While my family and I prepare for the holidays, I am continuing to re-post the holiday hassles series. I hope you all had a joyous and peaceful holiday season!
Hopefully, you have all recovered from Thanksgiving. I'm hoping you all had a peaceful and relaxed holiday. Speaking of the holidays, let's continue our discussion of some of those pesky holiday hassles (since we still have Christmas to contend with!).
Holiday hassle two is the dilemma faced by many new couples, i.e., when to start your own family traditions. We spoke in a previous post about the holiday hassle of trying to figure out whose house to go to, e.g., the in-laws, an aunts, etc. As I mentioned in that post, for some, this is not a hassle at all as they have all ready figured out how to negotiate this situation between families. This is particularly true for couples who have not yet had children. They may exchange gifts privately before or after larger family gathers, over dinner or early Christmas morning.
But what if you have kids? If you have extended family that expect your presence at their Christmas celebrations, when do you celebrate with your kids? Shuttling between family and in-laws can leave little
time for gifts and such with your kids.
Now you may be thinking "Yes, we have that problem! How do we fix it?" Sorry, but there is no clear cut solution (not the answer you were expecting I'm sure!). For lack of a less corny response, the
solution lies within. Here are some things to consider that may help when trying to navigate this holiday hassle:
- Think about your earliest childhood memories. Did you have a special tradition on Christmas Eve. Did you open gifts Christmas morning? When I was a kid, we would go for a Christmas Eve drive to look at Christmas lights. We'd watch the skies for Rudolph and lo and behold, by the time we got home Santa had been there! Now consider what memories you want your children to have.
- Talk it over with your spouse. Sometimes, one spouse has difficultly letting go of their own family traditions, i.e., feeling a need to be at all of their family of origin functions (which for some families can encompass several days!). This can be a source of conflict for couples especially if one wants to do things differently, e.g., skip a meal or event at one families house. Talk it over with your spouse. Be sensitive to his desire to participate in his families activities. Work towards a compromise that you both can live with.
- Talk it over with your family. Once you and your partner have come to an agreement and developed a plan for your own family, discuss your decision with each side of the family.It would be best if you talk to your parents and he talk to his about your plans. Sometimes when a wife tells the in-laws that they will not be attending a family function, it can cause a huge rift. She is often seen as controlling despite the fact that she and her partner discussed and made the decision together.
- Let go of the guilt! Once you have made a choice that you feel is fair to both sides of the family, don't feel guilty about! Although there may be some disappointment on the part of extended family members, you have made a choice to do something for your family that you feel is important. One should never feel guilty about that.
How did you handle this situation once you and your spouse had children? Was it difficult or did you have understanding extended family members? Share your experiences!