Published on November 17, 2005 By jennybean In Marriage
I come from a very small family. We are not close with my dad's side of the family, and my mom is from England, so we don't really see them either. We never really had any huge plans as a family, considering it was just my mom, dad, older sister, and me. Regardless, we always managed to have pleasant holidays. Now this will be the second Christmas I have been married, but we have been together for about seven years. This means that we have spent seven Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easter...etc splitting the time between two families. Now, I know this is not a huge deal to many people, and every married couple learns to deal with it. Still, I feel a little uneasy about the whole thing sometimes.

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband's family very much. I really lucked out with the family I married into. But now that I have adoptd their family traditions, my family has had to in a way as well. Since my hubby's family is very large (and close) they have parties and get togethers all the time with the extended family. So obviously it seems my family (considering the size difference here) should be able to work around the other one's plans. It always works out and we spend about equal times with both families...but man is it tricky! Christmas morning we go over to hubby's family's house where we have a Christmas breakfast and spend the afternoon, then go to my parents house for dinner. But my family has to put thier Christmas morning on hold until we get there later. They wait to open any presents until we arrive. So they pretty much wait around all morning and afternoon just for us. It kind of takes the fun out of Christmas morning for them now. But to be fair, my husband's family doesn't get us during the evening.

I really can't complain too much here; it really does work out for the most part. But does anyone else feel a little overwhelmed trying to keep everyone happy during the holidays?

Comments
on Nov 17, 2005
When you have children, it will be best to start your own holiday traditions.  Not cold turkey, but they will need to grow up with some of their own, so that when they move out and marry, they will come home to roost as well.
on Nov 18, 2005
Have you ever thought of switching up and visiting your family in the morning and afternoon and your husband's family in the evening?

During the odd years you could visit your family in the evening. Just so you can tell people when things are "odd" you visit your family last.
on Nov 18, 2005
Good suggestions, thanks! I most definitely want to start our own traditions when we have children. That also worries me in a way thinking of how we will have time for three different traditions, then!

"Have you ever thought of switching up and visiting your family in the morning and afternoon and your husband's family in the evening?"
That is a good idea, but I would then have to have my husband's sister and her husband adopt that idea, too, so we can all be together at the same time. So confusing!!
on Nov 20, 2005
But does anyone else feel a little overwhelmed trying to keep everyone happy during the holidays?
Last year, we spent christmas with my husband's family. we opened our christmas gifts on christmas eve (which we don't normally do), went to bed early, and got up at 5am on christmas day to go over to their house, which is about a 2 hour drive away. we stayed there for an hour or so, then we went to his aunts house. we stayed there for 3 hours, then we went to my MIL's mother's house. we hung there for another 3 or 4 hours, and then finally decided it was time to make the 2 hour drive home because we were all exhausted. we said that we're not going to do that every year...and we're not. this year we're staying home - he's coming home from a 6 week school on the 21st so we're using that as an excuse for not wanting to go anywhere and see anyone. we're going to do christmas the way we usually do - opening gifts christmas morning, eating a big turkey lunch and napping in the afternoon - rather than run all over the place trying to make everyone else happy and making ourselves miserable in the process.
on Nov 20, 2005
Sounds chaotic...maybe you can compromise this year with your and your husband's family...maybe spend the majority of one holiday with one family, and the majority of another holiday with the other. Best of luck...hope you don't get too stressed out!
on Nov 21, 2005
>>But does anyone else feel a little overwhelmed trying to keep everyone happy during the holidays?

Every year! My parents have been divorced almost forever, so my sister and I end up doing double duty over the Holidays. My poor niece barely gets to enjoy her presents at one get together before being wisked off to another.
My boyfriend is very patient, does his best to attend as much of our craziness as he can, and some Holidays we just go separate ways. Somewhere down the line though, we'll probably have to start picking and choosing, or alternating one year to the next.
on Nov 21, 2005

Yes, this is an age old problem, which people can give you suggestions but you have to find *your* answer for.

We used to run around like crazy trying to fit everything in.  We finally figured out that things were becoming a hassle and not as much fun.

For the holidays, we try to have have Thanksgiving at our house.  My sister does Thanksgiving with her husband's family, so we have my parents over and my husbands family.  (I don't have any other relation around us).  On Christmas, we have Christmas eve dinner (early) with my family and open presents with them.  We then go over to my husband's Aunts house.  Christmas day we stay home.  Our daughter wasn't real thrilled with having to rush in the morning to leave after opening presents, so we just stay home.  If people want to see us, they are welcome in our home, but we don't leave.  We then have a second Christmas with my husbands family (parents, brother and sister) at his parents house the day after.

My husbands brother (who has a wife and 2 kids) alternate.  They go to Thanksgiving at one side then Christmas Eve at the other each year, then switch the next year.  That way they get a full holiday with each and don't have to rush around.

There is no perfect solution.

on Nov 21, 2005
If people want to see us, they are welcome in our home, but we don't leave.


that's the stance that we're taking as well. it's just as far from there to here as it is from here to there....and they don't have three kids and a bad back to schlep all over the place.
on Nov 21, 2005
My husbands brother (who has a wife and 2 kids) alternate. They go to Thanksgiving at one side then Christmas Eve at the other each year, then switch the next year. That way they get a full holiday with each and don't have to rush around.


That is a very good point. If we are going to go somewhere for a holiday, I would so much rather spend the majority of the actual day there and settle in rather than constantly watch the clock and make sure we aren't late to every other place we've promised to be.

sounds chaotic...maybe you can compromise this year with your and your husband's family...maybe spend the majority of one holiday with one family, and the majority of another holiday with the other.


same thing here, thanks for the suggestions!
on Nov 21, 2005
My boyfriend is very patient, does his best to attend as much of our craziness as he can, and some Holidays we just go separate ways. Somewhere down the line though, we'll probably have to start picking and choosing, or alternating one year to the next.


See, before we were married we did that a few times, too. But that sucks being away from him for the holidays! Scott's family has a huge Christmas Eve party every year, which lasts the entire evening, and although I love joining them, I always feel guilty when I am there thinking about my mom and sister at home with not much company. They don't have extended family like Scott's and they feel like they'd be intruding and uncomfortable if they came along to the party. I almost feel like his family is so big and there are so many people at their parties, we will be missed less there than at my mom's house where we are the only family she has. But then Scott would obviously go to those since those are his traditions he grew up with and he wants to see his family, too. It does suck! Nobody really wins. I guess we should probably alternate holidays with each other's family.

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I feel better that I am not alone in having frustrations when it comes to where we "should" be during the holidays. Now I don't feel so selfish for thinking "what about what WE want to do!???" The fun part will come when we have children and want to start our OWN traditions! Ha! Talk about chaotic.
on Nov 21, 2005
---My husbands brother (who has a wife and 2 kids) alternate. They go to Thanksgiving at one side then Christmas Eve at the other each year, then switch the next year. That way they get a full holiday with each and don't have to rush around.

That is a very good point. If we are going to go somewhere for a holiday, I would so much rather spend the majority of the actual day there and settle in rather than constantly watch the clock and make sure we aren't late to every other place we've promised to be.---

Here's another suggestion you can give to your husband. Tell him you two can spend Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays with your family.

Then with his family you celebrate these holidays. Flag Day, Earth Day, President's Day, Columbus Day, St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo.

I got a strong feeling he may not go for it though.
on Nov 22, 2005
Here's another suggestion you can give to your husband. Tell him you two can spend Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays with your family.

Then with his family you celebrate these holidays. Flag Day, Earth Day, President's Day, Columbus Day, St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo

Ha!!!!!!!
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