Post # 1
DH and I are not newlyweds any longer, but I still feel like a newlywed in navigating the “how to spend holidays” debate. My family lives in Phila, his close to Boston. We live in Boston, so we naturally see his family more often. His family is also much bigger than mine–he is one of 5 children, has his two parents and two living grandparents all living close by. Meanwhile, my family in Phila is just my brother, mom and dad. We had our first married Thanksgiving last year and his family invited mine up–a very nice gesture. It was wonderful, but I can’t help but feel like my little family got swallowed up by the (loving and fun) chaos of his big, loud family. For Christmas we did Christmas eve night at his parents and had Christmas morning with them. Then we drove down to Phila and got in later that evening, missing dinner but we were at least there–so basically last year we tried to spend both holidays with both families and it just felt chaotic to me and like we were spread kind of thin.
I expressed my feelings and this year we decided to do Thanksgiving with my family in Phila and Christmas with his in Boston–and to switch off next year. I think it is important to try doing things in one place from now on especially considering I am pregnant and toting around a kid next year to try to be in two places at once seems pretty stressful. His family invited mine up again for Thanksgiving, but I just feel like since they live further away it is rare we get that quiet one on one time with my family. I feel like splitting holidaysmeans that we give each family that quality time.
So we agreed to do Thanksgiving in Phila and Christmas in Boston but DH keeps saying how much he will miss his family. I get it–I know I will miss mine at Christmas. But I feel like he keeps bringing it up and I feel guilty for splitting up the holidays.
I guess I don’t really know what I’m asking–has it been hard for you? Especially if your families are in two difference places? How do you split them up? Do you and your partner disagree about how to spend them? Thanks for listening.
Post # 3
@MrsKitchenQueen: What if your family comes up for Christmas and you do Christmas Eve in Bos but then go to Phila early and spend the whole day with your family? Or, go to Phila for Christmas Eve and morning and drive back to Bos for Christmas dinner/after dinner?
We don’t have this problem since we’re two different religions and his family celebrates Thanksgiving the Saturday after so that the entire family can get together from all the different states for an annual family reunion. Sorry :/
Post # 4
@MrsKitchenQueen: I totally understand how you feel about this. We just got married 2 months ago, but have been dealing with splitting holidays between our families for the last 3 years. My family lives in CT, his in ME and currently we live in New Husband. In the past few years we have swapped – one year with my family for Thanksgiving and his for Christmas, and the next year vice versa. It is difficult missing my family, but we figured it was the only way to be “fair” since it would be too much to try and see everyone for both holidays.
However, since this will be our first year married for the holidays – we’ve decided we’d like to spend some time together at our home. Traveling for all the holidays gets exhausting! Thankfully we’ve explained this to our families and they understand. We will be with his family for Thanksgiving, stay home for Christmas, and go down to my family sometime in January to celebrate a little later. I think it’s just something we’ll decide on as it comes each year, especially once we have kids down the road!
Post # 5
We are also splitting up holidays. It’s difficult for us because my parents are an 8 hour drive away, and his are a 16 hour drive. That means that even though I don’t get to see my family very often, it’s still more often than he sees his. It’s been very difficult for him to agree to split up the holidays.
Like your husband, my Fiance has a huge family, while mine is very small. So it sometimes seems more “worth it” to go to his family’s home. But so far, we’re sticking to the plan. It’s hard though! I feel your pain.
(Also, your husband is probably not trying to make you feel guilty. He probably doesn’t even realize that saying he’ll miss his family makes you feel bad. Maybe let him know?)
Post # 6
It’s our 3rd round of married holidays this year and it’s STILL hard!!!
I wonder if it ever gets easier, honestly!
I think what it boils down to is the disappointment in traditions and expectations… meaning, for your DH, I wonder if his family isn’t expressing disappointment – beyond him wanting to do what he’s used to doing for Thanksgiving.
In any case, stop feeling guilty! He agreed to it and I think the solution you came up with is perfectly fair and reasonable. There’s no easy way to go about this (being in two places at the same time), and compromise is the only solution.
Is there any way you could do a Skype session or something on Thanksgiving with his family so he could at least ‘see’ them? Also, when DH mentions missing his family at Thanksgiving, just listen and be empathetic. Let him talk about it – because that may be just how he wants to process it. It’s not meant to be anything against you or trying to make you change your mind.
