Navigating the Holidays

The holidays! so much excitement, so much fun, so much anxiety, so much stress. Holidays are amazing, however, when it comes to holidays with in laws it can go from thrilling to terrifying in point five seconds. You’ve got the wife’s parents, the husbands parents, and all the siblings of each family trying to coordinate so most of the family members in each respective family is present. It can be a delicate balancing act when you are newly wed to figure out how the holidays should work. You want to start your own holiday traditions but you still want to keep extended family involved as well. How on earth do you make it all work? Every family is different. Depending on how far away you live from family, how big the family is, and how much both sides like or dislike one another there are a few options for sorting out the holiday season. If you are fortunate enough to have both sides of the family actually enjoy spending time together then use it to your advantage. Alternate between parents houses with both sides being invited. Or have the holidays at your house and have each side come there instead. If your families don’t exactly get along or live to far away to make that work the best idea is to alternate. One year with your family, one year with his. Simple!

     The real question though is when do you start letting yourself have the holidays at your house? When is the “right time” to stop going to the in laws or the parents and start your own holiday traditions? The thing is there really is no “right time.” It all depends on your personal family dynamics. If you have a fairly flexible family the easiest solution is to set up alternation (yes I know I’ve used that word like 12 times already). You can do this with both sides. If you have several siblings and you all want the holidays at your house roll dice, draw straws, pick a number between 1and 10 and take turns each year hosting the holidays. Or take turns with the holidays. Easter at sibling 1, Thanksgiving at sibling 2, Christmas at parents, etc.

     Understand that it is okay to say no. You are allowed to tell your mother-in-law, your parents, your sister etc. that you won’t be coming to “insert holiday here.” Yes they may get grumpy about it but guess what they will get over it. Honestly most of them will probably understand. You’re allowed to say you’re not coming so you can have thanksgiving at your own house, or if you have kids with you children. You are not some evil person for wanting to start holiday traditions at your own home. I am a big family gatherings person so for me I want to have every member of the family I can find included. However, I also want to start traditions in my own home, especially once I have kids. This means that at some point in the future I will have to either ask the extended family to come to my house or tell them that we will come by for a visit but we won’t be able to stay long. As a newly wed wife you want to show off your holiday flare and start kindling family traditions that your kids will carry on with them into their future. Spending time with family is always important but you are allowed to have your little family unit. We currently live with my in-laws (separate area connected by the garage). I personally enjoy it because it keeps the family close while giving us a little space to have as “ours.” Yes of course it makes certain things difficult to navigate but overall I thoroughly enjoy it. I am not saying I don’t look forward to having my own home someday when we are in the position to make it happen, but until then I actually really love living with them. Honestly when I think about moving I get really sad because they have become such an integrated part of our lives. Anyway I digress. Point is navigating the holidays can be daunting depending on if you have a hyper-controlling family/in-laws or if you just aren’t sure how to maneuver around all the family members. It is really just important to remember to breath and ultimately enjoy the holidays. Even if it isn’t working out quite how you imagined it would or should. Enjoy time with family and make the most out of it. Talk to your husband about what you both want to do for the holiday season and work together to make it happen. If all else falls, eat some pie, drink some eggnog, laugh a lot and breath because their is always next year!


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