Every year it is the same - from October forward, the family members, friends, employers, etc. . . all jockey for position in our social calendar. There are entirely too many obligatory "events" and not nearly enough fun ones.
Because I'm the oldest child, it has been especially difficult for folks to grasp the idea that my husband and I and our kids are indeed a family unit and will be the ones to determine our attendance at (or absence from) any given event and it's not the end of the world if we don't make it to everything. One family member remarked, after I explained that we had a conflict with her event, "let me ask you a personal question. . . are you ever going to come?". Then, after the event in question (and my conflicting event) occurred, I asked another family member how it was. Her response, "next year, you really need to make the effort." So, I'm bad because I had a conflict and next year I should rearrange my life (and the lives of the 20 folks coming to my house) to comply with the events scheduled by someone else.
I guess it boils down to this - holiday traditions are very nice and everyone wants to be with their family at the holidays, but necessarily, the attendance at any specific event must ebb and flow depending on the age and family situations of those concerned. We all know this is the case -why create the season of guilting?