Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Marking Time: The Reason for the Season

Second Christmas

This year, I have a renewed appreciation for the holidays. I’m still stressed out and wishing I didn’t have quite so many things to do in a relatively short amount of time. I am SO not looking forward to traveling with a baby again and dragging the thousand extra pounds of gear with us. I’m especially not looking forward to the flight home when I’ll be flying solo with Jackson, along with his car seat and stroller and travel crib and inflatable high chair and inflatable tub and whatever gifts Santa — and everyone else — might give him. But despite that, I am enjoying the holidays this year more than I have in seasons past, and it’s because now I appreciate the lovely way we use the season to mark the passing of time.

I didn’t care about the passing of time too much before. What does the passing of time mean, anyway? That I’m getting older and closer to death — that my skin (and other things) are getting saggier — that people are starting to call me ma’am instead of miss? Great! But that’s not what the passing of time means to me so much anymore. I mean, yes, it is still those things, for sure. But now it’s also about watching my son grow up, and that’s a pretty cool thing.

This is my second holiday season as a mom, which means it’s my first holiday season I get to compare Jackson to how he was the year before. And this year he is SO different. He’s walking now! And he’s started talking. He says: “Dada,” “Mama,” “Bye-Bye,” and “Thank you” (well, it’s “AY-EW,” really, but close enough). And I swear, he’s saying, “I love you,” but it sounds more like “EYE-AH-EW,” and no one else would ever think he was saying, “I love you,” but I’m his mom and I know that’s what he’s trying to say, I know.

First Christmas

So, it’s a big difference from last year when all he did was lie there and cry and poop and cry some more. I loved him then, of course, but I really love him now. I mean, I love HIM, not the idea of him. I love him, because I’m beginning to learn who he is. He’s sweet — he’s so sweet. And he’s funny, and he’s a big clown. He has a temper like his mama, but the kind heart of his dad. And these are all things I didn’t know about him a year ago, so when we do things like light the Hanukkah candles or hang Christmas ornaments on the tree or walk around the neighborhood and look at the lights in all the windows, it takes me back to a year ago and it reminds me just how much changes when you have a small child. It reminds me how quickly they grow and how fleeting our time with them is.

This is true for everyone, whether you have a child or not. Time goes fast. But it just seems so much more obvious when you have kids. And — at least for me — the holiday season has become a reminder to appreciate the time we have with each other and to celebrate the growth and changes of the last year.

Drew and I went to a holiday party Saturday night (we’re getting ready to go out in that photo above). It’s a party our friends throw every year and we look forward to it and always have a good time, but this year was different. We had booked the sitter for 6 hours — from 8-2, and even as we were leaving I was like, “I’ll probably be home before two!” because the idea of staying out that late when I’m usually in bed by 10 — and, more importantly, awake by 6:30 — was exhausting. But that’s not what happened at all.

What happened was we had so much fun and the time went too fast and before I knew it, it was 11, and then it was 12, and then it was 1. And when it turned 1, I turned to Drew and said, “We only have one hour left! We have to enjoy every second.” It was as if I thought we’d turn into pumpkins at 2. But that was only because it was one of those nights, you know? We had good food and good rum punch and most of our friends, some of whom we just don’t get to see very much these days, were all in one place and everyone was looking good and feeling good and we didn’t want it to end. But 2 o’clock came and we had to go home and we didn’t turn into pumpkins.

But time is fleeting. For better or worse, 2 o’clock always comes. Every party has an end. And every year comes to a close. It’s always been like that, and it always will be. And that’s both comforting and bittersweet. And one day, when Jackson is lighting the Hanukkah candles or helping to decorate the tree and I’ll know him even more than today and I’ll love him even more than I do now, and the idea that he won’t always be my baby won’t just be an idea anymore, I’ll recognize that ache. It will be the same ache every mother since the beginning of time has felt when she watches her children grow. It is both comforting and so very bittersweet.

214 comments… add one
  • kerrycontrary December 19, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Great article Wendy! I can’t wait to have holidays with kids. I think it makes the time more special. As a practical tip, have you thought about shipping everything (travel accessories for Jackson as well as his gifts) home on your way back? Obviously you will probably want to keep the stroller and car seat with you, but my coworkers who fly over the holidays do the shipping thing and they like it. If you do standard shipping, or one of those “flat price under 70lbs” boxes, it shouldn’t be TOO expensive (and even if it is it might save you some sanity).

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:09 pm

      Yes, thanks, that’s probably what I’ll end up doing. I hate paying for shipping , but you’re right that it’s worth the price for my sanity.

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      • Violet December 19, 2012, 7:40 pm

        Second the shipping idea! So worth it! 🙂

  • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 1:09 pm

    WHERE did you get those tights?!?!

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    • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 1:13 pm

      Lovely article. Agree with kerry about shipping!

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    • kerrycontrary December 19, 2012, 1:14 pm

      I had the same question! They are amazing. Wendy looks super classy yet va-va-voom.

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:30 pm

      I knew you guys would ask and almost added a P.S. with a link, BUT I can’t actually find them for sale anywhere. I got them on Fab.com a few months ago and the are no longer for sale on that site and I can’t find them elsewhere. The brand is Via Spiga.

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  • Just Max December 19, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Wendy, I know a family, with four kids, that uses USPS Parcel service when they do their travels across the country; they ship whatever they won’t need while in transit a few weeks prior, and avoid the hauling of all of it plus the kids on the plane. Perhaps this would be a possibility? Just a thought. 🙂

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    • Just Max December 19, 2012, 1:15 pm

      What kerrycontrary said! 😉

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  • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 1:15 pm

    This is really sweet. One of the things I look forward to most about being a mother is a renewed magic of the holidays. I can’t wait to watch them open their stockings or find easter eggs on the stairs. Every Christmas at my parents when there are no nieces or nephews there just aren’t the same, and this year will be one of them.

    It is amazing how fast children grow, there is no marker of time quite like kids! I look at my oldest nephew- I fell in love with him as a baby and now he is 11 and has his first crush and hipster glasses. I still see him crawling around with headband style glasses that he hated and tried to pull off. I look at his younger brother who, at 3 years old, met my husband for the second time by jumping on his lap, getting an inch from his face and saying “I like you!” Now he’s turning 9 and still instantly hugs his Uncle every time we see him.

    This Christmas is definitely one that feels more real or important somehow because of my pregnancy. Everything is the “last.” The last year we don’t have tie the tree to the wall! The last year it’s just the two of us. It’s not in a sad way at all, just in a way of life is changing, our world is growing and nothing will ever be the same. I love what we have now and I’m sure this baby will bring stress, tears, worry but also love, joy, and wonder.

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:32 pm

      I forget — when are you due?

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      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 1:35 pm

        Feb 4th. So most likely a valentines baby!

      • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:45 pm

        Cute! You’re almost in the home stretch.

    • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 1:44 pm

      Oh yes, I remember all the “lasts.” My last “last” was driving to the hospital, I started crying because it would be the last time I passed a 7-11 as a non-mom. 🙂

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      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 1:50 pm

        Haha, oh the hormones!

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 1:54 pm

        Yup, good luck with yours! And enjoy your last holiday with just the 2 of you.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 2:02 pm

        Thanks! With me not working this year we finally don’t have to rush the holidays. Its a 12 hour round trip and two different towns in 3/4 days is pretty rushed. This year we get 10 days and I get to see my friends from home as well as family. We haven’t been to my inlaws since summer and I can’t wait to show off my belly! His niece is 9 and this is her first cousin and she’s so happy. I’m really glad she’s going to get to feel the baby kick.

        I’ll admit, I’m going to be worse than my kids Christmas morning. I was ALWAYS the first one up- I’m talking 3 am as a kid. Now, I’m lucky if I can sleep past 7, I get so excited! My husband and I do each other’s stockings and every year I put (this is so giving me away if anyone I know reads this!) a rubber chicken in his stocking. Last year I gave him a shirt with one on it, it’s his fave! This year I got a onesie with the same chicken on it to put in there, he’s going to flip.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 2:16 pm

        Haha, I’m that way too, but only on Christmas. Every other day I’d sleep til 2 pm if I could. Our plan this year is to be up opening gifts at 6, so I can make it to my moms in time to see my little brother and sister open gifts by 730. And I’m actually excited about waking up that early.
        That onesie idea is AWESOME. And how sweet for your niece 🙂

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 2:28 pm

        Yeah, she’s an awesome kid and I’ve known her since she was 1, it’s how my husband and I met. She’s been calling me auntie pretty much her whole life so it was really neat that later on I got to actually be her auntie! We’re really close and I’m glad that she gets to ask me all the questions she has about pregnancy because a lot of the stuff most women don’t find out until they are pregnant themselves. I think that it’s good to know all about it growing up!

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 2:37 pm

        So how is it that she is the reason you met?

