Growing up, I spent time with both sides of my family on all the major holidays. My mom’s side of the family had very different traditions from my dad’s side, so holidays didn’t really overlap with one another. For instance, my grandma always serves Thanksgiving dinner at 2pm, while my nana doesn’t have dinner until 5. My mom’s side of the family celebrates Christmas Eve, and my dad’s celebrates Christmas Day (in the late afternoon). It helps that they’re from the same area of town and there wasn’t an awful lot of traveling involved.
I was 22 when I met Papa Jumper, and this was the first time I had to balance seeing a third family over the holidays. It meant my family had to be a little bit more giving — I couldn’t be everywhere at once! Papa Jumper and I came up with a few compromises that worked out really well our first four years of dating and marriage, but we had to figure out a new way to balance the holidays after Chloe was born.
THANKSGIVING & EASTER
Since my in-laws celebrate Thanksgiving and Easter at the same time as my dad’s side of the family, we decided to start alternating those two holidays between the families. For Chloe’s first Thanksgiving we celebrated with my in-laws and we had Easter with my dad’s side of the family. We alternate which family we see on the actual holiday, then spend time with the other family over the long weekend.
We live about an hour from my in-laws and twenty minutes from my parents, so it was a little more difficult to figure out how to visit all sides of the family while making sure we had time for our nuclear family as well. A light bulb didn’t go off until my sister in law told me that in her family, they “celebrate where the kids are.” What an awesome idea! My husband’s family agreed this was a great idea, so we started hosting Christmas Brunch at our house. It’s a fun new tradition and also gives us a lot of time to spend as a nuclear family… and it means my in-laws can celebrate Christmas morning with one another, too! Now we spend Christmas Eve home as the three of us and we open presents on Christmas morning. Then we start preparing for brunch. It makes for a very relaxing Christmas, and none of us are rushed! Most importantly, Chloe has a ton of fun. Now that she’s a bit older, we’re even more excited for the holidays because she “gets” it now.
Of course, this is a plan that works really great for us and our family. It helps that all of our family is local to the area, which really cuts down on travel time.
How do you balance the holidays?