We Have Never Had Christmas at Home — and I’m Fine With That

Christmas at home - Boston Moms Blog

When my husband and I got engaged, the second question our parents asked us (after asking when we were planning to get married) was how we were going to spend the holidays. It fell into place that we would spend Thanksgiving with one set of parents and Christmas with the other. The following year, we would switch. 

Before children arrived, this worked seamlessly. Our siblings adopted the same schedule, and we were all able to see each other at least once a year. Our holiday celebrations felt cozy and laid-back. The dog was spoiled and received way too many gifts from “Mimi” and “Papa.”

After we had our first daughter, celebrating Christmas took on an entirely new level of fun. She was 7 months old for her first Christmas, and everything was magical. Tree lights twinkling were mesmerizing, jingle bells were made for rock stars, and gift wrap was just as much fun as the gift itself. And yet we never felt the need to spend Christmas at home — to “wake up in our own beds.”

Having a sleepover at Mimi and Papa’s seemed to only add to the excitement of Christmas morning. Maybe we didn’t sleep great, but after becoming parents, who does? Moreover, it was very fun to extend the Christmas Eve merriment with our parents by sitting next to the fire, sipping spiked eggnog, and arranging the gifts under the tree. 

Logistics have become trickier the last few years. There are 14 of us traveling to my in-laws’ in Pennsylvania this year. Gifts have had to become smaller since we need the suitcase space. We have both flown and drove (flying FTW!) for the holidays. We all arrive the minute school gets out and stay until someone has to go back to work. It’s loud, we all consume way too much sugar, and we have a lot of fun.

They say there’s no place like home for the holidays, but for us, the magic of Christmas is not lost when we don’t wake up in our own beds Christmas morning. The magic of Christmas for our family is cousins piling on each other like puppies, Grandma baking too many cookies, and aunts and uncles bantering. Santa still finds us, and we get to share the excitement with our extended family. We may not have Christmas at home, but it’s our holiday tradition, and it’s special to us. Christmas may never be at “home,” but home is when we are all together.


After an illustrious career in politics (including stints on Capitol Hill and on a presidential campaign) and then reinsurance (yeah, that was a career change), Emily decided to once again make a bold move and stay at home after her first daughter was born. Daughter number two came shortly thereafter, and when daughter number three made her debut it became an official girl tribe! The Fahle girls keep super busy and active exploring their beloved town of Scituate and all that Boston and the South Shore have to offer! Emily is currently experiencing getting along with an infant who believes mom is a Holstein, a preschooler who is smarter than her, and a 2-year-old who has drama in her veins. Emily never knew coffee and wine would be such an essential part of her day.


  1. Love this article! We never know from year to year if my husband will have to work on holidays so i am also a big proponent of being flexible and finding non-traditional “traditions”. 14 people! WOW. Have you figured out how to get Hornstra to deliver enough eggnog?!?

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