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Home for the Holiday: Alleluia or Argh?

They’re coming home: The college kids, the young singles, the 30-something marrieds with the baby and/or the 40-somethings with the horde. And, of course, there’s the boomerang gang  already at home who think the holidays and all the trimmings just magically appear. 

 Each group brings its own set of expectations and exasperation.  Two recent articles provide some extremly useful advice.  “They’re Baaaack!” in familyeducation.com started with a familiar scene to anyone with college kids:

At 3:30 in the morning, you hear voices outside. A car door slams, the garage door opens, and your college star comes in. You’re disoriented, until you remember that all his email to you is written at 4 a.m. The refrigerator door opens and the microwave beeps, before he finally bounds up the stairs into his room and slams the door. You stare at the ceiling until it’s time to drag yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. At 2 p.m., he wanders out of his bedroom, yawning, and the dog saunters into his room to lick the empty bowl of spaghetti.

 Been there, done that!  So what to do?   A few reality-based suggestions from the article:

  • Expect your daily rhythm to be disrupted.
  • Allow her to lead the vacation life she chooses (barring blatant disregard for family members).
  • It is fair to ask about his schedule and expect to know his whereabouts.
  • Ask him to save some time to do something with you (movies, breakfast, etc.)

Those of us with older children know life gets more complicated when children marry and now another family—and more—enters the picture.  Diplomacy is required to navigate this minefield so everyone is still speaking when the holidays are over.

Whose home for the holidays?” offers some advice for young couples but useful for the parents to keep in mind also:

  • Take turns every other year. Go to your family’s house this year; go to his next year.
  •  Host the holidays at your house. Invite both sets of families.
  • Make another day special. For example, celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday.

This last suggestion is one that works well for many families including one wise grandmother with five  married adult children and multitudes of grandchildren. She  celebrates on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, allowing the kids to spend turkey day with in-laws and other relatives.  No misses the Saturday-after feast and it’s as eagerly anticipated as Thanksgiving Day.

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