A Change In Family Holiday Dynamics

Season’s Greetings Wonderful Listeners.

I’m sure that if you’ve been keeping up recently, you’ll know that I’ve had some particular thoughts about coming home to my family, and hometown for the holidays. Well, I’d like to expand on those thoughts. Please give me some of your time.

In particular, I’m interested in talking about how my family dynamics have changed this holiday season, and how they will continue to be different in the years to come. While this is quite scary to think about, it’s also helpful to reflect on these changes. So I will.

Since coming back, I’ve been spending lots of time with both at home, and out with friends. In doing so, I’ve noticed how our traditions are changing around the house. What really triggered this realization was a conversation I had with my mother.

Yesterday, we sort of drifted into a conversation about change. She noted how her children are almost all grown, how they will hardly be around because they’ll all be moving out, and how her and my father are both getting older.

She kept saying how she needs to downsize the holiday traditions. She was thinking about the future a lot and how we should start thinking about how to adjust to it. This really got me thinking…

It is true after all. I am 21 years old. My big sister is 29 years old. My little sister is going to be 18 years old next year. We are all pretty much grown. We’re not kids anymore. So it makes you wonder how we all need to adjust to it. Truthfully speaking, the only reason we haven’t fully changed is because my nephew is still only 9 years old.

Sure, perhaps, there’s no letters to Santa, no milk and cookies, and no 9pm bedtime, but we still haven’t lost the “Christmas air” if you will. It still feels like Christmas in our house during Christmas time. But I think about these changes in a removed way, but I still can’t help but be personally attached.

One noticeable change is the lack of a real Christmas tree in our house anymore. We don’t go out as a family and pick one out anymore. We don’t even have a tree in the house anymore. On one hand, I’m saddened, but on the other, I completely understand. It’s far too much work for the small number of days it will be present. It’s just not a part of the dynamic anymore.

Another thing that has changed is that we don’t put up decorations like we used to either. The kids aren’t really present to help out as much anymore. It’s more of a chore than an enjoyment to put up decorations around the house, especially outside in the blistering cold.

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No tree to gather around, and few decorations to line the house. Things have changed…

Thankfully, one thing we haven’t let go of are the stockings above the fireplace. We still hold on to that much at least. Even if they seem less filled with each passing year, they still tell me that some things will never change and some memories will never fade.

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At least the stockings from over 12 years ago still hang each year. A staple for us…

Another thing which we can’t seem to let go of is mornings with a family breakfast. We gather around the kitchen table and start our morning together, perhaps talk about things we’d like to share. Food seems to always bring us together, when nothing else will. I’m confident that will always be the case.

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Bacon, potatoes, eggs, orange juice, muffins… you name it. Breakfast is a tradition for us.

And even though I’ve spent many days in the house, cooped up in my room, I still feel home. Perhaps maybe because that was already common for me anyway. But venturing out of my room, isn’t an adventure at all, it’s a joy. To see my mother and father lounging in their chairs and watching movies or old TV classics, that’s a joy.

While I would like to talk with them more often, to mingle with them more often, I find it hard to do. While we see each other all the time during the holidays, I’m still quite the same—present but somehow removed. Perhaps that is my staple (and if so, I’m ready to start changing that.)

Above most things, the biggest change that came to mind, was how quiet it was… Yes. A quiet Christmas season and day. We did wake up, to a morning breakfast as part of tradition, but the day was awfully quiet. Even though we were going to have a big family dinner later that evening, the entire day overall was quiet.

What do I mean by quiet? No announcements. No rushing down the stairs for some blissful reason. A calm and proper greeting, a “Merry Christmas” to whomever, and a soft shallow noise present all day. Not quite the feeling of snow falling gently outside, but one of complete peace. It was unexpected, and still, somehow, quite nice.

Even for my gifts, I received presents I was thrilled by: a shopping trip for new clothes, some nice apparel accessories, candy, and personal notes from my little sister. I couldn’t ask for something more, because all my gifts meant something personal to me. That’s all I could ask for. (It’s all I ever really want during Christmas time—something personal from the people in my life.)

In the future, my mother talked about taking annual holiday trips somewhere instead. It would provide us chances to bond again, perhaps over exciting experiences. I’d love that. Will we achieve it? I don’t know. But the thought of change seems more prevalent than ever this holiday season.

I think, personally, the future leaves us to figure out how a family of 5-6 (depending on if my nephew present) comes together in the spirit of Christmas to co-exist happily. We’re left to think about how three children, now adults, will interact with a mother and father. We’re left to think about what the season means to us now, as a changing family dynamic. We’re left to think…

And I suppose thinking will have to do for now. I think, before we can really figure out the end result of the changing dynamics, we first need to figure out how to be a better family. No family is without its lumps, its arguments, and its secrets. But mine, well, I suppose I’m just waiting on the day where the floor is open for equal discussion, and where we can learn to put our grievances behind us. I’m waiting on the day to see smiles illuminate the house again, like it did when I was a kid…

But I will ride out this wave. Year by year, season through season, until I see where it stops. Perhaps a better future awaits me and my family. If so, boy, it can’t get here fast enough.

*******

As of right now, these are all the thoughts I have about this change I’ve noticed. Perhaps more will come next Christmas season. Perhaps they’ll come sooner. Perhaps not at all. Whatever the case, I leave you with this much at least: a change is happening, for better or for worse, and I’ll be waiting to see its result.

Thank you for you time. Cheers my Wonderful Listeners, and Happy Holidays.


Do you have family traditions? Who do you spend your holidays with? How has your holiday experiences changed over the years? Leave all your thoughts below!

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