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I am having some holiday stress that I hope you can help me with. I've been married for two years an

I am having some holiday stress that I hope you can help me with. I’ve been married for two years and in the time that my husband and I have been together, we’ve always spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with his parents. But this spring, we had a baby girl, and she is the light of our lives. We were happy before, but everything they say about becoming a parent is true; you don’t know how much love you can feel until you have a child. She is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us and we finally feel like our family is complete. I know I seem like I’m rambling, but it’s just because this year for Christmas I want to have it at our house. My husband agrees with me that now that we have a child we want the relatives to come to us to visit instead of us doing all that traveling. I’m just not sure how to bring it up with my in-laws, though. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Also, even though this is what we want, I don’t feel justified. My daughter is only nine months old, so it’s not like she realizes what Christmas is or what is going on. Is it OK to make a change, or am I being selfish? I’ve been worrying about this for a while and I’m running out of time. Thanks!

Stressed Out New Mom

Dear SONM,

I don’t think your desire to start your own holiday traditions is inappropriate or unreasonable at all. In fact, I applaud your decision. I know it can be a touchy subject, though, so you’ll want to be sensitive when discussing this with your in-laws. Changing established traditions can lead to hurt feelings if you aren’t careful. So, go ahead with your plan to make your wishes known, but do so delicately.

Actually, let me back up a minute. We’re getting down to the wire here! If plans have already been made on one or both sides of your family, you might need to wait until next year before making a change. You can still tell them though, and give them a year to get used to the idea. But if you think it’s safe to make a change, go for it. Tell them you want your daughter to have holiday memories that include her whole family, just in your own home. I would also suggest making some changes to your Christmas Eve plans as well. You don’t want your husband’s family giving up something while your own parents don’t have to. If possible, maybe everyone can get together on Christmas Eve, your family and his. If not, perhaps a large family celebration can be planned before Christmas, as many extended families do when new additions come along. You also want to make it clear that you want to host the holiday for the grandparents, so that all they need to do is arrive and enjoy while you do the work. It may take some getting used to, but in the end, hopefully everyone will remember that the most important thing at Christmas is to cherish time with those you love. Merry Christmas!

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