Holidays are times for family gatherings. Christmas is no exception, but many people find this time of year stressful because it seems as though there is just not enough time to do everything. As my siblings and I established our own homes, it became increasingly difficult for us to meet as a family with my parents at Christmas. Of course, it did not help that each of us lived in a different state. We came up with a solution that worked well for our family; maybe it would help yours as well. We made a decision to have our extended family Christmas celebration in July. Our parents would usually spend Christmas day with one of the children, but the real family celebration was held in the summer. Until it was difficult for my parents to travel, we took turns hosting the Christmas celebration. We would exchange presents. (We made sure with the after Christmas sales that we had enough wrapping paper for presents we would give in July.) Some of my siblings even put up a Christmas tree for us to enjoy. One year when my sister had a tree set up in her front window, an Amish family went by in a horse and buggy. Everyone ran to the window to see them, only to find that their children were looking back at us, surprised to see a Christmas tree in the middle of summer. One advantage was that we did not have to worry about snow and ice when traveling. Another advantage was that the children in our family who had birthdays at the end or the beginning of the year did not receive all their presents for the year in a short period of time. We would schedule our Christmas weekend a year in advance, so everyone could make the necessary arrangements with work schedules in order to attend. If you are having difficulty getting together as a family during this holiday time, you may want to try having your family Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) at another time during the year. It does not have to be in July; that was just the best time for my family. You may find that it becomes a cherished tradition.