Christian Weddings

family ties and traditions

i'm new here and am posting this family issues here since i think a Christian perspective would help as faith is so linked in my family.  anyway. I got engaged about 7 months ago, and while we aren't dealing with wedding plans yet (i'm waiting to graduate with my BSN and my fiancé is looking for a full-time job) we are for the first time in our 5 year relationship spending holidays together. our families compromised on thanksgiving and it was a lot of fun. but now we're working on Christmas.  Both our families are very large, and we're each very close with our families. My mom and I are very close, and her opinions/feelings/thoughts matter to me a lot.  Well, his family is coming over to my house to be with my side of the family on Christmas day. I was super thrilled about this. Until this morning when he asked if I would come over on Christmas Eve to be with his side of the family. I want to be with him, of course, only this means missing out on Christmas Eve service (my favorite service of the year), and skipping out on our family's traditional dinner after church at a local restaurant. It's a small tradition, but meaningful none-the-less.  I'm really torn and feel like i'm between a rock and a hard place. both are important to me, and i know he realizes that. I know traditions have to change, but I'm not sure i am ready for so many of them to change so soon.  of course my mom said, "I'm sure you'll figure it out" yet, i know she thinks i am compromising my traditions if I go to his house on Christmas eve.  I want her support, but I want my fiancé to be happy too.... and it seems like I can't have both, and either way I 'm going to be thinking about being at the other place no matter what i decide.   


sorry this is long, but it's really weighing down on me right now. please don't send negative comments, i really just need some advice from someone who might understand this.... thanks. 


Re: family ties and traditions

  • edited December 2011
    Sounds like his family is sacrificing their Christmas day for you and your family. I would think it would be natural for your to sacrifice your Christmas Eve for him.

    We dealt with this last year - we found it difficult but in the end realized that holidays are going to be difficult to split in the beginning, but ultimately he is going to become your primary 'family', which is worth sacrificing your favorite service.

    Christmas Eve service is my favorite as well - so I know how you feel about giving that up. Keep in mind that in coming years you will be switching and taking turns and perhaps next year, it will be your turn to go to Christmas Eve service and he will come with you.

    Of course there is going to be a time of 'grieving' your past and the first time you change your usual plans is going to be difficul. Giving up the things that made your single life wonderful with you Mom and whoever else you are close to, that is definitely hard to do! I would encourage you to ask yourself if you really are ready to give up the holidays and split them down the middle. You *can* wait until next year if you don't feel emotionally ready.
  • Habs2HartHabs2Hart member
    2500 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    How far away does his family live?  Is there a chance you can go to the service and then go over to thier place?  Or just leave for a bit to go to church and come back?

    I would go there for Christmas eve since their whole family is coming to you for Christmas day.  It's about compromise right? 

    However, like Joymatt said, if you aren't ready to split just yet, just be honest and upfront about it. 
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  • edited December 2011
    This is all my opinion, but here it is... 

    The Christmas Eve and Family Dinner is a tradition that seems really important to you.  My FI's family and I did Christmas last year (before engaged) and what we did is this:

    We did Christmas Eve service where they are (4 hours south) and participated with their Christmas Eve tradition of going to see a movie afterwards.  Different from what I'm used to, but I still got a Christmas Eve service, and got to experience a new tradition with his family.  We left on Christmas Day just before lunch time (after seeing most of his extended family) and came up for a big family gathering with my family.  It was my first Christmas Eve/Day changing my own tradition, and I thought I would regret it, but I ended up loving it.  I got to incorporate my "new" family in with my own.  

    In your particular situation, it might be nice to try something a little new for you... you and your FI will be family soon, and it may make sense to change gradually so it's not such a shock to the system. Is there a Christmas Eve tradition that his family does that night?

    I'm assuming here, but if you're in your 20's like a lot of brides on the boards, you've been with your family tradition for as long as you can remember, and that's what's comfortable to you.  It's one church service, and maybe forming a new tradition could be a good thing... ?  If you decide to spend Christmas Eve with your FI's family, you could also ask your FI if there is a local church service you could attend.  