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 2:45 pm

        Her mom and I were roommates! My husband lived 3 hours away and so I never thought about him as a romantic possibility. Also, I was 17 when I first started living with them. A couple years later his sister went to visit their parents and came home and said to me “so my mom and sister and I were all talking about how Mr. Grass really needs to find a nice girl and my mom said, well, what about Lemon?” and so I asked him out and he came to visit and we had an awkward date because we kinda knew each other a bit but not much and No Country for Old Men is not a romantic movie to see on your first date! But we kissed and sparks flew. He drove the 3 hours and back to see me almost every weekend for 5 months when I decided, okay, he’s clearly committed! So I moved to be with him!

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 2:58 pm

        Love it! What a great story.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 3:13 pm

        Thanks! I’m biased but I love it too.

    • Kristen December 19, 2012, 2:53 pm

      I’m really looking forward to this too. I think one of the greatest parts about having kids is getting to re-experience everything through their eyes and wonder. Christmas becomes magical again with the anticipation of Santa and learning to bake sugar cookies and seeing the neighborhood houses lit up. Even going to the park seems more special because you get to watch your kid squeal over the ducks. And I totally agree that family holiday parties are so much more fun when kids are there. Until my cousins had babies a couple years ago, we were all grown up, and there wasn’t the same magic anymore. The traditions were the same, but we didn’t enjoy them the same, if that makes sense.

      By next Christmas, our baby will be 8 months old, which I think is a great age 🙂

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      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 3:15 pm

        Awesome! Mine will be 10 months and then the next year, almost 2! It’s so fun watching small children open presents. Especially when they don’t quite get what they are doing- they don’t put the pieces together that underneath all that wrapping is a toy. It’s like peek-a-boo but with toys!

      • Kristen December 19, 2012, 3:50 pm

        I know! And it’s so funny when the end up being more fascinated with the paper than with the present itself.

  • Lucy December 19, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Holidays schmolidays – great shoes! Or is that the stockings?

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:34 pm

      Stockings! Or maybe both? Can’t find the stockings online anywhere, but the shoes are for sale here (I’m wearing the black/black fabric).

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  • llclarityll December 19, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Lovely piece! Sometimes I struggle with the passing of time in a not-so-good way. Like I’m too nostalgic or something. But I’m working on that, and your article helps. Thanks!

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  • katie December 19, 2012, 1:24 pm

    ok, so, i kind of hate how people think that having kids is the only thing that makes the holidays “worth it” or “special” or that they are somehow “better” because of kids. (and wendy, im not saying you are saying this- this piece just reminded me of it being focused on kids and holidays)

    i run into this every year because my boyfriend (who works in a kitchen and never gets holidays anyway) always gets screwed out of christmas because he doesnt have kids. the people who have kids get christmas off because “they need it off- they have kids”. and i just dont like that.

    ive never been around kids in my life. i dont have a family like other people do, so i was never around nieces or nephews or cousins or whatever- i have hardly even held babies, really, before this year. and i always have had an awesome time around the holidays with my family! i love it! and i dont feel like anything is missing or its any less special. i love my holidays how i get them, which is with the people in my life, none of whom happen to be children (although, last year was the Year Of The Baby, so this could be changing).

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    • kerrycontrary December 19, 2012, 1:34 pm

      I have fun at the holidays now, but I think since I’m getting ready (mentally and emotionally) to have kids in a few years, I’m starting to notice all of the traditions involving kids. And all of the activities that you do with children on holidays that you can’t really do as an adult (unless you want to get weird side glances). Like hay rides and mini-corn mazes made for children, and easter egg hunts, and watching a child stay up to see if they can catch santa come down the chimney.

      I agree with the work schedule and children thing though. I have to work the 26th because everyone has kids but me. That being said, I took off the whole week of Thanksgiving since I wasn’t getting the holidays off (we get christmas eve and christmas off automatically so it’s still a 4 day weekend). I know if it’s something that really upset me I could put my foot down about it, but I also know that my team is flexible and understanding when it comes to vet appointments for my dogs or when I have to leave early for a migraine.

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      • csp December 19, 2012, 2:57 pm

        You are soooo right about some of the traditions! So my husband and I are in our 30s. We are trying crazy hard to have a baby and aren’t there. So we decorate our house and my mother in law wants us to get a train and village for under the tree. I said that it is creepy to have too many childish things where there is no baby in the house. Or we did one of those drive through light villages, and all these families were there with blankets and hot chocolate. We are too old to be there with no kids. We also deal with my MIL every easter because she makes us still participate in an easter egg hunt. I think we are way way way too old. Then she bribes us and says we won’t get our gift if we don’t do it. And the gifts are worth it like last year she got us a Kuerig machine. So this childish stuff is very wierd when you are an adult with no kids.

      • jlyfsh December 19, 2012, 3:02 pm

        i apparently don’t mind the weird side glances because i go all out at the holidays. we make gingerbread houses and got this kit to make a snow man out of leaves (very little to no chance of getting real snow where i am). so, i don’t think it’s really ‘weird’ it’s just about what individuals are comfortable with! (and i’m in my 30s as well, no kids, just two very needy dogs).

      • csp December 19, 2012, 3:15 pm

        You are right, I should just get over it. But I guess, part of me doesn’t want to look desperate to want kids either (which we are). We had a football party last week, and my friend brought her 2 year old daughter. The girl looked at all the decorations and found three stuffed snowmen around the house. I didn’t realize I had so many and felt like there were too many things out. She made the snowmen into a family and kept naming them mom, dad, and baby. Seriously, cutest and saddest moment for me ever.

      • jlyfsh December 19, 2012, 3:20 pm

        that is very understandable. i’m sorry it’s a hard season for you this year! it’s fun to embrace the season and all the fun decorations though, so i hope you let yourself enjoy all the snowmen you have out! 🙂

      • csp December 19, 2012, 4:22 pm

        It is kind of like what Wendy said but on the sad side. We thought we would have a baby right now. Not be pregnant, actual baby. And we haven’t even started yet. Christmas just brings that fact home to us. But we did decorate and are excited about the gifts we are giving each other. It will all work out the way it is supposed to. And I will definately enjoy my snowmen 🙂

      • csp December 19, 2012, 4:23 pm

        Thanks for your sweet words 🙂

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 3:47 pm

        First off, sorry the baby isn’t coming as fast as you want. I really feel for you. At least it’s fun to keep trying right??

        Secondly, decorate how you want to decorate. Don’t worry about other people’s perceptions. I have a big light up flamingo on my porch right now. I bet 99% of the world thinks it’s weird but I love it! I decorate for all the seasons/holidays in our apartment, even though it’s tiny and our friends think I’m nuts. It makes ME happy.

      • csp December 19, 2012, 4:24 pm

        Ok, your Light up Flamingo sounds amazing. Especially in Florida. I am sure it fits right in.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 4:31 pm

        It’s really similar to this Taget one but a few years older. I’m obsessed with it and flamingos in general. I tried to put it out on Thanksgiving but my fiance wouldn’t go for it. One holiday at a time he says.

      • ktfran December 19, 2012, 4:03 pm

        My apartment is decorated, and I don’t have a boyfriend or husband or family. I’m not even in town for Christmas, but I like getting into the holiday. I mean, it’s Christmas!

        And I’m sorry you’re having trouble becoming pregnant. I know that must suck and my heart aches for those who truly want kids and have trouble.

      • csp December 19, 2012, 4:25 pm

        I agree about the decorations. I think they are important. Last year we decorated even though we were out of town for the holidays.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 4:27 pm

        I’m sorry that it isn’t happening as fast as you’d like it to (which I’m sure is instant!) I don’t know how long you’ve been trying or how hard your struggle has been. So if its been a couple years and you’re looking at fertility treatments, I’m sorry because this will probably be insensitive. I got really obsessed with trying right away and it wasn’t a healthy head space. I figured, I’m young (23- now 24) it will happen right away! It took me a few months and I got a bit stressed out over it. Especially because our closest friends started trying at the same time and she got pregnant right away. Once I put all the “trying” aside and just went back to having sex, that’s when I got pregnant. I just think that all the stress in my body wasn’t helping! I hope you get a wonderful Christmas present- morning sickness!

      • JK December 19, 2012, 4:31 pm

        I´m sorry you aren´t pregnant yet, I know how hard trying is. To echo what lemongrass said, I know it´shard, but try to remove stress, with our 1st we were doing “everything right”, and I was getting totally bummed each time I´d get my period, we decided to relax, and I got pregnant. WIth our 2nd, we just said ok, we´ll stop BC, when it happens it happens, and 1 month later I was pregnant. At an EXTREMELY complicated time.

        Good luck TTC.

    • llclarityll December 19, 2012, 1:35 pm

      I get what you’re saying, but to be fair, your boyfriend should be asking for time off because it isn’t right that he always has to work the holiday.

      I also don’t have kids, but holidays change when you’re a parent. It’s hard to see know that holidays suddenly become “more special” when you have kids, but they certainly can take on a whole other meaning.

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:42 pm

      I don’t think I’m better than someone who doesn’t have kids or that my holiday experience is more special than someone who doesn’t have kids. not at all. The only experience i’m comparing mine to is my own past experiences.

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      • katie December 19, 2012, 1:48 pm

        oh i know wendy- like i said, i know your not saying that, this just reminded me of that (and how much i hate that jake will be working on christmas… again..)

    • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 1:50 pm

      Well, I think some people just have their personal opinions of holidays being better because of kids. Nothing wrong with having that opinion. Just like you are welcome to have a different one.
      I know my holidays are better because I get to enjoy watching my kids (and the other kids in my life) enjoy it all…santa visits, the lights, the tree, movies, etc.

      Re: needing off because of kids on Christmas. I’m sure I’ll get yelled at for this, but would you seriously prefer a mom working on Christmas over someone without kids working on Christmas? Fair or not, I’d rather see children get to be with their parents on Christmas.

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      • katie December 19, 2012, 1:54 pm

        but *everyone* should be able to be off on christmas with their families- thats the point. kids dont make a family “real”.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 1:58 pm

        Not saying that kids make a family real. Not at all. No one is.
        And I agree that it would be better if everyone had off on every holiday, but that’s just not possible (hospital workers come to mind, although there are many others too).
        So, given that, would you prefer Jake stays off and a parent has to work on Christmas?

      • katie December 19, 2012, 2:02 pm

        i just wish it was fair. its not fair that someone without kids works every christmas while people without kids get every christmas off just based on the fact that one has kids and one doesnt.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 2:06 pm

        idk what to say to that other than life’s not fair.
        This isn’t something that can be fixed without taking parents away from kids on Christmas.

      • LadyinPurpleNotRed December 19, 2012, 2:08 pm

        Not that I’m saying one side is right and the other is wrong, but you could use the life’s not fair on the other side too and say life’s not fair, mom/dad has to go to work.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 2:22 pm

        I’d rather say that to an adult than a child though, which is my point.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 3:20 pm

        no, lifes not fair, but it could be in this situation.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 3:35 pm

        But how?

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 3:43 pm

        Rotating holidays. If you work Thanksgiving you get Christmas day off; if you have off on Thanksgiving you work on Christmas Day. Easy.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 3:46 pm

        I just can’t agree with not letting a kid spend xmas with their parents if it can be avoided.
        It’d be fair to the non-parent worker, sure, but it wouldnt be to the kid.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 3:52 pm

        and there you go with a family is only valid if there are kids involved/a christmas with children is more valid then one without.

        i know that you say your not saying those things, but thats literally what you are saying.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 3:54 pm

        You know both of my fiance’s sisters had to work on Thanksgiving. And it sucked. We’re all adults and it still sucked. My mom (and myself) worked on Christmas Eve last year and it sucked. My fiance worked on Easter this year, and guess what, it sucked. Would it be just a hair more sucky if we had a small child? Yes. But I’m someone’s child too and it sucked that my mom was working on Christmas Eve even if I am 27.

        Babies won’t know the difference if Christmas is celebrated on the 25th or 27th and older children can be taught a valuable lesson (life isn’t always fair and the importance of having a good work ethic) by a parent working on a holiday.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 3:56 pm

        Its literally not what I’m saying, at all.
        You’re free to feel the way you do, that’s fine. I’m just saying I feel that I’d rather a kid get to spend their christmas with their parents over two adults getting to spend it together.
        Preferring a kids happiness over an adults has exactly nothing to do with the validity of a family.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 3:57 pm

        And again, I’m not saying it doesn’t suck for you. I’m sure it does.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 4:01 pm

        Just to show that I’m understanding, my brother is missing Christmas with us for the first time ever this year and I’m totally bummed about it. But, he’s taking shifts of parents, so in a way, it makes me feel better about me missing him. I don’t deny that it sucks, or that its not fair.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 4:03 pm

        You know in all honesty if a company truely is giving preference to employee’s with children in regards to time off, wouldn’t that be some kind of descrimination? What if you’ve been trying for two years to get pregnant or have had multiple miscarraiges or on a waiting list for adoption?

      • katie December 19, 2012, 4:06 pm

        GG- going even further with that, what if you are the childless favorite aunt/uncle and christmas is terrible without you there for the little children? what if, because you dont have kids, you go to a hospital or something dressed up as santa to make their christmas a little better? what if this christmas will be your last with your own aging and sick parents? ect, ect, ect. family is family.

        i think it is discrimination, plain and simple.

        and LBH, ill say again, i know you *say* your not saying those things, but you are. your just saying them, i guess, very kindly, and in a very “think of the CHILDREN” kind of way…

      • ktfran December 19, 2012, 4:12 pm

        I would actually be crushed if I couldn’t spend Christmas with my mom and dad and sisters and Grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins. Crushed I tell you. One year, I left on Christmas day and it was the worst feeling in the world. I cried.

        I know there are worse problems in the world. But I look forward to Christmas all year. Heck, even when I was engaged, my fiance and I opted to spend Christmas with our respective families because we didn’t want to break that tradition. We had Christmas before I left town.

        I guess what I’m trying to say, and as GG and katie have stated, I’m someone’s kid too. I love my mom and dad and sisters. I’m not sure I would give up Christmas for anyone. I’m really just not.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 4:17 pm

        ktfran- I just can’t help but think of how hard that was for you- how much harder it would be for a child. All the pain that you feel is magnified for a 5 year old who doesn’t understand the concept of work.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 4:28 pm

        @lemongrass And this would be the perfect time to teach a 5 year old child a lot of important life lessons. Life isn’t fair, having a strong work ethic is really important, the value of family vs material gifts, etc etc etc. Yes, maybe the 5 year old would cry for a few minutes but I bet they will get over just like all of us “grown up children” get over it when our parents have to work or we have to work and don’t get to spend time with our families.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 4:28 pm

        I won’t keep commenting after this, because I’m just repeating myself.

        I’m not saying it doesn’t suck.
        I’m not saying your family doesn’t count as a family.
        I’m not saying its fair.
        I am saying I prefer a kid’s happiness over an adult’s. That’s just my preference. If its not your’s, that’s fine too.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 4:29 pm

        Or you just do what everyone else does who has to work on holidays and celebrate on a different day, telling the kid that you called Santa up and he’s making a special trip to your house.

        It’s honestly easy to be fair to everyone concerning holidays. Super easy. And it’s kind of sad to see so many totally ok with discrimination.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 4:33 pm

        Yea, I’m gonna stop here. Call me discriminatory all you want for thinking kids are more important than adults. Not going to apologize for that.

      • JK December 19, 2012, 4:35 pm

        I seriously can not believe this debate is happening. Why should little kids have to suck it up so adults can enjoy their holidays???
        Seriously? FYI, Santa´s not real. SInce it seems some people have some stange ideas I just wanted to make sure you all knew that.
        The fact that any adult can put their happiness above a kids seriously shocks me.

      • JK December 19, 2012, 4:39 pm

        Also am I the only one that thinks that Christmas as mostof the world celebrates it now is a kids holiday? I mean look at the traditions: Santa, presents, candy canes, etc.
        My mind is seriously blown here.

      • ktfran December 19, 2012, 4:40 pm

        Actually, though, I was missing out on my norm. If it is the norm – that your parents may have to miss some Christmas’s and not others, or you celebrate at a different time – then you adjust your expectations accordingly and I believe a five-year old can do that.

        If I grew up celebrating Christmas sometime other than Christmas morning, I don’t think I would have missed out on anything because it was the tradition that I knew.

        But I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 4:47 pm

        I disagree that Christmas is for kids. Sure, there are a lot of things that involve kids, but if Christmas was only for kids it wouldn’t be celebrated by people who don’t have them.

        Christmas is about being with your family and spending quality time with them. Families come in all different shapes and sizes and everyone should be able to see and spend time with their families, no matter who the members of the family are.

      • ktfran December 19, 2012, 4:50 pm

        Actually JK, it’s not just candy canes and santa – who I still believe in by the way, even though I know he’s not real – and presents. It’s family and tradtion and being together. Why do you think I get tears in my eyes when I watch elf? It’s because of the thought that people still believe in something bigger than them. This is what my parents taught me to believe. I would be seriously depressed if I couldn’t make it home this time of the year. Especially considering, that for me, I have to travel.

        Further, my family will not shop or eat out on any holiday because we choose not to support places that are open. We do want others to spend time with their families.

      • JK December 19, 2012, 4:52 pm

        Actually ktfran, its about Jesus. Baby Jesus, to be specific. Who was a kid.

      • ktfran December 19, 2012, 5:05 pm

        I’m sorry, but if you choose a profession and know full well that you may have to work some holiday’s, that’s on you and you adjust your family traditions accordingly.

        And yes, JK, I was raised Catholic and I know the importance Jesus plays. But to say Christmas is a children’s holiday is bullshit. And you yourself said it’s only about presents and candy canes and santa. You’re only pulling out Jesus to fit your needs, which is disrespectful, imo. I actually mentioned it had more meaning than that – nothing to do with presents, in fact.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 5:05 pm

        JK, first you refer to Christmas “as most of the world celebrates it” being about Santa and presents etc and then state it’s really about Jesus, a kid. I mean, conflicting much?

        I fully beleive that most of the world celebrates Christmas the commerical/family oriented holiday, rather than Christmas the religious holiday.

