With Thanksgiving (aka the day where our country kills and eats over 45 million turkeys) right around the corner, there has been a lot of talk in our house about who we will spend which holidays with this year. I think a lot of couples struggle with navigating the murky waters of family relationships, particularly because it is a very sensitive topic. Whether it's the drunk touchy feely uncle, the passive aggressive sister, the mom who dresses like a teenager, or the embarrassing dorky dad, there is bound to be someone or something in one of your families that causes some tension.
When Ryan and I got married I thought our families would instantly bond over our love. I thought we would spend all holidays, birthday, and Sundays together. I am a stupid woman. Much to my dismay, my marriage did not change anything in the current state of the world. The sky is still blue, "Friends" is still OVER, Biggie is still DEAD (is he?), Britney is still a HOT MESS, and our families have not instantly become the new Kardashian-Jenner clan. Don't get me wrong, they get along perfectly fine and there is no table flipping when we are all together, I just think it will take some time.
Since I played ice hockey for 15 years, we often traveled ON Thanksgiving day and ate our turkey dinner out at a nice restaurant. By the time Christmas came we had 2 days to celebrate before we were right back out the door for another tournament. My family developed a low maintenance, somewhat reclusive attitude toward the holidays because of our historically hectic schedule. We couldn’t afford to be too picky about whether there was enough holly jolly surrounding us, we simply cared about being together. On the flip side, Ryan’s family loves ALL holidays and celebrates them with unrivaled enthusiasm. Ryan’s mom loves filling her home with guests on holidays and will even invite complete strangers to join the fun. They pride themselves on a variety of family traditions that cannot be broken and approach each holiday with raw excitement.
Whether your spouse's family is a plane ride away or they live just minutes down the road, blending two families can be more difficult than you might have expected. Below are my tips on how to manage the holiday season without looking like this --------------------->
5. Communicate! Talk to your husband and figure out what will make both of you happy this holiday season. Don't assume that he will be okay with all those plans you are secretly making for the two of you. Discuss it with him first so you can avoid disagreements later on. I truly think ANY problem can be solved by simply communicating.
4. Don't be selfish. Check your inner B at the door and remember that it’s everyone else’s holiday, too. Today is not all about what you want. As long as you are with the people you love and you have a belly full of food and christmas bubbly, what do you REALLY have to complain about?
3. Compromise. I know this sounds way too obvious to be on the list, but at times I find myself unwilling to compromise just because I don’t think I should have to sacrifice anything. And then I remember, NEWSFLASH: I’m married. If your family throws an unbelievable Christmas dinner that you refuse to miss, then see his family for Christmas Eve and yours on Christmas. If you refuse to give up Christmas Eve or Christmas, NEWSFLASH: you’re married.
2. Start your own traditions! This year, Ryan and I are having both families over for Christmas Eve at our house. We thought this would be a great way to get everyone together in a neutral space- our teeny tiny Brooklyn apartment- and start a new tradition.
1. Think outside of the box. Splitting up the holidays doesn’t always have to mean delegating the entire day to one side of the family, and vice versa. This year, Ryan and I are seeing both families on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. If your families live too far apart to make this work, then propose a joint holiday OR set aside a special time to visit your far far away family and pseudo-celebrate the holidays then! Throw a Mock March Christmas party when you go to visit your husband’s family in Florida if you aren’t able to spend time with them in December. Sure, it’s not the real thing, but it will definitely create long lasting memories, and who knows, maybe even become your very own new family tradition!
How does everyone else handle the holidays?
**PMS is a blog sarcastic, silly, honest blog written by Brittany Geiger**