How to Split the Holidays When You're in a Relationship
'Tis the season to spend time with family and loved ones!
Eh… It is the season to spend more time with family and loved ones with intentions of being more grateful and more giving! There we go.
During this time, it’s all about the family, the memories and the traditions. Traditions that you’ve ritualistically been apart of every since your birth. What happens though, when you have to split the holidays and share them with your new significant other?
Dramatization aside, holidays can be real stressors on relationships. There’s the to do lists, the guest lists and the shopping lists and there’s figuring out just how you’re going to spend it amongst both of your families.
When it came time for Love and I to share our first holiday, it was a mess. We some how glided over Thanksgiving but when Christmas came, there was a lot of heat. We'd both be at work, arguing through text messages about how neither of us wanted to miss Christmas with our families. It was frustrating and exhausting.
The thing is, no body wants to give up what they’ve known for years. Emotions run high during the holiday season (I mean, that’s what makes them so great), and as comfort creatures, we like to stick with what we know. When something we cherish is threatened, it’s fight or flight. Either you cower, cave and resent your partner or you protect what’s yours. I chose the second option.
Besides just pure and fiery emotion, the reasons why even having to discuss splitting the holidays might be triggering are:
- You begin to feel like your traditional holiday isn't seen as something important to your partner.
I’m not gonna lie, Love’s holiday didn’t really matter to me, at the time. Not once did I really consider how he actually felt but I made it a point to explain why I needed it my way. We both thought and acted selfishly and were protecting what was ours, individually.
- You're afraid that your "new holiday" won't meet your expectations and will end up being a dud.
I'm not going to say that my family is the liveliest bunch ever but I have a good time with them. I know when I spend time with them, I'm going to a good laugh, some stupid but funny memories and some bomb food. Not know what Love's holiday looked like, I didn't know if it could live up to what I was used to.
- You have a fear of missing out.
If you're out of site, you're out of mind. Not really, but basically. Your family holiday will go on with or without you. Shenanigans are going to happen but you don't want to miss out on something that might be hilarious and landmark family story for years to come. It'll be the equivalent of an inside joke where you're left out in the cold.
No matter what your reason is, you have to work through it. You and your partner will have to figure out the best way for you to spend the holidays where everyone is at least kind of happy. To help out, I'd like to offer a few tips to help and your partner come to decision on how you'll split your holidays.
6 tips to decide how to split the holidays when you're in a relationship
1. Ask questions.
Actively try to understand why your partner doesn’t want to miss their family holiday. What you may not know at the surface is if something is a thick rooted tradition that's been carried on for decades or a practice that has an underlying sentimental meaning. Ask your parter why doing this is so important to them before you decide to write it off because it's unfamiliar to you.
2. Open negotiations.
There is no one "right" way to spend the holidays, especially now with cars and things. You don't have to actively be next to each other for the entire day. You have options. You can spend the entire holiday separately, meet up somewhere or leave early (make sure it won't come off rude with your S.O. family) by taking separate cars or you can spend the holiday together but completely away from your families altogether. Don’t go in thinking that this is a black and white type of deal.
3. Compromise is key.
You gotta give a little to get a little. While considering what's truly important to the other, start by breaking down any "must do" activity and go from there. If you're given a breakfast let your boo take the dinner. I mean it's only fair right?
4. Create new traditions together.
Like I said earlier, you've got options. Beyond that, you guys have your own holiday too. Don't get caught up in the past when you're trying to build a future with someone else. Spend the time with each other and build your own epic holiday memories to share and bust a gut over when you create your own family.
5. Talk to your families.
Not necessarily about how to make the decision, but help them understand why you’ve chosen what you’ve chosen after you've chosen it. More importantly, don’t let them cloud your judgement.
The holidays are just as touchy for them too and can remember when you were running around the decorated christmas tree with nothing but a diaper on and holding a candy cane.
You can reassure them that you've taken everything into consideration and that you two have worked out what works best for you guys, which is ALL that matters.
6. Don’t take it personal.
Holidays bring out the best in people but they can also bring out the worst, especially if you’re feeling threatened. Temperatures may be high, so don't take anything to heart. It will all blow over soon and once the decision is made, you can go back to loving on each other.
It took Love and I three years of holidays to work out a system that worked out best for us. Yes. 3 consecutive holidays before we figured out what worked for us and could stop cringing when October rolled around.
Thanksgiving is labeled as my holiday, we do what I want, which is normally just dinner at my moms with my close family. We came to this decision because Thanksgiving is really important to my mom. She loves when the entire family comes together and after my sister's passing, it was something I didn't want to ruin for her. I do give Love the leeway to visit his family but you'll always find me at my moms table.
He gets all of Christmas; eve and the day of because of this. He tells me where we're going and that's it. Last year, Ava came into the picture and my family got in their feelings about spending time with her on her first Christmas but I couldn't waiver. They were more than welcome to come with us to Love's family festivities, but with our deal, I couldn't waiver on it being his holiday.It gets hard sometimes but this was our negotiation and overall it works for us.
If you want to know more of what Julia and I think about splitting up the holidays and holidays in general, then watch this months episode of #BABStalk. Don’t have the time for the complete show? Don’t worry, we broke them down in the links below! Click, watch and enjoy BAB!
What's your favorite holiday?
What do you love most about the holidays?
How do you decide where to spend the holidays when you have a significant other?
What Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions did you grow up with?
Still to come:
How do you talk to your S.O.'s family as an introvert?
How do you help your S.O. feel comfortable at your family's holiday?
How do you decide what gift to buy your S.O.?
What do you do when your S.O. buys you something you don't like?
Are you making any new family traditions?
What do you want your kids to get our the holiday season?