Christmas Eve ramblings

Throughout the years Christmas, in regards to my family, has changed quite a bit. I don’t remember too much of my Christmas experiences from growing up. I see pictures but for some reason i can’t remember a lot of it. The only thing I can rememebr is that my mom had a problem with us kids wanting to go to any friend’s house on Christmas to play with new toys.  We were to stay home!  Once I was out on my own, it sometimes got a bit chaotic.  My Better Half’s family were divorced, so there was always two Christmases there, plus one with my family. Her father was dead set on always Christmas eve, so that left us always arguing about Christmas day.  My side would usually win out which left her mom’s celebration for a weekend date just before. A few years into our marriage the father in law moved to Missouri, about a 10 hour car ride away, so we no longer had to worry about 3 dates, just two.  So we ended up creating a schedule where one year my family got Christmas day and the next year Christmas eve. This worked great as we also got my brother’s in-laws family on the same schedule so conflicts went away.
Each year as the kids grew up we went to grandma’s.  Our formal dinner and gathering evolved into pizza and Italian beef sandwiches as the kids got older. Some of the kids got married so new spouses got introduced into the maelstrom, all fitting in well. Same kids also got divorced so now back to original family.  Christmas with the other side was about the same, with each of her siblings having kids just after ours so where my side would have 5 kids running around, on the other side we had 6.
When we were kids, our parents never wanted anything.  On one level that was good since we never had any money, however you HAVE to get them something.  But as a kid I never understood NOT wanting anything.  Now as an adult I get it.  I just want my kids to acknowledge it and make the effort to get me something, doesn’t really matter what.  I am fortunate that I don’t need anything so it is truly the thought that counts. Besides, wife and i really did enjoy making our kids happy and it was a joy to see them open things we would get them.
The kids are older now. Youngest is 19, oldest is 24.  Christmas just doesn’t feel the same anymore with them being older.  We try and be jolly, make sure to give to charities a bit more during the season, buy presents for people on the various gift trees at church and stuff, but it just doesn’t feel the same. We don’t have grandkids (which is good since neither boy is married at the moment!), so it just feels weird.  We are not sure how to adjust to this new Christmas and are both feeling a bit lost as we are in unfamiliar territory.  Any of you empty-nesters out there, how has Christmas changed for you once the kids got older and/or left home?  We can always use suggestions.  The only one we got so far was for us to go on vacation over Christmas.  I might be up for that if it was to some place like Jamaica….
Thanks to the 12 people that I know read this as well as any of you others that may come across a post now and then.  I do this for me but always appreciate it if I can make someone laugh a bit. Your feedback is welcome, even if you disagree with me. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year.

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