J.M. asks from Garland, TX on December 15, 2009
Holidays - Splitting Time Between His and Mine
I have been with my husband for 4 years and every year (even those when we were dating) Christmas Eve was spent with my family (mom and dad, brother and his family). We spent Christmas Day with my husbands’ mother (he had not been very involved with his side of the family before dating me). My dilemma is that we recently had a baby in August and now my husband wants to change things up for the holiday and alternate with his mothers' sisters’ families – not just spending time with his mother.
This year – things are remaining the same – but I am already dreading next year for ANY holiday. In order to have Christmas Eve with his family – I would have to celebrate Christmas on an entirely different day than my family – due to other commitments by my brother and his wife (she has divorced parents that they split time with). I feel that it is inconsiderate of us to ask them to all change their plans to accommodate changing the status quo.
I am sure to most that I seem selfish – and I probably am. I just know that for 40 years – this is how I have celebrated and I don’t want to change. It doesn’t help that I don’t like his mother very much (as those of you that have read my previous posts already know).
His other solution is to combine the holidays. That is a most definite NO-NO. My parents do Christmas BIG – and his mother doesn’t do anything. In the 4 years that we have been together, not one present or card on a birthday or holiday. This is from the mother-in-law who also has not bought 1 thing for her ONLY grandchild since he has been born – and continues to say how “doting” she is. Ooh – I can feel the resentment building. Lord help me!!
I would like to know how you have compromised on your holiday traditions to make it work for everyone.
D.C. answers from Dallas on December 16, 2009
Last year when my son was born I decided that I was going to be home with my husband and son on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It was hard for my In-Laws to accept but we started our own tradition at our house. My parents and my husbands parents as well as our brothers all come to my house for Christmas Eve dinner. It was a little difficult at first because, like you, my family is celebrates BIG and his doesn't. But it was actually fun. By the way, enjoy this year and worry about next year later...because things might change again by then!
J.R. answers from Dallas on December 16, 2009
If spending Christmas Eve with your family is very important to you, then you should make sure hubby knows that. Find something else to compromise on, such as Christmas Day. We also have many different families that want to see us for Christmas. One set of parents we see the week before, one has Christmas morning, the last gets to choose Christmas Eve or Christmas evening. Our family time is the day after Christmas. Our tradition is that we stay in our pjs all day and open and play with all the toys and stuff the kids got for Christmas. That is one of our most favorite days, and Mommy and Daddy are totally devoted to playing all day long! Try to be flexible and work to make your own family traditions even if its not on the actually holiday.
P.W. answers from Dallas on December 15, 2009
blending families is no easy task. The best advice I can offer is to try and stop seeing things as "his" family verses your family. You may not feel the same towards your husbands family as you do your own, but you are family now. Do your best to offer equal consideration. I'm afraid when you join another family you can't always have everything the same. It's wonderful that you are trying to compromise. Try not to worry about what your mother-in-law didn't do, and do your best to embrace who she is. Doesn't she have to do the same thing when it comes to you?
I vote to Combine the holidays. It may be surprisingly fun.
T.F. answers from Dallas on December 15, 2009
Fortunately, we never had to deal with it because we are both from split families and when we met, we lived a plane ticket away from everyone in NC. Now we are a plane ticket away from everyone here in TX!!
We started our own tradition. We spend the holidays at our home. We were more adamant with that when daughter came along 15 yrs ago on 12/27. Every Christmas day since we've been together (23 yrs on New Years Eve) we go to the movies while the turkey is roasting.
As a child, I hated having to switch between parents on holidays all the time.
SO, people are welcome to come visit us. We have huge dinners, cooking, etc just the 3 of us mostly. It is family time we treasure.
Just an idea since you have a new baby. Maybe you could start YOUR tradition.
L.A. answers from Dallas on December 15, 2009
Overall, I like the plan my brother uses (or at least this is where he started - things change over time). There may be a version that will work for you. . .
When they had kids they told everyone they would now be on a 3 year cycle. Year 1 - his family, Year 2 - her family and Year 3 they would be at home starting their own traditions. If people wanted to travel to them - they were welcome - but on that year - they did not travel.
As the plan gave both sides equal time - there wasn't a lot of arguing about it. Sure each side wished they had the whole time to themselves - but this was equitable - and still left room for my brother's family to have their own traditions at home.
(Another option is to do the Thanksgiving vs Christmas split)
M.M. answers from Dallas on December 16, 2009
Can you see his sisters on Christmas day too? Can his sisters come to you? I would not give up Christmas Eve with your family. You already have a plan in place. That is selfish of him to ask you to do that. You won't make everyone happy. Alternating years is the best option. You have the baby and more to pack, being mobile is not easy. Family should understand and come to you. I agree with another poster, start your own traditions at 'home'. I am a divorced kid and I was never home on Christmas morning. So, no matter what is going on, we are home Christmas morning for Santa. Then we alternate going somewhere or staying home for the day. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you want your family holidays to be. Other posters have said to be flexible - I say ask the family to be flexible. This is hard, I know. I get a large pit in my stomach every year b/c I want everyone to be happy but that just can't happen.