Have You Ever Considered “Skipping” A Holiday?

posted by Andrea | 11/26/2018

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

I know, I know… I’m such a Scrooge.

But wait! Don’t click away just yet!

Before you shake your head in disgust, thinking I’m the most horrible person ever, read though this post and at least hear me out! 

I was NOT planing to share this post today (I had another post ready to go, but moved it to next week). However, due to our kids getting sick last week, our family essentially “skipped” Thanksgiving in the traditional sense… and it was a revolutionary experience for both Dave and me! 

.

At first I thought I would be super bummed about skipping Thanksgiving.

After all, it IS my favorite holiday of the year… and since we were supposed to host the party this year, I had already purchased ALL the food, drinks, and paper products, and I even had some of the food prepared and in the fridge or freezer.

However, due to “skipping” Thanksgiving, Dave and I had a fantastic day at home with just our kids, and we felt SO refreshed, rejuvenated, and rested.

Let me explain…

Roughly 2 weeks ago, Clara came down with Hand, Food, and Mouth disease. Simon, James, AND Dave ended up catching it from her (all 2-3 days apart), putting the contagious period still fairly close to Thanksgiving Day.

Based on what I’ve read, I’m almost positive none of them were actually still contagious on Thanksgiving Day (they all felt 100% and acted healthy and happy), but the rest of my extended family wasn’t too keen on having us spread our potential germs to them.

This meant that instead of hosting my family’s Thanksgiving party (and making the vast majority of the food), we simply stayed home and enjoyed a marvelously quiet day together. 

  • I didn’t have to make any food.
  • I didn’t have to prepare my home (and kitchen/dining room) for a bunch of guests.
  • I didn’t have to clean up after anyone.
  • I didn’t have to pack up leftovers.
  • I didn’t have to remind my kids to “be quiet” or to “stop bothering people”.
  • I didn’t have to watch or listen to football all afternoon.
  • I didn’t have to make small talk or keep people entertained.
  • I didn’t have to travel anywhere.
  • I didn’t have to do anything specific.

Instead of spending most of the day Wednesday cooking, baking and preparing our house for the onset of party-goers, and then all day Thursday entertaining and cleaning up, we essentially got 2 “extra” days to simply lounge around at home and do whatever we wanted to!

It was the very first time in my entire life that I didn’t have to do something or be somewhere on Thanksgiving Day – and although Thanksgiving is still one of my most favorite holidays, I did not miss the hustle and bustle ONE BIT!

Yup, our family essentially “skipped” Thanksgiving in the sense that we didn’t do any holiday parties, we didn’t have turkey, stuffing, pie, or any other traditional Thanksgiving foods, we didn’t scan the ads for amazing deals, and we didn’t see any extended family members or friends.

We just went about our daily routines like we would on any normal Thursday — except we enjoyed having Dave and Nora home from school.

Here’s what our “skipped” Thanksgiving Day looked like:

I finished burning my Harvest candle (we let it burn all day long!)

We ate simple foods that required very minimal effort…

Right after breakfast, we did a handful of the new crafts and science experiments Nora got for her birthday. Then I went to church by myself (so much more enjoyable without needing to keep kids quiet the whole service) while Dave built the kids a fort to play in upstairs!

We did a puzzle and played a few games of Uno after lunch. Then the older 3 kids played outside for the vast majority of the afternoon while Clara napped and Dave and I did yard work.

We enjoyed hot chocolate and fresh-from-the orchard apples as an afternoon snack, and our kids all got to bed on time, without being overly exhausted from a super busy day.

Dave and I enjoyed a quiet evening with no party mess to clean up, no overly-stuffed comatose state to nap off, and no work projects (we both usually have lots of school and blog things to work on after the kids are sleeping).

I went to bed fairly early after finishing the 3rd book in the Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan (so good!), and woke up bright and early the next morning just like I would any other Friday (with no intention of shopping!)

Throughout the rest of the holiday weekend, we enjoyed putting up our Christmas tree and a few other decorations, playing with our Little People’s Nativity, doing a few more craft projects and puzzles, reading a bunch of books, watching a few Christmas movies, and playing with Nora’s new secret agent kit (another birthday gift!)

Since I had all the Thanksgiving food in the house, and my turkey was already defrosted, I did end up making a more traditional holiday meal for just our family later in the weekend — it tasted fantastic, but was still very low-key!

As a family of introverts who love being home, I can honestly say it was the most restful and relaxing holiday weekend of my entire life. 

.

Of course, I wouldn’t suggest skipping out on all holiday activities forever and ever, but I will say that my first ever experience with a “skipped” holiday was so positive, I just had to share it on the blog.

It’s one thing to SIMPLIFY the holidays by making food ahead of time, paring down the number of gifts you buy, limiting all the extra things you want to do, and putting minimal decorations up in your home.

However it’s a completely new ballgame when you actually “SKIP” the holiday altogether!

I honestly feel like we gained 2 full days of free-time, and much less hassle and busyness during an already fairly full time of year for our family.

I’ll take it!! 

If you read this whole article and are still shaking your head, thinking we are a boring family of Scrooges… that’s OK!

Keep in mind Dave and I tend to be more introverted, so staying home is almost always more appealing than going out.

Our kids also seem to enjoy being home with their own toys, their own spaces, their “normal” routine, etc.

