How do you handle major holidays as a couple?

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 31
1974 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre

When we were dating we did Thanksgiving Saturday at my parents, and Thanksgiving Monday at his parents. Christmas Eve with my parents Christmas Day with his parents.  This is our first year married and we are hosting Christmas for both families

Post # 32
2651 posts
Sugar bee

We live close to my family, and his family is a 6 hour flight. We try to see them for either Thanksgiving or Christmas every other year. We send great Christmas boxes and FaceTime regularly throughout the holiday season. He’s not super close with his family, even when we lived close by, holidays weren’t a big deal. 

We see them other times throughout the year, but holidays tend to be spent with my family – it’s much more important to them, and much less stress for us. 

I would think about possibly hosting one of the other for some of the family members to help ease the stress of traveling. It may be a bit more work, but you’re home and they’ll want to spend time with baby anyway – so more likely to come to you!

Post # 33
1368 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Our situation is different then yours cause my parents live 20 minutes from us and his lives on the other side of the country. My parents always do Christmas Eve. We go over there for Christmas Eve and then do our own thing in Christmas. Unless we go to California to see his family for Christmas then obviously we are with his parents both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

This year his parents are coming to see us, so they will probably tag along to my parents house for Christmas Eve. 

Post # 34
1680 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

zpkj :  My family lives interstate (8 hour drive) and FI’s family lives local so it’s pretty easy for us – we just rotate each year.  Fi’s mum was pretty upset the first Christmas Fiance wasn’t with her but she got over it.

I think Christmas is mainly for the kids, I know you haven’t had yours yet but I think you should be more focused on what they will enjoy the most, and my favourite thing about Christmas was well, presents haha and seeing all the different family members.  Why can’t you do Christmas eve with your family, Christmas breakfast in your own home, Christmas lunch with one of his parents, and christmas dinner with the other parent?  You could swap Christmas lunch and dinner each year.  

I don’t see an hour drive as very long either – my FI’s commute to work and my old commute to work were both longer than that. 

Post # 37
1680 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

zpkj :  I understand not wanting to do all those trips, but really, it’s only once a year.  I think the first year with the baby will be hardest to say no to, as everyone will want to see baby for their first Christmas.  

Our local Christmas’ are even more hectic.

Breakfast at FI’s mums (20minutes away) Lunch at his parernal grandparents (hour away) second lunch with my smattering of family that is local (either an hour and a half, or half an hour depending on who’s hosting) and dinner with his mums family (half an hour or hour depending on who’s hosting) supper with friends (0-30minutes) then home (30minutes – 1 hour)

It’s a tiring day to be sure, but we don’t do anything the few days after but recover, and it’s so special to see family all together.

Could you get a nice hotel room or AirBNB the night of Christmas day that’s local to his family?   Then you could go to his mums thing the day after and then drive home.


Post # 38
378 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Holidays are very stressful for me with my husband’s family. We have to two seperate thankgivings (one with mom’s side of the family, one with dad’s side of the family) and three seperate christmases each year (one with mom’s side of the family, one with dad’s side of the family and one with just his parents, sister and nieces and nephews). I know holidays are a happy time and I love his family, but it just gets to be too much for. Since his family is so much larger than mine, my family’s holiday celebration usually gets pushed to be celebrated on a different weekend, or only half a day. 

This year, my husband and I agreed that we would do one event per family (ex. one Christmas with my family, one Christmas with his). He hasn’t told him family this yet, so I’m very nervous to find out their reaction. I also told my husband that we should consider switching off and on who gets to celebrate Christmas eve with our family’s, since that is when my family has always done it and that is when his larger side of the family always gets together (40+ people on that side). 

I’m hoping his family will accept this, I’m trying to be fair and also trying not to lose my mind, since I’m sure when we have kids it’ll be worse and there will be more pressure to participate in these celebrations!

Post # 39
2456 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I wish our families were so close. Mine is almost two hours from our place, his is four hours, and they’re five and half hour apart from each other.

We’re going to try alternating to be fair. This year, its Thanksgiving with his family, Christmas Eve/Day with mine. We may do a “second Christmas” with his side- his sister works in a hospital and has to work some holidays, so they may celebrate a different day anyways.

Next year will be tough- Christmas Eve is big in my family. But they’re also super understanding about it.

We don’t have kids yet, and it’s probably not in the cards for a few years. We may move by then anyways- we’ll re-evaluate as necessary.



From at outside perspective, it sounds like the easiest thing to do would be to stay the night at one of his parents’ if his mom is having the celebration the next day, or just skip that. That would cut down on 2.5 hours, or about 30% of your total driving time.

Post # 40
1597 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

zpkj :  We split Christmas three ways (his mum, his dad and stepmum, my parents). Each set of parents lives in a different state, so we are fortunately not expected to attend multiple celebrations over one or two days. Each family unit has a year where we spend the actual Christmas Day with them. My parents live in the same state as us, so we see them before Christmas if we’re going interstate. It has worked out fine so far. Is there any chance a rotation schedule would work for you too?

Having said that, we are TTC so things may change next year if there’s a baby. We have never hosted our own Christmas celebrations (hard to do in a two bedroom apartment with no dining area) but we may want a Christmas in our own home for our child’s first one. We don’t really celebrate any other holidays – Aussies don’t do Thanksgiving and we have never made a big thing of our other public holidays (Easter, Melbourne Cup Day and Australia Day).

There have been times when Darling Husband wanted to see his family and it was inconvenient for me so he travelled there alone. If both of you want to see your own family at the same time, this may also be an option.

Post # 41
437 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - State Park

Alternate Thanksgivings. My family the Sunday before Christmas (we work Christmas Eve), his family Christmas Day. For now. 

Thanksgiving is technically more complicated. My brother hosts every year. We are invited alternate years. I host the alternate years. My in-laws occasionally like to get in there and host. My poor dad has to choose what to do every year.

If you’re going to 17 Thanksgivings, you just have to draw a line. Yes your poor aunt will be pissed that you don’t go try her new pie recipe. But you’ve gotta learn to disappoint people. Around this time every year I start making it clear that I am a grown ass adult and no I won’t be going to my racist aunt’s house for Christmas. Because it’s a pain in the ass and I don’t need 6 Christmases and also she’s fucking racist. 

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