(Closed) How do you handle major holidays as a couple?

posted 3 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
1200 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

We have a similar setup…My parents are married, his are divorced, so there are 3 sets of family celebrations on easter/thanksgiving/christmas. Unlike yours, we are geographically closer..everyone ranges from 15-40 minutes from each other.

Much like you, we go to different family’s meals if they are at different times (lunch vs dinner). Sometimes that proves impossible (mine and his family have thanksgiving dinner at the same time) and we each go alone. I have NO idea what we are going to do once a baby is in the mix. Alternating years is not an option.

I have sympathy for your situation. Your families should really understand.

Post # 3
594 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

How does your husband feel about you not wanting to stay the night? Since you also spend Christmas morning with your own family do you sleep there?

I will say it comes across quite selfish that you have decided you are only ever going to spend Christmas Eve with your family. Those kind of hard lines don’t work well in a marriage.

Post # 4
1547 posts
Bumble bee

I understand feeling shunned because you cant attend everything. My family all live so close together and see each other pretty much every week, where as my husband and I lived a few hours away and would only see family for big birthdays or holidays. In the end you have to just accept that it is the way it is and dont put pressure on yourself to attend everything. We solved the issue by moving to a different continent and now theres no pressure! (half joking but we did actually move).

I think your plan of spending one day for his family is a good one and doing both in the one day. It makes sense, youre not picking one parent over the other and it doesnt require an overnight in a hotel. Another solution is to do thanksgiving with one family and Christmas with another so for example you spend one year doing Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with yours then switch or even just one with each parent of his family and they get a full day. Be aware that both families may react poorly at first and try to put the pressure on you but just stay calm and confident with your response. Dont give in! You deserve to enjoy the holidays too, and darting around between families is definitely too stressful. 

Post # 5
1494 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

View original reply
zpkj :  I get where you are coming from that it’s frustrating and tiresome but to be quite honest it doesn’t seem fair for you to stand your grand on not giving up Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with your family but expecting not to go over and see his family on the actual day. I say either alternate the holidays between his parents every year or host a Christmas dinner at your house so you don’t need to compromise seeing your family/your husband seeing his.

Post # 8
7558 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

“Christmas eve will never change,  but when we have kids, we want to be home with them on Christmas morning.”

This does sound a little unfair/inflexible. What is the big deal if you take your kids to their grandparents house on christmas day some years? I don’t get this at all…when I was growing up, almost every Christmas was spent out of state at either my dad’s parents or my moms’ parents house (both of whom also lived in separate states from each other). I honestly loved it…great memories with my grandparents, aunts & uncles and cousins for so many Christmases. 

It just sounds like you’re unwilling to budge even an inch on what you want…is your husband ok with this mindset? I also don’t see why a 1.25 hour drive for one day requires such extensive planning on your part, but maybe I’m not grasping the situation fully.

ETA: growing up, we’d always spend Thanksgiving with one set of grandparents and then Christmas with the other, and alternate it the following year. Worked out great! I am lucky  now because DH is Jewish and his family lives on the other side of the world so there is no issue with us spending every Christmas with my family. We then go to his country for 3-4 weeks in the summer. That part of our lives, at least, is simple!

Post # 12
10542 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

One perk of not living near either of our parents is that we don’t share holidays. We don’t have to try to split the day between families. For Christmas we rotate. Last year we spent it with my family, this year we will be with his. Thanksgiving is tricky because we don’t have a lot of time off. My family is a lot closer than my husband’s (3 hour drive vs 8) so if we have any time at Thanksgiving we spend it with my family. This year though we are doing Thanksgiving with a local friend because we have no time to travel.

I think you need to figure out some sort of rotation schedule rather than trying to fit in everyone at every holiday. It’s overwhelming.

Post # 13
1385 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Honestly, I kind of sound like you. I am super close to my family as well and DH’s parents are divorced-FIL is remarried, Mother-In-Law is not. We hardly ever see Mother-In-Law, she lives with her affluent parents around 3-4 hours away and she does not drive (she has a mental illness), plus her dad was abusive to DH so if we see her, we have to see him. DH & her have never been close, most of his life he lived with his father. Father-In-Law, SMIL & step inlaws are 5 minutes away from our house, so are my parents. Christmas one year we were supposed to go for lunch at IL’s, lunch turned into a day long ordeal so we didn’t hardly spend any time with my family. Not doing that again! This year we are spending Thanksgiving with my family in the Smokies. DH’s family will be out of town for Christmas so there’s that. I say all of this to make the point that DH is just not close to his family, doesn’t care to spend too much time with them so we see my family more at holidays. If your DH doesn’t care either I don’t see an issue with spending more time with your family. It’s your decision as a couple. Now, if your DH wants to spend more of the holidays with them I would think you need to compromise.

Post # 14
1991 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I don’t really have any advice, but just wanted to say that I share your frustration. Our parents live about 4 hours apart, with us somewhere in the middle. I always want to spend Christmas Eve with my family, and we never stay over at his family’s house (we are both uncomfortable there). Every single year I get stressed out about it. Most years we end up spending Christmas Eve at one house and then driving the 4 hours on Christmas day to the other house. It sucks. I’ve had to miss time with my family and he’s had to miss time with his, but there really isn’t a way around it unless we want to separate for the holidays which we don’t want to do. 

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