I always wondered how some people could hate the holiday season so much.
After all, I grew up in Leave it To Beaver land. My parents were not divorced and I had lots of family around. I always got lots of presents, we had huge meals and then we played board games. It was straight out of a friggin commercial for cryin out loud. So I naturally assumed that everyone had the same experience and wondered how the hell anyone could hate the holidays.
MJ had a different experience. No need to go into details, but her parents were divorced and she felt like she was often choosing who she loved more by having to decide where to celebrate the holidays. It ramped her anxiety up so much that eventually she began skipping the whole process by spending part of the holidays in Florida.
Just before we got engaged in Dec. 2004, my parents asked me where we were spending Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I asked MJ and her face went white. She was so unhappy just thinking about it and I quickly realized not everyone shares the joys of the holiday season. When I started mapping out how we could make it to my parents, then her mom’s, then her dad’s she kind of went nuts. She told me that was too much jumping around. Then, she begged me to just do our own thing and let people come to us if they were interested.
To be honest, I was appalled.
I love MJ, but in my eyes the holidays are a day for family. Not to spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas with family is just foreign to me. It would feel all wrong. In short, I would hate it and I made that plainly obvious. Then she basically curled up into the fetal position and said the words every guy dreads:
“Fine. You decide what to do and I’ll go along with it.”
We have faced this dilemma every single year since. She wants nothing to do with the holidays and I want to visit everybody. And now with Will in the picture, it gets even harder. EVERYONE wants us to come around. And I don’t have a problem with that, but the thought of going to three different houses on a given day just crushes MJ. Seriously, it makes her physically ill. But if we decide to do just one person per holiday, she feels just as bad because she feels incredibly guilty for leaving anyone out.
Her ideal scenario is to host the holidays at our condo and let anyone interested come to us. But there are problems with that. First of all, we don’t have a lot of space and things would be cramped. Second, a lot of family members are allergic to our dogs and cats. And lastly, some of our family members have hosted for as long as we can remember. Other family depend on them to provide dinner, and I don’t think we can expect them to say “Oh well, we’ll just drive all the way down to the Cape and forego all tradition.”
My big mistake though, was that I told MJ when we had a kid we’d let everyone come to us. I admit, I said it. But I didn’t think it through and I think it’s impossible now. I can’t imagine withholding Will from any of our family members on his first Christmas. I know it’s tough to drive around everywhere, but I would do it. MJ, on the other hand, told me I could bring Will wherever I wanted but she’s staying home. As if that’s really an option.
So, I have no idea what I’m going to do. Anyone have any solutions?