I grew up with divorced parents, and I’ve been dating my now-husband for the past 10 years, so I’m very familiar with “splitting holidays.” Whether you are trying to figure out how to split time with your separated parents, or are planning to spend time at your significant other’s house this season, read some of my top tips. My first piece of advice is to come up with a plan. You don’t need to have a rigidly timed schedule, but you need to have a clear plan in place on when and where you’ll be. When everyone knows what to expect, you can minimize any yelling or guilt trips.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION — My family lives in Maine, about a 10 hour drive from my Manhattan apartment. My husband’s family lives on Long Island, less than an hour away. For the past 5 years, we have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them. I made this decision based on the hassle and cost of trying to travel during the holiday season. I ALWAYS call home on these important holidays and make sure I send gifts to arrive on time. If you’re really ambitious, you could open gifts “together” over Face Time — modern technology can be a good thing!
GETTING A RAIN CHECK — I can travel home to Maine twice as much or for twice as long if I go during a random week of the year, when plane tickets and travel is much less money and work. Since we all live in the snowy Northeast, there is always a chance my flight could be cancelled due to weather — something I don’t have to worry about if I visit in the spring or summer.
DOUBLE DATE –– If you are trying to spend time with both of your parents, and they live fairly close to each other, the timing is important. I use to literally have Thanksgiving lunch with my mom, and then Thanksgiving dinner with my dad. They lived a few minutes away, so it was do-able, and this ensured I saw everyone on “the day.”
PRIORITIZE — If your mom goes ALL OUT decorating and cooking on Christmas Eve, try to spend the 24th with her. If your Dad dresses up as Santa on Christmas morning, that is something that shouldn’t be missed. See which days and holidays are REALLY important to your family and choose where to go based on your cherished traditions.
SWITCH IT UP — It’s a no brainer to spend Thanksgiving with your in-laws, and Christmas or Hanukkah with your own family. You could also switch off by year, and try to make a rotating schedule of visits. In the end, try to do your best, and know you probably can’t make EVERYONE happy, but it’s the effort that counts.