your unfounded concerns that your anxiety is focused on being worried and not more significant things…. I know that onion of anxiety so well! I find that acknowledging it, and deliberately setting it aside (Yes brain, this is a concern, and we will definitely address it at a point when I’m not also trying to work) can help.

    • Meg

      we did the same thing for NYE! Watched An Affair to Remember and had chinese…in bed by 10:30 :)

  • Lexipedia

    Home for the first Christmas after my grandpa passed, and my family is now in full crisis control mode about the situation with my grandmother – which was hard. Apparently she is unable to take care of her (old) dog on her own. She goes to bed early because she is lonely, then nobody is there to take out the dog, so she gets up every morning and steam cleans the carpet where her dog has had accidents. When we went to her house for the first time post-memorial it became clear that her carpet and floors are completely destroyed, will need to be torn up and replaced, and we are pretty sure she is scared to take the dog out for walks in winter because of the ice, but won’t admit any of this to anyone or let us get her help. My grandpa loved that dog, and he is kind of all she has left of him, and none of us know what to do. It will be hard to help her come around to the fact that she can’t live alone anymore… so that’s pretty sad.

    On a happier note, SO told me on Thanksgiving that he wants to get engaged! I sent him ring ideas, and he says that his New Year’s wish is to have something sparkly on that finger before our big overseas trip in March. So, *squeee*! I talked to my parents about the fact that it is likely immanent, and they were a little surprised and then quickly thrilled. We’ve been together for about 22 months, 10 of those living together in our lovely apartment, so it’s a little fast, but not TOO fast.

  • Almost There

    Bit of a downer ahead…
    My wedding is coming up soon and we’ve been doing the admin side of stuff like getting our finances in order and sorting out the admin side of our new mutual liability re debts and accounts etc….. and it’s brought to the forefront of our minds that my fiancé has a health condition that basically means he has pretty well a normal standard of life but with annual specialist appointments, and his condition is rare enough that we know sweet FA about his life expectancy…… but it’s a serious enough condition and the mortality rate for the very small sample size of others with his condition was 80% survival at 20 years of age and it gets steadily lower each year at a rate faster than a “normal” person (for lack of better vocab).

    Despite being together for quite a long time (we’ve been common law for yeeeeeeeears) this only sunk in recently that I’m marrying someone with a potentially greatly reduced lifespan (liiike….. it’s amazing that he has made it to his 30s but odds he’ll hit 70 are soooooo low,….) and I’m having a hard time (I am prone to anxiety but have tools to manage it) processing it. We definitely want kids. We are covering our butts by ensuring there’s life insurance on all debts and so forth….. but god I had a miserable end of December as I realized that there was an almost nonexistent chance that we’d grow old together.
    I know nothing is guaranteed, good or bad, and who knows he could outlive me…. but the odds are swayed heavily to one direction. I know to make the most of the time we DO have. I know how to manage my anxiety. But it still….. sucks. I feel like I’ve had an epiphany and come to terms with something and am now a new person in a way…. but a less naïve and more sad person. Just looking for help getting through this or advice from people who have been here.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I’m so sorry to hear this. I don’t have any relevant advice, but I wanted to send you internet hugs for how hard this is.

      • Almost There

        It’s all appreciated :)

      • Dess

        seconded

    • Jess

      I’m so sorry. That really sucks. I have no advice, just wanted to let you know that I’m really impressed at the way you are feeling your feelings about it.

      • Almost There

        Thanks. It’s taken years of therapy and CBT ;) and it helps that he processed his side of this when he was in elementary school (it’s a from-birth condition, and until 10 years before he was born was guaranteed mortality by first birthday)…. so he’s been supporting me, which seems backwards but is appreciated.

    • I’m so sorry. Everyone’s experience differs, but my partner too has a medical condition that means the future is uncertain. He had a major surgery this past year that has greatly improved his day-to-day quality of life but was also a major reminder of the muddy future. We also have had to take this into account in our planning– for example making sure that my career path is steady and that finances are in order just in case. For me, seeing our life, our marriage, as a conscious choice to love has been helpful. I choose that loving him is worth whatever future pain may come. Choosing this now despite an unknown future is worth it for me. I also have had my times of the spiraling anxieties and what-ifs and fear and anger that we can’t have a normal life like everybody else. But it’s been helpful to remind myself that the future is always uncertain. The odds may be against us, but we love regardless.

