Now That I Have a Child, Christmas Should Move To My House

Rant 24

I don't consider myself a "helicopter parent," but if you were to ask my parents what they thought of my mommy-ing, they'd probably say I have too many silly rules about cookies and napping. And the one thing they'd complain about that's bugging them lately: she needs to let that child stay up later, especially on Christmas Eve. Let me explain. My folks, who like to maintain fairly traditional Italian holiday customs, enjoy hosting Christmas Eve at their home. They fry enough fish to feed 20 people and get a kick out of decorating every inch of their house. We don't sit down to eat until 8 or 8:30 and, if they had their way, we'd attend midnight mass and go back to their home for even more dessert. As much as I love my parents, their way of doing things on Xmas isn't exactly compatible with having a 2-year-old. And I can't help but wonder: is there a point where new parents should start taking over the holidays?

Before you remind me that it's totally horrible to snatch a holiday from two people who raised you and deserve to fry as much fish once a year as they damn well please, know that I know. I know. I think my dad has a really great and valid point when he reminds me that my brother and I spent each Christmas Eve when we were younger driving two hours away to visit relatives, and that we often didn't get home until 1 a.m. When my parents wanted to go to their friends' houses and stay an extra hour to have one more drink, well, we were staying, too. Like it or not. Bedtime, be damned.

And I know all about how babies in Paris go to bars with their parents and learn how to sleep in their strollers because they don't have any other choice. I'm starting to wonder if my brother and I and every baby that has ever lived in Paris aren't just "go-with-the-flow" types? 

I ask that question because here is what happens when my toddler doesn't stick to her bedtime routine: she wakes at 7, regardless of whether she goes down at 8 or 1 a.m., and then proceeds to torture us by crying, screaming, and acting like an absolute lunatic until she has her nap again -- which won't happen for at least another 9 hours. 

Since we spend Christmas morning and day at my in-laws, I can't imagine how dragging her kicking and screaming to their house is any more fair than letting her stay up at all hours at my parents' home the night before. Oh, I didn't mention that she refuses to nap anywhere else but in her crib? Yeah, there's that, too.

Thus, the only solution: Christmas needs to move to our home. If they want it, all parents with young children should be passed the holiday-hosting baton. The pressure to leave a guest's home at a certain time and battle traffic is eliminated. Pajamas can be put on in a timely fashion. And parents can maintain the routines they need while also getting to kick back, relax, and enjoy the holidays.

If you have young children, do you prefer hosting holidays or celebrating them elsewhere?


Image via zaimoku/woodpile/Flickr

bedtime, child care, confessions, discipline, fun & games, tantrums, toddler development, toddler health, toddler sleep


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Books... BooksandWine

Talk about selfish and ridiculous. One night of a child not sleeping is SO worth the traditions and family bonding that happens. And a child being cranky when openin presents? Haven't seen it. I might not stay until midnight mass, but I wouldn't destroy family tradition over my child's sleep habits.

nonmember avatar C

I hope you're kidding...

Jaghd810 Jaghd810

The last thing I want to do is clean up after 30 people. 

aeneva aeneva

So how does that work when two of a parents children have children 13 days apart?  Whose house do we go to?  This is as ridiculous as it gets.  You don't want to stay up late at your parents house then don't but that doesn't mean that everyone else can't.  My kids slept just fine in their slings and did not need a special bed to sleep in.  Heck at the age of 4 my son fell asleep with his head on my lap at the thanksgiving table.  Not quite sure why he was so tired but he apparently was.

Rhodin Rhodin

Stay overnight and make your parents put up with your sleep deprived 2 year old, too.  Maybe you should go out for coffee (Sheetz gives away free smalls on major holidays) and they can babysit a little, too.

nonmember avatar Shannon

Do what we do to avoid driving 4 hours with twins... just don't go. I don't expect everyone to adjust their plans for us. If they do, that's great, but again, not expected.

nonmember avatar janey

I prefer to keep my kids on an appropriate routine as much as anyone, but holidays with family are special. You'll survive a day with a fussy kid if you get over yourself and stop being so selfish.

nonmember avatar April

Lots of nasty comments here. I totally see the authors side. Before kids we shuttled from house to house trying to make it to everyone's on Christmas. It was stressful to non-parent me. We tried it once with a 10 month old and decided never again. It was time to make our own traditions and we did. Traditions are much more fun when you don't have a cranky, screaming child. I don't see anything wrong with attending your parents Christmas eve event for a short period of time and then heading home to begin bed time. Its not selfish to want to avoid a Christmas day of screaming child.

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