Post # 1
Apologies in advance that this is so long!
As the holiday season is quickly approaching I’m trying to figure out how we’ll forge our way through our first holiday season as a married couple. DH is a traditionalist and HATES change so we’ve always avoided the “how should we share the holidays?” discussion. I would try to bring it up and it always ended in an argument. Normally for Thanksgiving I go to my mother’s house and he goes to his aunt’s house, and I’ll show up in time for dessert with his family. For Christmas in the past, I would go to my family party for xmas eve and then drive over to his Aunt’s house half-way through the evening, and then we spend xmas day at my Mom’s house. However last year I decided to compromise and said I would forgo my family’s big xmas eve celebration and spend the night with his family because we spend xmas day with my family.
This year I had really hoped that for Thanksgiving we could host as we finally have our own place. I was envisioning both families being able to come to us and avoid the whole “who gets us for the holiday” thing, and also I LOVE to host. Well I brought this up with DH this morning and his reaction was that we should just continue to celebrate separately because “why change?” and we don’t have enough room at our place anyway. I explained to him that if we did buffet style instead of a sit-down dinner then we’d be fine, and that I thought it was strange for a married couple to celebrate holidays separately. This led to a little tiff and I said “fine, I’ll host Thanksgiving for my family at our house, and you can leave and go to your aunts” totally in a cmon that’s dumb attitude, and he seemed totally fine with this arrangement…
Is this strange? Should I bend and say we’ll both go to his Aunt’s house? I’m really trying to be fair here because I know both our families expect to see us, but I’m not sure how to go about this. I’ve even suggested we do the flip-flop arrangement where we go to his family celebration this year, and then next year we’ll go to mine. He hates this and refuses. Also it might be important to note that we spend A LOT of time with his family already. I’m talking dinner every Wednesday night, Friday night, and Sunday night. We do dinner with my mom maybe once a month and only because it’s a birthday or something…
What do you guys think? What arrangement have you and your DH been able to work out?
Post # 2
My boyfriend and I always split Thanksgiving but did our own families for Christmas. We had similar fights about how to split Holidays, and we decided that we would start really alternating once we were engaged. Our families live 8 hours apart so doing both is not an option. Well, we got engaged this year so its our first holiday to really split. We are doing thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his. There were no arguments, we made the decision together and its really the only fair way to split things. It sounds like your husband is digging his feet into the sand because you always give in and he gets what he wants. I would either host both families or split it TOGETHER 50/50.
Post # 3
Ctobin: I’m dreading this. I have been with my SO for 7 months and have known each other for 5 years so even though it’s only 7 months, we started going to family things fairly early on. I have been thinking about how to approach things. I didnt’ have to do this with my ex because he really didn’t speak to his family oftn and they were spread out all across the country. My current SO is just as close with his family as I am. I wish I had some advice but I’m mostly commenting to say I feel your pain and also because I’m curious as to what others will suggest.
Post # 4
Ctobin: I agree that it’s odd for married couples to spend holidays separately. I know my Step-Moms family has a great system for Christmas. Her mom’s whole family goes to the family home (Currently owned by SM’s aunt) every other year, alternating years the spend with their respective inlaws.
Perhaps you could suggest a similar arrangement with your DH – one year with his family and one with yours (if you’re planning on children splitting the holiday will be more difficult as both grandparents will be expecting the children at their home).
Alternately, is it possible for your families to have their dinners on different days? I know lots of people who have multiple dinners in a weekend. That way you have one house on Thursday, another on Saturday – or something like that?
Post # 5
Ctobin: Every year is a mess with us b/c my mom is single, his parents are divorced, no one gets along with anyone else and we’re always the ones stuck driving all over the place to accomodate everyone.
This year? F THAT NOISE. We’re going away for Thanksgiving!! We’ll have been married a few weeks at that point and since we can’t honeymoon until next year, the last thing we want is to be obligated to run around on our long weekend putting up with family. The goal is to have our own house by next holiday season and invite people to us. Don’t like it? Don’t come. I told my FI once we have kids, I’m not carting them around to appease everyone else’s schedule.
