Getting married is full of lessons all on it's own. Getting married and sharing holidays is a whole different ballpark. Our first Christmas married we packed up and went to spend it with Adam's family. I wont lie to you. It was a little harder than I thought it was going to be. Don't get me wrong. I love Adam's family. I really loved being with them and sharing the holidays at their house. His family is welcoming and warm and they have a lot of awesome traditions that it was fun to be a part of. I just don't think I was fully prepared mentally for my first Christmas away from home. Adam did everything he could to help me for comfortable. And we learned a lot about how we could make Christmas special no matter where we were. Here is what we do to help with making Christmas away from home comfortable.
Make sure they are fully prepared for how your family celebrates.
Let's face it... everyone celebrates Christmas a little different. My family goes all out. Trees everywhere, decorations in every room, and lots of stuff going on. Adam's family takes the simpler route with one main tree, decorations in the main rooms, and just a little more laid back. We always have sticky buns on Christmas morning. Adam's family always has cinnamon rolls. There are differences everywhere. Make sure you talk with your spouse so they can understand how Christmas goes with your family's traditions. That way they wont be overwhelmed or disappointed when Christmas is different than what they are used to.
Learn and remember your spouse's family traditions.
Every family has a tradition that is so special to them. So when you are at your house and your spouse it away, you will want to learn and remember which one is the very most important to them and implement it. My family always does a Christmas Eve gift. It is always pajamas. And even thought I know what it is going to be every year, it is something I really look forward to. Christmas jammies to wear to bed and wear for stockings and gifts the following day. Adam and I have decided to implement that when we are at his parents' house too. It helps bring a little piece of my childhood Christmas with me.
Remind them to call their family.
This one is simple. In between all the hustle and bustle of Christmas activities make sure your spouse calls their family. And give them time to talk to their family. Sometimes people only need a few minutes and sometimes they need longer. Don't make them feel rushed. Make them feel comfortable.
Do a little service.
There is no better way to celebrate Christmas then to do service. No matter where you are. Whether it is service for someone in your community, service for your neighbors, or service for your family - it is always a good thing. Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Forget yourself and go to work." When you and your spouse take the time to serve those around you you will feel a special Christmas spirit. Something that will make you focus on what is ahead rather than think about where you are located.
Include your spouse.
Sometimes change can be uncomfortable so we shy away. Watch for signs of this in your spouse and make sure they are included in all the activities rather than sitting back watching.
Create your own traditions.
I think this one is the very, very most important. No matter where you are. Your house, your in-law's, or the moon. Take time to make your own traditions now. Make memories that you can carry forward to when you will have kids or host your own Christmas celebrations. That will make Christmas feel like home no matter where you are.
These are just a couple of things we have done to make Christmas more comfortable as we take turns spending it away from our families.
Have you ever had to spend the holidays away from your family? Do you remember what your first Christmas away from home was like?