    I'll pray for wisdom in your decision!  It's a tough spot to be in, but just imagine where you'll be when you're finally married! 
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  • iamjoesgurliamjoesgurl member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary
    edited December 2011

    I wonder if you could talk to FI about wanting to do Christmas Eve with your family every other year so that you don't lose that altogether.  You might start spending Christmas Eve with his family this year or wait until next year.  I understand what you are dealing with.  I've always been with my family for Christmas day but we had decided to do Christmas day with his family last year and then do it with my family this year.  I had such a hard time dealing with it last year and was so sad at the thought of not being with my family on Christmas.  I finally asked him if we could do Christmas morning with my family and then do the 6+ hour drive to his parents house in time to join them for Chrismas dinner.  That's what we ended up doing. 

    Since you are not yet a married couple, I don't think you need to spend Christmas Eve with his family.  But as a married couple, it is something to definitely plan for.  If his family tradition also involves a family gathering on Christmas Eve, he will feel the same as you do.

    Having said all of this, the reason that we celebrate Christmas is to celebrate Christ's birth and I pray that no matter where you are Christmas Eve, it will be a meaningful celebration for both of you.

  • edited December 2011
    You could always do what my FI and I do:  take turns.  This year we did my family's Thanksgiving and we're doing his family's Christmas.  The next year, we flip flop it (his Thanksgiving, my Christmas).  That way neither of us lose a tradition and both of us gain one.  :D  HTH!
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  • edited December 2011
    I do agree with what people are saying here, that his family seems to be working around your families christmas plans and everything, so it's only considerate that you join them for Christmas Eve, but I can also see that it's something that's important to you...could you possibly join them for their celebration and then go join your family for the dinner, at least?  Or maybe go to the service with your family, and then join his afterwards?  I think that compromise is key here, and I definitely would at least make the effort to spend part of the night with his family.  I understand you wanting to uphold your families traditions and not upset your mother, but she needs to accept the fact that you are going to be part of a new family now, and there will be many compromises in the future.  There will be times when you will forego your traditions for his family's traditions, and vice versa.

    Believe me, I do understand where you're coming from.  I'm a very sentimental person, and traditions are very important to me.  FI understands this, and mostly all of the holiday stuff that we did last year was with my family.  I loved being able to enjoy those traditions fully for one more year, but I also felt sort of bad, because I knew that FI was doing all the compromising and I want him to be able to still celebrate holidays with his family too, even though holidays aren't as big in his family as they are in mine.  This year, we're really switching things up.  Part of this is because my mother has to work on Christmas, and so we'll be pushing our customary Christmas morning celebration back to Christmas Eve, and I'll be celebrating Christmas morning with his family...I know it's going to be different, but I'm really excited about it.  Try not to look at it so much as you missing out on your traditions, but instead as you picking even more traditions with your new family.
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="">Re: family ties and traditions</a>:
    [QUOTE]Honestly, I think it's totally fair for him to want you to spend one half of the holiday at his family's.  If Christmas Eve is a big deal to you, then what about swapping it around so that you do Christmas Eve with your family and Christmas Day with his instead?
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]
    I completely agree.

    The first thing I thought of the Novemeber after my lovely now-SIL got engaged to my brother was, "we're going to have to break up my awesome family for the holidays." And it is sad that were not the same little group at holidays and that not all holidays are together, but that's the tradeoff with my brother getting a wife more awesome then I ever would have hoped.

    P.S. Also,it's great both your families are local. A lot of people have to choose between Thanksgiving and the whole Christmas/Christmas Eve time because famileis are across the countr from eachother.
  • anikoharanikohar member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thank you all so much. Just reading your words helped me think through everything. It is going to be difficult, and different, but it will be the start of something new. I really appreciate all your words of encouragement and support, and especially the prayers!
  • edited December 2011
    This Thanksgiving was very hard on FI because for the first in 24 years he was missing out on dinner with his family. But my mom refused to give me up for my last thanksgiving as a single woman. I'm thankful because of my dad's job as a pastor, I never got stuck into big family traditions. granted last year spending thanksgiving and Christmas day was rough, but nevertheless, we got through it. I pray that the Lord will guide you in the your choice and that you will listen to His leading. Praying for you!
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