(Closed) Help! Sharing holidays between families

posted 6 years ago in Family
Post # 3
3303 posts
Sugar bee

Have them all come to your house!

Post # 4
942 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

We have both agreed that having living grandparents is important to us and not worth an argument over the holidays. For thanksgiving, we each go our separate ways– our parents live 2 hours away from one another, so the commuting back and forth in 1 day isn’t ideal either.  We are totally fine with this, and we are pretty independent people so it’s not a big deal.  We do this for Easter as well. Xmas is a bit nicer because his family celebrates earlier which allows us to see my family on xmas together. 

Post # 5
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I agree with armychica06.  Offer to host the Holiday for everyone at your place.  If anyone really can’t make it, see if you can do a preholiday dinner with them a week or two before or after Thanksgiving.  We decided to just host everyone at our house rather then spend the holiday driving back and forth. All together we’ll have: my two sisters and their spouses, my brother, my mom, me, Darling Husband, DH’s parents, DH’s 2 uncles and spouses, somewhere between 5-10 cousins, and possibly two of DH’s friends.  We’re doing it as a potluck so everyone is bringing something, and we’re just going to relax and enjoy the family chaos!

Post # 6
642 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Hands down, no ifs, ands, or buts, alternate years and thats that.

My grandparents are not with us any more, but FIs are and when its his parents year, we spend it with them also.

I think your family is a little unreasonable. 


Just wait until you have children.  You think its bad now?  This si the time to lay the limits, and figure out your forever arrangement.  Before the babies come and everyone gets emotional.


Post # 7
2622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

You cant make everyone happy so dont try. Something is going to have to give. So you cant see everyone one holiday or year. you see them the next year.

Once you set your boundaries somethings may change. Maybe Xmas eve isnt a big holiday, but if you are available then one set of grandparents may be willing to meet up with you to see you.

Or maybe you can start a new tradition that the Sat after Tday you meet up for chinese food with a set of grandparents. Or eat leftovers on that Friday. You have to be creative and suggest these new traditions


Post # 8
90 posts
Worker bee

I agree that you should see everyone together!  If you are in a position where you can host a holiday, you can invite everyone and if they don’t come, its not your problem.  Or see the two sets of grandparents on one side of the family on one holiday and the other two sets on another holiday.  If not seeing you is such a problem, they’ll be willing to compromise.  If they aren’t willing to compromise, at least you tried to make everyone happy and then it ceases to be your problem.  You’re married and have every right and reason to spend the holiday with your husband.  No reason to go separate directions.

Post # 9
6 posts
  • Wedding: December 2013

I now have 3 families to cater to during the holidays, but they’ve all made it really easy on us… One family does their Christmas party a few days before or after Christmas, another on Christmas Eve, and another on Christmas. And for Thanksgiving, one of the families has dinner at like 3 pm, so we could easily make it to two Thanksgiving dinners if we really wanted to. I know you said they’re not very flexible, but is there any way one of them could do their parties on different days? Or get some of the grandparents to merge parties? That seems less likely. If not, unfortunately, I think you just have to choose. Maybe choose to see certain families at the holidays but go out of your way to make sure you see the other families at other times during the year. Or invite them over or visit a few days before or after the holidays to show you care. That’s the best I’ve got… It’s super tough, i don’t know how some people do it.

Post # 10
4193 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

If everyone’s close enough, have them come to you- we’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, to make it easier.

Otherwise- if the families are too far apart, you alternate, and that’s the best you can do. It sounds like both sides are being selfish, and they can’t be. In the grand scheme of things, does it matter if you celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday or Friday? No, it doesn’t. Christmas can be done another day, too.

Or if it gets too stressful, just stay at home, and enjoy the holiday with your husband!

Post # 11
407 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Spend the holidays with your parents. See the grandparents either the week before, the week after, or on other holidays. Or you could have the grandparents come to your parents. Just suggestions off the top of my head.

Post # 12
1461 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@KellyBee:  Splitting up the holidays can be really stressful! I think the most important thing is to put your marriage first and don’t let this get between you or ruin the holidays. 

Do they by any chance live close to one another? Both of our parents as well as one set of my grandparents live withing a block of each other, so we’re spending time with each. Christmas Eve with my side of the family, Christmas morning between both of our immediate families and Christmas afternoon at my grandparents. 

A lot of people in my moms family switch off every year, you could switch off every other year with the Christmases and Thanksgivings as well. There would be a bigger gap, but you could do each set one holiday every other year. 

Good luck deciding!

Post # 13
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

This has been an issue for fiance and I for a while too (and we’re not even married!). We just alternate holidays – one year, Christmas is with his family and Easter’s with mine, the next year we swap it. Luckily, though, most of the grandparents are present on those days too. So if I’m spending Christmas with my family, then my grandparents will be there, and if we’re spending Easter with his family, then his grandparents are there.

To be honest, unless either of you have a tradition of spending Christmas/Thanksgiving with the grandparents without your parents, then I think the grandparents will just have to deal with it and either come visit you/your family for the holiday.

Another option, which we’re trialling with my family, is holding holiday celebrations on different days. Both my parents are self-employed and aren’t religious, so they’re happy to celebrate Easter/Christmas a few days earlier/later so myself and my siblings can celebrate with them then, and we do another Easter/Christmas with our SO’s families on the actual day.

Post # 14
6824 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You either have to split the holidays or alternate years like you have been. Or like PP said host it yourself or the other option is just tell the family from now on you are doing your own holiday if they want to see you then they have to make time to come to you!


Post # 15
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

I don’t understand…do your grandparents want to spend time with you but not your parents (their children?) It seems like you could combine your parents with your grandparents. 

Post # 16
7691 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Ahhh… the holidays! The one time our super dysfunctional families actually work in our favor! My husband and I decided from our very first year together that we wanted Christmas day to be just us. No dragging babies from my mom’s to his dad’s to my dad’s to his mom’s, etc. Just our little nuclear family enjoying a fun, stress-free day.  The key for us was that we set this pattern early on. The longer you go along with something, the harder it is to change it. You’re only 3 years in, so you have to decide what your priorities are and what you’re willing to sacrifice, and then just do it. The first few years will be hard, but once the pattern is set, it becomes easier. 

Our Christmas is a breeze. I make a big delicious breakfast after we open presents, then us parents nap while they kids play with their toys, then we make a small Christmas dinner with all the trimmings just for us. I LOVE IT! We make plans to see his family the weekend before or the weekend after, and we spend Christmas Eve with my family, but on December 25, our house is like the Wonka factory: nobody comes in and nobody goes out.

Thanksgiving is a little different becuase to me, that is more the big family holiday. I do want my kids to know their grandparents and cousins and everyone, and I enjoy spending Thanksgiving with family. So we host it here! We are lucky though that nobody minds. We aren’t stepping on any grannies’ toes or offending great aunt tilda. Both sides of our family are happy to come to us and are always on their best behavior. We don’t put up with drama or BS, and it’s such a pleasant time that apparently nobody wants to spoil it or risk not being invited back.

If you have “normal” families with traditions set, it will be harder to come up with something different. Whatever you do decide though, institute it NOW (ok, maybe next year since it’s a little late to throw a wrench in this year, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be) and be prepared to stick to your guns. “We’re just going to try it this way this year.” Then next couple years “we’re going to do it that way again, it really worked well last year.” … Next thing you know, you’ve got yourself a tradition that works for you.

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