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Thanks Carolla this thread is making me realize my expectations need to change and things can still be good.Ahhh- the invisibility of aging - my husband speaks of this sometimes too - but in a more general sense, not specific to family. Sorry you are feeling some loss Waterfall.
Yes - Xmas evolves I think as families also change. When the kids were little, we would gather with nearby family on Xmas eve (Italian tradition) and see my family often on New Year's Day instead of Xmas. Grandparents would drop gifts off before Xmas tho & have a nice visit. We stayed home Xmas day.
We have not had our dtr home for Xmas for about 12 years now. When one works in a resort town, it is 'high season' - no vacation time for any staff. Although the retail stores do close on Xmas day in Whistler - the ONE day of the year that this happens. And we do not go to visit, since she is working, and the cost of all accomodation & flights is astronomicallly higher. But she does INSIST that we have a video call on Xmas eve - to read "Twas the night before Xmas" together - she with her book & I with mine. So sweet, and usually a few gentle loving tears.
We do usually have son & gf with us for some of the time. For a while her family lived distantly, but now they are back again - so we share, which is okay. One year we were alone on Xmas day - so we went out to a movie!
Often we gather with another family - which is reminding me that I need to give a call & see what their plans are ....