We recently downsized from a house that had a good deal of running room inside and out for the kids and the grandkids when they would come visit.  It was something we always took for granted – space to run, areas to play and one of our favorite family traditions was Thanksgiving.  It was work, but fun work, and everyone looked forward to it.  Menus were prepared, dishes were brought, the right wines were searched, and, of course, kitchen chaos.  Dessert is left to your imagination.

But time moves forward and grandkids get bigger, there’s more of them, and suddenly what was 10 – 12 family attendees is now 18 – 20.  The house didn’t expand accordingly and more noise, more running feet and more, well, everything.  And two years ago, we noted, we’re tired at the end of the clean-up, which is on us and always seems to be at 11:00 at night.

Adjusting Your Traditions in Retirement

So, when we downsized, we faced a dilemma.  Can we keep the family tradition going or do we have to face the music and admit maybe it’s time to transition the holiday to one of the kids?  The new home has no basement, a smaller yard, and if the weather is inclement, we could have a whole bunch of grandkids looking at us asking why did we move, what do we do now, or making the famous I’m bored statement.  We could keep it going, but after some heavy discussions, the time seemed right to see if one of the kids would agree to be the Thanksgiving host.

This was not an easy decision for us.  We have been hosting Thanksgiving since we were in our early thirties, and now here we are 35 years later saying time to stop.  I’ll admit it, I opposed the change, but when all was considered, we decided it was the right time.  This was tough.  Another life change, a tradition we loved, and admitting it was time.  But, you move forward and say thanks for all of the great times we had in multiple states, with various attendees, and with those who have left us.

Starting New Traditions in Retirement

Family Scene RetirementOur daughter was more than excited when we asked if she could do Thanksgiving.  She really wanted to have a family holiday at her home and other holidays were taken.  So, we checked the other kids just to make sure there would be no issues, and after hearing none as well as we’ll miss your house, but we understand, the path was clear.  They also had the same transition angst that we did but understood we wouldn’t have made the choice if we didn’t believe it was in everyone’s best interests.

Our daughter worked hard, knowing success was the only option.  The grandkids had space inside and out, they had their video games, and they had plenty of room to sleep.  To restate from earlier, menus were prepared, dishes were brought, the right wines were searched, and there was, of course, kitchen chaos.  The transition was complete.  And while we might have been a little wistful, most importantly, all were together to celebrate a family tradition.


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