Our kids play really well together (for the most part) so even when we are with others, they still often play together.

And then there’s the fact that Dave and I both have jobs that require lots and lots of  “at home” work. He spends most evenings (and early mornings) grading and lesson planning, while I spend evenings and early mornings writing blog posts, completing tasks for my VA work, making food, etc. It was a HUGE treat to be able to just sit and relax and not have anything we absolutely had to do.

In a few more years, I might look back on this Thanksgiving and wonder why on earth I was so happy to “skip out” on all the traditional activities…. but for this year, for this season in our lives, it was exactly what Dave and I needed.

Could you benefit from a skipped holiday?

No, you don’t need to totally skip out on all the fun holiday traditions and activities, but I do think it’s worth looking over your calendar for the next 4-6 weeks and honestly evaluating if you REALLY need to do everything you have written down.

Think through your various holiday parties, commitments, events, programs, etc. and consider if you are participating in these things because you and your family will actually enjoy them, or simply because you feel obligated to do them as part of your “holiday tradition”.

Of course, there will always be plenty of things we do because we know we should or because we are expected to (that’s understandable) but we’re also all adults who can (and should) set boundaries and make our own choices — regardless of what others might think. 

If there is a party or activity or other holiday event you just don’t want to do this year, consider skipping it completely and see how you feel.

You might ruffle a few feathers or cause a bit of family tension, but you might also realize that no one cared and you saved yourself a ton of work, hassle, time, busyness, and stress!

Have you ever skipped out on holiday festivities?

I’d love to hear about your experience too!

11Shares

Filed under: LifeFamilyHolidaysEntertaining

Leave a comment

79 comments

  1. Brooke

    12/02/2018

    We skip Thanksgiving every year. My sister in law hosts the Sunday before, and we do a potluck with friends the Sunday after, so we usually do hotdogs on the actual day and just chill.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sounds glorious!

    [Reply]

  2. Amy

    11/28/2018

    We have done this more than once and usually skip over Easter. It started due to an illness but sometimes it is just nice to be home. Sounds like you all had a great holiday weekend!

    [Reply]

  3. Danielle

    11/27/2018

    To keep it short, my husband is in the Air force, and we just moved to a new Duty station a few months ago. This is the first time in 6 years we haven’t been close to family. We decided to go to the mountains for Thanksgiving. We rented a cabin and spent a few days as a family together. Our kids are similar in age to yours, (7, 5, 4, 2) and it was actually wonderful!! Before we had kids, we lived in England and we would skip Thanksgiving every year to travel to Europe. I do love Thanksgiving but for us, it’s a great 4 day weekend to travel!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds lovely — and yes, your kiddos are all just about 1 year older than ours! Fun!

    [Reply]

  4. Tamara Flick-Parker

    11/27/2018

    Being one of those “older” readers, my son and his girlfriend are students and it really depends on what their homework is like. They also work part time (and my son works at Whole Foods) which is open on Thanksgiving. I must also note that we live in Vancouver, (Canada) where Thanksgiving is the 2nd Monday of October (focusing more on harvest time, than the American story). When I first moved here (I’m from the States and married a Canadian) we celebrated both Thanksgivings. I would even get up early and watch the Macy’s Day Parade. But the US one, in Nov. was fairly scaled down (from turkey to chicken). After we had our son, who was born in Sept., there was no American Thanksgiving that year and the only reason there was a Canadian Thanksgiving was because my mother-in-law, or someone else, I actually don’t remember – hosted it. Probably for a couple of years. We also lived in a small apartment, which got smaller as our son grew and accumulated a few things.

    For many years, I hosted, after moving into a house, but over the last several years, frequently we keep it really low-key and don’t always have turkey. Last year, our son & his girlfriend went to her parent’s place in another town and we were left to our own devices and decided to just relax. We did go shopping, I needed a new coat, and although most of the stores were opened, it was very quiet, which we really enjoyed. Later, we went to one of our favourite BBQ places where they had turkey sliders with a Yorkshire Pudding stuck on top. I was hoping to be able to post a photo of it.

    We also have scaled back on Christmas – implementing a budget to spend for each person. We started a new tradition of ordering Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve, putting it all in the fridge for the next day. I also made my own egg rolls. I’m kind of done with that now, but still don’t feel like making a big dinner this year (we’ve had a horrible year with both my husband and I loosing a parent and moving, and a close friend losing his father just last week). Looking to my son and his girlfriend for input as what they would like to do. Maybe it will just be homemade turkey soup (i’ll ask my butcher about turkey bones or get a small turkey and just bake it a few days ahead w/out the pressure of getting it all done at a particular time) and have other sides. The possibilities are endless if you think outside the traditional holiday box. We also have a get-together with them to decorate Christmas cookies and have food too. I’m a fairly non-traditional person, so having seafood fettuccini (w/homemade Alfredo sauce) at Easter, is more my style than a traditional baked ham etc. or (yet another) turkey.

    That said, I have such great memories, as a kid, at my maternal grandparent’s house with our extended family all there (about 25 of us). Traditions can change as we move through life. Be creative and start new ones.

    I applaud you, Andrea, for putting your family’s needs first and not making it more stressful for you all and your extended family, possibly worrying about holding a child who might still be contagious. We all need to do what works for us. None of us is perfect, and our holiday time with our families doesn’t have to be either. It should be about spending time with each other and not about all of the food, gifts and decorations.