        Family is family. Period. Employers should not give one family preferential treatment over another because of their family structure. Everyone has family, not just the people with children.

      • JK December 19, 2012, 5:08 pm

        It´s called A JOKE people. FFS. ANd for the record, I´m an atheist. And before having kids I didnt even celebrate Christmas (when it was just my husband and I), now we do, for the sake of the kids, since you cn´t turn on a kid´s cartoon without it being about Christmas.
        Thank goodness this is the season for giving, and loving and all that, right? SOme people are a bit uptight, it would seem.

      • JK December 19, 2012, 5:10 pm

        It IS good to know thaough that if you ever decide to have kids you´ll all be fine with working on Christmas, just to be fair to non parents.

      • AliceInDairyland December 19, 2012, 5:13 pm

        I am with the “Fair is Fair” camp. Again there is this obsession with having “the perfect” “normal” holiday. (I think I’m just having a bit of a moment today). If your job requires you to work on a holiday, then EVERYONE should be treated equally in this situation. And when you are choosing a career track, take that into account.

        The thing about children is that they are incredibly unassuming. If you celebrate Christmas on a different day or in a different way, and make it just as special and wonderful as the actual day they are not going to care. It’s like with the amount of toys you can give a child. You do the best with the hand you are dealt, and I don’t think your employer has a right to stack the deck.

      • AliceInDairyland December 19, 2012, 5:16 pm

        @JK, I am going to have to work some/most Holidays. This will limit my ability to travel. Not to mention having farm animals means work=every day. I may have to tell my kid “Sorry Lil’Dude/ette, a baby cow needs my help being born. She just wants to come into the world to celebrate Christmas too! When we get back we can do (insert awesome-kid-thing-here).” And the kid’s going to be fine. If the kid isn’t fine and cries and throws a fit then I haven’t done my job right.

      • Lili December 19, 2012, 5:21 pm

        I can’t believe what I’m reading. During a time when the nation is reeling from an attack on innocent children, people are talking about how unfair it is to give up THEIR christmas, in a nation that is n ot slave labor mind you, we can all request days off, to work (and get paid!) for a child to be able to spend CHRISTMAS with their parent? Maybe the end of the world the mayans were referring to is an end of compassion. /end rant

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 5:23 pm

        @JK Yes, I would work on a holiday. And yes, I would feel sad that my children didn’t have both parents home. But then I would go home and hug my kids and be thankful for having a job and having a family to share it with.

        Growing up my entire family, parents, aunts/uncles, granparents, cousins, siblings, EVERYONE worked on Thanksgiving day at our restaurant. Every single family member worked every single Thanksgiving. I didn’t have a *real* Thanksgiving until I was 21 and didn’t go home from college on break. But since my family worked on Thanksgiving we developed other traditions to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving going in our family. I turned out pretty awesome considering I had to miss out on such a sacred thing as having my parents be with me on a holiday. Oh wait, they were with me, we were all just working, serving other happy families.

      • Addie Pray December 19, 2012, 5:23 pm

        I agree with Katie. I don’t think it’s necessary to get into a “for whom is Christmas more important” discussion … I don’t care if you treasure the day as an opportunity to pray or play or sleep or paint or watch TV or be alone or be with old people or be with kids, it’s a holiday. And it’s not fair from an employment perspective to say: you with kids, take the day off. You without kids, work. It’s just not fair. Trade off.

      • JK December 19, 2012, 5:25 pm

        You just defeated your own point, GG. YOU WERE WITH YOUR FAMILY, just like you said.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 5:34 pm

        Ha, my comment was DRIPPING in sarcasm. I hardly consider working a 12 hour day as a 10 year old serving other families desert during their families Thanksgivingsdinner as spending a quality Thanksgiving with my family.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 6:01 pm

        AP- that is exactly it. this isnt about who’s christmas is “worth” more- no one’s christmas is “worth” more then anyone elses. no matter what you do or who you spend the time with, its a special time and it should be afforded to everyone in an equal way.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 3:46 pm

        oh, well that part is pretty simple: you take out the requirement of having kids from getting the day off. just like in history we have taken the requirement of having a penis out of voting, you know? then it is fair, everyone has an equal opportunity to spend time with their families on the holiday. after that, whatever system you use doesnt matter- you get christmas off one year, thanksgiving off the next, first come first serve, i dunno- but the bottom line is that it is fair to everyone

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 3:47 pm

        So you’d be cool with spending xmas with Jake knowing some little kid didnt get to spend it with their parent?

      • katie December 19, 2012, 3:48 pm

        um yes, actually, because my right to have a nice christmas is just as valid as anyone else’s…

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 4:05 pm

        The way I look at it isn’t that you don’t have a right to spend Christmas with your family. In a perfect world we would all get to spend it with our families and all these families would get along, too. But this isn’t a perfect world and part of being an adult is having to deal with sucky situations. I think that kids should be spared those when possible, that they should be able to hold on to the joys of being a kid just a little bit longer.

        In a perfect world people would volunteer to work on the holidays and be a little selfless and give that joy to a child. But it isn’t a perfect world.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 4:09 pm

        but lemongrass, the problem here is that people are saying that if you have kids, you DO have a right to spend christmas with them.

        so just as much as me, as a worker in a job that works on christmas doesnt have the “right” to spend christmas with my family, neither should the same worker with kids.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 4:20 pm

        I think that our ideas of “fair” are different. You feel that fair is equal treatment between employees. I feel that fair is equal treatment for children and then as adults a separate equal treatment. I feel that in all instances where possible a child should get their Christmas before an adult. In general, I feel that the needs of children are greater than the needs of adults. I’m guessing that you feel that the needs of people in general should be equal. Am I right?

        Seems like this is an agree to disagree issue.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 4:31 pm

        Considering we are talking about employees, yes, I believe that everyone should be treated equal. Not doing that is discrimination, no matter how you try to dress it up with being better for kids.

        Bottom line, people shouldn’t be given special preference because of their choice to have kids.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 4:43 pm

        katie, Yes, yes yes!!! In terms of an employer stand point you can not favor (or discriminate) against an employee because of any random “factor”. Just because you chose to have children (or a woman, or have a cat, or are Jewish) doesn’t mean you should be afforded preferential treatment.

        Yes, out of the work place I 110% agree a child’s happiness should go before my own. But as an employer you can not opperate that way. It is just not okay.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 4:43 pm

        I can’t separate the issues. To me, the big picture is that the kids get what is best for them and if adults have to suffer a bit, too bad. Those kids will then grow up and have to suffer a bit for the next generation and so on.

      • theattack December 19, 2012, 4:51 pm

        I don’t think we can judge whose holidays are more important than another’s, and I definitely think of it as discrimination to decide this based on someone’s family structure. What about child-free adults who have sick and dying parents? Should they have to miss out on the last holiday with their parents just because they either chose not to have kids, don’t have them yet, or can’t have them? Everyone has a lot going on in their lives, and it’s not up to an employer to decide whose family lives are more important.

      • theattack December 19, 2012, 4:58 pm

        Also, if people with kids are always given preference on Christmas, people without kids will literally never get a Christmas off work. There are so many people with kids that those of us without them will never get a break. In fact, if I knew that I wouldn’t ever get Christmas off without a kid, I might go ahead and have one earlier than I planned on! (Maybe, don’t think too hard on that last one)

      • mandalee December 19, 2012, 5:13 pm

        Okay, so I’m late to this debate, but I think it’s weird that no one’s parents ever had to work growing up on the regular? Maybe I’m the only kid of shift workers but one of my parents were always missing for some part of the holiday, every holiday, every year and my holidays didn’t lack for anything. I love kids, I work with kids, but they are not this breakable piece of glass if a parent has to work. I loved meeting my dad at work with my mom to drop off cookies when he worked on Christmas Day. All the burly men he worked with would come out and give us candy, it was awesome lol

      • theattack December 19, 2012, 5:19 pm

        Mandalee, That sounds like an awesome tradition, to be honest. My parents always had to trade off on holidays too, and it never destroyed me. They just explained to me that Mommy has to go to the hospital to take care of sick people that don’t get to be home on Christmas. Guess what? I grew up feeling compassionate for those people and understanding of work obligations. We always celebrated Christmas together whether it was at 8am or 7pm, and that never made a smidgeon of a difference whatsoever.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 5:28 pm

        As I angrily explain above, my family worked on Thanksgiving every year. I never had a “normal” Thanksgiving with my family, I still haven’t at 27. I learned a lot of important things like working hard pays with big bucks, family is more important than hosting a *perfect* holiday spread, re-heated Thanksgiving food at 11pm when you are so tired you can’t stand up is WAY better then fresh, etc etc.

        Children are invaluable. But I feel that family is too. Everyone is someone’s child and they should be able to spend time with their parents too.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 2:07 pm

        I’m not saying it doesn’t suck for you, I’m sure it does.

      • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:59 pm

        But there are jobs that simply demand that people work — hospitals, fire houses, police stations. It sucks, but someone has to work on Christmas in jobs like that. And I’m sure the families who have kids greatly appreciate when their colleagues who don’t have kids volunteer to work the holiday shifts. Small children can’t quite appreciate the idea of adult responsibility and why their mom or dad might have to work Christmas morning, whereas — hopefully — a grownup can better accept why her spouse or significant other may have to celebrate Christmas later in the day or on on Christmas Eve or on the 26th because work calls.

