(Closed) How do you and your spouse split the Holidays between your families?

posted 4 years ago in Holidays
Post # 16
194 posts
Blushing bee

I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and this is still an issue for us.  We have had to work on holidays which made it even more difficult.  Husband’s parents are divorced. We generally only spend time with his mother and half siblings from that side.  But, we have to plan around his mother’s bf’s family and his sibling’s other family.  I have four siblings. Of course, both sets of parents want all their kids together and do it on the holiday.. normally at the same time. It’s so ridicolus.  My mom freaked out at the thought of alternating.  More so now that we have a child.. so she has to see her grandson EVERY Christmas. Ha! Holiday’s are super stressful and after 10 years I am done trying to plan things.  It’s basically turning into, if you want to see us, then come to us. 


Post # 17
3677 posts
Sugar bee

We flip flop every other year. So year one is Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his, and year 2 is Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine.

Post # 18
603 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

sammylouwho:  oh lord… we’ve been together for five years, we’re married, and we are STILL figuring this out! We tend to play it by ear each holiday. Typically we spend each thanksgiving at my parents house because they have a huge event, and we invite Darling Husband parents (who are divorced and in my mind immature about it, but…. we continue to invite them both!) so both of our families are represented. His parents hash out who is coming to TG, and Darling Husband and I are ok with this because again… they are immature about it so we leave them to hash it out between themselves. Darling Husband is an only child so that makes it slightly easier, but his mother doesn’t speak to the rest of her (and effectively DH’s) family and they give us a guilt trip when we don’t see them at christmas soooo that’s super fun.

Christmas is insane. My parents, brother and his family, my Mother-In-Law, and the rest of my family all go about 2 hours away and if I want to see my nieces and nephews, we have to go there on Christmas. Additionally, we have to go to DH’s aunt’s house on Christmas because again, if we don’t, he gets a major guilt trip and I know it’s important to him that we show up and spend time with them. We’ll typically do dinner with his dad at some point in January as he’s not incredibly involved in our lives so it’s the time that works for us. Luckily it’s not as hectic as it could be, but we’ve got a baby on the way so next year we’re going to have to sit down and discuss our options because there is no way in hell I’m trucking an 8mo old all over on their first Christmas no less! 😉

Post # 19
3471 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

sammylouwho:  We spend Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his.  Some years my family does Christmas on the eve, so those years we get both.  Other years, we’ve acted as the anchor and invited both sets of families, but that only works if you have a place large enough to accomodate.  

Ultimately, we are a NEW family unit just us, so whereever we go, we do it together.  

Post # 20
7002 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

sammylouwho:  We live down the street from my parents, while we’re 7 hours from DH’s family. We do tend to give holiday priority to his a little more simply because that’s the only time we see them. 

Back in college we generally stayed put (we went to college a few states away, rented a house together) for Thanksgiving. My mom lived about 3 hours away so she and her Boyfriend or Best Friend, along with some of our friends we didn’t travel home for such a short holiday – so we would host/cook Thanksgiving for whomever wanted to come. 

For Christmas we’d do a 2 week trip home, spending a few days in my hometown with my family, then we’d head North to his family for Christmas, and then back to my family for a few more days before heading back to school. 

These days we generally stay home and host Thanksgiving at our house. Sometimes my parents are in town for it, sometimes DH’s family comes down (rarely!), and we always have a few friends come too. 

We always go up to DH’s family for Christmas. His whole family lives in the same town so we’re able to see both sides in one shot. We’ve literally been doing this for the past 10+ years and the past couple years I’ve really been getting tired of it. In the 8 years we’ve owned our home we’ve never spent one Christmas in it (granted, we don’t have kids but still….). Darling Husband finally told him mom that we’re going to be alternating holidays from here on out. They’re coming down for Thanksgiving and we’re going up for Christmas, then we’ll switch the following year. 

Post # 21
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

My parents are divorced but my father is estranged, Darling Husband parents are still married so we only have to do 2 holidays. Darling Husband fam does Christmas on Christmas eve since we’ve been together which has been wonderful, It works for everyone including SIL&her Darling Husband. We do Christmas morning just the two of us and then travel to my mother’s Christmas afternoon, she lives 2 hrs away. We usually stay there for a couple days. For Thanksgiving we use to travel 4 hrs and stay the night with Darling Husband grandmother, all of his aunts uncles and cousins traveled to her house for Thanksgiving. Granny passed in June so this year we are going to my mothers. Next year we will probably have our own Thanksgiving as we’re looking to start a family soon. My mother works the holidays every other year so we will invite my siblings, step father and Darling Husband family and host next year. 

Post # 22
2109 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

We live out of state, a 7 hour drive from my family and an 8 hour drive from his. Both our parents live in the same state, but live 4 hours apart.