    Happy holidays, whatever you celebrate, to you all.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks for sharing Tamara (and for your words of encouragement!)

    [Reply]

  5. Debbie

    11/27/2018

    I sort of feel like we skipped on Thanksgiving too because we didn’t cook AT ALL. Because my mom went to my sister’s in California it was just going to be 4 of us. There’s no point in cooking a huge meal for 4 people, and nobody is really a fan of the good old turkey. We went to a buffet and it was glorious! We had all kinds of choice on food that we’d rather have and no preparing or cleaning afterwards. Then we drove around town just for fun and home to rest. Did I miss having all the leftovers for future meals? I think a little, but I’m also thankful I didn’t overeat on the day and subsequent days just to finish them off.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good for you — going to a buffet on Thanksgiving Dave and NOT overeating. Impressive!

    [Reply]

  6. Ellen

    11/27/2018

    I would have to agree with some of the “older” readers. We have had our share of “missed” holidays and they truly can be wonderful. It can particularly be a relief when your family is young. I would be careful, though, to maintain the extended family ties that involve holidays, even if not everyone is there every year. Life is short and those memories of the crazy, hectic holidays can be pretty precious down the road. That being said, when my oldest was 4 I called my mother, terrified, to say that our son wanted Christmas morning at home. She paused (I was not breathing) and said “Well, your dad always felt you kids needed to be home Christmas morning.” For many years, we opened gifts, the kids played with their new things and we packed up the car and drove and hour and a half to spend Christmas dinner and a few more days with extended family. I think there are ways to manage and each family has to find their own way.and it does change as life’s seasons change.

    [Reply]

  7. Ashley Orfe

    11/27/2018

    My husband and I did this for Halloween. It was kind of unintentional since we didn’t have any Halloween party to attend and we live in an apartment so we don’t get trick-or-treaters. However, I thoroughly enjoyed not having to get a costume together or make a food dish or buy candy or do anything extra! It save us time and money and extra things to do. I shared this on social media and no one really understood, but I’m glad to know there are others who love doing this, too!

    [Reply]

  8. Lesa Humphreys

    11/27/2018

    May I ask what church you attend?

    [Reply]

  9. Sue

    11/27/2018

    We are the out of town family, so every holiday we would have to travel somewhere by car for 2.5 to 4 hrs (or 20 to FL!) depending on which way we went. I decided about 6 or 7 years ago, that Easter was going to be home. (Especially since it’s Sunday and we had to be home for my husband to go to work the next day) We really started to enjoy it and slowing down that day. Now, my siblings kids are parents and they suggested having Christmas on a different day with my side of the family. Weekend before or a set day, still to be decided. When they asked my opinion, I suddenly had this sense of relief wash over me!! We have not EVER had a Christmas Day to just stay home!! Granted, we do go to Florida ever other year to spend Christmas with my in-laws because they are snowbirds, but now the other years we can open presents and RELAX!! I. CAN. NOT. WAIT!!! I’m only sad we couldn’t have started this sooner when my kids were younger! Still get to celebrate, just also get to slow down and enjoy!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Glad you get every other year “off”!

    [Reply]

  10. Becky Stout

    11/27/2018

    Several years ago my extended family began having our Thanksgiving on the Sunday before Thanksgiving at our home. It started as an extension of our daughters’ birthday party. So Thanksgiving day has almost always been just my husband, twin daughters and I. One of our most relaxing was lounging at home all morning then going out to eat dinner then home for more lounging and movies. About 5 years ago, the girls really wanted to camp on their birthday which is late November, so since then we go camping at a local state park over the Thanksgiving weekend. It is so relaxing. I still prepare a traditional meal just for us. We play games, watch movies, sleep, take walks and anything else we feel like doing. It is so wonderful! My daughters will be 14 this week, so i hope we can continue this tradition for several more years.

    Last year my extended family wasn’t able to get together for Christmas until a few days after and we all enjoyed it so much that we are doing the same this year. It was so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I’m a HUGE fan of celebrating the holidays on a different day… still haven’t gotten my extended family on board with this, but I’ll keep trying. Dave’s family always celebrates on different days and it makes everything feel less stressful and chaotic. I love it!

    [Reply]

  11. Kristen

    11/27/2018

    For the first time in my life, I am “skipping a holiday…Christmas! My immediate family will be traveling for Christmas to Italy, and since we host Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both sides of our families, this will be very liberating for me. I will not be putting up a plethora of Christmas decoration, baking cookies or shopping; instead I am getting ready to pack up my family for what I hope will be the best Christmas gift of all…spending time with my 3 college age boys and husband for some very much needed together time. It does feel strange not to be doing all the traditional activities that come with this time of year, but I am embracing it and it’s VERY liberating! Thanks for another great post Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh my word — this sounds amazing! Of course, I would never want to go to Italy with my family right now (I’d rather host 80 people for Christmas than attempt an international flight with 4 young children) but I can’t even imagine how exciting this must be for you and your family!
    Enjoy “skipping” Christmas this year!

