The excited of hustle and bustle of the wedding has passed. The calm and closeness of the honeymoon is simply a fond memory now. You are home and are back to your life and all its realities. One of those is facing the first holiday season as a married couple in front of you. While you were dating, this may have been a much easier issue. Each of you may have deferred to your own families, or you may have made a brief appearance at your partner’s house, but spent most of time with your family. Your ability to do that has likely changed now. Each of you still has the pressure and expectations to spend the holiday with your own family, but you also have the same pressure and expectation to spend it with your in-law’s family as well. It would be far simpler if both families lived nearby and celebrated on different days, but this is rarely the case…. that would be too easy.
Also factored in is each family’s awareness and willingness to work with you and be flexible with you during the holidays. Some families are grateful to spend time with you their children and their spouses no matter which day, or how much time they get. Others are very rigid about the day, time, and that customs and schedules are adhered to, which is not entirely hard to understand. Others have gone as far as to change their normal date and time of celebration to be in direct conflict with the other family to force the children to choose. While this might seem extreme, it happens quite often. It is about proving love, choosing sides, drawing a line, and feeling in control of the family. It Is a terrible position to put people in, and really is not behavior that should be encouraged. Hopefully not just the couple but most of the family can encourage the celebration to return to its original date and time.
If you can remove that obstacle, you still have a few others that you need to work out. You have balance the time between both of your families now, as your time should be equal. This is new, and this will feel hard at first, but this is part of what you married into. Often, in these early years, you might even feel a little sad, missing those at your family’s home, knowing what they are doing that you are missing out on, knowing they are missing you, so being able to be present and enjoy what is going on around you can take time. Another difficult situation can be if both of your families live in different states. In this situation, you will most likely need to rotate years that you visit each family. This means that one family will completely be skipped each year, leaving you really longing for one each time, but it is truly unavoidable, as you can’t be two places at once.
The most important thing is that you and your spouse agree, and that you present a united front. You need to come to agreements and are fair and reasonable for each of you, and that they meet each of your needs. You need to be very supportive of each other, especially in the early years when you adjust to this new arrangement, and not let your family take it out on your spouse, as you both agreed on this arrangement. The important thing is that you are together, that you are creating new traditions as a couple, and that you are doing the best that you can to be involved with your families and let them know that you love them, and that you want to be with them as much as you can this holiday season. In time, everyone will get used to your new routine, and it will be as if it had always been this way. Just remember to enjoy the season, each other, and your families this season.