Confession of the Week: If I Get Married How Will I Go Home for Christmas?Audrey Wauchope

It’s time for a ’tis the season confession.  And here it is:  I’ve always been a little terrified of marriage.  Nope, not because I’m scared of commitment.  Bring that stuff on.  And not because I’m scared he’ll wander.  Please, I’m a great catch.  And not even because it’s a big, scary thought.  No, no, I’m scared of getting married because it means that I may not be able to come home for Christmas and wait up for Santa with my sisters and brothers.

I remember the first time I had this thought.  Or perhaps I should say panic attack.  I was laying in bed one snowy Christmas Eve and suddenly I realized, “Oh my God, what if we all get married and aren’t here forever?”  Which I realize is what normal adults do – spend Christmas away from their families.  But I don’t want to, dammit!  I want to forever be twelve and trading off shifts of who will wait up to hear Santa.  (No, this trick never worked.  Even with five kids we all fell asleep.)

To be clear, I should tell you that I have the perfect Christmas family.  There are five kids.  There is a house decorated and smelling of evergreen trees and yummy cookies.  There is New York City and snow.  There are marathons of classics streaming in the background.   I will not stand for a holiday without Meet Me in St. Louis and Miracle on 34th Street.  I will not stand for sharing my warm fuzzy time with a family that doesn’t understand that when Judy Garland looks out that window and sings ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, it should bring a grown woman to tears.

Don’t worry though, I’ve figured out a solution to this epic problem.  Most people want to marry within their faith so that they can share holidays like Christmas.  Not me.  You know what I want?  I want to walk down the aisle with someone of a completely different faith whose parents could care less if we go to my mom’s every single year and wait up for Santa.  Because lets face it – who really wants to be at the in-laws for the holidays?

In the immortal words of Ms. Garland’s vibrato, “Someday soon we all will be together.  Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.”  I spend my year muddling through.  I will not let a little thing like marriage and starting my own family get in the way of my time with my first loves – my sisters and brothers.   Here’s to being forty, crammed into a house with brothers, sisters, new husbands and wives, nieces, nephews and probably one mother (and grandma) who can’t wait for us to all take off!

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  1. I agree with who ever said (as corny as it sounds) that who you marry becomes your family and one you have kids it’s more concrete that you are your own family now. I love my family and Christmas with them but I have a 9 month old daughter and am sooo looking forward to Christmas morning with just my little family and starting new traditions (which consist partly of ones from my family).

  2. My husband and I separate for the Christmas. He goes to Florida with his family and I got to Mass with my family. So far it’s worked out pretty well. Then on New Years when we’re both home we do our own little Christmas.

  3. I just saw this and WOW it’s like you were writing from my mind…I sometimes joke that I’ll have to marry an orphan, because I couldn’t possibly spend Christmas anywhere except my grandparent’s house, with all my cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. Christmas is a very, very big deal in my family, with tons of traditions and fun. Going elsewhere would probably make me super bummed :)

  4. I’m not particularly fussed about Christmas but you might find that once you meet your One, he becomes your family and you will enjoy making your own traditions together. Not that I don’t love my family, and I know we’re lucky to live in the same city as both my parents and his so we never have to make a tough decision about who to see, but some years we have left the country completely and it doesn’t bother me (or them). Because he’s my family and a Christmas with him is all I need :)

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  6. OH this is my LIFE!!!!!! I totally have this worry! When my brother first brought his now wife home for Christmas I was so annoyed…. he broke the inner circle… but now she is such a great part of our morning! I can only hope that when it’s my turn Mr. Right fits right in!

  7. My boyfriend and I lucked out. My family is Peruvian so we celebrate Christmas Eve. Then the next day we get in the car and drive for an hour to his mom’s house.

  8. I’m having similar worries. My boyfriend & I are both agnostic Catholics. My solution is- I’m Italian and Christmas Eve is really much bigger than Christmas Day to me so hopefully I will get to spend every Christmas Eve with my family since his Jamaican family doesn’t care about it as much! Only problem is if his parents move to another state (which they are)…then flying on Christmas Day would…probably be awful & expensive…hm we’ll figure it out. He & I already discussed the possibility of spending Christmas separate- him with his parents & me with mine. Lol.

  9. I had the same thoughts! Unfortunately, my fiance celebrates Christmas too, lol. And the burden of my mother’s “I don’t want to share you” guilt is getting to me. I miss all of my traditions, but I guess the fiance and I have to make new ones…sigh…(It’s extra hard b/c my family is in NY, and his is in RI!)