    [Reply]

  12. Teresa

    11/26/2018

    Well I’m one of your “older” followers and I have to say your day sounded wonderful to me Andrea! We have Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house EVERY year for our family, usually between 15-20 people and I am exhausted EVERY year. It’s just too busy and hectic and tiresome. We’ve been hosting it for about 10 years now. I know this sounds bad or selfish but I would love to relax and just do whatever I felt like on those holidays or even one of those holidays. And yes we all get along with each other and believe or not always have 🙂 Keep making your own traditions Andrea ♥️

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — age is relative! I’m sure you’re not “old”! 🙂
    That said, I would highly encourage you to say something to your group this coming summer — mention the fact that you will not be willing to host in 2019 as you’d like a break. You’ll still be giving them plenty of time to come up with “plan B”, and if they are upset, they’ll have plenty of time to cool off!
    If you need a really good “excuse” you could always plan a vacation over Thanksgiving weekend and say that was the “only” time that worked for you to go 🙂
    My aunt ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS hosted Thanksgiving for my mom’s side of the family. It was to the point where we almost had 60 people there at the end, and I’m sure her house was so trashed the next day. There were so many little kids running around with cookies and rolls, I’m sure there were crumbs and juice spills all over her house — not to mention they lived on a farm so you know people were tracking in dirt all day too.
    She finally said “I’m done” 4 years ago, and while it was different to not do Thanksgiving with those people anymore, it was what she needed to do for herself and her immediate family, and I know she was very happy about that decision and I’m glad she put her foot down and said something when she did. I think you’ll be surprised how refreshing a year off could be — and who knows, maybe someone else would actually like to host but hasn’t said anything because they know you always do.

    [Reply]

    Carrie Reply:

    Teresa,
    I don’t think it’s selfish at all to want a break from hosting. I have a large, immediate family and the biggest house, so I ALWAYS host Christmas and have been for a little over 15 years. Last year I just couldn’t do it. I was honest about needing a break and one of my sister in laws stepped up and offered. It was glorious to not have to host. I was willing to host again this year and my mom mentioned she would like to have it at her house this year. Plus, my other sister in law said she would be more than happy to host as well, if I didn’t want to!! I really love having Christmas at our home, but a break was definitely needed!!
    So, you never know….there might be someone who would enjoy having it but thinks you want to continue having it at your house. I agree with Andrea, mention that you can’t have it next year. I was pleasantly surprised when I just came clean and spoke up.
    (And yes, my whole family gets along a fabulously as well-and always has, just like yours! What a blessing!)

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I completely agree with this Carrie — not selfish at all!

    [Reply]

  13. Muriel

    11/26/2018

    Yep, we’ve done this and it’s awesome. I think family get togethers are better when it’s not at a holiday. Everyone is more relaxed and less rushed/busy.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes exactly! I’ve been trying to convince my family to celebrate on an “off day” for years — so far, no luck! I’ll keep trying!

    [Reply]

  14. Meghan

    11/26/2018

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments! Skipping a holiday sounds way better than last Christmas when we stayed at my parents with our three kids. My middle child was throwing up all night, and the 2 year old had a horrible night terror that lasted over 30 minutes. I actually had blocked it all out until my sister reminded me of it at Thanksgiving! Haven’t decided what are are doing this year . We are the ones who live out of town. This Thanksgiving my son lamented “why doesn’t anyone come to us?” Well, it’s a lot easier for 5 people to travel instead of 15. . .
    Andrea, having to cancel Thanksgiving could have been really disappointing. Great job keeping a positive attitude!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — the comments have been great!
    And WOW, that sounds like an awful Christmas… sorry 🙁

    As for this year, I’d encourage you to stay home (I know, I’m horrible!) Give it a try for one year and plan something really fun (simple, but fun) with just your own kids and spouse. It will be different, you might hate it, but at least you can say you tried it!

    Also, would just your parents (or your husband’s parents) be willing to travel to you for a change? Even if it wasn’t on the actual holiday? That might be a fun happy-medium for your kids!

    [Reply]

  15. Mariele

    11/26/2018

    Heehee. I love this post, so glad you had a good time. Nontraditional holidays are great–just remember how long it took for traditions to stick, anyway! As long as you’re celebrating in some way, I say it’s fair. And having time off to enjoy the family sounds like celebration to me. 🙂 I’m getting a kick because my family has been doing this for years!

    My parents worked as reliable night nurses, going in to work even when others took time off, so most of my life, we’ve celebrated holidays on days outside the actual holiday (Christmas on Dec 20th is common, but it changes every year depending on their schedule). Then we also drag out the holiday for about a week. So already, we’ve broken down a lot of the feeling of keeping in tradition for holidays 🙂 and with the only near family being me and my parents, we often completely opt out of whatever holidays we want! We pretty much drop all the holidays except for Christmas and birthdays, with maybe a touch of festivities for Thanksgiving. 🙂

    Being willing to celebrate outside of the actual holiday is quite freeing. It’s such a standard in my family I don’t even question it. Celebrate whatever day works for your schedule and do as much or as little as you want.

    [Reply]

    Carol Reply:

    Thank you for this, Mariele! I have been a RN for almost 40 years, most of it spent working in ICU. We have done quite a few variations of celebrating the holidays over the years. I often felt guilty that my children did not get to have many traditional Christmases. Glad to know that you didn’t feel you were missing out!

