We have a big family, so Christmas is hectic. Isaac has three kids and Zac has four. I have six brothers and sisters. I haven’t counted how many people are in our family in a while, but it’s huge.
We’ve had Christmases where one of the brothers has gone to see his in-laws and, when you lose one brother and a group of cousins, it definitely changes the environment. “This seems quiet,” we’ll say. We’re not used to that.
For the past few years, we’ve stopped having every person give gifts to every single person. It gets out of control. You’d need a truck. We do a gift exchange and, ultimately, it’s mostly about being together, lots of food and lots of Christmas classics.
As I get older, with five kids of my own (my oldest is 14), it’s definitely different from when I was the only band member with kids. That’s definitely less complex because you could have them roll with you, put them on your back and get on the next plane. But it really just gets more fun to have these different personalities.
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There’s definitely a noticeable change when you have three kids because then you’re dealing with a group. Two individuals might have two different personalities or be two different ages. But once you have a third child, there’s a sense that there’s a group and the dynamics change, depending on who is interested in something at the moment. Different alliances form, depending on the situation. It’s absolutely different when you have three.
I think what’s really cool about bigger families is that everybody develops this innate ability to figure out how to compromise, work with others and realize that the entire world doesn’t revolve around you. It also encourages you to be an individual because you can clearly see your differences from a brother or sister. I see that with my kids: They’re very different, but I see that they love and respect one another.
Beyond that, what I think really happens is that you have a sense that you’re part of a crew when you’re in a big family. You’re already included in a group. I see that with my five-year-old, who is the fifth child. You can see it in her sense of confidence: She is so comfortable being in situations because she sees a lot of love and feels safe. She kind of looks around at the world and feels optimistic. In so many situations, she has somebody beside her that she trusts. It gives you the sense that you have an identity that’s connected to something bigger.
Hanson’s new Christmas album, Finally It’s Christmas, is out now. They play back-to-back dates in Toronto on their Finally It’s Christmas tour on November 24 and 25.