Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holidays and the In-laws!

Hello everyone! How is your day going. Well we are one Holiday down and 2 to go! It's amazing that when you are married you always have 3 options; your home, your husbands parents' home or your parents home. Which one do you choose. For us it's always a hard decision because of course we want to see everyone but we also want to have our own tradition for our children at home. My husbands family lives in Florida so of course we don't get to see them as often as we would like to. This Thanksgiving, we went to Tennessee and spent it with my grandmother. And I know she might expect the same thing for Christmas but it's not going to happen. We now have to decide to go to Florida and spend it with my in-laws or stay home and (hope the in-laws want to make the trip to see us!) My attitude is let's stay here this year, spend the gas money (driving back and forth to Florida) on the children! Last year for Christmas, we went to Tennessee! LET'S STAY HOME!

Now that we talked about the travel dilemma, what about the atmosphere? Do you get along with his family and vice versa? My husband gets along good with my side so that's always a good thing. And I actually really adore my in laws. He has a great set of parents and they have been married over 35 years. His grandparents were married over 50 years! He has a big family so every time they come together for just a meal, it's a reunion atmosphere and I like my children around that because my immediate family is rather small. I really don't have any crazy stories about family members acting up or major arguments around the holidays. For my husband's family, the holiday revolves around food! Good food!

For those who have major conflict is here a checklist that I read off another site that might help in Holiday travel arrangements:

1) Be loyal to your mate.

Your first allegiance is to your spouse. No matter how heavy a guilt trip your relatives lay on your shoulders at holiday time, recognize that you and your spouse are a couple. By promising to love, honor, and work through the toilet seat issue, you have created your own family. Now that you're a team, work as one.

This doesn't mean that you should throw out your family and in-laws as you would your old Partridge Family albums. Instead, make your in-laws a part of your new family, the one you have formed with your beloved.

2) Make a decision.
There are times when you can sit on the fence -- but making a decision about which in-laws to spend the holidays with isn't one of them. With your spouse, discuss all areas of potential conflict and then create a game plan. Figure out where you're going for the holiday, when, and why. Plan what you're going to say when the other side pitches a fit. Use the worksheet you filled out earlier to crystallize your thinking.

3) Recognize that you can't be all things to all in-laws.
As you've probably learned, whatever decision you make is going to upset someone. That's life. There are so many valid issues that you can chew yourself up over, so why make this one of them? Save the angst for other issues. Make your holiday decision, announce it to the relatives, and move on. I know this is a lot easier said than done (especially for someone like me who can hold a grudge until it reaches legal age), so work with me here.

4) Tell people immediately of your plans.

Remember how angry you were when some of your wedding guests canceled at the last minute? "I'll never be such a stinker," you said. So don't be. No Scarlett O'Hara "tomorrow is another day" pronouncements on this issue.If you can't or don't want to accept an in-law's holiday invitation, don't dodge the issue. Instead, bite the bullet and tell them as soon as possible. In addition to getting rid of an onerous duty, early notice also allows your in-laws to make alternate plans, if they so desire.

5) Don't Go There
Always check out all invitations with your spouse before you say yes or no. Try, "Thanks for the invitation. I'll talk it over with my beloved and get back to you." Never take it on yourself to make a decision about your whereabouts on a holiday -- even if your spouse doesn't celebrate it. If you want to surprise your spouse, men, unload the dishwasher or drop a few diamonds in her Diet Coke. Ladies, ditto on the dishwasher, but a Porsche usually goes over better than a diamond.

6) Family Matters
You can decrease holiday stress by concentrating more of your time on celebrating the way you like and involving more in-laws in the preparations. But don't forget to set aside some time to rest and relax!

7) Respect your in-law's decisions.
If one or more of your in-laws doesn't want to come to your holiday celebration, don't be a sore loser. Don't whine, nag, or moan. And don't pressure your in-laws to change their plans. Respect their decisions and you have a better chance of having them respect yours.

8) Be sensitive.
There's no denying that the holidays can be very tense under normal circumstances, but they can be especially trying if the year has been difficult. If someone has become ill or, God forbid, passed on, you may want to vary the celebration to overcome the trauma. This might be a good year to set the party in a different place or even take a family vacation instead.

9) Look for workable solutions.
Life isn't always black-and-white; there's a lot of room for gray between the lines. For example, say you want to spend New Year's Eve home but your in-laws want to have a party instead. Instead of giving a flat refusal, see what compromise you can work out. Maybe your in-laws could come to your home for dinner and then you could ring in the New Year at their party. This won't always work, but it's worth a shot.

10)Involve your in-laws in your traditions.
I'd be messing with your head if I said that it's easy to get everyone to play together nicely. Most people never learn to share their toys. For instance, some in-laws want to be included in every party and get angry if they're excluded; others just have very different styles of entertaining. Nonetheless, set aside some time for a ritual or two. It doesn't have to be something major like chopping and trimming a 200' blue spruce Christmas tree. Your rituals may be small and charming, like an hour of caroling or a evening of hot chocolate and cookies.


ToshaDevon said...

This was always a "sore issue" for me...I believe in STAYING HOME for the Holidays...but then again my family lives near me...his family lives in another state. We are both family oriented and love our families...so as the years passed we began going our separate ways for Holidays...well needless to say, that was the beginning of the end for us...But I believe strongly in STAYING at my OWN HOUSE for the Christmas Holidays because I wanted my children to wake up in their OWN beds and enjoy their toys and whatnot...but I think to each it's own...but it's a good topic...especially if you and your in-laws do not get alone (which was not the case in my situation) My mother and law and I get along just fine...but she SMOKES in her house (which is her right) and it irritates the heck out of me...So I'm interested to see how the Holidays will go for the other wives!!! Have a great day!!!

Anonymous said...

I am having the same issue. My inlaws always seem to want us to come over for the holidays. I personally like to be in thr comfort of my own home for the holidays. I don't really care for much company either. We have 4 children and I want my family to have our own holiday traditions. I told my husband in October that this year I did not want to go anywhere for the holiday's...Well Thanksgiving was here at our house, but Christmas we are going to his mom's anyway. I don't want to come off as a scrooge but i doing want to go. Everyone keeps telling me that I'm being unreal. I really don't see how that could be true because I want to stay home.......