Small at the Holidays

Jimmy and I briefly looked at the calendar for November and December tonight, and I started thinking about when we would take vacation, what we were doing for Thanksgiving, what we were doing for Christmas Day, when we’d celebrate with other family members, etc.

We aren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year. I kind of enjoy hosting and having a big meal.  We’ll still make our meal a few days later, but this year it is leaving me a bit hollow. When I looked at Christmas – not as far away as we might like – everything seemed so complicated. We are trying to make our own traditions plus celebrate with both sides of the families plus not travel on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. And we’ll have Jimmy’s family Christmas a few days later when his brother and his family come to town. But everything feels so small, which is the sad truth as our family is becoming smaller due to age.

I sighed as I contemplated the calendar and the various occasions. It’s my own hang up. As an only child, I grew up with small events, often feeling apart, longing for some huge family celebration. I want the Currier and Ives holiday.

And that is my problem. I’ve wanted the huge family holiday that has been presented to us in advertising, but I know the reality is far more complicated. The rational part of me understands that while my heart feels…a bit sad and lonely…at our holidays.

I’m sure I’ll feel differently once we get into the sturm and drang of the holidays (pizza on Christmas Eve last year? Yes, no shame!), but tonight, this moment, I feel a wee bit sad.  I love our family of three, but sometimes, we feel so small.


  1. I hear you. I grew up with a large network of cousins – holiday dinners were regularly 20+ people, and were always spent rushing around.

    Now’s it’s the five of us, and then we go to my parents’ house, and sometimes my brother and his wife and son come, which makes us 10. Which is “enough”, but it’s not the holidays I had growing up. It feels, like you said, small.

  2. I am sorry you are feeling sad. We live very far from family and will spending both holidays alone this year. I am bracing myself for the heartache as this will be the first Christmas since my mom died.

  3. I can certainly relate to small at the holidays. I grew up in Canada with my mum, my dad and my brother while the rest of our family were all in Scotland. I believe we went to Scotland one Christmas when I was 2 and my Grandmother came to Canada for my 1st Christmas, but other than that, it was the four of us for every single holiday. It was nice.. but it wasn’t the family Christmas from the movies (I won’t even get into how my parents didn’t ‘do’ Christmas). Now I live in the Dominican Republic… where it is just the four of us in my own family now. Our families are either a zillion miles away in Canada or two zillion miles away in the UK.. so most of the time, it is just us. Occasionally we get a couple of visitors, making it 6, but still small (last year was my mum and dad, year before was my BFF and her partner). However, we are changing it up this year! It isn’t going to be HUGE with 40 cousins or anything like that but we are going to be with Anthony’s parents, his brother and his sister and their 3 kids between them, so a decent family group. I’m excited about it, but also still not sure if that is ‘my thing’ or not. Now to make this not COMPLETELY about me (sorry!), I am sorry it gets you a bit down at times. What the main point of my comment was is that, I know. And it is hard at times. I am sure you three will have fabulous holidays no matter what you do and who you are with as long as you are together 🙂

  4. It’s amazing how hard it is to try and make your own traditions when you also want to keep up with the old ones… We are having the same trouble!

  5. Hugs, I understand the sentiment though I have the opposite problem. We have the huge family celebration on my dad’s side, then my parents and sister and our families the next day, and I do love it. BUT… as we enter Christmas number 3 with Miss E, the traditions are already set and the big days are already taken. I wish we didn’t have to create our little family Christmas in the blank spaces on the calendar.

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