Post # 1
How do you all decide whose family to spend the holidays with? My sister and brother-in-law trade off each year – they spend Thanksgiving with one family and Christmas with the other, then switch the next year. This seems fair except our situation is a bit different. My family does very traditional holidays, we have a huge turkey feast for Thanksgiving, we have presents under the tree for Christmas, etc. My fiance’s family is not religious, are kinda hippieish and are entirely vegetarian. Their Thanksgiving feast is based around a fried gluten main entree. My fiance wants to eat turkey and has been happy to come to my family’s event every Thanksgiving. Previously, he would spend Christmas eve with me and my family, and then Christmas day at the movies with his dad while I went to my family Christmas alone. This year, he wants to go to his family’s Christmas eve event because he’s missed it the last several years that we’ve been dating, which seems fair to me. However, he also still wants to spend Christmas day at the movies with his dad and brother. On one hand, we have always been going to my family for every holiday so it’s his turn, but on the other hand, I don’t want to spend my Christmas at the movies while the rest of my family is drinking hot cocoa and opening presents. It’s too many people for us to offer to host everyone together. It feels like the solution is that we each just do our own separate things on Christmas day – this was fine when we were just dating but is it weird now that we’re engaged? What will we do in the future? When there are kids involved, I will be even more on the side of wanting them to have the traditional holiday experiences but that will mean always going to my family. Am I being selfish by wanting to monopolize the holidays?
Post # 2
Can’t he go to the movies while you hang out with your family, then he joins after the movie? I personally don’t think it’s weird to spend Christmas day apart, especially if it’s just for a few hours to see a movie.
We try and trade off, or at least see one family for half of the day and the other family for the evening to make things fair.
If you’re worried about what to do once kids come along, you need to bring that up with your fiance. It’s not fair to ask that you guys spend all of the holidays with your family just because they do things more traditionally, unless of course your fiance is cool with that but you guys need to be on the same page.
Post # 3
I don’t see anything wrong with each of you doing your own thing. My brother in law always goes home for Christmas Eve (which is the main event here) and his wife celebrates Christmas with her parents and their daughter. Christmas Day he usually joins her and on the day after she comes to his parents with him.
I have to admit though, that I wouldn’t want to celebrate apart once a child is in the picture. But why can’t you have a quiet family Christmas then? Just the three of you? That’s what my plan for the future is: husband, me and future kids on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day with his parents and the day after with my mum.
Post # 4
We don’t see either family for Thanksgiving. For Christmas we switch every year right now. When we have kids the plan is to stop traveling for Christmas as well.
You don’t need to do now what you will do when you have kids. Figure that out when it’s an actual issue.
I don’t love the way his family celebrates Christmas either. It’s not as all out as my family goes but I don’t think that means we do Christmas with my family every year. It’s more important to me that we are together than that I celebrate the way my family celebrates every year.
Post # 5
I don’t think it’s odd for him to do the movies while you are with your family. We are a family in healthcare so often spend holidays apart as we don’t want the other missing the time with family because the other is working (and we live almost 3 hours away from our families). However, I try spend time with his family and mine on the holiday as they are only 30 miles apart and can manage sneaking over to his, if even for a quick visit. They really appreciate being included. Hot cocoa can wait til after my visit and gift opening times can also be adjusted.
If your families live close enough could you do an early or late movie and open gifts after or before? If they don’t live close enough, I would vote letting him go and saving a couple gifts for when he gets there. As for when children arrive. Definitely something you and him need to sit down and discuss. It may be compromising and switching holidays between the families.
Post # 6
I think it’s important to keep in mind that the time spent with the people you love is more important than the actual day-of. It sounds like you guys have a pretty good balance going of spending time with both families. I agree with PP that there is nothing wrong with spending a few hours apart on Christmas so you can both do the thing you’d prefer as individuals.
For my fiance and I it’s kind of a non-issue because my family lives on the other side of the country, so our default is spending holidays with his family and/or my brother and SIL who live here. We did fly home for Christmas two years ago, but we normally don’t so any time I decide I want to go to Ontario for the holidays it won’t even be a debate – we will go.
Last year we hosted his parents and siblings, my brother and SIL and her Dad at our house for Christmas, which was really nice. This year, brother and SIL are going to my parents’ so it’ll just be us and fiance’s family. We had brother and SIL over for Thanksgiving dinner.
Post # 7
littlebeans : honestly we went our separate ways right up until we had a kid. Always thanksgiving at his parents because in the timeline I had it was more feasible (900 miles vs 2000). Then our own family for Christmas and he joined mine just before New Years. Last year was our first with a baby and we talked my family into flying to the west coast so all were together. That was fun and is happening again this year. Next it’ll probably all change again as I can’t keep imposing my sister and parents on the in laws. (Also if life goes as planned we’ll have a newborn and not travel at all). I guess we will just keep winging it!