Post # 7
@MrsKitchenQueen: I know just what you mean! My family is small (dad, brother, sister), and his family is larger and his parents are still married, so we have always kind of gravitated toward them for Thanksgiving definitely and Christmas a little bit. Since my mom passed away this spring, though, I have been feeling like spending more time with my family, including these coming holidays, but it’s hard to do that without spending less time with his. I don’t have great advice, except I know that sometimes when couples start their own family with children, the new grandparents will travel to their grandkids to make the traveling easier on the new mom, dad, and child. That might not work for your family, but it could be something to think about?
Post # 8
It’s really tough. Even though we’ve been together 12 years, this will be our first married holiday, but we have been splitting up holidays for about 8 years now.
My family is all local to us, and we see them daily. His family is 6.5 hrs away and we only see them at the holidays. For years we’ve always gone up to see his family for both holidays. We just felt it was fair that way because we see my family everyday, and the only time we can make it to his is when it’s a holiday and we’ve got time off.
To this date, we’ve never spent a Christmas in our own home. 🙁 I’ll admit that DH is pretty selfish in terms of holiday division. He would rather spend the holidays apart than not go to his family. We hosted Thanksgiving at our home one year, and his parents came down for it. He refuses to not go to his family for Christmas while his grandmother is still alive. In all fairness, I give in, because the holidays with his family is more fun than mine.
Post # 9
We also split up the holidays, but it is different because we only live about a half hour from each set of parents, and neither of us ever guilt trips the other about it. I would sit down and have a talk with your DH, nothing super serious, just tell him that it has been bothering you the way he keeps talking about how much he’ll miss his family on Thanksgiving, because you are excited about spending that time with your family, and that you will be seeing his on Christmas but not yours, but you would never dream of making him feel bad about it (which he likely doesn’t realize he is doing), because you know that next year it will be flipped. Then ask him if he can please try to move on from this because neither of you should feel guilty about getting to spend a holiday with your family and spouse,
Our system is a bit easier because of the shorter distance, and the fact that his family likes to celebrate on Christmas Eve and mine on Christmas Day. Then one year his family gets Thanksgiving and mine gets Easter, the next year we flip it. Some years it does change – like last year his mom decided she wanted to celebrate Easter a day early (which was nice of her, because they’re not religious and don’t care too much about it, it means more to my parents and her daughter’s husband’s parents). One year my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer right before Thanksgiving, so obviously I wanted to be there and everyone understoof even though it wasn’y my family’s “turn”. Because once you’re married it is about the other person’s happiness just as much as yours! Which it sounds like you get but your DH needs some work on.
Post # 10
DH and I are overseas but our families live in different sections of the U.S.
Our first (dating) holidays we spent together, then the next (right before engagement) we spent apart and with our own families. That was HARD!
Then the last (our first married) we spent together. This year, we are visiting his family for Thanksgiving since we just saw my family. Christmas will be spent together w/o our families. I don’t worry much about it since who knows WHEN we’ll be back to have this dilemma.
I can say that my ex-H and I lived within 5 miles of both our families and we had hardcore fights every single year (10+ years) about whose house to spend it at….and at times we actually spent them apart to please our families. I always assumed when we had kids it wouldn’t be an issue and they could come to our house. Luckily for me, we were never able to get pregnant so it wasn’t an option….hence all the fights about the holidays.
Post # 11
We also split up our holidays. DH’s family is in Michigan, mine in NJ so every year we alternate who gets what holiday.
Post # 12
We’ve been dealing with holidays for five years, and even though our families are all relatively close (my Mom is 1.5 hours away), I still dread the holidays! Both our parents are divorced, which makes it even more awesome. For Thanksgiving, we rotate. I am not running all over the place for one day. This year is my Mom’s year and I’m looking forward because DF’s family does not think sparkling wine is a holiday food.
Christmas, we make the effort to see everyone. Christmas Eve dinner is with my Dad’s side of the family, so we then just figure out the timing for who gets us Christmas Eve morning/day, Christmas morning/day, and Christmas evening. We really loathe the holidays and every year we talk about just saying fuck it and going away. This year, we booked a suite at the Hotel Monaco in Philly for the Saturday after the holidays (Jan. 5) as a “celebrate surviving the holidays/it’s 2013 and we’re getting married this year!” kind of thing. Me, wine, soaking tub. I can’t wait.
Post # 13
We usually rotate holidays but I don’t want to go anywhere, I want to stay at home and cook my own meal for both thanksgiving and Christmas. I am from Philly and my husband is from nyc but we live in Delaware now. He wants to go to his sister houforgot the holiday. I don’t because its not enough room for everyone she doesn’t have a table to sit and eat at. It’s just too much. But he loves the holidays and spending them with a lot of people around.