Sharing the Holidays Between Families and Still Having Time for You!
The Family Fight for Dominance
So here you are in the Holiday Season again and it's time to decide how to split the Holidays between your family and His/Her family. Every family has this dilemma to consider each year. How do you give both families the attention they deserve without making either family mad? Do you go to one for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas? Do you spend half of each day with each family? If you split the day where do you eat and where do you just socialize? Which family is getting the best of the kids and which family is getting the tired cranky version? It can be tough to make these decisions especially if you have two families who have conflicting traditions.
So how do you keep your family, and both extended families happy this time of year? The rest of this article will be simple steps to setting your own family priorities and still respecting the traditions of the extended families.
Make Each Family Feel Wanted and Loved
It is important that you consider the feelings of each extended family while deciding what your family is going to do for the Holidays. When I was a child my family all spent the night at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve and then Christmas day as well. It all seemed to work out fairly well until myself and my cousins all started getting older. This tradition didn't seem to work for us any more. So a new tradition had to emerge. This new tradition was a compromise to the old one. Instead of spending the night at Grandma's we all spent Christmas Eve at home then got up in the morning opened presents at our homes and then went to Grandmas' for the day. This also met that we could spend Christmas Eve with the other half of the family too! It was a simple compromise for both sides of the family. And that is what you will have to do. Compromise.
To accomplish this you have to set the expectation with both extended families that you need to have your time too. This is generally better received from the spouse who came from that family by the way. From there you and your spouse or significant other can now set the compromise details and share with the families.
Compromise allows for both families to still feel loved and wanted but allows you and your family to begin your own traditions. This is the first step in setting your families priorities.
Create a family Holiday Schedule!
So You have to Split the Day Up; So Where Do You Eat?
Ok so Compromise is not something that is going to work with the In-laws. So now you have to split the day between two families. How do you do that without making one family feel bad because you didn't eat at their home? Well you have the option of not eating at either home and having dinner on your own when you get home. Or you can take turns where you are eating each year or even each holiday.
My Ex-husband and I used to eat Thanksgiving with his parents and then eat Christmas Dinner with mine. After that we would flip. This made it easier because everyone knew which year was which family. We still split the days up half and half but would start the day at the place furthest away (my parents) and then stop at his parents on the way home with the kids. This also allowed for left over to be sent home with us as well.
It worked for our family and we still got our time too. I would cook a meal the day after Thanksgiving and we would eat as a family, and then I would cook for Christmas Eve and we would eat as a family.
None of This Worked, Now What?
So you have tried to compromise and that failed, you have tried to split the days up and that failed too; now what do you do?
Very simply you have to put your foot down. It is important that you and your family have traditions outside of the extended families.This might include putting your foot down and making someone mad. But, before you go standing your ground here are a couple of ways to say you're not coming without being rude.
- Mom, Dad our family has some really great traditions, and they worked really well when I was a kid and when I was single. I just feel like (insert spouse's name) and I need to start building our own traditions, so we will not be coming to dinner like I used to. If you would like though we could set up a get together on the day after.
- Hey Mom, (Insert Spouse's name) and I would like to try something different this year. The kids are a little older now and we would like to have dinner at our house. We are inviting (insert spouse's family here) to join us and would love to have you join us too. We are planning this dinner the day after the holiday. Do you want to come? Oh, since we are trying this I am going to stay home on (insert holiday here) to make sure I have everything perfect for our blended family dinner. I know you understand.
Both of these speeches are helpful in not offending people and giving a way the families to still spend time together, as well as creating space for you and your family to have your time and your new traditions too.
Most Important Thing!
It is important to remember that even though you are setting your own traditions, and breaking away from some of the things you did as a child; these people are still your family and you love them. Be kind as you are figuring this out this year. Remember change does not happen easily and you should try to find what works best for not only you and your family but also for both extended families as well. But when all else fails you have to put your foot down and start you own traditions.
Happy Holidays Every One!
Next week's article will be Gift Giving; Why do we Really do it?
© 2019 Kadee