    In the early years we travelled from Denver back to Alabama every other year. After one year of bad weather (ice storms) and the stress of a pregnancy loss we reevaluated and decided to start our own traditions at home. Most of the time I was able to have Xmas Eve off by volunteering to work Christmas Day. We had a dinner of appetizers and sparkling cider for the kids (something a little stronger for the adults) which they loved! It gave us time to open our family presents and go to church. When my children were young, we got up early to see what Santa had brought. When they became preteens we just had stockings Christmas morning, and as teenagers they liked to sleep in and save stockings for later. They had a quiet Christmas day with Dad, enjoying their new gifts. We often ended the day with a walk or drive around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights!
    This year my son, who just bought his first home, and his girlfriend hosted Thanksgiving. It was fun to attend as a “guest” and just bring a few side dishes. And the turkey he smoked on his grill tasted great!

    I think it’s good to figure out what works for you and your family, have some flexibility, and realize that it might make sense for your traditions to change over the years.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yum… smoked meat is SO good. My sister and her husband are doing this for Christmas!
    Also, I’m glad you found various traditions that worked for you and your family over the years — that’s so important. You didn’t let yourself get locked into only doing things one way — I find that’s often when traditions stop being fun and enjoyable and start feeling like obligations.

    [Reply]

  16. Melissa

    11/26/2018

    The only holiday celebration we have decided to skip (although I’ve thought about skipping others) is New Years Eve. We use to host with friends & family which we enjoyed, but a few years ago I found myself wishing we had just celebrated with our kids instead of inviting everyone over (a lot of times it seemed we were just pushing the kids off to play so the adults could hang out) so the following year that is exactly what we did – we stayed home, alone & played games & watched a movie, made our favorite snacks and then snuggled on the couch to watch the ball drop. This is now my favorite way to spend New Years, especially as the kids are getting older and I can see a time in the not so distant future where the kids won’t always be home to celebrate with. I would also like to incorporate this into a few other holidays as well…not that I don’t enjoy large family get togethers (even us introverts enjoy socializing with those we love ) but I think slowing down and savoring the time we have with our children is so important. Yes I love my extended family, but I also want to create our family’s own traditions and memories.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, Dave and I have talked about how we’d like to start some of our own family’s traditions — but it’s hard when we are trying to work around both our family’s past traditions (parents and siblings) AND still some of our extended family’s traditions (our own cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.)
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Melissa!

    [Reply]

  17. Lisa

    11/26/2018

    I guess I’m a scrooge, but we skip TG every year! I love Christmas and love getting together with extended family then, but I’ve never liked TG. It’s too close to Christmas, too much work, too much driving, etc. For the last couple of years we’ve been taking a vacation that week. It’s great because we only have to use 3 vacation days to get a week off and the kids only miss 2 days of school. We go to FL and have a super relaxing week with just the four of us. It’s a nice little break before the Christmas busyness kicks in. The first year I thought that it would feel weird to eat at a restaurant, but it’s WONDERFUL. One year we invited the extended family to go to Disney with us and that was really fun. Next year we’re doing an extended family cruise that week. It’s the best of both worlds!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — not a scrooge! At least not in my book!
    I do agree that the holiday should be spread out a bit more — Thanksgiving in June or July maybe!
    I’m no a big traveler at this point in my life, but once our kids get older, I can definitely see us enjoying a week away instead of more traditional holiday gatherings. Also, the cruise sounds amazing — they are my favorite types of vacations!

    [Reply]

  18. Kelly

    11/26/2018

    We had to skip Christmas Day with family due to two of my kids having a stomach bug. It was a bummer at first, but it was a very relaxing day for everyone. Plus I’m sure no one wanted to come over our house anyways. We ended up celebrating New Years Day instead with my husband’s family and it was very nice and enjoyable.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    we often do New Year’s Day with Dave’s family and we love it. Everything has sort of settled down, school hasn’t started yet, and it’s fun to have one more party to look forward to after Christmas is over.

    [Reply]

  19. Lori

    11/26/2018

    I would guess I am much older than most of your readers( mid60’s) and am in the season of my life where I have lost soo many dear loved ones…. both my parents, my youngest brother, dear aunts, uncles and cousins. What I wouldn’t give for having them around my thanksgiving and Christmas table again. Traditions and extended family gatherings are what made the holidays so very special( at least for my family). I truly believe we have maintained this closeness because we make it a priority to all be together. Many of my friends often comment that they are amazed how much we all enjoy each other! Was it difficult getting everything ready when the kids were little, packing the car, extra clothes, gifts ,food, etc? You bet, but so worth it. I know it is not easy, but I ask you young families to just know that life can quickly change and figuring you will all be together next year is not a guarantee but certainly a privilege. Don’t mean to be Debbie downer, but I just wanted to give you all some food for thought. Happy holidays, whether you choose to make it an intimate one or extend family one⛪️

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    Oh Lori–

    Bless you for sharing your thoughts about this.

    As I was reading Andrea’s post I was having the exact same thoughts you mentioned here.

    There are plenty days in the year to just stay home and “skip” things that are hard, not worth it to you, or just don’t bring you joy for whatever reason.

    It saddens me that the younger generations find it such a pain to carry on the real meanings of the holidays to the next generation.

