Holiday Hangover

I love Christmas. I always have. I love the excitement of Christmas morning when Santa’s cookies have a bite missing and there’s something special waiting under the tree. I love the guaranteed time with my family that is hard to squeeze in the rest of the year.

Normally, I spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in the tiny town of Elgin, S.C., with my parents and sister, and then in the afternoon on Christmas Day, the four of us travel to Hanahan, S.C., to have Christmas dinner and open presents with my dad’s family. That’s it. That’s the extent of my Christmas. I’m used to two Christmases that are pretty laid back and the opposite of crazy.

But this year, for the first time ever, Christmas was different. This year, I’m engaged to an amazing man who also has family traditions. My usual two Christmases very quickly became six. While having six Christmases sounds fantastic in terms of food and presents, the idea of running all over the place trying to make sure we see everyone and get presents for six different Christmases and spend enough time with each group of people nearly drove me crazy.

Don’t get me wrong. We didn’t do all six Christmases in one or even two days. We stretched them out over three weeks, two of which were spent solely in Virginia where my fiancé’s extended family lives. And we took our five-month-old puppy. Yikes.

It is extremely important to both of us that we spend time with everyone. But it’s a little difficult when everyone wants to see you on the same day. We knew no one in either of our families would be mad that we didn’t see them on Christmas Day, but we also knew not seeing them at all was not an option. Unfortunately, buying presents for all six Christmases wasn’t an option either.

I tend to go a little crazy when it comes to buying presents. If I see something I think someone will love, I buy it regardless of how much it costs. Usually, that isn’t a big deal, but with six sides of the family to buy for instead of two, buying every gift I think someone would like wasn’t really going to work.

Fortunately, some of our Christmases had already switched to drawing names or another way to help each family save money by buying gifts for only a couple of people instead of for everyone. However, for a broke college student, six Christmases plus gas money plus all of the other expenses that come with being away from home for two weeks means I spent upwards of $600 this Christmas. Granted I did go a little crazy for a few people, but for the most part, I split buying presents with other people or bought something less expensive than I probably would have if I’d only had two Christmases.

Few people will tell you that the presents are the most important part of Christmas, and those who do are missing the point. While running around for most of winter break was crazy, I’d have to say getting to spend time with both of our families and eating lots of yummy food was definitely worth it.

Six Christmases is not something I really want to do all the time simply because of the insanity and wild puppy who pretended to be starved for attention for two weeks so people would play with him, but at least for now, I guess we’ll be having six Christmases for the foreseeable future.