How to divide up holidays when you don’t like inlaws

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
7581 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I think the better question is, how does your SO feel?

We live in a different state from our parents and they live about an hour from each other. DH’s family is divorced so that increases the number of visits. 

We do not go to their state at all for Thanksgiving. We got sick of being pulled in three directions and decided that it’s just easier to stay home and just call everyone later in the evening.

For Christmas, we see my side one day and his side the next. We switch off with Christmas Eve with my family one year and his the next. This means we usually miss events on either side but we were miserable running around trying to get to all the events.

In your situation we would likely do Thanksgiving with one family and Christmas Eve and Day with the other due to the travel time. Then, switch off next year. I understand them importance of tradition, especially Christmas, however, part of being in a relationship is starting your own traditions and comprising. 

What are your reasons for not liking his family?

Post # 3
10371 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

We alternate Christmas. One year with my family, the next with his. My family has more traditions and makes a bigger deal out of Christmas but that doesn’t mean he should never get to spend Christmas with his family or invalidate the way they celebrate.

Thanksgiving we might see family or we just stay home and do it with friends. It depends on how busy our schedule is around that time.

I do like my in-laws though so I’m not so opposed to spending the holidays with them. I guess my advice is that you just suck it up. 

Post # 4
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2021

You should split the holidays the same way you would if your in-laws were the best people you had ever met. Marriage is two people with two families – there has to be compromise. Unless your DH doesn’t like his family and is willing to burn some bridges, you need to suck it up and be fair.

How would you feel if DH didn’t like your parents and made it difficult to see them on holidays?

Post # 5
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

The first year I spent away from my family on Christmas (same scenario, states apart) I cried 2 days straight. I didn’t complain, I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t stop silently crying even while I was decorating the tree. My husband told me that was the last year he’d let me be away from family on Christmas.  

Once we had kids though we stopped going most years and started doing much more with his family and the one we made.  It was a good compromise for us.

Post # 6
195 posts
Blushing bee

I know this might be unpopular but in our family all of us siblings that don’t have kids just split with the spouse/partner for the holidays. Everyone goes to their own parents. The one with kids host their own Christmas where his in laws come sometimes. This is not about disliking in laws. But everyone prefers  their own traditions, don’t want to sit in car/plane for most of Christmas  and we don’t want to have a situation where anyone’s parents is alone for Christmas.

Post # 7
1209 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

Marriage is one nuclear family–a couple, possibly children–with two extended families of in-laws. A nuclear family can have its own holiday traditions and, for example, stay home.

Post # 8
1294 posts
Bumble bee

Both of our parents are divorced. We aren’t close to his dad, my dad lives abroad, but our moms live within 15 miles of eachother and they get on brilliantly.

2018 – we’re going to host, but we’re going out for a meal so we’re just hosting drinks/snacks and all will be welcome.

2017 – my mom was in Ireland, so we went to his mom’s

2016 – we were on our own at home

2015 – we went to my maternal grandparents in Ireland

2014 – we went to his mom’s (I think)

I think in 2019 I might aim to spend it with my dad, or on our own again. It’s not necessarily about specifically alternating, but that tends to be how it works out. We don’t have any strong traditions and we don’t find ourselves pulled in a lot of directions either, which definitely helps. I think the only rule is we don’t split up for Christmas.

Post # 9
1315 posts
Bumble bee

I recommend focusing on your own immediate family (you and SO) first and foremost.  If you’re already worried about this in May, then you guys should just plan a vaca away together.  And then alternate every year after.  One year with your fam, one with his, one with just you two.  Wash rinse repeat.  

Your own Christmas holiday is a good precedent to set right of the bat.  Trust me.

Post # 10
282 posts
Helper bee

My family is on the west coast, his on the east. We live on the east. We plan to try to switch off, doing thanksgiving at one house and Christmas at the other one year, then switching which house for which holiday. That said, it may not always be possible for us to go cross-country to my family, so we may end up spending more holidays with his. We hope to visit my family at least once a year though. 

Post # 11
2344 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

You take turns. My family does Christmas dinner and so does husbands family. Husband is an only child and I am one of six. Including grandkids there’s 21 of us. So Christmas is pretty chaotic and loud at mine but it’s what I’m used to. The year before last, we had breakfast with my parents and I didn’t see my siblings all day as I had dinner with husbands family. My siblings never have to compromise as their inlaws all do Christmas lunch. I was miserable that Christmas night, stuck with mediocre cooking compared to mum’s etc. It wasn’t the Christmas I’m used to. However it’s fair as my husband has to have Christmas with his family too. This year it’s his family’s turn. Can’t wait…

Post # 12
145 posts
Blushing bee

We do Christmas with my family every year. I’m sure that isn’t a popular opinion. We see my husband’s family a lot more than we see mine. Also, my family has all the traditions. It is a trade off though, I never get Thanksgiving with my family, and if we travel for Mother’s or Father’s Day it’s usually to his family (we live way closer to his anyway). I wouldn’t like being a yo-yo having Christmas in a different place each year  

I think it is crazy that they want Thanksgiving, Christmas and Christmas Eve. 

Post # 13
5783 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
stunnerrunner :  “I am extremely close to my family and have a lot of traditions I hold pretty sacred on Christmas Eve. Fiancés fam doesn’t have a lot of traditions but I think they are also sensitive to doing holidays on the day.”

Sorry, but this is pretty off-putting. You’re elevating your family as being more special than his. Now it’s understandable if you privately think this, they’re your family after all, you love them, you’re close to them. But it’s unfair to act on the assumption that your family is better than his- closer, more traditions, more fun yada yada yada. You say his family is ‘sensitive’ to doing holidays too, as if they’re being a little unreasonable in wanting you there when they don’t have all the wonderful closeness and sacred traditions of your family. You say you’re ‘crushed’ just by the thought of not spending the holidays with your family, but you were happy enough to have your husband spend last year with yours. When you marry, you have to be fair to both sides- not just for their sakes but for your husband’s unless you have some truly valid, serious reasons to legit not want to be around them.  

Post # 14
4210 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Have you bothered to ask your Fiance if HE might want Christmas with his family? Just because their traditions aren’t as “sacred” doesn’t mean they aren’t still important to him.

Post # 15
3176 posts
Sugar bee

My SIL and Brother-In-Law switch between Christmas and Thanksgiving every year. I have a feeling that my Mother-In-Law pays for them to fly down and they only have to drive up to her parents’ house now that they’ve moved within three hours of them.

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