    However, I am so grateful my parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles went to all the trouble to make the holidays special for family. My fondest memories with extended family were when we were all gathered together for the holidays. I am blessed to have these memories.

    These days I also feel so blessed and privileged to be the host for these holidays in my home. I am thankful that my extended family still enjoys being together, despite the work, the chaos, the football games, the extra set-up, the clean-up. It brings me to tears every year that we still have everyone, everyone is as healthy as they can be, and there’s love in the air. I was touched this year when I learned how much our traditions mean to my grandchildren.

    Andrea, although sickness prevented your family from being together, I truly hope that you didn’t enjoy “skipping” this holiday so much that future Thanksgivings are skipped for the relaxation. Down time is great but so is family.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Michelle,
    I think it just depends on your perspective on various holidays as well as different life situations/seasons.

    I see my family members every single week, so I don’t feel the need to force a gathering on December 25, just because the calendar says it’s Christmas day — especially if it doesn’t work well with my schedule and our current stage of life.

    It’s not that I don’t enjoy being with family, I just don’t feel it’s necessary to bend over backwards and completely shift my week around to make something work ON Thanksgiving Day or ON Christmas Day. I’d rather stay home with my own family and do something simple with extended family on a different day.

    My family doesn’t understand this either (it’s OK if you think I’m crazy!).

    Also for me, the “real meaning of the holidays”, as you say, is not the fact that I’m eating certain foods with certain family members on the actual day of the holiday. The “real meaning of the holidays” is that we should be Thankful for all the blessings we have been given (Thanksgiving) and we should be grateful for the gift of Jesus coming to earth to save our sins (Christmas). I can do this any day of the year, with any family members, and while eating any type of food.

    Again, I certainly don’t expect everyone to share my lack-luster approach to holiday traditions; however, knowing how relaxing our “skipped” holiday weekend was, Dave and I are seriously tempted to try it again sometime. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Crystal Reply:

    ❤️

    [Reply]

    Anne Reply:

    Same exact feelings for me Andrea.

    [Reply]

    Shan Lao Reply:

    Andrea, I totally agree with what you said, ” ‘The “real meaning of the holidays” is that we should be Thankful for all the blessings we have been given (Thanksgiving) and we should be grateful for the gift of Jesus coming to earth to save our sins (Christmas). I can do this any day of the year, with any family members, and while eating any type of food.” What we do and don’t do during holidays reflect our values and priorities and season of life. Flexibility and understanding go a long ways in loving our young families according to their needs. My daughter-in-law is in the military and based on the east coast and my son runs a business on the west coast while being Mr. Mom. Recently I flew out to the west coast to give my son a break and to bond with my little grandson for ten days. It wasn’t anyone’s birthday nor was it a holiday, but my son and grandson both felt loved. Then I returned home to a Thanksgiving with an immigrant family with four lovely children. They have never had traditional American Thanksgiving foods, so turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, homemade bread, etc were a great hit. (I used your idea of cooking the turkey in a bag. The best turkey I’ve made, according to my husband!) The next couple weeks we will be attending Christmas concerts, having dinner dates with friends, making meals for families with needs, and enjoying church. Then my husband and i will escape the gloominess and cold of Chicago for a 10-day cruise to the southern Caribbean! (A last minute steal and a splurge.) Meanwhile, I wish you and your family, both immediate and extended, a blessed Christmas!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    glad your turkey turned out!! Those oven bags are amazing!
    also… a 10-day cruise! How fun!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no no Lori, you’re definitely NOT “much older”. I have many readers well into their 80’s so you’re still young! 🙂

    That said, I think it all depends on so many different factors. Dave and I see our family ALLLLLLLL the time as they all live very close by. So not seeing them on Thanksgiving is no big deal because we’ll see them all again a few days later.

    If your family has to travel in and can only do that over the holidays, that would be a different situation entirely.

    [Reply]

  20. Marsha

    11/26/2018

    I totally understand. I’ve got a large family who comes to my house for Thanksgiving. We really enjoy it, but it’s a LOT of work. I’m with you on the working for days ahead of time and then all day the next day cleaning up. The thought of a quite Thanksgiving sounds good, but as long as I’m able to do it for my family , I will. God bless y’all through this season.

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:

    Yes, yes, yes! You get it! Enjoy your family

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I can not stand going to a party or event that is not well planned out ahead of time (you can always tell when everything is last-minute and frazzled). So I spend A LOT of time planning ahead and A LOT of time cleaning up afterward so my guests can thoroughly enjoy their time. I couldn’t do it all the time, but every once in a while it’s fun!

    [Reply]

  21. Karen Miller

    11/26/2018

    Andrea, I was just looking at the pictures of your Christmas cookies and was wondering what kind of dough you used. We can never get our cookies to maintain the shapes of the cookie cutter shapes. You know without puffing out of shape, like our stars looking like stars and not flowers or something like that. I’d appreciate any help becase any dough i use puffs up. Silly questin, right? Lol thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, the recipe is on my blog! https://andreadekker.com/fun-basketball-sugar-cookies/
    It’s a good one!

    [Reply]

  22. Summer

    11/26/2018

    This sounds great like a great holiday! I was kind of surprised that Clara caught this first. While I know it’s highly contagious, you guys are such homebodies, with no kiddos in childcare. Your kids are the first I heard of to get it without being in a daycare situation/schooling situation.