      • katie December 19, 2012, 2:03 pm

        but the thing is that people arent always volunteering- the workplace decides. i just dont feel like its right.

      • kerrycontrary December 19, 2012, 2:17 pm

        Did anyone see this article today on transportation workers who have to work christmas day? http://celebrate.today.com/_news/2012/12/18/15997312-for-many-transportation-workers-christmas-comes-a-day-early-or-a-day-late?lite

        The part about how they always wait to open the “big gifts”, and then his son was soooo excited, really got to me.

      • Rachel December 20, 2012, 1:23 am

        I wonder if they’re grateful/thankful at all or if they don’t think twice about it because they feel they have more of a right to be off that day than anyone else because they procreated.

        It’s a pretty well-worn battle, parents vs. non-parents.

      • katie December 20, 2012, 9:31 am

        it is a very worn battle…

        and i have to admit- its sad to find that this space is a parents vs. non-parents area… usually we are very open and accepting and supportive of everyone… im sad.

      • lets_be_honest December 20, 2012, 10:15 am

        I hope you didn’t take the debate yesterday as a parents v. non-parents thing! It was just a discussion, in my mind no different than all the others we always have on here.

      • lemongrass December 20, 2012, 12:39 pm

        I have no hard feelings! But as you can see in my comment below it’s not a parent vs. non-parent thing in my mind. It shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule either way. But if anything I view at as a child vs. non-parent issue and in my mind children always come first. Thats not a view I can force others to take though, it’s just a personal belief.

      • lets_be_honest December 20, 2012, 12:58 pm

        I agree completely. And I think it was good that people brought up circumstances that show there shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule about it.
        But yea, I’ll almost always pick a child’s happiness over an adult. I don’t think that is a parent v. non-parent thing at all though.
        Anyway, I did enjoy the discussion, as usual.

      • GatorGirl December 20, 2012, 5:06 pm

        I didn’t really see it as a parent v non-parent thing. Yes a lot of the voices on either side fell into the respective categories but I dunno, I don’t think it’s so cut and dry like that. Anyways, I always like a good healthy debate and I have no hard feelings towards any of the DWers.

      • lets_be_honest December 20, 2012, 5:16 pm

        Ok, good. I kinda felt like some people really believed I (or whoever else was in agreement with me) thought they didn’t deserve to be happy on Christmas, and that wasn’t my intention at all.

      • katie December 20, 2012, 4:48 pm

        no, no hard feelings, as always on DW, but it was just…. eye-opening? i guess?… to hear what people actually said about this…

      • Anna December 20, 2012, 10:48 am

        In those kinds of jobs, I understand requiring some people to work but some jobs should close down on Christmas. Like for example I work at an insurance call center for a major credit card company. All of our coverage information is available online, people can file claims online, and there is no time limit for claim filing. There is absolutely no need for us to be open 24/7 every day of the year.

        That being said, I volunteered to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year because I am estranged from my family and single with no kids. It just made sense for me to let my colleagues be off with their kids. Plus I get double time.

    • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 1:56 pm

      It’s not that having kids means that your Christmas is more important than people who don’t have children or that you can’t have amazing holidays without them. It’s that for kids Christmas is different- there is ONLY magic and wonder, being surrounded by family and candy/presents. They don’t worry about how much its costing or whether their gift is good enough for the gift they are receiving. They truly believe that look! Santa did come! They don’t worry about whether their mom will give them judgmental looks about eating yes another cookie, it’s just 5 lbs, get over it! It is seeing that in children that really makes Christmas special to most people. It does for me.

      The work thing is a separate issue. My previous place of work did this (which I really liked!) you could have either Christmas eve (day was closed) or New years eve off. Your pick. Most of the people without kids chose NYE and the people with children chose Christmas eve.

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      • katie December 19, 2012, 2:00 pm

        see, ive never had to worry about any of the stuff you mentioned. the christmas i have had was the 3-5 of us (me, sister, mom, sometimes dad, recently my boyfriend), and we just eat all day, watch tv, open presents, eat more, drink a lot… i dunno. its always been a good thing for me, i guess. like, i feel like the addition of kids wouldnt really give me any more enjoyment.

        and i think that the work thing is related- because it is in general someone telling you that your christmas with family isnt as valid as other’s because they have kids. my christmas is just as important and just as real with my family as it is for any other family. everyone should be able to have that time, kids or no kids.

        and yea, if there was a fair way to do it, id wouldnt have an issue with that. but i feel like kids vs. no kids isnt a fair way of dividing up days off.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 2:05 pm

        Adding kids to your holidays may very well not give you more enjoyment. Its really just a personal feeling/opinion. Some love ’em, some have no interest.
        I really wouldn’t take it as a Determination of the Validity of Your Family though. Its kind of just a fact that kids would want/need to be with their parents on Christmas. The thought of a kid missing that makes me very sad. It makes me less sad to think that an adult could easily celebrate that evening or the next day, because adults are able to understand things like that have to happen.

      • AliceInDairyland December 19, 2012, 2:07 pm

        So totally random, but this made me think of a really vivid childhood memory. My mom worked nights as a nurse throughout my childhood and almost always worked Christmas Eve. I don’t know if it was because she had to or because she got paid overtime or what. But I remember having to wait in my bed before she got home so we could open presents. And then she would always tell us that she happened to be looking out the window during work when she saw Santa fly by with his reindeer. EVERY YEAR. And I loved this.

        In conclusion, working on the holidays sucks and my mom is pretty amazing for experiencing Christmas with no sleep every year.

      • csp December 19, 2012, 3:05 pm

        I was sort of the same way. My dad has traveled my whole life for business. We would always make the holiday “wait” for my dad. So if your birthday was wednesday but dad didn’t get home til saturday, then birthday was saturday. Because I was raised like this, I belive that the holiday is when the family is together and not the actual day on the calendar.

      • ktfran December 19, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Yeah. My cousins, who lived two hours away, came in town every year for Christmas. The entire family opened presents on Christmas Eve, and them my immediate family had our Christmas in the morning. But my cousins, they didn’t have their Christmas until they got home Christmas evening. I don’t think they ever complained. It was the norm.

        I think it’s really what you make it and if your traditions are different, that’s fine.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 3:20 pm

        My dad travelled for business as well except we didn’t wait. I think that’s a better way to do it. My dad missed birthdays, fathers day, etc. He never had to miss the big holidays though and I’m really glad about that. I remember one birthday he got home really late and after dinner and presents I sat in the window for what felt like hours (probably 20 mins, ha!) waiting for him.

      • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 2:08 pm

        I think of having Christmas off because of kids in the same way that Wendy does- it’s because kids aren’t able to grasp the concept of having to work on Christmas the same way that adults can. To them, their parents are missing and Christmas isn’t real anymore. It would be a sad Christmas for a kid to wake up and their parents are gone and they don’t get to open up their presents until 6pm when their parents get off work. For an adult, it sucks but its part of life and a sacrifice that you sometimes have to make. I’m sure that a non-parent wouldn’t feel the same kind of guilt that you have ruined Christmas for your child. Working for the holidays and celebrating it later isn’t fun for adults but it’s heartbreaking for a kid.

      • KKZ December 20, 2012, 8:54 am

        I feel some people are assuming a lot about how kids feel about Christmas. I’m sure most kids over the age of 5, if you explained the situation to them, could grasp the situation and handle it, and won’t be “so sad” if they know it’s coming. And kids under the age of 5, well…what does Christmas mean to them anyway? Do they even have a grasp of dates and calendars, and what day Christmas is *supposed* to be? Will they challenge a parent or be devastated if the parent says “we’re doing Christmas on Sunday because mommy/daddy has to work Monday” … or will they forget about it within 24 hours and be totally thrilled with their Christmas experience anyway?

        I used to work at a newspaper and of course we didn’t close for holidays. Staffing was lower and the shifts were shorter, but we still had a paper to put out. I worked third shift at the time, 5p-2a. For the first three years I worked there, holiday shift schedules were determined about a month in advance, just like the rest of our schedules, and time and again it was the same 3 or 4 people, out of a team of about 10, working those shifts – all childless, myself included. By year four, I was a little fed up with it and asked my manager if we could divvy up the holiday shifts at the *beginning of the year,* not only so we’d know well in advance which holidays we had to work (I remember so many times saying to family, ‘I don’t know if I can join you for the holidays, I might have to work’), but so we could more evenly divide the shifts between team members.

        It was a well-received idea, even by those for whom it meant working shifts they were used to having off. People with kids were happy to work less family-oriented holidays like Independence Day and Labor Day. And everyone had a fair shot at getting at least half the day off on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, etc.

        Whether or not you personally feel a kid’s Christmas is more valuable than an adult’s Christmas, as an *employer* that personal opinion shouldn’t be a deciding factor when deciding holiday shifts. I’m not taking sides in the debate here, but I do think Katie has a point that employers can make it fair, so that everyone has the same chance of working a holiday shift as anyone else.

