Family Gatherings – Yea or Nay?

dinner

It’s that time of year again. Family time! But, where’s my family? Everywhere… but here. Not a single family member of mine resides within the state I call home. Instead, they are hundreds to thousands of miles away, some even in different countries. So when it comes time for big family gatherings, there are none.

The last one I recall was back in the late 1980’s, but because of how young I was, I don’t honestly know what a big family get-together feels like. I’m not complaining. I simply miss what I’ve never had, but what so many others do.

Those others however, often feel the complete opposite. They are overwhelmed with family, seemingly never able to escape them. They crave time away from the constant drop-ins and invitations.

Then, when the holidays roll around it’s even worse. Joy is replaced with stress, usually weeks before the big day itself. Who’s going to host the dinner? Who will bring what? Who’s going to be there? Where on earth are we going to get enough tables and chairs for that many people?

It’s a mess. A crazy and wild day, filled with flour covered aprons and heads dripping with sweat. But, it’s also a day filled with love, laughter and fun. A time of family. A time where wonderful and hilarious memories are made.

Or, at least that’s how I imagine it to be.

This is a conversation my mother and I were having yesterday. It seems that we always want what others have. We, my mother and I, would love a large family get-together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or any big family gathering for that matter. That would be a dream come true, especially for her.

For others however, they would love nothing else but to escape to a secluded place, far from family or anyone else who could contact them.

If you could have it your way this holiday season, what would you prefer?

A big family gathering or a quiet dinner with your spouse and children? Or, would you rather say “forget it” and head off to a secluded location far away from it all?

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29 Responses to Family Gatherings – Yea or Nay?

  1. Sadly, many family members have gotten a bad taste in their mouths due to one or more relatives who always seem to ruin the holidays. I have learned to avoid them, and would much rather spend a quiet holiday with my own posse then go through the hassle of trying to keep peace .

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  2. aviets says:

    I’m in the same boat as the commenter above. Thanksgiving and Christmas are an exercise in wishing I could avoid large chunks of my family because of long-term and horribly unpleasant baggage. Would love to lock my own little nuclear family up in our home and ignore the rest of the world.

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  3. koolaidmoms says:

    We used to have the big, overwhelming family gatherings when we lived close to family. A small family gathering was 20. They were good for the most part but you always knew what to expect and who to stay away from. Now that we have moved half-way across the country about 600 miles away we have just the four of us and I don’t even cook a turkey. We play games, watch movies and eat appetizers all day. If we don’t want to get dressed, we don’t. Pajamas all day are okay! We love it!

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    • mewhoami says:

      Good point. It’s nice to have a good family gathering, but a small cozy relaxing one with just those who live in the home is nice too. It’s certainly less stressful and less demanding – at least ideally anyway. It sounds like your little group has a great time together and ultimately that is what matters most.

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  4. As much as my family drives me crazy, I couldn’t imagine not having them around. For Thanksgiving when it’s more of the nucleus, to the 4th of July when it’s the big entire clan reunion, all the way down to the times it is just Mr. T and I. We always think the grass is greener and what what we don’t have… and I’m working on enjoying what I do have and counting my blessings for those moments, whether in solace or chaos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      Very inspirational thoughts, Kate. We *should* be happy for what we have. I’m happy with our small family dinners, but I must admit that having at least one big hurrah sure would be neat. I’m glad that you and your family are able to get together so often. Family is very important.

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  5. DailyMusings says:

    We spend it quietly- a few years ago my aunt and uncle came , but this year we are getting together for an early “brunch” with friends. The days of big family gatherings long over and gone

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    • mewhoami says:

      I think that happens a lot, especially after the kids are grown and have families of their own. It’s nice that you still have small gatherings from time to time though and a brunch sounds fantastic.

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  6. All of the above!!!! Love a quiet gathering, I love sneaking off! I love the big family. I just do NOT like the PLANNING the big family get togethers! πŸ˜‰

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  7. joey says:

    My family’s all scattered like yours. We usually stay home. Sometimes we host Thanksgiving, but we usually stay home. We’ve spent a few with friends, a few with my husband’s parents, and those have been lovely, but usually we just stay home.
    Home is nice πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      It’s good that you’re able to change it up every now and then, but even better that you are perfectly satisfied with just being at home. It certainly does make the holidays much less stressful that way. No getting dressed up, no entertaining – just free to be ‘us’ and to enjoy the day.

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  8. George says:

    We’re fortunate to have our family relatively close so holidays for us are pretty crazy in a good way. I don’t know any other way and have never wanted anything other than what we’ve always shared but everyone is different. If quiet is born out if circumstance then you make the most out of where you are and who you’re with.

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  9. LOVE IT ALL~EVERY WHICH WAY! Due to the times we live in our blood-line family is on the other coast. We have a minute contingent of blood-relatives where we live but they are not of the traditional big fam~big meal hussle and bussle as I. We have had the crazy & quiet gatherings. Even when it is just the spouse & child I like the crazy cooking marathon of the 12 dish Thanksgiving and special dishes at Christmas. So for Thanksgiving~I like to be the O.I.C.

    Christmas is another story…as a child we had big Polish family gatherings. The unspoken rules: you show up, eat, drink & socialize even when the biggest hurtful feelings are present. Those feelings got put aside for those couple sacred days, then back to the normal seething emotions. But you partake in the family Oplatek tradition. Sadly~being so far away and the wonderful Polish and Irish generation that was my connection to the old countries have past and its a struggle to keep any type of tradition. Last year I finally had it. I invited all of our Framily & blood-family that live near us (all 3 of them), of course many have thier families close by, but the invite was put out there and those that were home came, it was a beautiful moderate crowd spanning generations.

    Being proud of my heritage and getting over the awkwardness of explaing the tradition no one had heard of before, and letting go of the maybe embarrassment the spouse may have been feeling, (which maybe not but knowing they didn’t have that growing up, my deep down self felt maybe they would prefer I not try to start & share my tradition or mention it) BUT it was a received well and I realized Thanksgiving but especially Christmas are very special times of the year to relive our best childhood memories~in a new way…Thats my 2 cents…

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    • mewhoami says:

      It sounds like you have had some wonderful holidays in the past. I’d love to experience a Polish and Irish style Christmas and Thanksgiving. How neat that would be. I love the fact that your family would put all their differences aside for the day and simply enjoy the time together. That should be the rule in every household, especially during special gatherings. Like you, I also love to go all out during Thanksgiving, cooking everything that we had as children growing up. And similarly, I also like to be the one in charge, primarily because I love to cook and it’s so much easier when only one person is running around the kitchen. ‘Stay out of the kitchen, let me work and you just worry about eating.’ – That’s my motto. πŸ™‚

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  10. reocochran says:

    I chose a place in the middle of the state as a single Mom 29 years ago. My ex was from Cincinnati and parents, brother’s reside in Cleveland. Funny, Columbus completes the 3 major “C”cities. You’d have thought I had noticed this! πŸ™‚ Anyway, 2 of my kids stayed here, married and has children bur I am up at Mom’s. I tell my grandchildren who wonder why I go so far away, that this is how I hope others will treat me what I am 87. πŸ™‚ My son is coming with his three children and wife to have my Mom hold the 3 month old baby. Hope you have a happy holidays and enjoy! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      That’s funny that your family resides in the three C’s. Easier to keep track of everyone that way. How sweet of you to travel to your mom’s for Thanksgiving. We must appreciate the time with them while we have it. That makes my heart smile, and it is a great lesson for your kids and grandchildren. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

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