      • Almost There

        Thanks for this. I have no second thoughts about getting married… I never expected to love someone as I love him…. and his condition isn’t known to be hereditary (but again, n=small), so I am kind of REALLY keen on starting a family as I want to make sure he has that as part of his life and, gdamn it, if I have a family with anyone I want it to be with him. As a reminder, worst case scenario. But also… it’s just something I know he would love…. and ugh the “what-ifs” are truly dreadful aren’t they. I also choose to love. I’ve also started making regular donations to a charity that researches conditions related to his. We love regardless. :) <3

  • Loved the update, enjoy SF! I lived there for 3 years and loved every minute.

    Big thing for my holiday: chose a venue! Getting married officially August 19th. After six months of searching I am relieved. :)

  • louise danger

    mr danger’s family visited our town for a few days just after christmas. they stayed at a hotel, but while she was here, his mom complained about everything from the cheeps the bird was making (he’s a bird! they’re noisy!), to the pot mr danger selected for making vodka sauce, to the way he was boiling the water for the pasta (it’s literally just boiling the water???).

    she is still deeply unhappy with our plans to have her brother/mr danger’s uncle officiate at our wedding in a local state park, to the point that she and mr danger’s dad apparently got in a big argument-fight at home about it. not about our plans directly, though. the fight was because mr danger’s dad took our side (“they can plan their own wedding, they’re adults”) and not her side (“you can’t do it this way it’s wrong”).

    it’ll all be moot soon enough, though. one of the other big developments over the past few weeks has been us going to church once a week (helps that christmas was one of the sundays), and my being deeply attracted to the sense of community/belonging/grounding/calm that i’ve found in this parish. we’re going to meet with the priest to discuss having a wedding in the church, followed by a reception at one of our favorite local restaurants.* i’m not sure how to avoid her thinking this is because of her super childish actions, because it isn’t because of that, but i anticipate this will smooth over some of her petty [cow byproduct]iness.

    then i’ll just have my own mom’s objections to deal with (why would you have a wedding in a church you’re not even catholic catholic weddings are so long and boring you wanted to be outside why do you keep changing things) but that’s easy enough.

    i’m just looking forward to not having to fret about, in no particular order: bugs, heat, rain, writing my own vows, lunch at that place (mmmm lobster grilled cheese sandwich). and to getting to have a life event punctuated by organ music, because what other time will a peasant like me get something so grand? :D

    *keep your fingers crossed that we’re able to do a friday morning ceremony and a friday luncheon! if not, the next day [saturday] is free, so that’s good, but @___@ hassle.

    tl;dr my holidays were mom drama

    • Scalliwag

      There wasn’t ever any doubt about me getting married in the church I grew up in, but one of my favorite moments was the bells ringing for us as we were walking down the aisle after being married. So I totally feel you on the organ music – it still makes me smile over a year later!

    • anachronismsarah

      oooh organs.
      And yay for finding a parish you like! Sounds like it’s a good community for y’all- I hope they’re able to do a Friday AM for you.
      Hooray! Keep us posted!

  • LP

    So, I think the last time I posted I was concerned I had cancer. I don’t, hooray! The lump they removed turned out to be a fibroadenoma, which are really common in women my age! Definitely doing the happy dance about that one.

    On an unrelated note, I’m taking a total leap of faith and leaving a company I love to lean into my career like crazy. My organization is doing some restructuring, which has caused me to not be able to move up in the way I believed I was going to. I was offered and accepted a really great opportunity at another really good company that’s ten minutes from my house, and I’ll be getting a huge raise, and a whole hell of a lot of responsibility. I’m silmultaneously nervous as can be and so excited.

    So, my holiday stress actually had nothing to do with the holidays, which was a really nice change!

    • Cellistec

      Hooray, no cancer! High five!

      • LP

        Woohoo!

    • Ashlah

      No cancer dance, whoop! And good luck in your new position!

      • LP

        Thank you!!! And congrats on your pregnancy!

        • Ashlah

          Thanks!!

    • BSM

      So much congrats!!

      • LP

        Thank you!!!

    • Nic.

      So great for you! Congratulations!

    • GotMarried!

      Awesome! I’d take an opportunity 10 minutes from home for a pay cut! Close to home AND a raise! YES!

    • toomanybooks

      Yay! More money, less commute – what a great combination!

  • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

    The holidays as a whole were good for me; a little more low key than normal, but it was welcomed. I loved decorating our new house, and my Christmas village looked so good.

    The not-so-good is that my sweet grandmother is now in hospice care in her nursing home, and it looked dire last week. I dashed from work to go hold her hand and kiss her goodbye… and then she was OK the next day. I know it could be any day now, and I’m trying to mentally prepare. I’m also trying to be honest with myself about being a little scared to go visit her. It’s overwhelming and I feel so guilty for not spending my free time with her.