    I hope you are all feeling well and healthy and wishing you a beautiful fun rest of the holiday season! Hope you guys are enjoying the snow day too! Perfect for snowmen building! I just assume you got the day off with the rest of the city buried. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, we actually get out quite a bit these days — she could have gotten it from the grocery store (shopping cart) the library, one of the play groups we go to, etc. Who knows!
    And yes, we REALLY enjoyed the snow day today!!

    [Reply]

  23. Laura

    11/26/2018

    The most peaceful and relaxing Christmas I ever had was the one when I woke up with strep throat. I had to go to urgent care but once I had antibiotics- I slept for hours and just relaxed. Of course this was before I became a parent. 😉

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, that was BEFORE children! Glad you had one relaxing Christmas!

    [Reply]

  24. Anna

    11/26/2018

    I think this is great! I think exploring different holidays is great! I don’t think I’ve ever missed one for my family though.

    I do try to “skip” the stress of the day, cooking and cleaning though.

    However, my husband and I have done it different ways through out the years. It is rough that everyone has an opinion about how we should show up to all holiday parties cause we have the only kids…but over the last 10 years they’ve gotten use to us being inconsistent in how we choose to show up.

    Here are some examples.

    1. My husband only goes to one (his family) cause he doesn’t really enjoy the get together with lots of people.
    2. My husband and I take the kids to our family’s but we don’t go ourselves so that gives us some alone time. So I don’t have to attend his family and he doesn’t have to attend mine.
    3. Grandparents have taken kids to the family Thanksgiving so neither my husband or I have to attend. LOL so we both get some alone time.
    4. We’ve done a Holiday party between Thanksgiving and Christmas so its one party and then we can actually enjoy the holidays without stress and travel.

    I also try to make the meals easier. Cooking all day to prepare for I think is crazy! I’ve done a few different ones to make it easier as well.

    1. Cook all the whole holiday meal in a crock-pots. With crock-pot liners it cooks all day by itself and its easy clean up.
    2. My family doesn’t like turkey as much so at my house we make a couple of roasts, ham and some sides in the crock-pot. Then other years we might make a turkey.
    3. The whole family sometimes go out to eat the weekend before or after to a buffet place and we don’t have to cook or clean up and no waiting to order food! (I would not recommend doing this on the actual Holiday though that’s stressful!)
    4. Everything comes out of a box (so no long cooking and preparing) if we do a turkey with sides. (I order the turkey and its cooked and all I have to do is warm it up.)

    For entertaining
    1. We play board games, rent a few movies we all like (for those that don’t like football) or we all go out to the movies…this year we saw The Grinch! Everyone had a great time!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — these are great suggestions and ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  25. Trixie

    11/26/2018

    I’ve done this before ( my side of the family will often get together on a day other than the holiday) and it’s always been wonderful!!! I hesitate to even tell people I’ve done this for fear of the active comments. We have so many other fun times together as a family throughout the year it seems kind of silly to me to focus so much on a few certain days. I love my family and enjoy our times together just as much on a Tuesday night over pizza as on Thanksgiving Day.

    [Reply]

  26. Brenda

    11/26/2018

    I understand what you are saying, but as someone who has always worked 40+ hours a week (many years in retail), I always liked getting out of my house and away from my “chore list” on holidays. If I was at home, I was thinking about how far the laundry was behind and how messy the bedrooms were and I would never be able to relax and enjoy anything. When I was at someone else’s house, doing my laundry wasn’t an option, so I didn’t worry about it.

    I always like it how what some people find relaxing, others would not. It’s nice to see other’s perspectives. I’m glad you enjoyed your holiday!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I can totally see why you’d want to get out of the house and do something different for a change. I also like being at other people’s homes for various parties or events because then I can mostly just sit and relax without constantly thinking of everything else I could be doing!

    [Reply]

  27. Avia

    11/26/2018

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to get a very low key but contagious illness right before every holiday! Not really but your Thanksgiving sounds lovely and I’m a little jealous!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I said the same thing to Dave! We hope nothin happens over Christmas break (our kids would be bummed to miss out on gifts) but it was honestly the perfect “excuse” this year. Everyone felt healthy and well, but the possibly contagious period is what “forced” us to stay home!

    [Reply]

  28. Karen

    11/26/2018

    Just last night I was telling someone that I felt like skipping Thanksgiving next year. It’s Monday morning and I’m still catching up and am still dragging physically after hosting (which I always do). TMI but I’m sure having my monthly visitor Friday didn’t help….. Besides the sick part ~ your weekend sounded glorious to me

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    our Thanksgiving weekend WAS glorious! Especially since no one was really “sick” anymore — just potentially still contagious. We were all in good health and had lots of energy to enjoy the long weekend at home. The best of both worlds (in my opinion).
    Hope the rest of your week gets better!

