Dialing down the holidays – and life

This story in The Washington Post made us laugh – and cry – in recognition. For we have seen the incredulous look on our young adult kids’ faces when we announce “we’re not doing as much for the holidays this year.”  We have seen “the look” when we announced we were dispensing with the full-size live tree in favor of an artificial tabletop model.  (Note: Secure the ornaments well and you don’t even have to un-decorate it. Simply cover with a trash bag and store it standing up in the attic! Woo-hoo! Game changer!) We received “the look” when we decided to cut a few carbs and unhealthy fats from the traditional Christmas Eve menu. And, yes, “the look” again appeared this year when we kept the dusty artificial greenery in the boxes and did a “less is more” holiday decor.

We can’t wait to see “the look” when we tell them we’re moving to a condo. Eventually, that is.

Change is hard for everyone, especially adult children who are heavily and happily invested in family traditions. That’s why it’s imperative to have pre-retirement family meetings to let the younger generation(s) know what to expect.  Thinking about relocating to another town? Share the notion with the kids and listen to what they say in response. Selling the old house for smaller digs? Give them a heads-up so they can get used to the idea. Planning a month-long trip? Make sure they don’t have any major milestones or events coming up that you might miss.

Honesty and candor are critical in preserving those all-important personal relationships, especially in retirement when your schedule allows you to spend more time together.

And the less you’re on the receiving end of “the look,” the better!


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