I have a rather decent sized extended family, but growing up it was my parents, my brother and I for holiday meals. It later turned into two of my cousins as well. Overall it was never any more than that. We didn't have large family gatherings for the holiday meals, no matter which holiday. It was always us though.
When I first got married, I still came to my mom's house and it was pretty much the same and then soon added spouses and a child or two to the mix. The crowd may have been growing, but it was still us, still our "internal" family. Holidays never included aunts, uncles (with the exception of my one uncle who was like a father to us, spent a lot of time at our house and holiday meals, that slowly faded away) or anyone else. My grandparents died when I was really young so it wasn't like we had that glue to hold our family together and have those large family gatherings. During my first marriage, in addition to my mom's meal, we attended dinner with his family as well. Same thing with my second marriage.
When my mom died 6 years ago (2 days ago was 6 years), 3 days before Thanksgiving, my holiday care went out the window. I didn't have Thanksgiving that year. We went to my husband's parents house but I didn't care. I didn't have my mom. How do you mourn a loss of someone like that and care to be around other people?
The following year, we spent Thanksgiving with my husband's family again. That December, we lost both of them, 2 weeks before Christmas. So what do we do now for the holidays?
The next 2 or 3 years I didn't really care to even celebrate the holidays, it was another day to me. I made the meals though I didn't want to. Everyone says the loss of a parent is hard but the pain eases and it will get better. It doesn't. Those who say that are usually the ones that have never dealt with this or weren't close to their parent that they lost.
This year I am to the point with my health and well-being that I don't care. My kids hardly ever want to eat anything prepared for them if it isn't a certain few things so why kill myself doing this? This year I am making chicken breast instead of turkey, 2 veggies, stuffing, potatoes and cranberry sauce. I have no desire to even make pickled eggs and I love those or pies. I may go buy a pie but that is as far as I'm going with that situation right there.
Anyways, I really hope everyone else has a wonderful holiday season. Please cherish the time you are spending with your family, friends, parents, loved ones... one day they're not going to be here and you will feel like there was so much that you miss or have taken for granted. Always be thankful for the days that you have with them, even if they're not good days. Never hold on to a grudge or fight for too long, make up!