    [Reply]

  29. Kimberly

    11/26/2018

    Last year was the 1st holiday season that we did NOT travel anywhere! Not for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years. Both sides of the family live many hours away from us so we’ve always traveled to see 1 or both sides of the family during the holidays. It was the most restful holiday season that we’ve ever had! No traveling, no packing, no living out of a suitcase, no nothing! We are doing it again this holiday season & I am looking forward to it! I have 3 young children – 6, 3, & 7 months. As a fellow introvert homebody wth young kids, I know exactly what you are talking about when you “skipped” a traditional Thanksgiving! Do what works for you & YOUR family during this season of life!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good for you! I can’t even imagine traveling every single holiday. Dave and I are super lucky that both sides of our family live right by us. Aside from one sibling, we see our family members very regularly and never have to travel long distances.
    Glad you were able to “stand your ground” and do what you wanted during this overly-busy time of year (and season of life)!

    [Reply]

  30. Amanda

    11/26/2018

    We have had to do this a time or two with sick littles, and they were some of the most relaxing and calm holidays ever. Another thought, though: maybe you need to not host every holiday. I’m the go-to host in our family, also, and it can be exhausting for my introverted household to have to entertain so much. When someone else hosts and all I have to do is show up with a couple dishes and can leave whenever I feel like it, holidays are so much less stressful!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, I don’t always host everything — but due to our family being the largest, our house being the largest, and my enjoyment of making food, I do often end up hosting.
    My sister will be hosting Christmas, and all we have to do is show up with some food and a few gifts — I will be looking forward to that!

    [Reply]

  31. Roxie

    11/26/2018

    My family always gathers for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year, my Mom was dizzy and unable to go anywhere; so she and I just stayed home. I made us a low key meal and we avoided the “crowd.” We love our family dearly and missed seeing them…but honestly, it was a good day. I think sometimes we all need to unplug and let go of expectations!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Glad you were able to make the most of your holiday with your mom — sounds wonderful to me!

    [Reply]

  32. Ann

    11/26/2018

    We have skipped or stayed home with sick kids ect.. I LOVE it! I know it sounds terrible to some people, but I’m an introvert as well and the stress of making food, being gone all day long, and making small talk is exhausting ! We are skipping Christmas Day this year and instead surprising our kids with a water park over night .
    We need to start making our own traditions instead of being pulled in different directions with extended family for the Holidays. I have been saying no more often, and not giving a reason , just a simple no we can’t make it. No need to go into detail to everyone. I don’t like the Holiday season to feel rushed and full of obligations with small children at home. my kids also are thrilled with hot chocolate, popcorn, a Christmas movie and board games

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Dave and I also like the idea of “starting our own traditions” instead of always doing exactly the same thing, just because it’s how it’s always been done.
    Thanks for sharing Ann!

    [Reply]

  33. Annette Silveira

    11/26/2018

    As an introvert the times over the years we have had to opt out of family traditions for various reasons have always been a blessing in disguise. The quiet, immediate-family-only time seems at first to be a letdown, but we’ve always said after how good it was.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes… I was initially annoyed and somewhat bummed that we’d be missing out. However, it turned out to be just the kind of day/weekend we needed (especially after a week of sickness)

    [Reply]

  34. Jessy

    11/26/2018

    Many years ago my then-four-year-old daughter came down with chicken pox the day before Christmas. She and I spent Christmas afternoon and evening tucked up in bed, eating chicken soup and toast and watching Christmas movies on tv. My husband took our 7 year old to his parents for the traditional family Christmas dinner. This was my favorite Christmas ever! Low key, quiet, stress-free.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that’s so great — especially that you remember the day in detail so many years later. It must really have been a great day for you!

    [Reply]

  35. Courtney

    11/26/2018

    We have also opted out of a holiday (actually a few times) for various reasons and like you, it was exactly what we needed to do for our family at that moment. Many might not understand but these precious babies are only little for a small time and cherishing those moments of just being home and more purposeful with them is so special. Other people may not understand but good for you for stepping outside of the traditional box and being good with with it. Feeling settled about the decision can be hard when people lay on the guilt Because it goes against what they are comfortable doing. Love your honesty and openness.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Courtney — and yes, it was nice just being home together!

    [Reply]

  36. Michelle

    11/26/2018

    We had a bunch of random things happen this year that caused us to make the decision to skip Thanksgiving as well. We traveled instead to a warm destination (found inexpensive flights) w just our immediate family. We made our own Thanksgiving feast that my kids ate in their swimsuits. I have to admit that I did miss the time w family and our traditional activities, but the vacation and quiet time was so needed and rejuvenating. I doubt we will do the same next year but it felt good this year.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sounds lovely!

    [Reply]

  37. LEANNE

    11/26/2018

    I’m laughing at this post! We did the same thing… we had a super tragic death at my boys’ school last weekend…my oldest son was close to this young man, so the week felt like a fog… we were supposed to get together with my large side of the family on Thursday… but I wrote down SATURDAY! needless to say, we accidentally skipped getting together (it was too far to drive after we realized the mistake)…so, we had enchiladas for dinner and played board games… we wound up making turkey on Sunday night because my oldest was sad we didn’t have Thanksgiving food! This coming week will be hard with the funeral, so these last FIVE DAYS of rest were just what we needed…and we are all relatively extroverted…but not so much this past week, because talking small talk has just been HARD….we’ve skipped other holidays in the past due to sickness, weather, etc…and I always find the break to be exactly what we needed! This year, I have to have foot surgery right before Christmas, so I think we will be skipping a few things surrounding that also!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh my — so sad. I’m sorry to hear this Leanne 🙁
    I’m glad your family was able to enjoy a more low-key holiday this year!

    [Reply]