Maybe we don’t need all the family on all the holidays

05/04/2014 1:00 PM

05/04/2014 7:29 PM

Ellen and Clark Griswold were lucky. They could get both sides of their family together for Christmas.

Even though their “Christmas Vacation” included a charred tree, a squirrel and an unwanted membership to the “Jelly of the Month Club,” at least they didn’t have to drive to three or four homes to celebrate.

Easter is over and so is “obligatory family get-together season.” At least until November.

I don’t want to make it seem as though I don’t enjoy seeing the relatives. I do. We do. It’s just really hard on my stomach to eat three Thanksgiving meals in one day.

My husband and I learned how to just say no this past Christmas when we told family members the three of us were staying home and invited them to come to us.

And it didn’t even have to be on Dec. 25.

I gotta tell ya, it was nice. Our cars were full of gas. We got to actually sit and enjoy any kind of snow that fell without worrying about the roads. We didn’t have to lug around gifts or take our coats on and off.

I got to drink alcohol and walk around my home barefoot. Of course there was cleaning to do, but if you know me well, you know I had the meal catered so that I wouldn’t have to stress over cooking.

Who says that the birth of baby Jesus can’t be celebrated on Dec. 22 or that his resurrection can’t be observed on May 3?

Even though most of our relatives are in town, we might be turning into an “every-other” kind of family: their house one year, our house the next.

I could never imagine a holiday without seeing my mom, but this past Thanksgiving she decided to do her own thing. Guess what? I survived, and a week later she prepared one of her delicious homemade pumpkin pies for us, which I actually got to enjoy on a not-so-packed belly.

New traditions used to scare me. I miss going to my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve (she moved to Texas), but the older I get the more I realize that stressing out about one specific day is nonsense.

Flexibility is key. Creating memorable moments is what I want out of holidays. I don’t want to have to be here or there at noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

In Dreamland, USA, Mother’s Day would be celebrated at one location, with one huge buffet and with all the moms I know plus all of their children.

Only the Griswolds could pull that off.

Besides, I’m working on Mother’s Day. So I guess I’ll have to celebrate it on a different day. Hey, I can handle it.

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