(Closed) How to compromise on holidays?

posted 9 years ago in Family
Post # 3
4344 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I would alterate holidays. Make a list of the holidays you go home for, and assign them to one family or the other. Then the following year you switch:

  • Xmas – Yours in even years, his in odd years
  • Thanksgiving – His in even years, yours in odd years
  • 4th of July – Yours in even years, his in odd years
  • Easter – His in even years, yours in odd years
  • whatever other holidays I’m forgetting….


Post # 4
4042 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I have been in this situation and I made the wrong choice. I very much agree with your FH, I want to see my family on the holidays. All holidays. I wish I had never compromised and tried to alternate because it just creates hard feelings. And if he misses Xmas at his parents house to be with your family, he will hate every moment he feels he is missing with his. Especially since he only gets Xmas there every two years if you want to celebrate together.

My advice would be to go separate ways. Have a few holidays a year just for you two… Maybe new years eve, or celebrate Your Xmas a week later or something so you can make memories together. But don’t force him to miss Xmas at his family’s house unless you want to foster resentment and sadness.

Post # 5
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

What happens if/when you have kids?  Will they only ever get christmas with on set ofgrandparents?  That doesn’t seem fair at all.  Or will he always leave you and the kids for Christmas?  That may be a way to open the discussion of being together.  You definitely need to have this discussion and both of you need to be comfortable with the decision.

Neither of us is particularly close to our families.  So we will go away forthanksgiving but always  have Christmas at home just out family.  Then our kids can have our traditions.

Post # 6
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

It gets extremely tricky, doesn’t it? We don’t really celebrate anything but Christmas so I guess maybe it’s a bit easier if you do the other big ones, because maybe you can switch off? Are there certain holidays one family really goes for over others that you could agree to spend with that family, while doing other holidays with the other side? Or switching off each year on odd and even years like a PP suggested?

Our first two Christmases together, we did Christmas separately with each of our families (We live a 14 hour drive from my side but same city as his). This past year, I couldn’t justify the flight $$, so we (my daughter and I) were included in all his (many) family holiday gatherings. While I was glad to be with my partner, and so happy that they happily accepted myself and my child into their families… I definitely ended up feeling out of place and missing my own family traditions. This year, I still can’t justify the flights home to my parents, and my SO has been living in the US for the past year so going elsewhere isn’t happening.

As much as I find it a bit unfair and kind of upsetting, I’ve decided to let it go for now. Once we all move to the US, though, I’m hoping we can come to the agreement that the only fair thing to do is to let our parents come to us. I’m perfectly content to host all our various parents for Christmas, and I know a lot of families go for the idea that once they have kids, the grandparents come to them for the holidays. Something to consider for the future?

Post # 7
6889 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

It really stinks, doesn’t it? We used to live several hours from both of our families and it was so awkward. If anyone has the “magic” compromise or rather, the mindset tricks, please pass them along!

We’ve recently moved to where we are halfway between each, so last year (our first in this location) was both….good and bad. We got to see both sides, but we felt like we spent the whole day on the road. It was our first Christmas waking up next to eachother and we felt rushed through our short exchanging of gifts (to eachother and our dogs, lol) and then…we were off! I felt like we needed an energy shot. We didn’t end up back home until well past 2 the following morning…which I of course hated because that meant I basically left my dogs home all day. It doesn’t help that my mother’s birthday is Christmas Eve and my new sister’s birthday is Christmas Day. :/

I think moral of the story is…you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Pardon my language.

Post # 8
325 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

This is such a tough situation. DH and I live on the opposite coast from both our families. We are in CA, his family is in NJ and New Husband while mine are in MD and FL. When we were dating we just went separately to our families. Our first engaged thankgiving DH was travelling in China for work and my mother was battling cancer so I went home alone to be with her. For Christmas that year we went to New Husband and all his NJ family came up too. For our first married Thanksgiving we ended up going to visit an aunt of his in southern CA (a solid 7 hour drive), and for Christmas we went to his family in New Husband again. But my parents came to visit us in early December between those 2 holidays.

The general compromise we have is that we will make an effort to visit my family for Thanksgiving and an effort to visit his family for Christmas. This works for us because I am Jewish and while I grew up supporting our non-Jewish family in their Christmas celebration, it is not my holiday. So in return my family gets Thanksgiving. This is actually the first year we are both going to my family for Thanksgiving together, though. And really I don’t know how sustainable it is to afford the flights and time off work to make 2 huge cross country trips 1 month apart from each other every single year. 

Post # 9
2305 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

We have a similar issue, he’s from California, I’m from Canada, and we live in North Dakota. At this point, he can’t get enough time off from work to go home to California for Christmas, so he stays in North Dakota (which makes me feel like the worst person ever). I go home to Canada. I just recently lost my step mother, and my family is still dealing with that, and Christmas is super important. So I have to go home right now. I know in a few years though, that might change.

It gets nice and complicated for us because both our parents are divorced. My family has it all worked out, we alternate years on Christmas and Christmas Eve and everyone behaves. His family is just recently separated, and no ones quite sure what’s gonna happen.  So we can’t do one year his, one year mine, because that would screw everyone else’s schedules up. I still have no idea how we’re gonna do this once we do want to spend the holidays together (which will be next year I’m pretty sure). Ugh.

I don’t have any suggestions, just sympathies lol.

Post # 10
9275 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Why not host christmas yourself for all the family? Rather than thinking about it in terms of his and mine you will then come to think about it as our family!