        Bottom line, if you’re an employee, childfree or parent, and spending the holiday with your family is super important to you, discuss it with your manager well in advance and secure the day off – and be prepared for the circumstance that you may still have to work anyway.

      • Wendy December 19, 2012, 2:10 pm

        See, you’re seeing it as My Holiday Vs. Your Holiday, but it’s really more Your Holiday VS. Someone’s Kids’ Holiday. When parents want Christmas morning off to spend it with their kids, it’s not for themselves — not really; it’s for their kids. They want to extend the magic of the holidays as long as possible and that means BEING THERE for their kids.

        I get that you have a wonderful, lovely time with your family on Christmas day and I don’t think someone who has kids necessarily has a better christmas than you. But I do think, in an ideal world, a child should have a better christmas than you or me or any other adult. And how’s a kid going to have the best christmas he or she can have when his parent is working because a co-worker who doesn’t have kids didn’t want to miss out on watching TV and drinking all day?

        It’s not fair, I get that. But if it’s a choice between a kid getting his or her mom home on Christmas or your boyfriend getting the day to watch TV with you and your family and open presents and eat a lot, my vote’s for the kid.

      • Wendy December 19, 2012, 2:29 pm

        And for the record and full disclosure, Drew works a job where someone HAS to work on Christmas. He’s Jewish, so before he met me, he always volunteered to work Christmas and it wasn’t a big deal. Now, he makes sure to ask for the day off weeks and weeks in advance. And we are grateful that the younger whippersnappers who don’t have families of their own cover Drew’s shift. And I bet those guys, after they’ve paid their dues for a few years like Drew did, will be grateful when some new young whippersnappers take over the holiday shifts.

      • Rachel December 20, 2012, 1:25 am

        You have to “pay your dues” to have Christmas day off? Come on.

      • Nadine December 20, 2012, 2:42 am

        In many industries – yes. Why is that so crazy?

      • Wendy December 20, 2012, 7:42 am

        You think a first-year nurse is going to waltz into a new job and get Christmas day off before the senior nurses who have been working at that hospital for two decades? Really?

      • JK December 20, 2012, 8:13 am

        But Wendy, that 1st year nurse probably has to go out and get wasted with her friends!!! Or spend the day with her boyfriend! That´s WAY more important than a mother spending Christmas with her kids. *eyeroll*

      • CatsMeow December 20, 2012, 3:13 pm

        Why are you assuming a first-year nurse doesn’t have kids? Many of the nursing students in my classes are moms.

      • Addie Pray December 20, 2012, 7:52 am

        Rachel, were you born in the 80s? (Bwhahahaha)

      • bethany December 20, 2012, 9:10 am

        omg, you’re going to start a riot!

    • jlyfsh December 19, 2012, 2:20 pm

      I was kind of down about a similar issue this year, my husband has to work the day before and after Christmas, so we can’t travel to family for Christmas Day, which he has off (I’m VERY appreciative that he gets that day off). And then I just told myself to get over it and that it was actually in my favor because now Christmas is going to last for over a week for us. We get to celebrate with just us, and each of our families on different days. So ,in the end we’ll actually have more time to focus on each of our families instead of driving around like crazy trying to fit everyone in on one day.

      And I think like Wendy or someone said below it stinks to be the adult that has to work Christmas Day because someone else has kids, but really you’re doing them a Giant favor. My Mom worked in retail when I was growing up and they always tried to make sure that the parents got off by 4pm on Christmas Eve. It always meant a lot to us to have her home with us.

      And we’re starting a new tradition this year. Since it’s our first married Christmas that we’re spending alone on Christmas Day we’re exchanging stockings that morning. And the dogs of course each get one 😉 I think that goes to Wendy’s point to it’s easier as an adult to get over something and come up with a solution. A 4 year old doesn’t know how to do anything but be sad that either Mom/Dad isn’t there for Christmas morning or they have to wait to open gifts until they are….

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    • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 3:03 pm

      Katie, I totally understand what you mean. Family is family to me, it doesn’t matter what components make up that family. And everyone equally should get to spend time with their family. (So in your case if you have off on Thanksgiving you work Christmas day and vice versa.)

      I worked Christmas Eve last year at my families resturant. It sucked. My mom and I worked until 10pm Christmas Eve while my dad, sister, and brother just sort of sat around the house waiting for us to show up. It really put a damper on the holiday because my mom and I were exhausted all day on Christmas. Thankfully this year our resturant is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

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    • SemanticAntics December 19, 2012, 6:40 pm

      I totally know how you feel, my boyfriend is in the service industry and always works Thanksgiving, Christmas day and New Years Eve and it really sucks. My family hosts a big gathering every year with all my siblings, cousins and kids and he has to miss it. In terms of his own family, we usually go there to celebrate with them the week after the holiday. His coworkers with kids are given priority in terms of holidays off and getting a daytime schedule, which I understand but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Hopefully in a few years he’ll rack up more seniority and start getting a holiday or two off per year, even without kids.
      Side note: this year I am also working a service job, though on a more temporary basis, so I may end up working Christmas too. At least we can commiserate together is how I see it.

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    • Samantha December 19, 2012, 6:52 pm

      My dad works most holidays because he’s a cop and was on SWAT team and people love to do horrible, outrageous things on the holidays. Sometimes, seeing Dad on Christmas meant watching the news and guessing which helmet was his.

      You’re very lucky your boyfriend will be safe. Those that are parents are very lucky to spend time with their families. And I was lucky because my dad always made it home safe, and sometimes, if he got home too late, my Christmases were two days long instead of one.

      My mom tried to teach us that it’s all about perspective. It’s been a helpful lesson throughout my life.

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  • Taylor December 19, 2012, 1:24 pm

    Lovely. Happy Holidays Wendy! Safe travels and time well spent with your loved ones.

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  • Meredith December 19, 2012, 1:30 pm

    I’m going to add my voice to the “Holy crap, great shoes/stockings!” crowd! Seriously, where did you get those, they are super cute!

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:44 pm

      Fab.com! But they don’t have them for sale anymore …:(

      Via Spiga is the brand.

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  • Classic December 19, 2012, 1:49 pm

    I love these photos. What a beautiful family.

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  • Wendy December 19, 2012, 1:53 pm

    So, I can’t find the exact pair of sheer tights that I’m wearing in this photo, but I did a quick search and, good news! I found these very similar ones:

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  • Caris December 19, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Maybe this site has those tights or some similar to them: http://www.modcloth.com/shop/tights#?price=7,35&sort=newest&page=2

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 2:23 pm

      I found similar ones here:

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      • Caris December 19, 2012, 2:30 pm

        saw it after posting 😀

  • Addie Pray December 19, 2012, 2:44 pm

    Sweet, Wendy. I also forgot to mention this earlier: I loved the newsletter this week. Keep on keep on, woman.

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  • ktfran December 19, 2012, 2:46 pm

    This was really sweet and I nearly cried while reading your last paragraph. I also balled yesterday at work while reading a post on a new food blog. In it, the author talked about a kitchen stool and how it represented so much of her life. Her sitting on it and helping her mom cook. Her sitting on it and talking about with her parents about boyfriends, getting into college, getting engaged, etc. At the end, her dad commented and said something to the effect that they still wish she were there, every day, sharing stories. I effing balled. I could have easily cried reading this too.

    If I haven’t mentioned it, I LOVE the holidays. Everything about them. From the week of Thanksgiving until after the first of the year. Admittedly, I was doing too much this year and felt like a scrooge on steroids the first week of December. I had a day to myself. Then the Christmas spirit hit.

    While I’m at it, I still believe in Santa. I don’t think my mom or dad would have it any other way.

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    • ktfran December 19, 2012, 2:52 pm

      Oh, I also had tears in my eyes watching Elf the other day. Elf!?! Every time they start singing – and Christmas spirit saves Christmas – my heart swells.

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      • bethany December 19, 2012, 2:56 pm

        I cry at Elf every time. I love that movie!

      • ktfran December 19, 2012, 3:07 pm

        I’m so happy I’m not the only one.

      • EricaSwagger December 19, 2012, 3:10 pm

        Me too! Watched it yesterday night, stopped myself but definitely could have let the tears roll, hahah.

  • bethany December 19, 2012, 2:53 pm

    I loved this…

    I’m overly nostalgic about time passing. I hate it. I hate it when people get old and when kids grow up. I just wish we could freeze time to make every year last for 2 years or something. The older I get the faster it goes, and it makes me sad. One of my best friends has a 2 year old. She’s the light of my life, and it kills me that she’s 2 already. I love her so much as a child, but I miss her as a baby. I know the older she gets, the more fun we’re going to have, but still, every time I see her she’s more little girl and less baby, and it breaks my heart 🙁
    Although, there’s nothing in the world that can beat hearing her yell “BEFFY!!” and then run at me with her arms wide open for a hug.
    God, I love that kid.