    • Jess

      I’m so sorry to hear that your grandmother is in hospice.

      I hope, if her health does continue cycling for a while, you can let go of some of your guilt. Facing the end of the life of someone we love is really challenging on a lot of levels, especially when it’s drawn out, and I think people have different reactions to it. I definitely had a lot of guilt about not spending more time with my grandparents before they passed.

      Dear Sugar podcast did an episode called The Long Goodbye that talked about how hard it can be, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        Thank you so much. I will look that podcast up when I’m not at work.

    • anachronismsarah

      Such a tough situation… Hopefully you’re giving yourself grace to feel what you feel… Don’t let anybody tell you that an emotion is wrong- even when it’s fear or guilt. I think we all feel these things, whether we admit or not. These are part of how grief works, and when you have time to sit with it some of that may work itself out. I’m sorry it’s overwhelming and scary and hard. Take care!

  • CMT

    I had a very relaxing and quiet Christmas and it made me wish I had taken the whole week between Christmas and New Year’s off for a staycation. I did a lot of reading with my cat curled up on me. The two three-day weekends were nice, but I needed more time off to relax.

  • This was the first set of married holidays that I didn’t feel like crying before, during, or after for any number of reasons! Yay! (Family dynamics, ugh)

    We changed our approach drastically this year – deliberately prioritized a subset of friends when we’d normally try to see everyone all in a day, and scheduled one day per family Christmas celebration instead of trying to do THAT all in a day. I have some minor regrets but in the face of the usual breakdowns I’m calling this past holiday a win.

    • Jess

      Congrats on the breakdown free holiday! That’s my therapy goal, so it’s nice to know it can happen!

  • Cellistec

    We survived, and it was strangely easy. What helped this year was minimizing face time with my in-laws, who tend toward gossip-fueled melodrama. So instead of Christmas Eve Mass followed by dinner and presents at their house, we went to Mass with them, handed off gifts in the parking lot, and went home. It was definitely weird, and definitely an improvement on past years. In other positive news, my semi-estranged sister actually participated in Christmas brunch at my mom’s house, and I had great conversations with her for the first time in years. Also weird, also an improvement. I’m trying to bank some of this holiday win for future ones that aren’t as good.

  • TrueGrit

    My holidays went pretty well and a big part of it was that my partner and I discussed getting engaged in a serious way. We know we are going to be together for the long haul; it’s just a matter of deciding when and how to make it official. We did some talking about the “how” and though an elopement sounds way more chill, haha, we are leaning toward a wedding. As for when, he wanted to tell his parents this week that we are going to get married, and I was like “GASP! NO! Much too soon!” I feel like it’d be better to have a plan in place before we tell anyone because it seems like the expectation will be that we have some kind of ceremony 1-1.5 years after we announce our engagement. I am finishing a graduate degree and he is applying to another graduate program; we could be living god-knows-where and making god-knows-how-much income in the next six months. These factors could greatly determine what kind of wedding we have. I also feel like some marriage counseling regarding finances would be good – I need someone to walk me through the emotional/logistical/legal aspects of combining assets/debts. I feel generally ready to get married/engaged except for these logistical issues – am I an over-planner? Plenty of people get engaged without worrying about all this stuff in advance, right?

    One pro of getting married sooner, though, would be the ability to share health insurance during the various transitions we have going on, since that’s another thing that could totally change very quickly after January 20.

    • RNLindsay

      You definitely don’t have to have all of that stuff figured out before the engagement! Marriage counseling, joining finances etc can be conquered during the engagement period. And the engagement can be as long as you’re comfortable with! People do have long engagements, even if the expectation is 1-1.5 years. It might make sense though to wait until the ups and downs of graduate programs are sorted out (at least know where you’ll be living?) just so you’re not dealing with that stress + wedding planning stress but that’s just a suggestion

      • TrueGrit

        That makes sense. I should really worry less about people expecting a 1-1.5 yr interval between engaged and married and worry more about staying sane through the planning of all these big job/school/life changes coming up. Thanks. This forum will probably be hearing a lot more from me in the next 12 months or so, haha.

  • anonymous right now

    My husband got a DUI and lost his job at the end of November. He’s had a couple weeks of temp work since then but basically everything sucks. Trying to keep my chin up.

    • Jane

      Hang in there. You’ll both get through this.

    • emmers

      That really sucks. My husband had a drug related conviction a few years ago, and I remember how awful it was. I’m really sorry. I hope you can find space for self care, and can draw on any trusted friends or counselors right now.

      • me again!

