Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Gift of a Day Spent His Way

This year all my husband wanted for Christmas was to stay home.  

Every year we celebrate Christmas in one of two ways. Most of the past Christmases have been spent either hosting or attending my extended family's Christmas Eve potluck dinner. Then on Christmas we attend mass in the morning, then I cook several dishes to take to Chris's sister's home for his family's holiday dinner. But there have been a couple years when we have gone to his mother's house for Christmas Eve and then had my mother and her significant other to our home for Christmas dinner after Mass on Christmas Day. 

The celebrations are always fun, but they are work, too. Chris only gets one day off for Christmas, and that is Christmas day. He doesn't get home until five or six on Christmas Eve, and then he is right back to work the morning after Christmas. I am not complaining. I know that there are many people that do not get Christmas day off, so I am thankful that Chris gets to spend Christmas home with us every year. But he has never spent Christmas day the way he wants to spend it since we always have family parties to host or attend. 

He wanted a simple Christmas this year, a day with just me and the boys and nothing on the schedule other than morning Mass. 

He told me a couple months ago that he wanted us to host my family's Christmas Eve party at our home this year. Then on Christmas day the only thing he wanted to do was stay home, just our small family. He explained that he was tired of all the running around, and tired of spending so much time in the kitchen cooking a bunch of extra food. All he wanted to do was spend the day simply. I immediately thought, "Uh-oh. His family is not going to like this decision." But he was so sure that that was what he wanted that I acquiesced. 

This year we had my family over for Christmas Eve dinner, and we had a nice time. Then in the morning the boys and I got up at 6:30. I cooked breakfast (quiche and cinnamon rolls), and we let Chris sleep in until 8:00. The boys were very patient. Then we opened gifts, had breakfast, got dressed and attended Mass. 

After Mass, we came home and stayed home the rest of the day. Chris told me not to worry about cooking a big dinner because he would figure it out. We spent the day relaxing and eating the leftovers from the night before and breakfast. Then his mother, father, brother and his family, and two of his sisters stopped by for a short visit before going to his other sister's house for dinner. After they left Chris cooked us a simple dinner of cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks, and cucumber slices. After dinner we watched a Christmas movie, and then we went to bed. 

Chris told me it was a perfect day. 

I am so happy that I didn't try to talk him out of his request. I hate to admit that I have in the past. I used phrases like, "We are expected to" and "The kids want to" and "No one will understand if we don't". Hearing such arguments, he would eventually give in and spend his day doing what everyone else wanted. And I would always end up feeling guilty for suggesting we continue the tradition of visiting with extended family on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

This morning as he was leaving for work, he told me again what a great day he had on Christmas. Chris got the gift he had always wanted, and I had the pleasure of watching him enjoy it. 

I think how we spend Christmas day has changed forever. After all, we did have a wonderful and relaxing day. Plus the boys never complained about our decision to stay home. They understand that we will have time to visit with their cousins this upcoming week. Christmastide is twelve days, after all.

Spending time with our extended families is important. But our little family is important, too, and the time we have to spend with each other is very valuable. Most important is my relationship with my husband. I want him to be happy and feel relaxed. More than anything I want to see him smile. 

Agreeing to spend Christmas day his way is the best gift that I can give Chris. It is better than any gift that I can buy from a store. 
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