Seeing Your Family During the Holidays … ALL Your Family

Everyone knows that the holidays are the one time everyone gets together.  But when there’s just so many people to see how will you find time to fit in a visit with everyone.  We’ll give you some tips on on we manage to fit in time with all our families, as well as tell you how we manage our time each year with our own families.

Sarah’s Family Holiday Plan
My holiday season is pretty easy to handle.  My dad’s side of my family understands how hard it is to get time in with everyone’s families because there’s so many of us.  So for that side of my family we get together every year at the same time, the Sunday before Christmas.  So for example this year since Christmas is on Wednesday, we’ll be getting together on Sunday the 22nd.  If Christmas is a Monday or Tuesday we do it a week before, so last year Christmas was Tuesday, so we got together on Sunday the 16th.  When it comes to my mom’s side of the family we’ve been getting together on the same day as long as I can remember.  Boxing Day, none of us want to stress ourselves out by going shopping that day so we take that time to get together for the afternoon.

This year is the 5th Christmas that I’ve had a spouses family to add in to the mix.  The first two years we got together on Christmas Day.  The next two years we got together on Christmas Eve (first time was because we were taking our son who was 3 months old at the time to see my family for his first Christmas), then it was just easier to do Christmas Eve so that everyone could have Christmas day with their families.  This year it’s Christmas Day again because it’s really the only day everyone has off work.  My hubby doesn’t have much extended family that he’s in contact with so we don’t need to worry about seeing his dad’s side and his mom’s side.  We just focus on getting all the siblings and grandchildren together for a day.

Bonnie’s Family Holiday Plan
Christmas is a hectic time of year for the boyfriend and I. We both have large families, obligations and traditions to uphold at this time of year.

First off we have our “friendsmas” which is a lot like friendsgiving but just at Christmas. My best friends, and my brothers get together the weekend before Christmas at my place, and have a pot luck dinner. We exchange gifts, and just have a great time. This year, we have my God Son’s first birthday party, and a wedding the weekend it would normally be, so we are doing this on Monday the 23rd, because none of us want to mess with tradition.

The 24th, Pete, my mom and I have our Christmas at my house. It makes things a lot easier, as my mom’s apartment is entirely too small, for us to spend the night, so my mom now comes here. We have a nice dinner, and sit by the fire, open stockings, and gifts. Pete is a lot happier as he gets to sleep a lot later the next day.

Christmas day we go to five different places, sometimes six if we can fit it in. My Grandmothers, Pete’s grandparents, Pete’s dads, our friend Dan’s, and Pete’s mom. It all comes down to the perfect timing for us. We have a schedule, and everyone knows this (as this is the 5th year we are doing this) and everyone respects that. Our final destination is the one we look forward to every year, because it is the last stop we get to have a drink and put our feet up.

Tips and Tricks:
Figure out who you are, when it comes to scheduling. If you are like Sarah, and have the time to schedule certain days for certain divisions of your family do so. This is by far not my boyfriends thing, so this approach does not work for us.

Take in to consideration who you want to see and spend the most time with.  That will help you determine when and where you will spend your holidays.

If it’s at all possible, see if each side of your family can get together at once, lessening the number of trips you have to make.

If you are like Bonnie and your work schedule only gives you the two days off; make a schedule and stick to it. As much as an inconvenience it is for you the first year, with people begging you to stay, and spend your precious time with them. After you have established the schedule people will begin to respect it, and it will in fact become apart of your tradition.

Here’s an example of how your timing might need to go when needing to go to 5 different places in one day.  The key is to start early in the day!  (This timeline is based of Bonnie’s Christmas day, you’ll need to take in to consideration how long your travel time is, and who you want to spend the most time with)
9am – Leave the house for first destination
10:45pm – Get to first stop
12:30pm – Leave for second destination
1pm – Get to second stop
3pm – Leave for third destination
3:30pm – Get to third destination
4:30pm – Leave for fourth destination
5pm – Get to fourth stop
6pm – Leave for fifth and final destination
6:30pm – Get to fifth stop.  Have a drink (or two)! Congrats you made it through Christmas for another year.

Another option is to host Christmas yourself, and make everyone come to you. I did this one year, (Bonnie) for thanksgiving. I did not like the 22 people coming in and out of my house at all hours of the day, it made for an even longer day than usual, and it was a lot of stress. An outsider looking at our Christmas day schedule might get stressed just looking at it, but it works for us. The trick is to find what works for you and your family.

Lastly, make sure all your stops are somewhere you want to be. Don’t force yourself to spend time with people who you don’t want to be around. It is Christmas, a time for love, family and friends, it is supposed to be a special day, make sure you enjoy yourself, and have fun.

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