Sharing the Holidays

Once you get married, you'll have to decide how and where to spend the holidays. Communication and compromise are key.

Maybe you’ve already mastered the art of whose house to visit during each holiday, but consider re-discussing the topic once you’ve exchanged “I Do”s. There may be new factors in play like kids, pets, new jobs, financial concerns, wanting to start your own family traditions, etc. When you sit down to talk about how to split the holidays between the two families, here are a few things to keep in mind.

It comes down to communication and compromise. Sharing the holidays can be downright complicated but can also become fun if you both are open to change and possibility. If each of your families lives nearby it may be less of a challenge to figure out how to divvy the time up. Here are a few options:

Every holiday, spend half the day with each family.

Rotate each holiday, and spend the day with one side, and the day before or after with the other side of the family.

Combine holidays! This one might not be for all families, but if each side of the family is small enough, this is a great way to spend the holidays, merging two families as one like you did at your wedding.

On the other hand, if your families live in different states, you have a new challenge. The biggest piece of advice we can offer is to start a pattern now. Experiment the first few times and find out what works best for everyone. Talk to your family and ask about a large gathering on some of the bigger holidays. Consider combining both sides of the family instead of separating the two for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Rotate between whose home to go to and make a reunion out of it each year for a large feast and celebration!

If you’d rather keep things small, simply alternate between families and holidays each year. From personal experience, this method seems to work great! My fiance and I spent Thanksgiving last year with my family in Iowa, and hosted Christmas at our house in the Hills with his family. Doing it this way, no one felt left out and we were able to see both families within a month.

While splitting the holidays may have worked one way last year, it’s okay if you need to switch it up. Establishing a pattern can make things easier, but it might not always apply. Maybe you have a work party you want to attend one year, so you don’t want to travel out of state. Or maybe you’re expecting! One big thing to remember is to be flexible. Especially when sharing the holidays is new, be open.

Above all else, ask for advice. Talk to friends and family. What worked for them? What are some of their biggest challenges, and how did they overcome them? Listening to other people’s first-hand experiences may give you a better idea of where to start!