Post # 11
972 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Holidays are tough!  And I don’t even really care except for Thanksgiving and being with folks I love!  I’m even more conflicted.  I moved somewhere I knew no one, and made a great friend who included me in Thanksgiving AND Christmas for years with her children.  She gets “Is she coming?!” months in advance even now that it’s not a sure thing.  Parents follwed me, I met Fiance and his parents live about 75 miles away.  So not only do I have Fiance, the relocated parents, his parents, but friends’ kids expect me (she understands tho she loves me being there with FI).  Whew… I went from nothing to overload!

Communication and compromise.  What is most important to each of you, and to your families? (and this can always change as life changes).  If they are the same then rotate, if not … say one likes Thanksgiving and one likes Christmas more do that usually and once every few years, switch just because, or just have your own and invite others.  It really is a balancing act trying to please everyone so I feel for you!

Post # 12
587 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

View original reply
@j_jaye:  +1

Post # 13
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I really think you need to work out some sort of rotation of alternate years or alternate holidays.  Once you’re engaged or married, the two of you are a new family, and you also become part of each other’s families, so I don’t think it’s fair to spend important holidays apart.  I would never consider spending Thanksgiving or Christmas apart from my husband, even before we were engaged when we were living together.  I think you need to have a serious talk with your Fiance about this… if he’s not willing to compromise in order to spend the holidays with you, to me that’s a serious relationship issue.  

Another thing you can do is to celebrate holidays together on a different day.  My husband and I travel to our families for Christmas (together), but each year before we travel, we celebrate Christmas alone, usually a week before Christmas.  We decorate our tree and have a “Christmas morning” and exchange presents, just the two of us.  That way we can establish our own family traditions while still spending time with our families and keeping the old traditions. Maybe you can even convince either your parents or his to do their Christmas celebration on a different day so you can experience it with both.

Post # 14
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

This is tough and has probably been the biggest issue to date between my DH and I.  Now that I’m pregnant and we’ll have a little one before this Christmas, the stakes have just been upped.  As I’m due at the end of October, we may be in no position to travel this Christmas.  This has messed up the system.

We trade off (one year with my family, one year with his).  It works for us because my sister and her husband “trade off” sort of and so we’ve made it that my family can all be together every other year.  This is going to be up for discussion when kids come. 

I’m not going to lie, missing Christmas with your family is going to suck.  It’s really difficult.  I cried the first time.  BUT it does get better/easier…especially once you have an idea of what to expect.  What sucks in your situation is that you don’t know whether your Fiance is going to be willing to go through the same thing for you…and he needs to.  

Hosting everyone would make things easier and I would love to do it, but it probably won’t happen….ever.  My in laws probably would not travel at Christmas, both sets of grandparents are still living on that side (although only one set is usually in the country at Christmas time and they don’t travel well) and my SIL has special needs.  It would be a big BIG thing for them all to travel for Christmas.  My Mother-In-Law also hates Christmas, which makes planning anything tricky.  Really, the reason we do go there for actual December 25th is because of DH.  His parents want a visit, but don’t really care if it actually happens on the 25th or not.  My family is really in to Christmas and it’s very difficult to not be there…especially when my in laws don’t care that much and aren’t into it.  My parents have offered to host everyone, but my in laws would not enjoy Christmas at my parents’ house and (this is my DH’s opinion) it would make them feel bad about their Christmas.  Know anyone who hates Chrsitmas but also feels bad that they hate Christmas and don’t put effort in?  I also get constant comments about how awful the entire season is and how its just a pain in the ass…but she’s sorry she feels that way.  Apparently this is a lot better than she used to be. Yeah.  Point is: hosting everyone doesn’t always work.

You guys just need to get in the same room for the holidays and your Fiance is being ridiculous.  I’ll tell you this: if you think the conversation about this is bad now, wait until you have kids of your own.  It can get nasty.  Work it out now.

EDIT: The above plan means that we have Christmas with whomever doesn’t get the 25th on another day…and it’s treated like Christmas day in both our families.  This isn’t always wonderful because (for my family) it means that my mom does two full Christmases.  My DH’s just doesn’t really do anything, which makes both of us feel bad.  It’s not a perfect system.

Post # 15
806 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

We’re fortunate enough that our families “only” live a 6 hour drive apart, which has made the holiday wrangling a little easier–but not perfect.

For Christmas the first two years we were together, we went our separate ways, although we did alternate for all the other holidays (Thanksgiving, Easter). Then we started alternating for Christmas too–first going to see his family, then mine. We would try to spend time with the “other” family sometime during the week before or after Christmas if we could. I won’t lie, it sucks being away from your family, especially for Christmas because there’s so much tradition and nostalgia and everyone has such a personal idea of what it “should” be like. 

That being said…you two are a family now and you are starting new traditions. Try to step away from “this is how it’s always done” and ask what you could try that might work better. (I think 

View original reply
@j_jaye‘s suggestion of hosting is a great one). Use it as an opportunity to work as a team. Will you both have to give up a little? Probably. But that’s part of growing up and becoming an adult–nothing stays the same forever, not even Christmas.

Post # 16
2183 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011 - Florida Aquarium

In the past, we’ve done Thanksgiving with my family and Chirstmas with his. This is how my brother and his wife do it, so we followed suit (they’ve been married for ten years). These days, though, we miss Thanksgiving… we honeymooned right through it last year, and this year we’re first anniversarying in Europe through Thanksgiving. Things have also changed because DH and I live really close to my brother and nieces, and his parents and siblings live near my dad. So, we’re doing Chirstmas Eve with his family, Christmas morning with just us, and Christmas Day with my dad.

All the other holidays we pretty much just spend together. We take a trip or two during the year to visit our parents, and I take an extra one to see my dad– DH isn’t too fond of his family currently.

We’re lucky in that we agree that we are own family, and while we want to see parents and siblings, it’s also important for us to have our own traditions.

Since you both want to see your families, maybe you could plan an extra trip during the year to his brother and family, while still alternating holidays.

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