        Yeah. He hasn’t been drinking since then, which is awesome, and also totally necessary since we have zero money to spare with my single income :/ He has an interview Saturday though, so fingers crossed! As for myself I’m focusing on taking care of me more than ever, I’ve spent a lot of time investing into him to my own neglect. I’m trying to get past the scary idea of going to Al-Anon, and I’ve been talking to my mom basically all the time, which is a good thing.

  • Louise

    This holiday season, my husband and I decided to live up to our promise (to ourselves) that we would travel every other year. Two years ago, we were living in India, so we travelled all the time, and instead of going home for Christmas, we went to Europe. Western country= felt like Christmas, but, only half the flight time and less than half the jet lag. It was MAGICAL. Last year, Christmas at home just felt insane — so many commitments, so many presents to buy, etc. We’re out of here next year, we joked! We told our families we’d be in Europe for Christmas and encouraged them to join us. They thought we were bluffing, and we might have been, but various life events led to some escapist fantasy flight searches and then all of a sudden we were going to Europe. It was SO good to travel internationally again, after 1.5 years of being back home, and a good reminder that we CAN continue to travel, even though we don’t live abroad, surrounded by people who travel all the time. I was so surprised by peoples’ reactions when they asked what my plans for Winter break were and I said, “we’re going to London and Berlin.” It was as though I said, “I won the lottery so we’re going to outer space for Christmas.” I considered this an experiment in how we deal with holidays, as well as how it is to travel now that we’re back home (with families to consider, more expenses, less of a culture of travel in our social circle), and I learned so much! We are definitely rusty travelers, and weren’t as well planned as we have been in the past (what with two full time jobs + grad school), but we had a lot of fun figuring out a couple new cities and eating/drinking our weights in pastries, cheese, chocolate and mulled wine. Oh, we also celebrated Christmas like 4 times before leaving, with our various families, so we didn’t actually succeed in our goal of skipping the Christmas chaos… but at least we spread it out a bit?

    • Alli

      I have a cousin who has started to go on vacations with her husband every Christmas. We all tease her for not wanting to be around us but I think FH and I will start doing that! We’re all just jealous anyway.

  • Kajal Aggarwal

    Hey! Very nice, These Holidays would be the memorable holidays in your life,
    I would like to Congrats you on the behalf of Canada Marriage Bureau.

  • Okay, so we’re at the booking stage at the moment, and I had no idea it would be so hard to actually get a registrar at the place and time we want. We can either have a 10am wedding on the 16th in one venue, or a 5pm wedding on the 2nd in a different venue (so either a really long day, or a really short day). It took us two weeks to make up our mind about a venue, and now it’s all up in the air again. We’re pushing into 2018 for dates now, which disappoints me a bit because I had in my head we were getting married this year.

    • Amy March

      5pm sounds great! I assume you are in the UK from the registrar comment, but that’s a really typical start time here.

      • It’s only recently become legal to get married in the evening here, so 5pm feels super strange for a ceremony. Ceremonies typically take place around 12, with the wedding breakfast around 2, speeches etc, then dancing from about 6 with a buffet. Smushing the reception and evening do into one seems like it’s going to confuse guests (who are also going to wonder what to do with themselves all day beforehand, but hey, they’re adults, they can deal with that). Our preferred venue is open to the public in the day, so you can’t start until 3, which already had the in laws raising eyebrows.

        Also, the sun sets before 4pm in winter, so there’d be no opportunity for photos outdoors, which is something that I didn’t know I cared so much about before! I know it’s possible to do them beforehand, but OH is keen not to see each other before the ceremony.

        • MrsRalphWaldo

          This just makes me realize how easy it is to forget that not everyone in the world does things like Americans.

          “Smushing the reception and evening do into one seems like it’s going to confuse guests (who are also going to wonder what to do with themselves all day beforehand”
          This is such a strange statement to me. As Amy said, 5pm is a pretty normal start time for us here. My ceremony was actually at 5. Even when ceremonies are earlier in the day, only one meal is typically provided. Thanks for bringing a little education into my weekday routine! Very interesting!

          • One of the big costs in the UK wedding is feeding the guests twice! You normally have a sit down dinner for your wedding breakfast, and a buffet / hog roast / food trucks for the evening. You also have ‘evening guests’ – usually work colleagues and so on – who aren’t close enough to attend the reception but do still want to celebrate with you. It’s hard to explain why it’s not rude if it’s not your culture – it’s the point where it goes from being a wedding to being a party. There is a good chance that if you start a wedding at 5 in the UK you’d have evening guests turning up to get drunk while your day guests are still sitting around listening to the speeches.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            It definitely sounds like a wedding I would love to go to! I hope that it turns out well for you either way!

