Navigating the Holidays: 6 expert tips for getting your family visits in order

CTW Features

Two people. Two families. So, figuring out where to spend the holidays can get quite complicated for couples. The key is to get started early on your planning, know that you will have to compromise, and try to think of strategies that won’t leave you exhausted and miserable, says Elise Mac Adam, author of “Something New: Wedding Etiquette for Rule Breakers, Traditionalists, and Everyone In Between” (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2008).

Here are six solutions to help you get started.

Split the Locals

If her parents and his parents both live in the same city, try the “Four Christmases” approach and spend Christmas Eve with one and Christmas day with the other, suggests Kristine Solomon, site editor for If either or both set of parents is divorced (and it isn’t too crazy-making), you also could split each of these days into brunch and dinner.

Divide and Conquer

Include Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and/or Easter or Passover in the pool of holidays, divide them among the parents, and then switch them the following year, Mac Adam explains.

Alternate Years

Whoever gets hosed this year gets the plum holiday next year, says Solomon. It’s a smart choice for couples who live far away from their families, and/or those who have three or four sets of parents.

Negotiate a Makeup Day

Burnt out on all the winter travel? Schedule a special visit with one set of parents for some other time during the year, such as spring or summer break, suggests Mac Adam.

Make Them Travel To You

Do the families get along? Do you have space in your home? Can you get enough liquor to provide you strength for their visit? “If so, consider the grown-up move of hosting both families,” Solomon says.

Just Say No – To Everyone

Your parents had to deal with you learning to drive a car, going on dates and leaving the nest, notes Solomon. You starting your own holiday traditions in your own home is just the next chapter.

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