Yours, Mine and Ours: Managing the Holidays

Thanksgiving kicks off the insane (and insanely fun) time of year known as the holiday season. You’re trying to buy everyone you love the perfect present without having to sell your kidney on the black market. You’re trying to enjoy all the delicious holiday treats without going overboard and eating your weight in stuffing and sugar cookies. And the holiday insanity factor gets taken up a notch when you and your guy are trying to balance quality time with both of your families. How do you do it without making someone mad, sad, or ready to throw food at you? Here are a few tips: 

1.) Talk it out: Have a conversation with your guy. Talk about what the traditions are in his family, and explain what the traditions are in your own family. Find out where the priorities are for each of you, and honor them as best as possible. If his family has, since the dawn of time, done a pajama party on Christmas Eve (I’m making this up, but it sounds fun) then you should probably make plans to be there. If you’re going to be with his family on Christmas Eve, maybe you can spend Thanksgiving or Christmas Day with your family. Find a way to divide up the time so that everyone can see your smiling faces. When you’re in a relationship you need to find a way to split the time and still keep everyone reasonably satisfied with the level of quality time spent. Make sure you have an honest conversation before you just jump in the car.

2.) It’s okay to divide and conquer: If both of your families really value a particular holiday, it’s okay to go with your respective people for the day. Maybe you can agree that next year you’ll go to a particular family’s Thanksgiving feast, and then see the other family for Christmas/Chanukah. You don’t need to do the same routine every year. You’re young. Life is short. Mix it up a little. If you’re not going to be with your guy and his family for a holiday, why not send along a little gift to let them family know you’re thinking about them? Make them something fun and festive like pumpkin bread or peppermint bark.

3.) Split the day:  This option is good for road warriors. If both families value a holiday and you don’t want to be apart, find a way to split the day. If we’re talking Thanksgiving, do dinner with one family and dessert with the other. If we’re talking Christmas, do Christmas Eve with one side and Christmas day with the other. This way you get to see everyone, and you and your guy get to be together. 

4.) Mix it up: You don’t need to set a routine right now. Do Thanksgiving with one family, Christmas at the other family’s house, and then alternate for the next year. This way each group gets the proper love, and you get to participate in all different kinds of fun traditions.

Whatever you do, just make sure everyone knows what the plan is and is okay with it. Holiday traditions are important to many families, and you don’t want to ruffle any feathers. You should probably also come up with a back-up plan in case it starts snowing and you get stuck. And start shopping for a cute sparkly sweater or a fun headband. It’s that time of the year again!


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