          • Amy March

            Could you just not have evening guests though? If you’re saving by only serving one meal?

  • MrsRalphWaldo

    I had my first Christmas with my dad in more than 5 years. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly, but it was so disappointing. Instead of the big meal and multiple pies of my childhood, we had a subway platter. Instead of watching all of our favorite movies, we watched whatever happened to be on TV. We got into a screaming match about politics about 15 minutes before I left. It was hard. I probably will not be making that trip again. My wedding left me feeling sentimental, but now I know for sure that our relationship will always be strained at best. The only bright moment was when my half sister (7 years old) crawled into my lap asking if we could read the Harry Potter book I bought her. That was fantastic.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I’m so sorry it wasn’t what you hoped.

  • anachronismsarah

    We worked AND hosted. Which will never. happen. again. when Christmas falls on a Sunday- 5 worship services in 24 hours between the 2 of us(husband and I are both pastors).

    What we loved? Not overdoing the giving. We’re 4 things people- Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, and Something to read… Plus stockings and Christmas jammies.
    Simplifying giving was a big deal for us to shift the focus to the things that are more important to us.

  • Overall our actual holiday days were great. Some lull’s but nothing dramatic or anything to write home about. Unfortunately my husband is dealing with some major anxiety and panic issues, resulting in an er visit on the day new year’s eve. An ativan and reassurance that most of these physical symptoms are anxiety related rather than anything life-ending catastrophic helped, and although he hasn’t been totally his anxiety low self, the xanax has been helping.

    I really feel unsure about how to best support him. Everything I find tends to make me think I’m doing all that I can and I want to do more. So maybe my question is for those with anxiety: How do you best receive support from your partners? I know every person is different, but I’ll take some tips.

    • Now, this is totally a YMMV thing, but for me being gently teased about it helps. My OH calls me his Worrier Princess when I get hung up on irrational worries (and some rational ones, but it’s worth being reminded that actually it’s not the end of the world if I forget the tickets or he has an epileptic fit – things will muddle on). It drags me outside of myself for a short time and reminds me that sure, all this is going on inside me, but there’s plenty else going on outside me to focus on as well.

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    Christmas was pretty chill. With it falling on a Sunday, and my boss being weird, I had to do some work Friday and some work Monday, so we visited my family Friday evening-Sunday afternoon, and did Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. We all went to church (the only time of year I promise to go anymore) and my mom was over the moon to be there with her husband (a Chreaster), her two kids, and their two partners. I’m just happy they give everybody a lit candle and turn out the lights for the last song. So pretty.My aunt always hosts a Christmas Day lunch, which is wonderful and tasty and the only time I get to see one of my uncles. PADude’s SIL also hosts a Christmas Day lunch, which is wonderful and tasty and one of the few times that whole side of the family gets together and everybody is on their best behavior. They’re 150 miles apart, and we can’t do both. Last year we did his, this year we did mine. I think every year I’ll be a little bummed to miss whichever one we don’t attend, but it’s the best we can do, and PADude doesn’t particularly like Christmas and doesn’t care what we do anyway.It was all fine and good until my Step-MIL called a day or two after to tell me how much she missed seeing me, and then complained about how my FIL is mean when he drinks vodka, and I don’t yet have the balls to tell her not to put me in the middle because drinking vodka makes her mean and sad and clingy and awful to be around and that I don’t like her when she’s drunk. Marrying into a family with addiction issues comes with a learning curve.

  • Shirley Schmidt

    One of my New Year’s resolutions is to stop lurking and join in with you guys!
    Christmas was…what it needed to be. My fiancé’s dad (estranged) died just before Christmas, my dad is chronically ill and my grandad is slowly dying, so we both needed some quality family time. And we got it! I cried on both my dad and grandad, got out for some walks with the dog and got to know my (worryingly tall) cousin now he’s an 18-year old.
    Oh, and we found the perfect wedding venue for us near my parents! Now that’s something to look forward to!!

  • EF

    man, guys, getting through the holidays when the mom-in-law, beloved by all, has just died is fucking hard.

    standing by the partner is hard. watching his father give the most heartbreaking eulogy i have heard in real life or in the movies or in a book is so so hard. and, oh, starting a new job the day after she died and randomly crying at work sometimes? life is greeeeeat.

    but you know, it was cool that my partner said he wanted to do christmas things (he’s into christmas, i’m not) because he was reminded of how the shabbat dinners I take him to when i’m back home, and how those go on no matter who’s there and who’s not. a keep on keepin’ on situation i guess.