Short answer lol – up until this year, we’ve run ourselves ragged trying to keep everyone else happy. It has to stop!
Post # 6
Ctobin: Yes, I think it’s strange for a married couple to be separate during the holidays. I think your husband is acting a bit like a child in this situation. I like your plan for Thanksgiving. Personally, I’m usually a fan of alternating the holidays (one gets Thanksgiving, one gets Christmas, and the next year it is switched). If you’re planning on having kids, what does he plan on doing then? Is he going to leave the kids at home to go to his Aunt’s house then? You are your own family now, so he’s going to have to adapt a little bit.
Post # 7
We’re lucky – we have no family immediately close so if we see family for the holidays it’s only one. Currently my dad and step mom are usually nearby for Christmas and we go to step-moms family get together in the afternoon Christmas Day and then my dad, step-mom & half brother come see us on Boxing day.
I despise travelling for Christmas, we’ve flown to DH’s parents house once since we moved to Ontario (this will be our 7th Christmas here) he realized that year what a nuisance travelling at Christmas is and has agreed we would rather visit during the summer months.
Post # 8
Ctobin: Might I add my aggression towards the subject stems from having to spend countless holidays at his aunt’s house. You have to dress up and there’s a certain decorum while you’re there. She is incredibly witchy and rude but for some reason, no one will stand up to her. Whether they’re afraid of her or not, IDK but after she insulted me in front of the whole family for NOT KNOWING WHAT A TINY SERVING SPOON WAS…that was it. I told my FI I’d never spend another holiday with them. Oh, and she insulted what we brought! The wine apparently wasn’t to her standards. She said, “We’ll use the good wine, since it’s a holiday. You can take this back”, and looked at my gluten free homemade cookies as if they were dog shit.
Post # 9
I think that it’s odd for married couples to spend the holidays separately. We’re splitting our time evenly between both families and in time plan to alternate between visiting both sets of parents and inviting the family over to our place. Ask your DH how he plans to make arrangements when you have children… he’s going to go to his parents and you’ll go to yours.. ??
Post # 10
DH’s family is Irish so we don’t have to worry about Thanksgiving, but we’ve decided on every other Christmas until we have kids (which is ASAP), and then people have to come to us. This will unfairly favor my parents as we are moving to my hometown next year, but DH and I agree that we do NOT want to drag one or two small children across the ocean for Christmas every other year. Our compromise will be extra long holidays over there in the summer (hopefully two or three weeks at a time) and hositing his parents whenever they’d like to come to the US.
Post # 11
Ctobin: My husband’s family lives about 35 minutes away. My (divorced) parents live five minutes on either side of us. So it makes for three families to see during the holidays.
Last year, as it turns out- my family had thier big celebration at my aunt and uncles- who live a little closer to my husband’s family than my dad (my dad’s is where we normally have it). So instead of going to his family’s house on Christmas Day, we went over there BEFORE my aunt’s on Christmas Eve.
Admittedly, this worked well for us because while DH’s family wants to see us- they just aren’t big on the holidays like my family is.
And then we spent Christmas Day with my mom.
For my sister and her husband– HIS fsmily lives 3.5 hours away. So they alternate years. One year they still stay hear for Thanksgiving, and then go down there for Christmas for a week. And then the next year they will do the opposite.
And this year…..we might be selfish and skip it all except for my mom’s on Christmas Day (only because it’s pretty much just her and her husband- my sister will be gone this year)– we have a baby due in early January and it’s entirely possible he might be here by Christmas.
It really seems like your SO isn’t being “fair” in trying to figure this out- and just because you like something the same way- doesn’t mean you get it when you’re married.
It’s all about compromise– and everytime you aren’t with one family, they might be a little bummed- but I can’t imagine they don’t understand.
I don’t really feel like your spending the holidays with your “family” if you aren’t with your partner- your main, immediate family. There’s no way we’d ever split up for the holidays- and we’ve figured out ways to make it work from the first holiday season we were dating- which was four months in.