Post # 8
Married May of last year, so last year were our first holidays as a married couple. We went to my parents for dinner and his for dessert. Then we did the opposite for Thanksgiving this year. And probably will go to my parents for dinner for Christmas and his, for dessert and to exchange gifts. No one felt left out, so it was great. And then we also had a “Friendsgiving.”
Post # 9
We kinda luck out because my family always does lunch and his does dinner. My family is about 2hrs away, though so there is a lot of driving. Thanksgiving last year worked out great becuase his family did dinner on Friday instead of on Thursday. So we drove up the day before and hung out with my family, then headed to his on the day after. This year his family did it on actual Thanksgiving. We ended up each doing our own thing for other reasons, but the original plan was to drive up Tuesday night, spend Wed -Thurs early afternoon with my family and then head down for dinner with his.
Last year Christmas was insane. We went to his parents’ house on Christmas Eve for immediate family, went to his dad’s side that night, then drove to my parents’ first thing on Christmas day, hung out for lunch and drove the 2hrs back to do dinner on his mom’s side. Then back to my hometown the next morning as my brother and his family was coming in for our immediate family Christmas. It was waaaay too much driving and we were exhausted! This year we agreed that he will choose one side of his family to do the party and we will work my hometown around that!
Post # 10
We’re running into this issue too and trying to work it out. Our families are an awkward distance away from each other too, like 2.5 hours so its possible to see both sets of parents every holiday but it isn’t very fun for us. And at some point I want my own holidays too. I’m mid-30s and pregnant with our first so I kind of want to make my own turkey and open gifts at my own house. I think in the future we may have to rotate and see one family Christmas and the other Thanksgiving but then I don’t want to commit to always doing every holiday away from our own home.
To more so answer your question I think you have to figure out some level of rotation in what you do regardless of whether you prefer your own family’s traditions.
Post # 11
We go to my husband’s family’s celebration on the day of holidays and celebrate with my family on a convenient day close to the day. It cuts down on the fuss. We also have small families and our son is the only grandchild so our absence is definitely noted. If his family is less traditional with how they celebrate, perhaps they might be able to be flexible with the day on which they celebrate, especially if it means getting to see the both of you? I would prioritize people over actual events during the day. I wouldn’t make one family be the dominant family just because they celebrate in a certain way. Traditions are traditions, no matter what they look like. I would recommend discussing what you will do in the future, because it could be a sticking point. A year or two into my marriage I learned that my husband was quite upset that we weren’t seeing his family that often. Although he isn’t close to them, he loves them and thought that I didn’t like them. We now make it a point to see his parents at least twice a month.
Post # 12
Short answer: yes, it’s selfish to monopolize the holidays just because you like the way your family does things better. I’d assume most people (who get along with their families decently) would prefer to spend all the holidays with their own familles vs. their in-laws, but compromise is important. And the point should be more about quality time spent with loved ones than whether the food or customs are your preference. Every family has different traditions, and going to the movies is just as valid a tradition as sitting around drinking cocoa.
So far, my husband and I have alternated Christmases (our families live far apart so we have to choose which place to go). We’ve spent Thanksgivings with his family since they’re closer — my family is too far for it to make sense to fly out for just Thurs-Sun. We’re apartment dwellers right now so hosting isn’t really an option, but down the line when we have a house – and especially once we have kids – I’d prefer to invite relatives to visit us rather than traveling every year.
Post # 13
we alternate holidays every year typically, some years we physically cant even celebrate the holidays cause of our work schedules. I do understnd where you are coming from, the way my family celebrates the holidays is A LOT different from how my in laws celebrate. I think its a natural thing to want to spend the holidays with your own family though, but i think its just learning how to compromise.
Although in your situation you both live close enough to your families maybe you could do christmas morning with your family then drive back and do christmas day with your in laws, or do christmas eve with them and christmas day with yours.
Post # 14
Neither, we are spending it in our own home and then going separately to our own families.
I do think it’s unfair to only do Christmas with your family after you have kids. Most people would prefer to be with their own family or like their own family traditions more but that attitude doesn’t really work in a marriage. I would just go to your family while he hangs out with his in the day and you could meet up later on.
When you have kids the main part of the day could be in your own house and visit parents later.
Post # 15
Is everyone fairly local or is there travel involved?
Our families are fairly local. So we spend Christmas Eve with my family, as there are young kids of my brothers who are just the right age to be excited about Christmas and Santa so it’s loads of fun.
We then spend Christmas Day at home just the two of us I Cooke a turkey dinner and all the trimmings and we open presents
Then we spend Boxing Day with his family because he’s an Only child of two only children, we usually go out for dinner just the four of us, and there will be presents there to open too.