This Christmas….. How To Decide Where To Spend Your Holidays.
Family Dinner or No Family Dinner?…
That is the question. So, you are newly married and want to spend the holidays with your family but your new spouse expects you to go to their family home. What should you do?
Extended family doesn’t always understand your new commitment or allegiance to your spouse. It can also make newlyweds feel guilty or feel like they are disappointing relatives, especially when holidays are a significant family tradition.
What can you do to make sure ‘This Christmas’ is special? Most times newlyweds think that holiday splits are just organic and will sort of “happen on their own.” Until it doesn’t, and that can be extremely challenging.
Here are a few tips that can help you have a ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ with the in-laws:
1. Rotate. Tell your family in advance that you will rotate the holidays with your in-laws. Telling them in advance gives them an opportunity to process the information and plan accordingly if need be. Time should be spent equally, so it’s fair to both families.
2. Be open. If this is your first holiday with your in-laws, it is wise to be open to their family traditions. Soon, you will be hosting holidays and can incorporate some of your spouse’s family traditions into your traditions. This will make your in-laws feel that their family is just as important to you as your family.
3. Discuss expectations up front.
Before you head out to your spouse’s family home, you should be sure that you discuss family expectations with your spouse. It’s the considerate thing to do. If holidays can sometimes raise tensions in your family, discuss your exit strategy with your spouse. Leaving before things escalate is always a good thing.
4. Have a sense of humor!
At any family gatherings, old stories come up. Have a sense of humor and remember that old stories are fun and display a sense of togetherness for families. Laugh along and don’t get upset. They are just what they are “old stories.”
5. This is teamwork.
Focus on the important issues and ignore the small ones. Make decisions together and stick together. Do not allow spouse splitting by your in-laws. It’s important to go into the discussion on the same page. Don’t make changes to the plan unless the changes are agreed upon with your spouse in advance.
Until next time, happy wedding planning beautiful brides!
WRITTEN BY: JOCELYN GAVIN-LANE, LCSW, MPH
PREMIER PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING SERVICES, LLC