A Time-Shift to Celebrate

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

When Scott mentioned an idea he had about doing a segment on time-shifting holidays based on a conversation he had (and then, later, saw in the paper... must be flies on his walls!), I just laughed. My family invented this idea. Ok, that's not true, but seriously... we rarely celebrate a holiday on time. For example, take my sister's birthday and my birthday. Hers is in the spring, mine mid-summer... we toasted them both, together, in November. It's just so hard to assemble the necessary family members in one place at one time a dozen times a year, and we value the company more than the calendar. I'm not complaining, though — when we finally get around to them, our celebrations are always worth the wait. This flexibility comes in handy for Christmas, when my family, for the past two years, has time-shifted Christmas morning to Christmas evening so I can keep bringing the Talk to the nation. They're so cool we move it all — stockings, fancy breakfast and coffee, pajamas, and leisurely gift-opening — to 5 or 6pm when I get home. And even better... we get to drink BEER throughout (the sun's long over the yardarm by then). Do you time-shift your holidays? Does it make things better or worse?

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What? Scott thinks this is new? He isn't married is he!
Example:
1988: Thanksgiving with her folks, Christmas Eve with mine, Christmas Day with hers (250 miles apart). Fun drive!

1989: Thanksgiving with her folks, Christmas Eve (Dec. 23rd) with mine, Christmas Day (Dec.24th) with hers.

1993: Thanksgiving with her folks, Birth of our daughter (Dec. 10th),
If you want Christmas come to Wichita!

If it wasn't for time-shifting, I would be a holiday statistic (3 people found in car .....)

Sent by Harold | 3:09 PM | 12-20-2007

Since I was a little girl, 40 or more relatives would gather at my grandmother's(small) home on Christmas evening. Several years before my grandmother died (at the age of 94) my uncle (her son) moved the tradition to his church rectory and despite the fact that the grandchildren were having children of their own as well as added family obligations, we continued to meet on Christmas evening - in honor of my grandmother. Several of the 2nd generation struggled with this tradition because of our hectic schedules and many obligations so we moved to change our tradition to gather in the summer rather than on Christmas Day. I don't know about my parent's generation but my generation is thrilled with the change - more of us are able to see each other and our children don't fight and fret about going as much as they did when it was on Christmas day

Sent by Mary Rieke | 3:26 PM | 12-20-2007

I've been a medical professional all my life and have usually worked in hospitals. As my progeny have grown up, all of them have entered fields that often require them to work on any given holiday also. For years we have scheduled our family holiday for the weekend closest that each of us is off and we can all get together. All the love is still there, even if Santa comes five days late. It works for us.

Sent by Sally Shepherd | 3:29 PM | 12-20-2007

We have a family friend who celebrated the Jewish sabbath on Wednesday, because Friday evening simply didn't work for her...

Sent by ESN | 3:36 PM | 12-20-2007

I have never time shifted the off of Christmas day but when I worked night shift I would shift the traditional ???gift opening??? time from Christmas morning to the afternoon. Luckily, all the kids in the family were old enough to understand the reason.

Sent by Eric | 3:42 PM | 12-20-2007

Christmas is about celebrating our religion, faith and family. The day doesn't matter. Being together matters and sharing those blessings is worth the shift to accomodate having our family around.

Sent by ricki | 3:44 PM | 12-20-2007

We are a Jewish family, so many of our holidays occur on regular work days. No way could I create the kind of holiday dinner my family deserves if I've been working all day. Also my adult children often had varied schedules. So we always switch to a convenient day.

Sent by Sarah | 3:46 PM | 12-20-2007

We just returned from San Diego where we had Christmas with my brother and his family. We are now back in St. Louis in time to celebrate with the rest of our family and friends. The airline and condo rates were cheaper for us to travel before Christmas, making everything more affordable for everyone. Merry Pre-Christmas!

Sent by Sharon Nolt | 3:48 PM | 12-20-2007

Because "Christmas" is such a family focused holiday, my friends and I have developed something of a tradition of Festivus parties on the 26th, so that none of us is stuck having to decide between family and friends during the season. Of course, if this becomes too popular, we'll be expected to have family at our Festivus parties, and we'll need another new holiday just for getting together with friends.

Sent by Will Rosecrans | 3:50 PM | 12-20-2007

I am a nurse in the newborn ICU and have been moving holidays with my family for 15 years. On Christmas morning, if I find myself at work, I find it isn't so bad. Of course, I'd rather be with my own kids, but find myself very grateful that they are healthy at home and that I will be able to go home to them at the end of the shift. My family has been very understanding and moves dinners etc.

Sent by Leslie, Eagle, Idaho | 3:51 PM | 12-20-2007

I live in Silicon Valley where there are a lot of East Coast transplants with young families. Many of us have made the journey east for Christmas only to ship gifts east for xmas morning (santa knows where you are!) and then ship them back for our return trip. After the expense and headache last year, we decided to travel on Dec. 26th this year. It will still feel like Christmas, but we are celebrating on our terms!

Sent by Gerri Bock | 3:52 PM | 12-20-2007

We're celebrating tomorrow, the Solstice, as we do every year. I'm cooking right now for 48 friends and family who will arrive tomorrow at sundown!) We light a bonfire into which we toss notes of regrets for things that have happened in the past year and notes of hopes for the year to come. Then we go into the house for warm drinks and gumbo and lots of conversation and holiday cheer.

Sent by Ann Haskell | 3:52 PM | 12-20-2007

For the last 20 years or so, our family has gathered the Saturday before Christmas. This allows everyone to get together and celebrate joyfully -- but also open presents in their own homes with their immediate families on Christmas day.

Nieces and nephews usually are able to make it from out of state. For those who have young children, they don't have to haul kids all over the place Christmas Day.

We have a great time. We act as if it's the "real" Christmas. Hugging, proclaiming it's the "best Christmas ever."

It is so fun, so sane, so joyful. I hope other families will consider doing this.

Deborah Wood, Portland Oregon

Sent by Deborah Wood | 3:53 PM | 12-20-2007

For several years my family has celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday just so I could be there with them. My children are in school on Wednesday; they're older so missing an exam or assignment is a lot more serious than when they were in Kindergarten. So we drive all day Thursday, which is kind of easy as everyone is indoors eating. Then we have our family gathering on Friday. No one is upset that there's no football. Those who partake watched the games the day before. We drive home all day Saturday. Then Sunday I recover.

Sent by Anhedonia Malfoy | 3:57 PM | 12-20-2007

We are a step-family and have recently started having our celebration on an alternate date. This Thanksgiving we celebrated on Saturday. It was one our best gatherings because the kids didn't have the pressure of making the rounds to all of their family on the same day. We were able to have Thanksgiving with our DINK friends! We plan to continue this practice.

Sent by Debbie | 3:57 PM | 12-20-2007

For several years now we have celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday. I promised "better food" when I was working, an idea the kids jumped on. But since all are married, they can go to their "other" family on Thursday and come for a fabulous, over-the-top Thanksgiving with us several days later. Works out perfectly!!!The whole idea is that we are all together....why would the day matter?

Sent by Joan Spielberg Rich | 9:07 AM | 12-21-2007