My darling friend Ingrid and I started a little new year's eve tradition some years ago: we go to whoever has the most appropriate house for the weather (stinking hot=Ingrid's as she has awesome egg nitioning; other weather=my house as I do NOT) and/or circumstances (poor Ingy has a broken ankle at present); and we have an evening of pleasing only ourselves.
ie we drink as much or as little as we like; we stay up to midnight or we go to sleep at 10:30pm; we watch DVDs or chat (slurringly or otherwise); and then the next day we drag our hungover selves to brunch and a movie (movie choice is usually "let's see something GOOD"; one year I asked for Twilight so I would not have to read the wretched book my then-cancer-riddled-and-to-be-indulged-
This year, there were actually seven of us (well, nine if you count two ankle-biters, later spirited off home) and Ingrid had won a turkey in a raffle, and so she determined that we would have roast turkey with all the trimmings; which is something indeed to determine when you have a broken ankle that refuses to heal. So we put it all together with Ingrid as the Sergeant-Major and us as her willing adjutants and had a wonderful dinner.
Over dinner it emerged that for almost all of us (barring Tim and Janet and their cute little sproglets) this was actually our celebratory Christmas dinner. We had all dutifully done the family thing: gone to Christmas day (and/or Christmas eve and/or Boxing Day) and it was a Good Thing to have done.....but we had all felt slightly...constrained.
Also, these were not the people we actually wanted. I love my parents and siblings and nieces, but I felt like I'd been shoved abruptly into their midst, and that they were exercising some kind of claim for primacy in my loyalties that was not entirely their right, not anymore.
The people I wanted I rang on Christmas night and there was that little note of longing in their voices too, for something less either/or. But it was unvoiced until last night; and it was such a relief to be able to say it.
So there's the thing one should be doing (rejoicing as one skips back into the family fold); and then there's the thing one actually does (modified rapture with the blood family; full happiness with the lovely friend-family).
It's possible that this is my single 2011 resolution: pay more attention to the naturally-evolving custom-and-practice - especially if it makes me happy; and a lot LOT less to the "I should" programming.