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  • LK7889 December 19, 2012, 4:59 pm

    Sorry if this is already mentioned in the comments (haven’t read them yet) but…

    I love this photo! Wendy, you have such a cute family! 🙂

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 6:49 pm

      Aw, thanks!

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  • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 5:18 pm

    I’d love to see a vote like this:
    a. Parents should have off before non-parents (I am a parent)
    b. Parents should have off before non-parents (I am not a parent)
    c. Parents and non-parents should take turns working on Christmas (I am a parent)
    d. Parents and non-parents should take turns working on Christmas (I am not a parent)

    Assuming I know which of you have or don’t have kids, it seems like the parents on here are in the a camp, and the people on here without kids are in the d camp.

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    • JK December 19, 2012, 5:20 pm

      Ain´t that always the way, LBH. But apparently I´m a bad parent, and a terrible person, so what do I know. 😛

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed December 19, 2012, 5:25 pm

      What about people who grew up with parents having to work on Christmas? That should factor in also, even if they don’t have kids, they’ve experienced it.

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      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 5:28 pm

        Oh, good addition!

      • mandalee December 19, 2012, 5:31 pm

        Yeah, I mentioned earlier in the thread, but my parents were factory workers growing up. They both worked every holiday pretty much every single year since I could remember. It didn’t bother me at all, and it didn’t ruin my holiday in anyway. It was usually even more awesome, because like I mentioned we would visit my dad at lunch and get candy, or the working parent would come home at 11pm and we’d be able to stay up and have a midnight Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, etc.

        I think it’s important to spend holidays as a family, but I don’t think employers should ever favor anyone, including parents. Most companies are diplomatic enough to work out a schedule where no one is working every single holiday.

      • mandalee December 19, 2012, 5:39 pm

        Oh, and I’d be a D. So, a child whose parents who always worked on holidays, who is currently not a parent, who was religious growing up, and has no emotional/lack of joy during the holidays due to parents who worked, and think time off should be shared.

      • LK7889 December 19, 2012, 5:33 pm

        Another addition that should probably be added: are you Christian? Because whether or not it’s a religious holiday probably factors into it too.

    • LK7889 December 19, 2012, 5:31 pm

      Actually, I fall into the B category. And the crazy thing? I don’t even want children!

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      • LK7889 December 19, 2012, 5:34 pm

        As far as the additions: Not Christian. I had my parents home on holidays as a kid.

      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 5:35 pm

        I was curious if there were any Bs.

    • Addie Pray December 19, 2012, 5:34 pm

      Is this what I think the employer should mandate or what *I* would do?

      Re: what the employer mandates: I’m (d).

      Re: what I would do (and have certainly done in the past -but not just xmas-related, like I tend to work late b/c my coworkers with kids take off early to go trick-or-treating (those lucky shits): (b).

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      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 5:36 pm

        You as a person.

    • rachel December 19, 2012, 5:35 pm

      I’m a d. I just think from an employer’s perspective a person’s family status shouldn’t determine when they work. FTR however, if I worked somewhere where people had to volunteer to work the day, I would probably volunteer because I do *get* where parents are coming from in this.

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      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 5:39 pm

        Funny, now there seems to be a lot of As Employer, d, as a person, b.

      • Addie Pray December 19, 2012, 5:53 pm

        I just think you can’t as an employer draw this line. It’s not fair to make that sharp rule. For starters, not all families value Christmas the same, not all parents devote their holidays to their kids, not all kids need their parents (e.g., SOME DEPARATELY NEED THEIR AMAZING AUNTIE!). By the way, I played Santa Claus last year for my niece and nephew. I drove 8 hours on xmas eve with $400 worth of toys in my trunk. After they went to bed, I wrapped the presents and put them out under the tree. It would have SUCKED if my employer said NO to that b/c I didn’t birth any children. Meanwhile, my friend’s dad has been avoiding the family on xmas every year b/c he sucks. So, great, he gets the day off, and I don’t?

        That said, if I didn’t have niece/nephew plans (like I don’t this year), I’d gladly work Christmas morning so my coworker with 2 kids can be there in the morning when she celebrates xmas. Or I’d work xmas eve so she has that evening off if that is the time period they celebrate.

      • Addie Pray December 19, 2012, 6:11 pm

        p.s. keep in mind many states include “parental status” as a protected class. you can’t discriminate against someone based on their parental (or lack of parental) status.

        fwiw: i personally think xmas is about the kids! i personally have no issues with getting my eggnog on xmas morning or xmas night or the 24th or 26th instead. … and let’s be honest, i’d work xmas morning so you can be there with your kiddo, no problem.

    • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 5:46 pm


      And as for the qulifiers, I grew up with parents that worked on holidays sometimes, I grew up going to church regularly and still consider myself to be fairly religious, and I plan on trying to conceive with in the next year. And no I don’t think my opinion will magically change the day I give birth.

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      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 5:49 pm

        Oh, you’ll see. It will.

        (Totally kidding, couldn’t help myself!)

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 5:57 pm

        🙂 Who knows, maybe mom brain will take over!

    • AliceInDairyland December 19, 2012, 5:48 pm

      D. I think I stated above about my Mom working Christmas Eve almost every year and I echo Mandalee a little bit in the fact that I thought my Xmas rocked maybe more than other kids. Not only did my Mom say she saw Santa (CONFIRMED… I believed this for way too long. Sometimes she said he was too far away and she just saw Rudolph’s blinking nose so she did a great job with the convincing story) while other parents were sleeping. She also BROUGHT DONUTS whenever she came home from work. So I think if you frame it correctly it would be fine. I also plan on working at least some Holidays, probably more than most people. On-call-emergencies at the very least. And I plan on having kids.

      No religious affiliation. However I would like to point out that I always volunteer for Holiday shifts. To be honest, I could use the time and a half. Also my family is close by, so I can half/half it compared to people who have to travel to see their families (kids or not).

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      • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 5:51 pm

        Its interesting to see so many (only 2 actually) Ds that say they’d happily volunteer to work.

      • AliceInDairyland December 19, 2012, 5:53 pm

        But I would volunteer for ANYONE who has family far away if mine are close by. Children or no children.

      • mandalee December 19, 2012, 6:18 pm

        Yes me too! If someone had to travel to see their boyfriend, fiance, parents, child, etc., I would work for them if I lived locally, Christmas Day or any other holiday.

      • ktfran December 20, 2012, 9:42 am

        Maybe that’s why I got so heated yesterday. I have to travel to see my family. I understand it was my choice to move far away. But it was also my choice to pick a career where I would have holiday’s off. If I didn’t, I would hope that some nice local would trade holiday’s with me so I could at least see my family every other year. So, I’m firmly in the D camp.

      • KKZ December 20, 2012, 9:09 am

        I am in the D camp. For a while when I worked at a business that had holiday shifts, I did volunteer for some of the holiday shifts – I liked getting paid the holiday rate, especially when I was part-time. For Christmas, I usually volunteered to work Christmas Day as long as I got Christmas Eve off, because my family has always celebrated on Eve instead of Day; Day means pretty much nothing to me. But eventually I got fed up with working almost ALL the holidays, the ones I volunteered for and the ones I was assigned.

        I’m going to sound like a total Grinch fessing up to it, but I even enjoyed at times that I could use work as an excuse to not go to my in-laws’ (the extended family, grandparents/aunts+uncles etc., not his immediate family) Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations. His family is much bigger than mine, and they make a much bigger deal over the holidays than mine does. I don’t feel this way so much anymore, but I used to find their holiday shindigs completely overwhelming and exhausting. My husband and I have had more than one Thanksgiving-day fight because I was stressed out about going to see the family. So yes, there were indeed times when working the holiday shift was convenient for me.

    • Moneypenny December 19, 2012, 5:50 pm

      So, my dad worked overseas 3 months on/ 3 months off at a time, and he missed roughly every other Christmas. And every other birthday, my graduations, school plays, etc. So, I’m not sure exactly how I would vote based on my own experience as a child with a dad who was halfway around the world half of my childhood. But, I definitely did not lack for Christmas fun with my extended family at my grandma’s, my mom and sister and I getting everything ready ourselves, and a “late” Christmas when my dad would get home.
      Right now I work in an office where I get the day off. New Year’s Day too. I guess I’m lucky compared with some of you all. In different circumstances, I think I would probably volunteer to work that day for someone if I really didn’t have anything planned, but if I was expected to be somewhere or if there was a real obligation for me, I’d try to get that day off for myself. I definitely would try to alternate with someone else, or at least try to get a day off on another day where I otherwise would work, to make up for it.

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      • Moneypenny December 19, 2012, 5:52 pm

        Oh, and I guess that would make me a D!

    • katie December 19, 2012, 5:54 pm


      however ill add i think everyone should take turns doing things. after all, children are not the only thing that matters during the holidays. there are family deaths to think about, weddings, vacations, ect… and this is my entire problem with it. kids should not be the determining factor. life is a ton more complicated then just have/do not have kids.

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    • Lili December 19, 2012, 5:58 pm

      I’m a B. Because either way i’m making more $$ with overtime, or get to randomly take a day off of my choosing!!! Its so awesome to have days off other people don’t. BFast happy hour!!

