After I posted about Hallmark card commercials on Super Bowl Sunday, faithful listener Denise Reynolds sent me a link to a 1999 Hallmark Commercial about a young woman who joins her new husband’s family for Christmas. It’s her first holiday away from home. By the middle I was sobbing.
Valentine’s Day is just around corner, and this February holiday reminds me of couples and love and how difficult and stressful it can be for new marrieds (or newly engaged couple) to fit in to the established Christmas traditions.
In our family, we attend Christmas Eve Mass together, and every member of the extended family—infant to grandparent—participates in the Mass. Even pew-warmers must supervise wiggly shepherds and angels. My son, Ian, was the first live Jesus in the Gospel reading and pageant more than two decades ago, but we have been a part of the mass for years before that. So, any new member must pass the family test of attending and participating, as instructed by Director Grandma Shirley. That’s a lot of pressure for a newly engaged young man or woman in our family. We break them in slowly—in the early years, they hold a candle in the procession and stand in reverence around the Holy Family. Baby Jesus comes later, obviously.
In our podcast this week, we’ll be talking about engaged and newly marrieds and the best strategies for managing the holiday family obligations.