It started as going to my Grandparent's house and my aunt and uncle would come in from out of town. Like most people, my grandparents aged and retired. They moved south and the tradition was reversed. To my aunt and uncles house we would go with my grandparents coming in from out of town.
There are 6 kids and we are all now grown. Some of us have families of our own, some are still in college and some are just out f college trying to make a life of their own. With our growing families and changing financial situations (let's face it, most college or just out of college kids are broke), our gift giving ways have changed.
A few years ago we adopted to joys of the grab bag. Only the adults participated and we all bought for the little kids. At the time, my 2 were the only kids. My daughter's birthday is in November and at her party we would draw names.
This year was different. And I'm not sure if this is a change I like.
When my mom asked my aunt about drawing names she said something was brought to her attention. One of her own children suggested we only buy gifts for the kids. The kids would be my 2 and my cousin's little boy. That meant us and my mom only had to buy for one person. Score! Or so I thought.
As in previous years, we traveled over to their house for a lovely dinner. Turkey, cranberry sauce, cinnamon Jell-o, potatoes, rolls, the works. After dinner we put on our fancy clothes and head to church. I have 2 issues with going to church. First, I was raised Catholic and the church we go to Christmas Eve is Lutheran. Second, I am not a religious person. I'm not saying I don't believe, but at the same time, I'm not sure if I do believe. But that's a post for another time. I will say that their pastor is an amazing speaker and singing Silent Night to nothing but an organ and candle light is nothing short of beautiful.
We return to their house, take the obligatory family photo, eat a few cookies, and pass out gifts.
I loved being there since I don't have the chance to see my cousins much anymore, but something just felt off. I kept my comments to myself until I spoke with my mom the following day. We both agreed that they all bought gifts for each other . We both realize that, no matter what you believe, Christmas is much more than presents, but we also felt jipped. It's important to go over there for the sake of my brother. He is the only one who is related to them by blood. Keeping him involved in that side of the family is important, but at the same time were we really welcome there? Or was the invite out of necessity?
I'm really not looking for any answers because I'm not sure if there is one. As we all get older we lose contact with certain people. It almost feels like this is becoming one of those situations. It could also be nothing except a change. I don't always deal well with change and maybe that's why I feel off about the whole thing. If you read this far, thanks. I really appreciate you listening to me rambling on. If you have opinions, I would love to hear them.