      PS GG, I’d suggest your family look into celebrating canadian thanksgiving. It happens in Oct 🙂

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      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 6:06 pm

        I did a Canadian Thanksgiving last year with some friends from Canada. It was a ton of fun. We usually do the big turkey and all the fixings on Christmas Eve. And do a late night pig out on restaurant Thanksgiving leftovers after all of the customers have left. I have been at my fiance’s family celebrations for the past 5 years so I’ve been missing out.

        My family does the 4th of July as one of our “big” holidays. Huge BBQ, fireworks, extended family. I guess it’s our replacement for Thanksgiving.

      • Lili December 19, 2012, 6:15 pm

        Sounds like a fun tradition! I love fireworks 🙂 See I think in a perfect world holidays off happen by degree of desire, but I guess there aren’t enough people to trade with for Christmas. Like Christmas for Holi, Diwali, Hannukah, Purim, etc. Speaking of…I’ll trade ya Cinco De Mayo for Christmas ANYTIME.

      • GatorGirl December 19, 2012, 8:11 pm

        We got engaged shortly before Cinco de Mayo so we celebrated both together. It was also my favorite non-football related sports day, the Kentucky Derby, so we made Mintjuleparitas. Margaritas and mint juleps mixed together. Yum.

    • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 6:51 pm

      I’m A/ Section 1 (half a parent? Three quarters? 33/40 at the moment? I don’t know. I don’t think of myself as a parent yet!)

      I will say that I agree with Katie that other factors should be looked at as well. If your Dad has cancer and this is likely to be his last Christmas, then hell yes, you should get that one off before a parent. I don’t look at it as a hard and fast “every parents should get every Christmas off” and I don’t think that we should alternate holidays off regardless of what is going on in someone’s life. I think that there needs to be compassion, understanding and sacrifice from different parties. In a “normal” circumstance parents (of small children, at 16 you can wait!) should get Christmas off before a non-parent. Individual circumstances are important. Say there is a Jewish parent and a Christmas-observing non-parent: should they alternate working on Christmas day? Just for the sake of being fair? IMO, no, the Jewish parent should work Christmas and the non-parent should work on Rosh Hashanah instead.

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    • Samantha December 19, 2012, 6:59 pm

      My Dad has always worked on Christmas. I’ve never thought of it as a big deal, so I really don’t see why there has to be any hard-and-fast rule. Maybe for single parents? That would make some sense.
      My mom was (and is) very good at keeping small children busy and distracted with a tree full of presents underneath. And it was always great when dad finally got home – the anticipation made it feel somehow more special. It got to the point that the years when he didn’t work, we’d see a movie or visit other family before we got to the gifts and festivities of our own.

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    • Nadine December 19, 2012, 7:22 pm

      Totally B. Its just a day off to me, sure its a fun, food and drink day for kids its more.

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      • Lili December 20, 2012, 3:53 pm

        Right! And the date of said day doesn’t matter as much. Like I celebrated my birthday a few days after the real day because of work/scheduling. It didn’t make my party any less special and fun. But when I was little, not celebrating my birthday on the EXACT DAY would have been devastating. its silly now as an adult to think that. But its part of the conscientious adulthood bit that a lot of people seem to be missing. KIDS don’t GET IT. And for kids with parents in service fields, it IS a given that they are on call always. Its just a part of the deal when a person decides to procreate with a service member. You are accepting the responsibility of teaching the kid, and placating them when mom or dad has to leave in the middle of a birthday or school play to save a life/work etc. And as the person working the job, you risk disappointing your kid each time you leave. its just life and there are tradeoffs.

    • Sunshine Brite December 20, 2012, 10:14 am

      This whole discussion makes me sad as my parents, brother, sister, and their families get to meet up from Christmas through the weekend while I work (including Christmas Day as my supervisor was kind enough to let me off Christmas Eve instead to see my parents and brother a little bit). But I don’t get to spend time and make memories with my niece and nephew. I would love all 4 of the kids to be with me on the holidays but I’m at the bottom of the totem pole with no time off. Even the higher ups don’t get much time off as we’re in a residential setting. But since I’m not a parent, I shouldn’t get holiday happiness no matter how sad it makes my nieces and nephew to not have me there since I don’t have kids yet.

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    • Anna December 20, 2012, 10:53 am

      e. First the hours should be offered to volunteers. Holidays usually pay double time and lots of people scoop that money up quickly. After that, parents and non-parents alike should be treated equally and take turns working holidays. I am not a parent.

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  • Eagle Eye December 19, 2012, 5:21 pm

    Speaking of the Holidays, I’m making a belated Hannukah dinner tonight because the actual 8 days fell right on the last 8 days before my papers were due and I’m making brisket, home-made apple sauce and latkes and my house is beginning to smell amazing! 🙂

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 6:55 pm

      That’s what I made last week, minus the homemade applesauce (stuck with store-bought).

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      • Eagle Eye December 19, 2012, 8:00 pm

        I like to make applesauce because my grandmother made the best homemade applesauce that we always ate with my cousin’s latkes during our big Family Hannukah, she died a few years ago, so I like to make applesauce in her memory – it always makes me happy!

    • Moneypenny December 19, 2012, 8:41 pm

      That all sounds really really good!

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      • Eagle Eye December 19, 2012, 9:06 pm

        It is/was! 🙂

  • MELH December 19, 2012, 5:22 pm

    I love the pictures! So cute! I love Christmas. I’m like a kid at Christmas. I don’t have kids yet, but I hope to at least be trying by next year. I still tag some of my presents to my husband as from Santa because I’m a nerd like that!

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    • katie December 19, 2012, 5:56 pm

      ive always tagged my presents as from santa- and i didnt start celebrating until i was like 18. its just more fun. lol

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    • lemongrass December 19, 2012, 7:10 pm

      I do too 🙂 We also exchange stockings because eating candy for breakfast never gets old!

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  • Moneypenny December 19, 2012, 5:51 pm

    Your photos are super cute, Wendy!! I love your outfit, and those tights!! What a good looking and happy family! 🙂

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 6:57 pm

      Thank you!

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      • Moneypenny December 19, 2012, 8:42 pm


  • AliceInDairyland December 19, 2012, 6:00 pm

    GUYS. DRACO GOT MY FINAL POSTPONED/POSSIBLY CANCELED. Super storm is going to hit starting today, with the storm warning going until noon tomorrow. Uni says that professors either need to make this a take home, or cancel it, or make it online, or POSSIBLY reschedule but probably not because of scheduling difficulties. I am having the worst time focusing and this is only making things worse… but it’s still kind of AWESOME. SO EXCITED.

    PS I should be studying and not posting on message boards..

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  • Skyblossom December 19, 2012, 6:39 pm

    I would hope that everyone realizes that this is an article about change and growth and how much difference a year makes and not an article about who should work on Christmas day or whether people with kids have a superior family. Wendy is sharing how much she enjoys this holiday season compared to last year’s holiday season. She is saying it is much more fun with a one-year-old than a newborn that cries all the time. I, for one, am glad she is enjoying this year. I’m glad that she can look back at all the changes and be awed and proud and happy and joyful. I’m glad she finds spending the holidays with her son special. She is talking about realizing how fast time will pass and her son will grow up and she will treasure the time she has with him now. That really shouldn’t be controversial. I’m delighted that she is happy and that things have settled down and they are having fun together this holiday. It in no way implies that she thinks her family is better or more privileged or the ultimate in families. It means she is enjoying this holiday with her family and enjoying her son and treasuring the time that she spends with him.

    I’m happy for Wendy and Drew and Jackson. I love to see strong, devoted families. I wish them all a Merry Christmas and I wish a Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating Christmas. I wish joy and peace and love and hope to everyone.

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    • Wendy December 19, 2012, 7:00 pm

      Thank you so much. Merry Christmas to you too!

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    • lets_be_honest December 19, 2012, 8:34 pm

      I agree, just some interesting side convo. But very nice of you to point out! Maybe the side convo would’ve been better to be had in the forums.

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  • Kelly December 19, 2012, 8:31 pm

    As a military family, I can’t tell you the number of Holidays my husband spent away from us “working”. The most memorable was when we were stationed in Germany. My husband was deployed to Somolia, my daughter who was 3 at the time and I were in Germany with no family and most of our close friends were back in the states.

    It was a very quiet Christmas, but special nonetheless. A German neighbor invited us over for Christmas dinner around 6 in the evening. We spent the whole day, just her and I, playing with all her toys. Our family and friends back in the states felt so sorry for us that I can’t tell you how many presents we opened that year! We had also scored a 3 day trip to Berchtesgaden in the German Alps which is where Hitlers eagles nest was. That town screamed Christmas down to the old time Santa that was at the head of the Christmas parade, surrounded by 3 demons to keep the “bad kids”in line with their whips.

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  • Trixy Minx December 19, 2012, 11:29 pm

    I love Wendy’s look! The “I’m one sexy and CLASSY lady”

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  • Sue Jones December 20, 2012, 10:12 am

    Passage of time? Yeah, I had a baby last year and now he’s 9 and in 4th grade! How did THAT happen???

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