I’m going to be blunt: Holidays have always been a bit of a pain for my husband and I. Why? Because we both want to spend the holidays with each other and we also both want to see our families – BOTH of our families. We have never split up for the holidays, even when we were first dating (by the time our first holiday rolled around we’d been dating for six months). And our families don’t live anywhere near each other, so we can’t see both in the same day. It’s also been a drag because my husband and I are the ones that have been schlepping all over New England for the last decade to see everyone.
Since my husband is one of two kids, he and his sister have always done their best (and to my knowledge have never failed!) to make sure that their mom has at least one of her kid’s around on each holiday. This means that, depending on his sister’s schedule, we usually do Thanksgiving two years in a row with his family and then Christmas on those years with my family. In my family it’s been easier to make sure my parents aren’t alone on a holiday since there’s three of us and I’m the oldest… that is until the middle one started dating a boy whose family is from New Jersey and my youngest sister was dating a boy stationed in Florida. Suddenly it became a real possibility that my parents could end up hosting Thanksgiving dinner and not one of her kids would be there depending on what our “schedule” was that year. And I’ll be damned if we worked super hard for a decade to make sure my in-laws were never alone on a holiday only to give my parents the shaft. (Note: That never would have happened, hubs and I wouldn’t have let it, but it would have made things much more complicated for us as we tried to work out a schedule where we could see our parents and may have meant that we wouldn’t have been able to see each other- not gonna fly!)
So, last year while driving home from Christmas Day at my sister-in-law’s house my husband and I decided to take things into our own hands. To be honest, we were just sick of driving back and forth. We also knew that we wanted to have kids in the near future and that we wouldn’t necessarily be thrilled to always be out of our own home on a holiday. Add in that his mom cooks an amazing Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixin’s for an ever-dwindling crowd, and that we both have aging and ailing grandparents that we want to get more time with, and we felt that after 10 years of this dance we were going to change the rules.
Something that worked in our favor is that in my Portuguese Catholic family, Christmas Eve is a big deal – it’s practically the main event, whereas Christmas Day is much more low-key. In his Irish Catholic family, however, Christmas Eve is almost just another night, whereas Christmas Day is the big show. So … technically Christmas in my family is two days… and that right there was the key to our problem!
Our plan was thus: since we had just bought a big enough house to host a large gathering, we would host Thanksgiving every year with both of our families (this worked to give our future children at least one holiday with both sets of grandparents and cousins). We would do Christmas Eve every year with my family, and Christmas Day every day with his family. His sister said it sounded great, my parents said they were on board, and then so did his parents. Holy moly. With one fell swoop we had solved our holiday dilemma!
… except now, I have to host Thanksgiving and uh, guys… I don’t really know how to do that! Stick around, because in the next post I’ll talk about my grand plans for hosting.