How odd is this... 4 years ago I spent Christmas in Holland, where truthfully, Christmas is not a big thing.
Now add in a move to Canada where Christmas is in full swing starting the day after Remembrance day.
Plus, I basically got tricked into taking on Christmas dinner for the entire family and I didn’t ruin my first ever turkey dinner. #overalllifewin! Thank you, mother-in-law, for throwing me into the deep end and basically using the new girl to get out of hosting Christmas yourself. (FYI, I totally kid. Sarcasm)
My 2016 family guest list includes 8 adults, including myself, 4 kids, a toddler and baby. I told everyone not to bring appies and to stay out of my kitchen this year. Who knows, I might have royally screwed myself, but I’m hoping to make it as stress-free as possible (Yaaaay to make ahead Christmas dinner recipes, help from my husband and assigning clean up to everyone else!)
To achieve this I basically start planning Christmas dinner mid-November. Yup, mid-November. Mainly to ensure I spend as little time as possible in the kitchen and more time focusing on opening presents, spending quality time with family and drinking wine while we (I, let’s be honest here) don’t overcook the turkey.
Every year we need to figure out who gets the kids when, where & at what time. This is the logistical part of being a stepfamily. The boring crap that needs to be dealt with.
Truthfully, we’ve had the same schedule for the past 3 years. Every year my husband tells me that him and his ex-wife switch it up, and every year I say ‘not since I’ve been around, and this works for everyone anyways. Why change it?’
It’s the reality of the situation and I try not to dwell on it. I am not a person who is stuck on ‘the tradition’ or how everyone else thinks it should be done. Neither is his family. The kids go to their mom’s place for Christmas eve, Matthew and I get them back to next evening after their mom’s Christmas dinner.
Ask yourself, when you look back on it 5, 10, 15 years from now, will it really matter what day you opened presents and ate Christmas dinner?
Plus, Matthew and I get our own pretty awesome Christmas tradition out of it. I’m going to enjoy this tradition to the fullest until we add on a little additional to our family. If a vasectomy reversal works, that is.
Every year we get Christmas Eve and most of Christmas day to ourselves. The fact is, my family lives in Holland. There is no family to visit after you decide to move from one country to another to be with your love and to become a stepmom.
Does it make me sad? Yes. Do I dwell on it? No.
This year we will all be heading out to the local ski hill on Christmas Eve day, get a few runs in as a family (TOTALLY weather dependent, I don’t do -20 degrees and stay outside), drop the kids off at their mom’s, head back into the ski village for a romantic dinner for two, maybe pop into one of the local bars for a few more drinks before we head over to a friends condo on the ski hill to stay the night.
I’m super stoked about this! We have never had the chance to stay at the ski hill on Christmas Eve and I’m assuming that Christmas Eve is going to be a pretty fun time to hang around the ski village.
The next day we will get a couple more runs in, go out for a Christmas dinner (2 date nights in a row, that hardly ever happens!), pick up the kids, drive home and start meal prepping for the Watson’s Christmas dinner on Boxing day.
I’m especially looking forward to picking the kids up. Not just to listen to the stories about Christmas morning or to ‘oooh and aaahhh’ over their presents but also to see their mom, stepdad and their side of the family.
One of the benefits of having such a good co-parenting relationship. Is being able to have a glass of wine together and say hi to people I only see every once in awhile.
That’s our tradition, for now anyways. I’m sure it will change at some point in our lives and we’ll tackle that when the time comes.
Now I start counting down. 4 weeks until Boxing day, presents and craziness!