Sharing the Holidays – A Balancing Act


Gone are the days that holiday plans were left up to someone else. Growing up we spent most, if not all, holidays with my mom’s side of the family. This worked well for our family but now that I am an adult, I’m going to guess there were some feelings hurt and relationships weakened. I get it, it’s so easy to want to be with your family for every holiday. After all, your family does this whole holiday thing a lot better, they have less drama, they cook better… and so on.

Let me be honest, my in-laws carry a whole lot of drama compared to my family and I am not used to it nor am I okay with it. But, I love them and I treasure them for their own unique personalities. Most importantly, I want my kids to build traditions with both sides of the family, even if that means a lot of work on my part. My family celebrates every holiday with a large family get together, delicious food and memories to last a lifetime. My husbands family is very casual when it comes to holidays, in fact they’re mostly non-existent. Sure, they celebrate but they don’t plan family gatherings and if they do they’re usually accompanied by a bit of…drama. To top it off, a few of them are 500 miles away which makes planning even more difficult.

Prior to having kids we traveled the 500 miles every Thanksgiving. Then, kids came and around the same time his family quit hosting Thanksgiving dinner. So, we’ve been spending every holiday with my family since then. But, I wanted to create traditions with his family, so I decided to take on that role and it’s so much fun.

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Here are my tips for sharing the holidays, you won’t regret it!

1.) Start your own traditions. If one or both sides of the family are lacking in traditions, start your own. Invite each family over, cook your favorite comfort foods and spend quality time together. We choose the weekend before Thanksgiving and I host an intimate dinner and they bring side dishes. Then, I host another dinner on Christmas Eve and we open gifts, make cookies for Santa and enjoy each others company. It’s a great way to create traditions for everyone and we enjoy the time well spent.

2.) If distance and scheduling allows, make time to visit both sides of the family for each holiday. It’s only a few times out of the year that you get to spend quality time with your loved ones, cherishing moments with those you don’t see frequently. Make it a priority.

3.) Split the holidays. If one side of the family celebrates a certain holiday more elaborately than the other, choose that holiday to spend with them and go to the other family for the next holiday. If the holidays are evenly gathered, split it up. Thanksgiving with your family, Christmas with your partners or vice versa. Sure feelings may get hurt but in the end everyone seems to understand. Either way, make sure to at least make a phone call to the family you’re not with and let them know you’re thinking of them. Even better, send them a Snap Chat or FaceTime when you can!

Most importantly make time for your loved ones, even your in-laws. Memories last a lifetime and you want to build a strong foundation of traditions for your little ones, even if there’s a little (harmless) drama involved.

How do you make sure to include each side of the family in the holidays?

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