Dividing the Holidays

setting up for holidays
Photo: iStock

Growing up, your family probably had very well-honed holiday traditions. Maybe you opened up presents on Christmas Eve before heading to Midnight Mass, and Christmas Day was spent visiting your extended family members or eating a huge meal and relaxing in your PJs. Now that you're married, your extended family just grew exponentially. Chances are, your spouse arrived with some holiday traditions of his or her own, and a family that doesn't think those traditions will be broken just because the two of you have formed your own familial unit.

So how do you split up the holidays, keep some old traditions alive, and form some new ones of your own without stepping on any toes? To find the answer, we turned to the experts: Nesties who have successfully merged traditions and divided the holidays -- without majorly offending any in-laws!

“This is very difficult topic with some parents; no one wants traditions to change. But being married things have to change at times, and traditions either have to be adjusted or new ones created. We tell the family whose holiday we will not be attending that we will be going to my husband's family this time, and the next one we will go to yours. Many times they don't like it, but honestly it doesn't matter, it's my husband and my decision how we do it.

For us we keep it simple, one holiday per family. I would start switching on/off between families and switch for all holidays."

-- riderpunk

“We do Thanksgiving with one family, Christmas with the other."

-- Dr.Loretta

“I like structure and tradition. We finally broke down and told our families that Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve will always be my husband's family, and Christmas Day and Easter will always be with my fam. I refuse to squeeze both families in the same day -- it makes for a stressful and busy holiday."

-- BSSnCEB

“We alternate cities and families. You will never make everyone happy -- so set your own priorities."

-- Shoshie

“You're never going to make everyone happy. It gets more complicated when you have kids, so start setting expectations and boundaries now. We don't travel for every holiday, so there are times when we just don't see them on the holiday."

-- wendilea

Tell your family 'Hey, [spouse's name] and I have been talking about Christmas. We really want to focus on quality time with everyone, and as such, we've decided to do ____.' And acknowledge the feelings that come with change: 'we realize this may not be ideal, but it's what we feel will work best for us. We wish we could be 2 places at once, but we can't. It's going to be a change for everyone, and we totally understand if you're upset by this. We just hope, though, that you can understand that we have to find a compromise in this.'"

-- EastCoastBride

“We decided what we were going to do for the holidays when we got married, and the rest of the family just rolls with it. It wasn't a discussion; it's our marriage and we had to decide how to handle it."

-- uncannycanuck

How do you divide up the holidays? Share in the comments!