Post # 12
Ctobin: Your husband is being a poop about the situation. “Why change?” How about you’re a married man and you have a wife and a new together life to think about?
I am a child of divorce so I’ve been playing this stupid in between/split holidays game for years. It blows. Always has. Lucky for me my SO’s family is still intact so that’s only a 3rd place on my list of places to go. What I’ve been doing for our last 3 years is basically morning at my mother’s (an hour away) then over to my father’s between 3:30 and 4. He’s very close to my mother, thank goodness. then I’ll stay there until 7:30 or 8. Always difficult to leave because they do all of their dinner stuff late like 7. So I get to spend time with them, help cook then eat give hugs and hit the road. My SO’s parents live about 10 minutes from us so they are my last stop and I get there between 9&10pm hang out for an hour or two then we go home together.
We have never spent an entire holiday together. I have yet to ask him to go with me for my escapades all over the state on holidays because in my heart I know it’s unreasonable for me to be doing it. My parents expect me to do it and my Father has started to give me shit because I refuse to drag SO all over hell and creation when he’s used to having a relaxing day with his family and enjoying the holidays. My SO has offered every year to tag along with me for at least Thanksgiving and has offered to change his routine so we can spend it together. I figure once we are married I’m going to put my foot down and start doing holidays with my family the day or the weekend before and just go to his parents because it’s 10 minutes from our house and so much less stressful. So next year or the year after I’ll finally relax..
This doesn’t help you, but I wanted you to know you aren’t alone and I do feel your hubby is being insensitive and uncompromising. Good luck!
Post # 13
My FI and I have been together for over 6 years, and we still follow the same holiday system we worked out after our first year together. In even years we spend Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his family, and in odd years we do the opposite. What it boils down to is that the two of us are an established family unit, and families do (most) things together. Of course I would love to spend every holiday with my parents, because I love them and as an only child I’m extremely close with them. BUT I always enjoy the time we spend with HIS family, too, so it’s not like every other holiday I’m miserable.
I’m not a religious person AT ALL but I think the bible knew what it was talking about with the whole “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” thing. Your husband needs to be open to doing NEW things TOGETHER instead of sticking with the same old, same old.
Post # 14
I agree with PPs. Not only is it odd to spend the holidays apart, but it doesn’t solve anything long term. If you plan on having kids, you will want to spend them together. Getting on a schedule sooner, rather than later, will help with “growing pains” down the road when you have to finnally have the real conversation around it.
I am going to take a guess, but I assume that since DH goes to his aunt’s house, his typical Thanksgiving isn’t just him, his parents and sibbling(s) but cousins, and aunts and uncles. I would assume that is where the space issue comes up. He is probably thinking all of those people while you are thinking you, DH, parents and maybe sibblings.
As far as compromising goes, set up a time with your DH to discuss it, free from distractions. Put an agreement in place that if it turns into an argument, that you will take a 10 minute break and then come back.
Post # 15
Ctobin: i HATE this time of the year just for this. my DH (always SO/FI for previous holidays, this is the first year we will be married for the holidays) has no problem spending holidays (mainly christmas eve) apart. we usually spend thanksgiving together the whole time, but then we both sleep over at our parents’ for christmas eve. i have done this because my dad passed away a few years ago, and i don’t want my mom to be alone. DH just always did it because i was going home and used it as family time… well now that we are married (we don’t have a house, so hosting unfortunately isn’t an issue and probably never will be because DH has a huge family who all go to one place for the last 10 years or so) i think it’s stupid for us to be spending christmas eve apart. my mom already called having us stay at her house, and i’m dreading the arguments that will follow when we tell DH’s mother. since we’ve been married, i’ve really had to emphasize to DH that we are now a family unit. with the exception of friend hangouts that are rare (bachelor parties, etc), i would really like it if we always slept under the same roof. i don’t care how late either of us gets home, but we should be together. he has agreed, it took him a little while for it to become habit, but now he views it the same way.