It’s the holiday season and many couples face the dilemma of where to spend the day...at your parent’s house...at your in-laws...do you divide the day, spending a little time at each parent’s house...or stay at home. To make matters more complicated, many people have more than two sets of homes - Mom lives in one, Dad in another. So what do you do? Do you spend Thanksgiving with one family, Christmas with another? Do you stay at home and invite everyone to your house? Do you feel guilty no matter what you do - feeling as if you are cheating one family or the other of your time?
Keep in mind the following when making your decision on how to spend the holidays.
Tip #1: Your spouse comes first. When you agreed to marry your spouse, you agreed that he or she was the most important person in your life. The saying “happy spouse = happy house” is true. That doesn’t mean you should automatically do what your spouse wants to do, but his or her needs should be just as important as yours.
Tip #2: Make a decision. Talk with your spouse about all of the options on how to spend the holiday. Decide what you both want to do, including when, where and why. Discuss the possible conflicts that may arise and how you will handle them, together. Once you make the decision, stick to it, no matter how your parents or in-laws feel about it. Delaying the decision is not going to make it any easier.
Tip #3: Stick together. You and your spouse have made a decision. That means, when your parents want to know if you aren’t coming home because “John made the decision,” your answer should be, “No, we made this decision together because it is what is best for us this year.” Always let your family know that you and your spouse are a team and your decisions are made based on both your needs.
Tip #4: Find time for everyone. The holiday season lasts for more than a day and you don’t necessarily have to celebrate the holiday on the particular day. Make sure to find time for each set of parents. If you can’t spend the actual day together, plan a special celebration together on another day. For example, you might want to plan a dinner on the weekend before Christmas or attend a Christmas Eve service with the family that is feeling left out of your Christmas Day.
Tip #5: Don’t put off telling your family of your plans. No matter where you decide to go for the holidays, let all of your family know as soon as you have made a decision. While it may not be a conversation you are looking forward to having, it is more respectful to give everyone fair warning of your plans.
Tip #6: Don’t assume you know what your spouse wants to do. When you are invited, or asked “Are you coming for Christmas,” always check with your spouse before answering. It is easier to turn down an invitation than to take it back once you have agreed.
Tip #7: Be sensitive to others disappointment. Someone is bound to be disappointed, whether it is you, your spouse or one of your families. Be sensitive to their feelings and try to do something special to let them know you care.
Tip #8: Find a compromise. Marriage is all about compromise and this is a good time to work on finding common ground and finding a solution that everyone is happy about. Work around both your needs and wants to come up with a plan you both can live with and won’t leave the other person feeling resentful.
Tip #9: Work on creating your own holiday traditions. Even if you decide where to spend the holidays, arguments can erupt because you feel the holiday should be celebrated in a certain way and your spouse wants it done a different way. Instead of arguing, come up with a plan you both like and begin a new holiday tradition that includes both points of view. Include your parents and in-laws in your new holiday traditions.
Published On: November 21, 2012