Navigating the holidays as a couple can make an already stressful time of year even more challenging for a relationship. This may be because it is often the first time family meets your sweetie; is everyone going to get along? But before you even reach that point, you have to make that big decision: Where will we be spending the holidays…
Yours, Mine or Ours
If you are close with your kin and you have established your own cherished traditions, it makes sense that your own family would be the first come to mind for the holidays. This works great if there isn’t competitive interest. In one relationship, my boyfriend’s parents lived on the other side of the country, so he was excited to share the holidays with my family.
Reciprocation and Compromise in Relationships
However, I needed to do my part the following year by spending my first and only Christmas away from home with his family. I was happy to do so because it meant so much to my boyfriend. Plus, I thought it might be fun have the holiday I associate with wintry snow in the warm, dry desert.
We were living bi-coastally, so I wouldn’t be seeing my family for several months. My birthday is also in December, and when I went over to my parents’ I was stunned and overjoyed to see my biggest present—the face of my big brother, who I only saw around the Christmas holidays because he lives so far away. With my whole family there together, I got to experience Christmas with my family early. It made being away on the actual day a whole lot easier. Christmas in Vegas was pretty special too.
Creating Our Own Tradition
Going to college 3000 miles away, it didn’t really make sense for me to go home for Thanksgiving when Christmas was less than a month away. My boyfriend was in the same boat. Living together, it made sense to celebrate Thanksgiving together. One year, we spent time with other friends who also were away from their families. Another year, I decided to make some of my Thanksgiving favorites, as well as my boyfriend’s, and we had our own celebration. We also made an effort to celebrate a few other holidays of his in our home together. They were different, but we created our own special traditions.
To Each His Own
A couple of guys I’ve dated saw holidays differently. They arrived at their family’s homes, ate dinner, made the required chitchat, and headed home as soon as it wasn’t overly offensive to their moms to leave. With one boyfriend, I learned the lesson to keep our holidays separate after he spent one holiday at my house up in my room, not wanting to engage with anyone else with me except during the actual meal. So, I learned to get used to enjoy the holidays with my family, and usually abbreviating the extending love fest to go spend time with my boyfriend afterward.
Navigating The Holidays As a Couple: The Best of Both Worlds
This year, I wasn’t sure what the boyfriend was thinking with regard to Thanksgiving. I have been to some family events and was welcomed warmly, yet I wasn’t sure how they were about holidays. Plus, our hometowns are in neighboring states, and I wasn’t sure how things could logistically work.
So I was pleasantly surprised when he brought up the topic earlier this week. He proposed that we have two Thanksgivings. He would tell his family to have the big meal earlier in the day, and we’d have enough time to spend with them before heading to my family’s house.
It’s worked in the past, and if anyone can pull it off, it would be the two of us. So neither of us has to choose and we both get to spend time with our families. We also get the benefit of each others company through not one, but two holidays. Win-win for everyone.