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Ideas for Holidays if you have no family?


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Both of our families are gone this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, I still want to make the actual days special for the boys.

 

Making December special is easy -- there's so much going on. But the day itself is hard because everyone tends to be w/ their family.

 

Any ideas?

 

Thanks,

 

Alley

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We grew up living far away from family. It was always special. I don't think of extended family as making holidays special or not special - just different bigger and usually more complicated.

 

You are probably projecting your own feelings on the situation.

 

I like the suggest that the person who runs organized home . com had. Ask your kids and DH what would make the holiday special to them. Most people who do that are surprised at the answers. Usually more about doing things together.

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When I was growing up, we never spent a single holiday with extended family. It was just me, my mom, and my dad. That was it!

 

But my parents LOVE to celebrate holidays! Even though it was always just we three, we had a blast. My parents always made a point of making a fancy dinner and using the good china. They always went overboard decorating the house, even though we were the only ones who saw it. And we homemade our Christmas cards. Usually with some goofy stick-figures on the front. (Like we did one of a stick-figure night with a balloon coming out of his mouth with nothing in it and on the inside it said, "Silent Knight.")

 

Find out what your kids want. Usually, it's homey stuff. Like, last year, I found out that my kids (4 and 7) just want to sit around in the dark with a candle lit and make up stories. They get hushed and reverent when we do this (we've done this for Halloween last year, Christmas, and Easter.)

 

Now that I'm married, we do Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve with the in-laws, but Christmas day is just for us. We sometimes go to a movie and a Chinese restaurant, because those are the only places open. Or we just let the kids stay home and eat gobs of Christmas candy and play with their presents and watch tv all day. (And tell the stories that night.)

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We are never with extended family for the holidays. They all live thousands of miles away.

 

We go to church on Christmas Eve and then drive around looking at Christmas lights afterwards. Christmas morning we open presents. We take a loooong time to do this. We stop and read the Christmas story when we find baby Jesus in a gift. We play with the items as we open them up. We don't feel the need to open them all at once. We sit around in pjs and have a special Christmas breakfast (usually something sweet that I prepared the night before like sticky buns). Then we all get dressed and go for a nature walk or bike riding, etc. We live in SoCal so we aren't freezing.

 

I don't bother at all with a big dinner. We actually eat light on Christmas Day. Our big turkey dinner is Thanksgiving and by Christmas we are tired of all that.

 

We do lots of special baking leading up to Christmas and pass out cookies, fudge, etc. to neighbors and coworkers.

 

It's is fine. It's relaxed and quiet. I do miss family sometimes though.

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We don't have family near us either. Thanksgiving was a problem for a while. My daughters' Godmother would invite us to share Thanksgiving dinner with her and her mom but that stopped when she remarried. It hurt my daughters at first but we began to plan our own Thanksgiving dinner. We make it festive and fun. If others can join us so much the better but this way we always have plans for the holiday.

 

Christmas has never been an issue. We begin preparing for the season with nightly Advent devotions. On Christmas Eve, we attend church followed by driving around to see all the beautiful lights. On Christmas morning, we have a simple breakfast and read the Christmas story. Only then do my daughters open their presents. After lunch, we have a birthday cake for Jesus. It's a fun and very full day of activity.

 

Ann

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We go to church on Christmas Eve and then drive around looking at Christmas lights afterwards. Christmas morning we open presents. We take a loooong time to do this. We stop and read the Christmas story when we find baby Jesus in a gift. We play with the items as we open them up. We don't feel the need to open them all at once. We sit around in pjs and have a special Christmas breakfast (usually something sweet that I prepared the night before like sticky buns). Then we all get dressed and go for a nature walk or bike riding, etc. We live in SoCal so we aren't freezing.

 

I don't bother at all with a big dinner. We actually eat light on Christmas Day. Our big turkey dinner is Thanksgiving and by Christmas we are tired of all that.

 

We do lots of special baking leading up to Christmas and pass out cookies, fudge, etc. to neighbors and coworkers.

 

It's is fine. It's relaxed and quiet. I do miss family sometimes though.

 

This sounds just like our Christmas traditions! Now I'm feeling excited for Christmas...way too early! Except we don't have a baby Jesus gift under the tree. Instead, our tree skirt has the name JESUS sewn onto it so we have that to remind us of our deeper reason for the season.

Edited by teragram
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We often have an "orphans holiday" and put the word out with friends that anyone without a destination, is welcome, even on short notice. We have had years when we have had a couple singles or a couple show up, and one year that we had a houseful. They are always so appreciative to spend the holidays with a true family. We have adopted a very urban, childless-by-choice couple who now spends every Thanksgiving with us. They say they love having memories of our children and traditions. :0)

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When my mom died, I lost most of the connection to my side of the family...some uncles and a couple of cousins. My brother made the nasty choice not to be a part of our lives. (looooonnnng complicated story) Dh's family gathers after Thanksgiving to celebrate Christmas, so no family gatherings there.

 

Since I'd grown up with housefuls of people on major holidays, I felt abandoned and bereft.

 

So...we made our own traditions for Christmas day.

 

We go to a church service on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning is a long leisurely affair of opening gifts and breakfast. We do a special late lunch...if the weather is nice we grill out or, if not, have roast chicken.

 

Especially when the boys were small, I'd make sure we had a new movie or two to watch and some cool toys to put together and play with. A new card or board game was a nice addition. That way we had plenty to occupy our time with during the day. We live in a large metro area where a lot of people don't have family close by. Movie theaters are PACKED on Christmas day.

 

It used to cause me great pain that my boys weren't growing up with the memories like the ones I had. A few years ago, I realized my boys had their own fond memories of holidays--even if it was just us. That was a good feeling.

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We cannot travel at the major holiday times because Dh is a priest. My family and dh's live far. We only have my parents here every other Christmas or TG--this year it's TG.

 

We have basically the same menu each TG--Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, salad (has lettuce, cukes, mandarin oranges, sugared almonds...mmmm), crescent rolls, baked corn, cranberry sauce, wild rice and gravy. Sometimes we have green beans, too. Pie for dessert. We use the good china. We used to serve wine but are a dry house now.

We say a special blessing--

We put 3 pieces of unpopped popcorn by each person's plate and go around the table saying 3 blessings.

 

For Christmas, we keep Advent before, lighting our homemade Advent wreath each night at dinner and putting an ornament on our felt Advent calendar each day. We go to Mass on Christmas Eve. Stockings go in the bed with each child (filled while they are asleep) so they can open them when they rise--since dh doesn't get home from Midnight Mass until at least 1:30am, he needs a little sleep, so Christmas morning doesn't start until at least 8 o'clock!

We have a nice dinner and a relaxed day.

 

Sometimes I wish we had more people around, but really, I love my 3 kids and hubby being the focus. Since I'm estranged from my brother and never see Aunts and Uncles and such, I've learned to be content with what's in front of me. I have a deeper appreciation of "just us" this year, as it's the first time in 2 years that DS18 is with us. For two years he's either been in treatment or jail at the holidays. We are blessed.

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I am like a few others I have seen post. We don't have any family here but we go all out every year like there is a small army coming for dinner. We usually have lots of leftovers but spend a day in the kitchen as a family doing lots of talking. Of course we sit on the couch in our jammies and watch the parade while drinking hot cocoa. In the past we have invited friends from work,and a few times truck drivers that are stuck at a truck stop without their family. I grew up with the large family gatherings, and can honestly say I like ours with no family better. Less stress for everyone involved. :001_smile:

 

 

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