Since my grandparents passed away, my mother's side of the family makes a point of having a family get-together for Christmas. This year, the usual host has been busy with health issues on her husband's side of the family, and understandably can't host. No one else can or will step up to the plate, so it looks like there won't be a party this year. I think this will be the first year ever that I won't see them before Christmas.
When my grandparents were still alive, there was a lot of activity on that side of the family. We did a LOT together. Since they passed, events have been few and far between, not having the Grammy & Grampy glue to hold us together. That makes this Christmas party even more significant: it's one of the few times we do get together now.
I wish I could step up to the plate and host, but I have two problems: my house is small, and we're talking about 40 people. Second, my aunts do not like cats, and I have Romy. Had the usual host notified us sooner that she would be unable to host this year, we could have suggested an alternate venue. There are also some family politics involved that included people not wanting to suggest they take over the party this year for fear of angering the usual host.
My family, for many years, was the host of the party. My other grandparents, who lived behind us, were always included as well. Those were the "golden years": the happiest times burned in my brain. An incredible amount of work for my mother, who cooked until her arms fell off, but enjoyed hosting her family.
This is a tradition that I will really miss this year. I am very disappointed, but am making an effort to not be too whiny about it. I have family, friends, health, food, shelter. I'm lucky where many others are not. I will try to keep that in mind, and make plans to visit everyone on Boxing Day.
UPDATE 12/18: the party has been rescheduled for Boxing Day. Not ideal as others now have plans that can't be broken, but at least some of us can spend some time together. A few aunts and uncles came down for mass this morning and then we went to lunch, so I was able to exchange gifts and spend a short time with them before the big day.