Ever since I can remember, the holiday season has been celebrated separately within my small family.
Sometime before entering into kindergarten, my parents divorced and have lived their separate lives ever since.
From that divorce came a parenting plan, also known as a custody and visitation agreement, which dictated who, what and where I would spend my time as a minor.
That agreement stated I would spend every other year with either my mother or father on Christmas day. One year I’d spend Christmas Eve with my mother and Christmas day with my father, and the next year vice versa.
Imagine being told where to go each year and not being able to have much of a voice; that’s what I dealt with.
Being raised in a Christian-based home, my typical holiday with my mother was centered around Jesus Christ. Along with a Christmas tree and several knick-knacks in our home, we had a small nativity on top of our entertainment set.
Christmas at my father’s home varied every year. One year we made a short drive up to the mountains to go sledding in the snow. Another year we visited the Riverside Mission Inn Christmas lights.
This separation of holiday rituals has given me a split view about what the holidays are and how they should be celebrated.
Another difference is the relevance of Christmas Eve. Every year for Christmas Eve my mother would set out one present for me to open; I would then receive the rest the next day or later that week. On the other hand, Christmas Eve has never really had any sort of importance for my father. One year we even celebrated Christmas the day before because we were both too antsy to wait.
I’ve never had a Christmas with both parents present, but that doesn’t make my holiday season any less memorable or family oriented.
Sometimes both sides of my family would gather together for a giant Christmas celebration. Those gatherings are the ones I treasure most because it’s a chance to catch up with loved ones.
I enjoy the short intimate time I’ve had with each parent, even if I didn’t see one parent or the other during that holiday season.
Now that I am older I can pick and choose when I spend Christmas with which parent, which can put in a bit of a predicament most times, considering each parent plans events that usually involve me.
Sometimes it can be difficult going through the holidays because I can’t choose which parent has priority; I love them both equally. Finding a balance can be difficult because disappointing a parent can easily be done with one decision.
Although stress can be burdensome, Christmas time is truly my favorite time of the year because its a chance for me to actually spend quality time with my parents.