About the third time I ran to my husband ready to flee the country until January, he asked me what our holiday priorities were. When I started to run through the schematics of who we needed to see but couldn't attend such and such event, he stopped me.
"The most important family for us to spend time with this Christmas is ours, babe," he said. "You, me, and the kids. Let everyone else make their own decisions." And just like that, he gave me exactly what I needed. A little dose of perpective and a good tweaking of my priorities. (I love that man.)
Without consulting anyone else or their schedules, I sent out an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner. I welcomed those who were able to attend, and we missed those who weren't. We did the same thing for Christmas. We set an open invitation for brunch and agreed that we would be available for one dinner.
Despite our best intentions, my social calendar this week is slightly intimidating. With the exception of the two Christmas meals, I've tried to limit us to one event a day—two only if they could accommodate my children's nap times. Divorced couples have been expected to shelve their differences until post-holiday, and his family and mine are going to have to overlap a bit if they want to see us.
I know this is easier said than done, but we made the decision to claim joy for our holiday and to focus on making the entire season special for our children. Our calendar is packed, but manageable. We're doing everything we can to avoid stress. While there is a long list of people we really want to spend time with, the ones that we really have the responsibility to provide with special memories are our children. We're going to choose the things that are going to mean the most to them, and we're going to make the sometimes difficult decision to say no to everything else. I'm sure this won't be a popular decision, and it isn't one that will work for everyone, but it was necessary for my sanity.
Wish me luck.