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How Do You Decide on Where to Spend the Holidays

How Do You Decide on Where to Spend the Holidays

Breath in, breath out. It always happens this time of year. Thanksgiving is around the corner, Christmas is soon to follow and inevitably the word Easter pops into my mind. WHAT? Did I just mention Easter? Actually, I did. For most of my adult life, where I will spend my holidays causes stress and anxiety each year. It became much more stressful when I got married and even more complex when the kids came along, but this year I’m determined to not let it all stress me out.

Deciding Where to Spend the Holidays

Ever since my husband and I were married, we’ve had a set schedule as to which family we’d spend the holidays with. On the year we spend Thanksgiving with my family, we spend Christmas Day & Easter with my husband’s. On the year we spend Thanksgiving with his family, we spend Christmas Day with both families and Easter with my family. I can pretty much tell you where I will be spending Christmas in 2017, and yet somehow, it’s always a surprise, a disappointment or both to our families. Usually, I consider myself lucky to have all my family living nearby, but it’s hard when you can only be so many places at once during the holidays.

Christmas always creates a little bitterness with my family because no matter what we always celebrate with my husband’s side. My in-laws still make a big deal out of Christmas – they put up a Christmas tree, Santa comes to their house, Rudolph and Frosty even leave presents under the tree. It’s festive and fun. Meanwhile, my parents have moved beyond the hoopla of Christmas. There’s nothing wrong with that (they have 12 grandkids, so who can blame them!), but the draw isn’t there for us to squeeze in one more place to stop on the off years.

As for Thanksgiving and Easter, my mother-in-law always hosts on the years we are with her. In my family, my sisters and I decide who will be hosting all 23 people. In addition to deciding who is hosting, getting my family to commit to be together isn’t always smooth, so it adds another dynamic to the stress of what will we do for the holidays.

Christmas Eve hasn’t been an issue for a few years. In my family, we all do our own thing since Christmas Eve is no time to be spending two hours in the car driving. The last few years, we’ve been going to my best friend’s house for dinner and then stopping by my mother-in-laws to say “hi” to the great aunts and great uncles. Christmas Eve is always evolving, but never concrete. For now, we love the relaxed atmosphere at my friend’s and the kids have an absolute blast!

So, how will I survive the planning discussions this year? I’ve actually decided to just stay out of it. I’ll let my family hash out the details of who and where. We’ll arrive with a dish or two in hand and smiles on our faces, ready to enjoy the fun part of the holidays – being together. The holidays can be stressful enough. I’m hoping that by taking a back seat to the planning, not only will this eliminate an additional opinion, but I won’t spend half my free time stressed about where we are going and with whom.

Will you do anything different this year when deciding what to do for the holidays? How do you keep things stress-free?

Thanksgiving blog posts



  1. Brenda November 1, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    My sister-in-law asked me where I’d like to have Christmas this year, since I’ll have a newborn (< 1 month old). Ummm. . . not sure if we'll even be there. Hoping everything goes smoothly, but you never know. Hoping they will proceed with the planning without me, and my family will just play it by ear.

  2. Kate November 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    A-MEN. Thank you for posting this! I’m amazed that we continue to have this challenge in our family, too. Advance planning is absolutely key. And earlier this year, I had to tell my parents no — which was really hard, but important in setting boundaries.

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