  10. I LOVE both of those movies…and it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” at my house either. Christmas time is the best!

  11. I’m so with you on this. I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years and we’ve never spent a Christmas together because I refuse to break tradition until I start my own family. This year, my brother’s going away with his girlfriend’s family on Christmas Day and it’s really upsetting to me to change something that’s 25 years strong!

  12. This is exactly how I feel! I’m really close to my three brothers and twelve cousins. I can’t imagine Christmas without them. It’s cool to know other people think about this stuff too :)

  13. Ah Yes! I have so much love for Christmas! I’m engaged to a Jewish man whihc truly does mean I can go to Christmas at my house anytime I want.. however (both) our families live in Philly.. and we live in Denver! So… I have to put the Christmas spirit all around me with my own vision and tenacity. I walk around singing I’ll be home for Christmas, watch all my favorite movies, and try decorate up the place (with a menorah or two thrown around)… you make it through.. and appreciate your family (and any new drama) from where you are :)

  14. I’ve actually recently had the opposite thought… Now that I’m 30 with a real job, I am kind of an adult. Yet, because I’m not married, I still feel like that same 8-year-old kid whose (divorced) family would throw me in the car and drag me around the entire eastern half of the United States to see all the various combinations of other divorced extended family type people. It was silly then, but it’s ridiculous when your 30-year-old body has to sleep on an uncomfortable couch or floor and ends up sick from spending too much time in the car, only to spend time with people who seem like they would rather be asleep or watching TV somewhere else. I’ve thought, “These things would be so much easier if I were married, because then there would be other options with all this extended family business.” But the idea of not having my immediate family holiday traditions (Christmas Eve Eve with my dad, Christmas Eve/Day with my mom) kind of breaks my heart. So maybe there could be some kind of marriage for holiday convenience… You let me do my thing until I need you to distract me from the other turmoil of holiday decisions… That’s not too much to ask, right? :)

  15. in the last 10 years, my parents abandoned all their holiday traditions. my mom no longer even cooks, but will order a turkey from the grocery store, but only if my brother and his wife are coming as well. If not, she makes chicken. She says it’s too much trouble now that i’m married. we used to have marathon cookie sessions. one year we made about 30different kinds and kept them in old popcorn tins. she’s not even setting up a tree this year.

    at lease my in-laws still has my nieces and nephew running around. she sets up a christmas village and has the kids write out lists to santa… somethings are much different. like singing happy birthday to jesus, which is not something i had ever even heard of before. but at least it feels like a holiday.

    • My parents kind of gave up on the whole family holiday thing after they got divorced 7 yrs ago. But thankfully im with someone who’s family still does the holidays. I still get a tree, the turkey and all the wonderful memories. Its just with a new family now.

  16. Amen sister! Going to multiple houses is super annoying! My fiancee’s family does Christmas way different than my family does Christmas and it’s just not right. I’m with ya girl!

  17. Other people share in this crazy – yet I think, completely rational fear! I can’t imagine not spending Christmas with my family. Not even Ryan Gosling could sway me.

  18. my family is in southern california (where i grew up) and my husband’s from london – that’s pretty much as far away as possible. of course, to make things even worse, we now live in germany (to which he dragged me, kicking and screaming…). sigh. this year, i had thanksgiving at the hard rock café with other sad expats. double sigh. growing up is lame.

  19. This is literally my main fear in life.. well, slight exaggeration there! My parents are both only children so we would all be together at christmas and no one missed out. It was a horrible day when I realised that I might one day wake up in a strange house on christmas morning :(

    p.s. Listening to Judy singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas can make me cry at any time of year.

  20. My goal was to marry someone who’s parents didn’t live in the country. It’s what my mom did. So generally by default, because we are not ‘rollin’ in the dough’, we wouldn’t be able to visit much, especially around the holidays. Then I could continue to go to my grandmothers house in Boston and have the same Christmas’ (and Thanksgivings’ and Easters’ and Memorial days’ and Columbus Days’… you get the picture) that me and my cousins always have had.
    Well, that failed. But not as miserably as I would have thought. I married a man who’s family lives in my area and in VA. And although I’ve missed Thanksgiving this year (this is our first year being married) his family understands that “we have to share you” (his step mothers words).
    They’re kinda awesome.