Spouse and I do not exchange gifts at Christmas -- I’ve never really bought into the idea of Christmas as an occasion for consumerism -- but one tradition we have kept for the 21 years we've been married. We always take one day off during the week before Christmas to spend together, a whole day away from the holiday busyness. A day to stay home in front of the fire, eat Chinese take-out, and do nothing but enjoy each other’s company.
When my kids were little, I would send them to my mother's house or my sister's house. Once the kids were in school, it became easier to plan the day. We would just make sure it fell on a day when the kids were still in school. Of course, now that our Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter is in college and has the same calendar as me, I found that I had to do some negotiating to get a peaceful, relaxed day with my husband. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Listen, Dad and I want to have a special day on Monday. Perhaps you could go visit Red-haired Cousin for the day?
Daughter: You kicking me out?
Me: Not exactly. It's just that Dad and I want some special time together.
Daughter: Special time? That what we're calling it?
Me: It's a tradition for us to take a day, and just relax in front of the fire.
Daughter: You're kicking me out so that you can have sex in front of the fire?
Me: Well, I don't think you would want to be home for that.
Daughter: (raising her voice and talking to her brothers) Can you believe that they're kicking me out so they can have sex in the living room?
Boy in Black looks up, opens his mouth, says nothing, and leaves the room. Daughter and I both laugh.
Me: Just remember, some day, you'll be asking me to babysit your kids so that you can have time with your husband.
Daughter: Just remember, some day, I'll be the one to take care of you so you don't have to go into a nursing home.
Me: So we're even.
Daughter: Can I take your car?
Daughter: And your credit card?
Me: (rolling my eyes) Whatever it takes.