Can you DVR Thanksgiving? Some people think so; they "time shift" their holidays to accommodate everyone's busy schedules. That means that rather than having Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, maybe the family will gather on the following Saturday or the weekend before.
In any given family, at least one branch of the family tree is likely to be dealing with several sets of parents-in-law, stepkids, etc. Trying to be everywhere is crazy-making, but enjoying the time with family is also important. Add the high costs of flying and the throngs at the airport before and after the holiday, and celebrating on a different day sounds a lot more pleasant.
Of course, this ticks off the ultra-traditional and the ultra-religious. Writer Bruce Feiler's family does Thanksgiving on the day after, and then celebrates all eight days of Hanukkah the next day. A rabbi friend scolded him about it, chiding that he couldn't just move Hanukkah whenever he wanted.
But there is value in participating in your family's unique holiday traditions, whatever they may be, and what's the matter with celebrating, say, Easter in June or the Fourth of July on the 5th if that's when you can all be together? That doesn't preclude you from celebrating the holiday on your own with your immediate family and friends on the actual day, but it does reinforce the values of family and tradition that are a big and important part of the season.
My husband and I did this with our families a few years ago, when it occurred to us that gathering with my only sibling, who lives three hours away, and my in-laws, who live two hours in the opposite direction, meant we were doing nothing at Christmas so much as driving all over the Great Lakes region.
We finally floated the idea of time-shifting Christmas to both families and it's gone great. We celebrate Christmas with my brother's family near his birthday, which is the 30th (and has the benefit that I get to celebrate his birthday with him as well), and with my husband's family either the weekend before or sometime during the week after (since we both generally have reduced work hours that week, if we have to work at all). It gives us a little something to look forward to after Christmas Day and is more relaxing since we're not spending the day packing kids in the car and driving all over.
Do you time-shift your holiday?
Image via CarbonNYC (David Goehring)/Flickr