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DaphneT's avatar

When a tradition died in your family were you to blame or would you ascribe the blame to someone else's actions?

Asked by DaphneT (5659 points ) December 24th, 2012

It’s official, tonight it’s bah humbug for Christmas. No one prepared the traditional Christmas Eve meal, therefore there is no Christmas in this house anymore. I was not present to do it as I was required to be at work. I fully expected the person who was home to handle it, yet she chose not to. I don’t actually know where the other members of the household actually are, as no one has left me any notes as to their whereabouts.

So now I feel guilty, as if it is my fault for working on Christmas Eve.

How does one let go of the past when there is no future to build?

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14 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

I killed Christmas in my house (before you blame me too harshly, I was living alone when I did it), but I don’t think of it as a “blame” thing.

I take full credit.

But I think that your outlook is perhaps unduly gloomy: “no future”? Just because an unsupported “tradition” has been ended? Start new traditions, or modify your life in any way that you want, including re-establishing that tradition with people who appreciate it and want it. Don’t think that “life as we know it has ended” just because someone didn’t want to be tied down in the kitchen.

bolwerk's avatar

If no one cares enough, isn’t it kind of everyone’s “fault”? And “fault” here is a stretch, since it implies it should matter to those outside your household. I don’t see why it should.

Judi's avatar

This is the first year my husband and I will spend Christmas Eve alone. Our children are grown and have started their new family traditions. I could choose to be gloomy or I could embrace it and be thankful that they are all healthy and happy.
Tomorrow I DO get to spend the day with the redheaded half of my 8 grand kids. That will be glorious.

marinelife's avatar

I have held on to some family traditions and let others go. The important question is how do you feel about letting this one go?

ragingloli's avatar

“Blame”? My dear, the correct word is “credit”.

burntbonez's avatar

I, too, take credit, as I live alone and am not with my nonexistent family for Christmas. I see no need to do any of the old traditions. Christmas doesn’t mean anything here.

hearkat's avatar

I have killed Christmas – this is our second year without it, and I am enjoying the season so much more than I have in years!

My extended family is very small and dysfunctional – I could sit next to my cousins in restaurant and not even recognize them. My fiancĂ©, son and I are not religious, and we are fortunate to have more than we need. Once my son was out of High School with his own job, I decided that it was stupid to go through the stress trying to come up with gift ideas… all he’s wanted for years now is cash, and I’m picky and hard to shop for.

I am more than willing to have people over for dinner or to accept invitations to others’ homes, but I have quashed the idea of gift-exchanges – although not everyone took me seriously last year.

JenniferP's avatar

There were no traditions in my family. We all did our own thing.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Did you tell the person that they was expected to uphold the tradition or did you just assume that they knew to take care of things? There is nothing for you to feel guilty about, you were being a responsible individual by working. But on the other hand if you didn’t express to the other person that they were to be responsible for taking care of things, then you shouldn’t blame them either.

Paradox25's avatar

This is the first Christmas eve that I’ve ever spent by myself. Deaths of family members/friends, along with the fact that the few people alive in my famly live away and have to work this week have helped to make this year different. I don’t have my own family through the result of a relationship or marriage, nor do I have any kids so I guess to some extent I’m the ‘blame’ here.

Jeruba's avatar

I can’t answer your question as asked, but I can sympathize with your sadness at the loss of a tradition. However much you may tell yourself rationally that it has only the meaning you put into it and that a meal is just a meal, etc., it can be hard to let go of. Those rituals and customs and traditions that we have as families within a society can be a kind of anchor, both of time and of relationships and even of identity. It is painful to lose the ones we care about and also to realize how fragile they were—especially when it turns out that others don’t care about them the same way we did.

But you do have the chance to revive old traditions, to start new ones, and to build your own as the seasons recur. Next time plan ahead with people who share your sense of occasion and help make things turn out better.

JLeslie's avatar

Is the tradition lost forever? Might there not be Christmas celebrations in the future that have the usual foods and people together? If you had to work, do your Christmas celebration a day early or a day late if it means a lot to you. Don’t let the 24th or 25th, whichever one you celebrate, be a date you either hit or miss. There is still all 12 days of Christmas in front of us and New Years in there.

My family didn’t have a tradition during the holiday season really. Only Passover did we always all get together, and eventually that tradition did fade. I think part of it is my fault because I didn’t have children. If I had children I would do all the traditional things on the various holidays.

Shippy's avatar

Can I come and live at your house?

zenvelo's avatar

Traditions change as people age and move on. One Thanksgiving my family was spread out over continents; that day I ate with friends. A lot of Christmas Eves have been different, but the idea of spending time with friends or family for my sake was my responsibility.

I’d be very upset if I expected something on Christmas Eve and nothing happened. But as others have said, did they know it was important to you? Can you still meet your other expectations tomorrow?

In AA, many people realize that being wit their family can be toxic. And so AA groups meet on Christmas and Christmas Eve and people are encouraged to start new traditions. Remember, it only takes doing two years in a row and it is a tradition.

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