Dividing up the holidays with inlaws before we got married

dividing up the holidays

Growing up, whenever I watched holiday movies I never understand why the adults in the film complained about Christmas. How in the world can anyone hate the holidays? Why would dads ever want to work late on Christmas Eve? How do people like Scrooge and the Grinch exist in a world where there is Christmas?!

It honestly made no sense to me.

And then I grew up. And got engaged. And realized that the holidays can be pretty stressful, especially when you have to share them with two different families. (I get it, Scrooge.)

Soon after J and I got engaged, we realized we needed to make a decision about how we would spend the holidays before we got married, communicate it to each of our families and stick to it.

Our parents never complained or put any pressure on it, it was all self-inflicted worry, but we wanted it to be as fair and stress-free as possible for each of us.  Since our families live about an hour apart, we could see both in the same day, but we didn’t want to be looking at the clock constantly and spending a lot of time in the car. We wanted to be 100% present wherever we were for each holiday.

So we decided to alternate which family we spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with. Last year we did Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine, so this year it’s Thanksgiving with mine and Christmas with his. Easy peasy. Everyone knows what to expect, and making this decision before we got married has lessened the stress of the holidays tremendously.

Are the holidays stressful for you? How do you do holidays with in-laws? 

PS – Shoes are from Minx Asheville. Looks like they are still on sale! 


  • I love the holidays – like you, I never understood also why people would get stressed out. But I do foresee this… so great job in talking and agreeing about this as a couple!

  • It was a very smart move on your part. Consider however that your parents and in-laws did not give you grief about it. Also what about spending a holiday at your own home? and not having to travel?
    There are parents out there that want to spend both holidays with you every year and don’t understand why it’s not possible. Or families where each holiday must be a joint event (making it bigger and more stressful). Or the as one of my friends has to deal with, 4 families per holiday as each set of parents is divorced and remarried and everyone is local and wants to see the young couple for that holiday on that holiday every year. More reason to make those decisions and set those boundaries early and often.

  • This is a good solution divide festivities with relatieves you love and without clock pressure!!!

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