We alternate holidays with each family and have decided to be extremely rigid about it, much to MIL’s dismay. We don’t deviate from the schedule for any reason, we don’t “stop off and have a mini Thanksgiving lunch” with the Christmas family during the drive in, nada. Each set gets 100% of one holiday one year, then gets 100% of the other holiday the next year. 

Once we have kids, we will follow the schedule until each family has had one Thanksgiving and one Christmas with our first child, then Christmas will be spent at our house and anyone who wants to is welcome to join us. Thanksgivings will continue to alternate until we decide we want to start hosting it at our home.

Post # 23
2658 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

The holidays have been an endless source of arguments between my Fiance and I, mostly after we moved in together 2 years ago. My Fiance really dislikes when we have to split up in order to spend time with our families (so do I) but he pretty much refuses to compromise on how much time he spends with his family (which irks me to no end).

Basically, we spend Christmas lunch with his family and dinner with my mum’s family. My parents are separated, so we usually see my dad for brunch or afternoon tea (luckily, he lives up the road from my Future Mother-In-Law so it’s easy to pop in). Then, we spend Boxing Day with FI’s extended family on his dad’s side. This year, we’re spending the Saturday before Christmas with my extended family on my dad’s side. Both our mothers have very little family left, so they don’t really have an extended celebration.

Post # 24
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Both sets of our parents are divorced, so we have 4 families to deal with as well – I feel your pain! We host Thanksgiving at our house and invite ALL the families, anyone who wants to come is welcome (my mom and stepdad come and then my dad, his gf and my sister come for dessert). We do Christmas Eve with my dad’s side, and then we split Christmas Day with his mom’s side and my mom’s side.  We wait and have a separate Christmas with his Dad the weekend after usually. I think we’re both looking forward to having kids and just staying put; I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Post # 25
764 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I feel you, for real. Fiance and my families are also divorced/separated so Christmas is ALWAYS a gong show. 

What we used to do is spend half a day Christmas eve at my Dad’s, then at his Dad’s. And same thing on Christmas Day just half the day with each of our mom’s. Last year Fiance went home for a week without me, and I ended up not being able to go back until February this year, so it wasn’t as crazy.

I think what we will be doing from now on is just alternating. We’ve done Christmas Dinner at his moms/dads for a while now, so this year we are doing it at my moms/grandparents. We will be going back for a week or so, so there will be lots of time to see people. 

Having our own tradition is kind of tough since we have no family in Vancouver (I used to have an Great Uncle out here and he would invite us over for Xmas dinner if we were in town – but he recently moved back to the Okanagan, where the rest of mine and FI’s family is). 

Post # 26
2445 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My family has never really celebrated Thanksgiving. Not in a big turkey feast kind of way, at least, so my husband and I always spend it with his side. It’s really the only time of year we get to see these relatives so it’s very special and we look forward to it very much.

For Christmas, we usually do Christmas Eve with his family and then Christmas Day with mine. Some years we’ve even done Christmas a week earlier with my family. One year we had Christmas Day all to ourselves but I can’t remember what the specifics were. It only really matters that we get to spend time with both families. It’s not so much about the specific day.

Post # 27
4238 posts
Honey bee


I’m going to chime in once more with some more of my $0.02. 😉


Alternating years or visiting on a rotation:

My one regret with this is not adding in an off year rotation for ourselves to stay home or go camping or whatever. We started out on an “every year with one of them” pattern and it’s hard to break that pattern once families begin to rely on it.


Post # 28
410 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

My Fiance and I are semi-long distance so since we’ve been dating we have spent only Christmas eve together and that is with my family and the day after Christmas with his family.  When we get married it will certainly be a difficult change, I can already tell, but we’ll have to work it out.  It seems like we’ll always be with my family on Christmas eve because that is our big celebration and then maybe Christmas day dinner with his familiy.  Thanksgiving will be difficult to figure out because we both love being with our families.  We’re hoping down the road we will host the gatherings at our house so both families can be together!

Post # 29
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

sammylouwho:  Neither of us come from divorced homes, so we don’t have the task of splitting the holidays 4 ways like you – bravo for attempting this, I don’t think I would be able to manage. Fiance is an only child and my Sister lives about 8 hours from us. She is able to come home on the holidays (Thanksgiving and Xmas) but usually not for too long. . . so Fiance and I always spend the actualy holiday with my family and since FI’s mother still works and has an inconsistent schedule (nurse) which she doesn’t receive in the most timely manner, we simply figure out what day works best for her schedule that isn’t the holiday itself. It has worked for us for the past 6 years.

Post # 30
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

We visit one side before Christmas and one side after Christmas. The order depends on the year. Our families each live in different cities. Then we spend Christmas day and New Year’s Eve in our city.

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