Wed | Aug 4, 2021

A Couple's Guide to Splitting the Holidays between Families

Published:Thursday | December 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMRocheda Bartley

Every year during the festive season many of you must have pondered, where you should spend the holidays.  It’s a simple question, though sometimes it is one of the most difficult issues you have and will ever be faced with. Your priority is sharing the love and delight of the jolly season. You must make the right choice, after all you do not want to make your in-laws your worst enemies or appear as hard-hearted to your mother for not spending Christmas at home. If you need help in splitting the holidays, here is your guide.

At times you will get flustered with deciding who you should spend Christmas with and who gets the New Year. It’s nothing you need to worry about. All you need to do is plan your visits skilfully because at the end of the day, it is about spending valuable time with your loved ones. Family counsellor Dr Sidney McGill explains that sharing the holiday season with you family is more than just a task.

“We all need healthy and trustful relationships to stay emotionally and psychologically healthy.  The holidays are opportunities to highlight those special relationships and share quality “we” time around food, fun and fellowship to relax, reminisce on current and past events in relationships. It is a good way to catch up with the life trajectories of your loved ones,” Dr. McGill told Flair.

In-laws in some cases are the best persons you could have in your life and at other times they are the worst. Either way, when should you visit or invite them over for a family get together? Should it be Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Ever or Day?  According to Dr McGill, there is no standard best or preferred holiday to spend with the in-laws.

All you need to do is to “ensure that when you invite or visit the in-laws [especially the grouchy ones], also invite family members and friends that you enjoy being around. The positive energy should counter any anxiety you or your in-laws may have being in close quarters with them”, he said.

Here’s what you can also do.

Alternate the holidays

Alternating the holidays can help to reduce the confusion that comes with planning who you should spend a particular holiday with. You could spend Christmas with your family and New Year with the in-laws this year and vice versa the next year.  Any way you do it, it will be a win-win situation for all of you.

Make up days

Who says the holidays have to come only once a year? For sure you can’t be in two places at once, so celebrate more than once. You could celebrate twice or even thrice to equally share the love and joy of the festive season with your family.

 Start New traditions

Maybe you’re tired of all the fuss about skipping Christmas with your family or ignoring the in-laws. Your best option is to try something new and start your own traditions. Let them come to you on the holidays. This works perfect if you live far away from your extended family and have to travel with children. Apart from being in the comfort of your home, it will save you time and money.

As you plan the holiday get-together, do not forget two important persons you need to share the season with. No it’s not Rex your family dog or Mia the cat; it’s you and your partner. Dr McGill explains that you must also use this time zoom “into your partner’s well-being by listening to concerns and affirming, encouraging and reconfirming your love and commitments to each other.”