Holiday Planning: Spending Holidays With Both Families
When holiday planning involves choosing one family over another at the holidays, there are no easy solutions. Short of a magic wand—or a quick ride on a reindeer's sleigh—it's physically impossible to be in two places at the same time. But there are things you can do to fill the holidays with harmony, not hurt feelings.
Create a long-term plan. The nice thing about the holidays is that they appear every year. True, you can't be with both families this season. But you can plan ahead for the next one. Consider alternating holiday visits—one family this year, one family next year. That way, you're not saying "No." You're saying, "We're looking forward to celebrating with you next year!"
Communicate. Let both families know you feel badly that you won't be able to celebrate with everyone in person. Express your sincere disappointment. Sharing your feelings honestly and openly may not resolve your holiday dilemma, but it can go a long way in promoting good relations.
Connect. The holidays are about sharing traditions and creating connections. These are things you can do, even from many miles away. Talk with your family about ways you can stay in touch long-distance, since you can't be there this year. Consider scheduling regular phone calls so you can sing holiday songs or even open presents together while everyone is on the line. Or if you're more tech-savvy, you might want to arrange for live video conferencing during the holidays. While it's not the same as celebrating in person, it is a way to stay connected and let your family know how much you care.
Consider a Plan B. Instead of having to choose between two families, when holiday planning, why not invite them both to you? That way, everyone can be together. Your kids can enjoy hosting a holiday celebration. And you'll have plenty of help with the dishes.