With the holidays right around the corner, we’re all gearing up to spend time with loved ones and that means holiday travel. While the season is often busy and exciting, it can sometimes create a unique challenge for those in relationships specifically how we handle the holidays with bae and our families. Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been together for years, you and your partner will likely discuss how to divide the time among your families and friends at some point – and it’s not going to be easy. With two families to start with and many of us coming from multi-household families, it can very easily turn into the plot of Four Christmases.
Some couples spend the holidays with their respective families individually, some divide time equally each year, some alternate year over year, and some choose to avoid family all together. There are a million and one ways to split your time. In any case, the topic can be stressful and, if not handled maturely, divisive. You both have family and friends who love you and want to spend time with you during the holidays and it can be difficult to navigate how to keep the peace with your families while still maintaining your sanity. Is it easy? No. Is it doable? Yes, but might require some planning and holiday travel.
HOLIDAY SEASON PRO TIP
Know that this is so hard for couples no matter how you slice it. For us, we are fortunate that our families get along great so we try to host as much as possible. If you bring everyone to you, then you don’t feel like you are leaving anyone out! We want to get into the habit of hosting our families together at our home at least once during the season but with our home under construction this year – it may not happen. Take full advantage of the opportunities that technology provides and facetime each other’s families so that they don’t feel left out. Most of all, discuss the upcoming holiday season with your partner before the madness to make sure that you are both on the same page. It’s an age-old tale that the woman’s family gets the shaft, and that shouldn’t be the case.
SWITCHING IT UP ANNUALLY
We tend to play things by ear, but as a general rule of thumb between November – January we do something with our families, with our friends, and just us. This usually means Thanksgiving with the family, hosting holiday parties with friends in December, and with our dating/marriage anniversary in January, that one is just us – but every year is different. We try to either host a holiday event at our home so that both parties are included (we all live in Atlanta so that makes it doable) or we split holidays by the occasion. It’s so important to spend time with friends & family during this time of the year, but we always make it a point to spend time with each other as well.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
I think the hardest thing for us is wanting to spend time with our own families, but also wanting to be there with the others. We are lucky enough to live 20 minutes away from both of our families, but we don’t get to visit as much as we would like to. When the holidays come around and we have the day off we try to see both pairs of parents on the same day and that can be challenging. My husband is fortunate enough to see both of his parents at work throughout the week so priority generally goes to seeing my family when we can. We also travel to see my sister and her husband in Philadelphia a few times a year. Overall, we try to stay together and spend time with both families an equal amount of time, but when plans overlap we go with whoever asked us first.
MAKING TIME FOR EACH OTHER
Sahir and I are still trying to figure out what works best for us. We always host at least one holiday party every year. We love to host! Making fun mocktails, loud holiday music (Justin Bieber’s album is fabulous, I highly recommend it) and finding new group games to play is so much fun for us. Last year, after all of the holiday travel, we sat down under our Christmas tree with some hot chocolate, played our favorite Spotify playlist, and opened presents together – just him & me. We are still in the process of building our traditions so let’s see where this year takes us!
However you choose to divide your time, just make sure that you and bae are on the same page and that you do what works best for the two of you. You by no means have to please everyone and you won’t be able to anyway, so just make sure you and bae feel good about your decisions about your holiday travel.