When Your Grown Kids Start Their Own Christmas Traditions

As the calendar flips to December, my thoughts turn to holiday plans, and the air is ripe with tension as I wonder if and when I’ll be reunited with my grown kids.

I have precious memories and traditions, and I can’t bear the thought of them not continuing. My heart is full of expectations on how the holidays will look, but I know that my refusal to budge causes irreparable harm to my family.

There are plenty of reasons why the holidays look different. Your child might want to spend time with their significant other. Perhaps work doesn’t allow them to return home. Maybe they’re tired of the endless holiday shuffle from home to home with cranky grandkids. What if they just want to have a simple Christmas at home and build their own traditions? Could it be that they need to be with their in-laws this time around?

How can a mom reconcile the tension of longing for the past but also embracing the wishes of her adult children? We find an important clue from a verse in Hebrews 13:1-3 TPT: “No matter what, make room in your heart to love every believer. And show hospitality to strangers, for they may be angels of God showing up as your guests.” The writer is asking us to make room, expand our perspective, look beyond ourselves, and let love be our guide. In doing so, we may entertain angels, and we’ll also ease the tension in our families.

Ask yourself these questions as a way to gauge the evidence of love: Could I lean in and find strength from God as I realize the holidays will look different now that my offspring are grown? What would it look like if I laid down my demands and chose the way of peace? How would I be filled with love and communicate graciously with my adult children? What if guilt was replaced with compassion? Could the art of compromise be practiced so everyone feels like their voice is heard?

God asks us to move closer to Him in this season so we can rely on Him to help us make the shift. As we partner with God, He helps us lay down our selfish ways and compromise for the benefit of our family bond. When we accept change, the family experiences peace, as adapting and flexibility become a fresh way of relating. No longer does a mom demand a certain time to be together; she graciously accepts the changes in holiday plans.

Three mindset shifts to make:

Remain humble.

Pride is evident in a demanding, bossy attitude. Instead, when a mom remains humble, she makes room to hear her family’s perspective. She’s eager to listen and compromise for the good of the whole. She understands there are several family members’ needs to consider, not just her own.

Accept change.

When a mom accepts that the holidays will look different from when her children were young, she will experience peace. Instead of tension and frustration brewing beneath the surface, acceptance ushers in the calm we long for. When a mom accepts change, she is able to focus on what she has instead of what she lacks. She feels grateful for the faces around her table instead of embittered for those who couldn’t return home this year.

Find joy in God.

We often mistakenly seek happiness in things going our way. It’s hard to admit, but when we’re honest, that’s how we think. What if we found our joy in God and not based on our circumstances? When we allow God to become our source of joy, changes in plans don’t impact our mood. When we are deeply rooted in God, we can let go of the temporal and focus on the spiritual. We are deeply held, loved, and accepted by God. Knowing these allows us not to be impacted by change.

It’s normal for our grown kids to want to start their own traditions. When a mom is led by love, she’s able to recognize change is good. It’s not a win-or-lose situation. It is about understanding the holidays will look different, and they are still good.

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