A friend noticed the brightly wrapped packages under our Christmas tree. “You put the presents out before Christmas?” I responded with “Of course, don’t you?” There seems to be little consensus on the details of how one should celebrate the holidays.
Some families open all of their gifts on Christmas Eve. Other families stretch out the morning ritual, opening each present slowly, deliberately, from youngest to oldest. Still other families rise at dawn to open their gifts with rapid zest, feverishly ripping into one package after another. And what about the great debate: does Santa wrap his gifts or not?
When you marry, you mash together two potentially wildly different styles of how to celebrate. Usually by the time children come along, you’ve established some kind of unified style. But when you remarry and create a blended family, you’ve got a lot of preexisting expectations to manage. Some kids are used to an unwrapping race while others are used to a multi-hour, slow marathon.
For me, I’ve decided to sit back and watch the scene mindfully (with nonjudgmental awareness). I don’t have to cling to an idea of what ‘has’ to be . . . nor do I need to micromanage the process. In fact, I don’t need to do anything but sit back, relax, and quickly open my presents . . . or maybe I’ll just soak in the wonder of it all.
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