How to Split Holidays Between Families

By: Jess Downey |

Photo credit:   Lee Bennett (Flickr)

Photo credit: Lee Bennett (Flickr)

This is the first official year that my fiance and I will celebrate the holidays with our families. We’re both New York transplants, but our families only live four hours apart and they celebrate holidays on totally different days. I’ll admit that we managed to get pretty lucky here, but that doesn’t always happen. Some people’s families celebrate on the same day or live ten hours apart. Some live at the opposite ends of the country. Some even live in different countries. And obviously that makes it a little complicated. So, here’s how to split the holidays between families.

If your family lives more than two hours away (or if they live more than two hour apart from one another) it’s probably next to impossible to see both families on the actual holiday. That is, unless you’ve figured out some way of travel that no one else has.

So, one way to combat this situation is to just alternate holidays. Go see your family on Thanksgiving and then your significant other’s on Christmas. Then switch it up the next year. How do you decide which place? Draw straws. Flip a coin. Or maybe even base it on cost.

When it’s possible you can also put yourself in the mix. If you have the room, volunteer to host both families that way you don’t always have to choose (and exhaust yourself with travel).

In some cases you can opt to celebrate before with your family and then on the holiday with your significant other’s family. Then, again, switch the following year. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time. I will openly admit that this isn’t my favorite, but it works really well for a lot of families and it’s obviously better than stressing out or having no celebration at all.

If your family lives less than two hours away things can actually be a bit trickier.  Some of the same ideas apply, but it’s easy to find yourself in one hell of a conflict if you’re not careful.

Going to multiple celebrations might seem like a lot of fun (and it probably is), but it can also be hard to keep up with (and hard to eat all that food). So, if you go with this option try to alternate meals and desserts. Go one place for dinner and the other for dessert or do a brunch and a late dinner. Also try to go easy on the booze at each gathering. Then, just switch things up the following year.

It might seem harsh, but you can still alternate holidays and it’s totally understandable with all the food and the fact that you’ll want to spend quality time with everyone. You can also try having one celebration with everyone at the same place (if it’s possible of course).

No matter what you decide just remember that the holidays are about having fun, traditions, and being with who’s important. You probably won’t be able to please everyone so just make sure that you’re being respectful and at least trying to have everyone’s best interest at heart.