How To Balance Families During The Holidays

Balancing Families During The Holidays | Keating & Co.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but it’s also a time when newlyweds are faced with a new challenge: who to spend the holidays with.  We’re very fortunate that 95% of our family lives within 30-45 minutes of one another.  This makes it easier to divide up our time during the holidays and other trips we take to our home state to visit.  Others, however, aren’t as lucky.  I have friends whose families live in opposite coasts which makes it impossible for them to see both sides of the family for every holiday.

Ideally, the end goal is to be able to celebrate the holidays with as much of your family as possible, but keep in mind that you cannot please everyone.  Chances are, someone is going to be hurt by your choice in how to spend the holiday, but ultimately, it’s up to the two of you to create a plan that works for both of you.  Your family and friends need to be understanding and willing to compromise with you as well.  I think all of these options are a win/win!

Take turns each year.

If your families live in separate states (or not within reasonable driving distance of one another) then alternate each year.  Spend Thanksgiving with one side and then Christmas with the other.  Then reverse it the following year.  That way you have a full holiday with each side of the family and everyone is taking turns.  This is typically how I balanced both sides when my dad lived in Vermont.  It was a four(?) hour drive to Maine from where my dad lived so it wasn’t as doable to spend both holidays with both sides.  Everyone understood.

Split Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

If your families live close to one another than celebrate Christmas Eve with one side and Christmas Day with the other!  You could even split up Christmas Day.  This will be the option we choose this year.  We will be spending Christmas Eve with Zack’s family (and possibly visiting mine later in the night) and then Christmas morning will be spent with my side while Christmas afternoon will be spent with his.  It’s pretty balanced and this way we’ll be seeing everyone on both sides of our family,  Everyone wins.

Spend the holidays as one.

The one thing I love about our family is that both sides love each other.  It’s not too difficult to get everyone together in the same room so spending the holidays as one complete family as opposed to two separate ones is very doable for us.  For Thanksgiving this year, I celebrated with Zack’s family and my dad and Jenna stopped by to visit for a bit before heading off to her parents house.  It was so nice to have everyone together and be able to see everyone.

Celebrate in your own home.

If it’s too much to divide up the holidays (or if you simply just cant make the trip to see them), then host the holidays in your own home.  This is a great time to create your own holiday traditions.  Extend the invite to your family and if they come, then great!  You can’t always be the one to travel to see them anyways!  They need to make an effort as well.

How do you and your significant other plan to split the holidays this year?

  • We used to do the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day thing, but even two hours became too much traveling during these two days with a toddler. So we’re still trying to navigate the whole thing.

    • A toddler can definitely make traveling a bit more challenging! Hopefully it’ll get a bit easier once they’re a little older! 🙂

  • Samantha

    Our families have lived in the same town we grew up in, so if we get to go home for the holidays, we split Christmas Eve and day. It is really hard sometimes to figure out where you’ll be and when. This year it will be just us and the kids. Merry Christmas!

    • That’s great that everyone lives so close! Our families don’t live in the same towns that we grew up in anymore, but still VERY close by. So it’s pretty convenient 🙂 I hope you had a great Christmas!

  • Bianca Germ

    It can be very hard during the holidays trying to balance family time.. So last year we spent it here at home, and it was awesome! This year we made the drive almost 2 hours away from each family. But next year, is our house again! haha

    • It was so much less stressful when we did Christmas in our own home last year. I’m sure we’ll be doing that more often once we have kids. But since I’m currently living in our home town while Zack is stationed overseas, it made it super easy to celebrate with everyone when he came to visit.

  • Dia

    I’m not married yet but my immediate family is about 4 hours away. Between the traffic and trying to make time for them I often get slack for not seeing certain extended family members and friends from back home but it’s like you said you can’t please everyone. When I first moved away 9 years ago I’d get so frustrated because I would drive 4 hours and then friends wouldn’t be willinging to drive 15 minutes to see me. Its about prioritizing

    • Hey Dia! I know what you mean when it comes to having friends and family who aren’t wiling to drive. It’s the same way for me whenever I’m in our home state visiting. We’ve been living about 14 hours away for the past few years so by the time we get up here, we’re in no way wanting to drive anymore. So it’s super frustrating when friends and family outside of our home town wont make the drive to visit us while we’re in the area. My best friend lives 3 hours away from our home town (further than anyone else) and she’ll make the drive every day if it meant she got to see me haha those are the friends who matter!

  • Brooke @

    We love to keep it simple on Thanksgiving and then do the family thing on Christmas Eve. You are right it’s not easy to split your time and some times drag the kids all over. Take time and enjoy them but don’t be overwhelmed. It is a very fine line. Have a Happy New Year.


    • I completely agree! I’m so glad we were able to make it all work out flawlessly. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!