WFMW: Merging Traditions.

04 November 2009

I started dating Dave during the Thanksgiving holiday only neither of us were really sure it was technically dating so much as he really liked me and I finally let him make out with me and then I took him to my work prom {aka: Holiday semi-formal dinner dance} and he danced like a jackass in front of the VP of my division and about every other company officer in attendance after a glass or two of scotch and we had the best time.  And then, we went to the bar all dressed up and I met his friends and he sang Bye Bye Bye in karoke, which I can never remember which one of the boy bands sings, but it was AWFUL and they did the hand motions and everything and I was pretty sure he was, in fact, gay and I laughed so hard that my face hurt the next day.  That first Christmas, I took him to meet my family and my mother and sister both told me that he was the man I would marry, but I was a commitment-phobe so I thought for sure they were lunatics and assured them that they were certifiable and I was not going to marry him.  And then BAM two years later, Thanksgiving brought an amazing and perfect ring to my finger and I'm still not even sure what the heck I was thinking because he still dances like a jackass and sprained his ankle this year at his sister's wedding while we were dancing to Shook Me All Night Long because well, we were kidless for the night and still, after all these years, have an amazingly good time together. 

Where was I?  Oh right, I tell you all of this because, while he was an amazing man and I fell for him, we come from VASTLY different Christmas traditions.  And I think because we were thrown into each other's holiday fire so early in our dating {Hello!  A month into dating??!?!} it made it even more pronounced, glaring in fact.  His family is a Norman Rockwell painting and mine is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  I'm not even kidding.  I am pretty sure he wanted to run screaming from the house as the political debates began and the frenzy of dogs and kids and laughter and insanity ensued.  I wanted to run screaming from the house when everyone went quietly to the perfectly set table and made small talk and I and didn't sleep most of the night thanks to his Oma's super charged coffee, which he had failed to warn me about.  It was bizarre and uncomfortable for both of us.  But we got through it.  Barely.

The first year we were married, we sat down together and talked about what we both expected from the holidays.  We made decisions about how we could successfully spend time with each side of the family and have the time to enjoy it.  Did we want to alternate years with each family?  Did we want to go to our own family events without the other one?  Did we want to cut dinner with my family or with his?  Was it important to him to attend church with his family?  Was it important to wake up Christmas morning at my dad's house or would it be fine to just join everyone in the morning?   We talked about Christmas traditions, what was important to each of us, and it made more sense.  That year, we both enjoyed spending time with each others families a lot more.  We understood what the important pieces were and we made sure to accomodate each other to achieve a balance and have a good time together.  And you know, now the differences aren't so glaring.  Dave sees the sweet, family loving side to the Griswalds and I see that there is a little twinkle of mischief in the eye of his Norman Rockwell painting.  It's amazing what a little talking & compromise can do, and that works for me us.

Want tons of great holiday tips?  Head over to We Are That Family for Works For Me Wednesday!


Unknown said...

I loved this post!
I loved how you are more Griswald
I Loved how you both discussed your traditions

The holidays can get so crazy and hetic-this post should make everyone slow least it has me

Dave said...

You know you fell for my crazy dancing skills (e.g. I dance like a crazy person)!

It really is good to get it sorted out as early as possible in your relationship, though. Holidays, as zany as they may be, shouldn't add stress.

P.S. It's the Backstreet Boys :P

Kelly said...

Love this post.

PS. Back in the day I was a huge N'sync fan and bye bye bye is one of their big hits! ;0)

*shakes fists at Dave! * lol

Ashley said...

Every year is different for us. Just depends on what the families have planned.

Good for ya'll for making it work so well.

Sharon said...

we worked out a plan too... Christmas Day is just us... no traveling, no parties, no drama, just us. Works perfectly!

Dave said...

P.P.S. It's really N'Sync.

Penelope said...

Lol! I love the how you started dating part.

It's great you had that "holiday tradition" talk when you got married. My husband and I did not, and each year is still up in the air.

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