Sunday, October 16, 2011

Splitting Holiday time with family

So... halloween is almost here which means the Holiday season is going to be taking over our lives VERY QUICKLY. (for those of us who don't start in June that is;))

And every year we have the question of where do we spend the holidays. We do not live near our families (or anyone that we really know for that matter...) So, our holidays have always been split between CT or Maine. The year that we were pregnant with our first child, we selfishly decided that we didn't want to drive ANYWHERE (granted I was 8 months pregnant) so, we spent our last single christmas morning, alone together to open presents and have breakfast and then my family drove down from CT for the rest of the day. It was nice and I'm glad we got to do that just once.

The first year after our daughter was born, we spent Thanksgiving in CT with BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS. (all of us get along really, really, well, so it was a good time for everyone)

Her first christmas we spent at my parents house and it was lovely! There is just something about having christmas with my parents that makes me happy. Then we got to have a christmas weekend with Daves parents at our house a few weeks later. It was a nice way to let Katie have christmas with both sets of grandparents privately.

The hard part of spending Christmas at my parents was that we had to drive out there, sleep somewhere other than our house (which is ALWAYS hard for kids and us for packing supplies, etc...) and pack and tote around presents and then bring all her stuff back to our house... that part I could do without.

Katies second year, we hiked all the way up to Maine for Thanksgiving. It is a 6 hour drive minimum with no traffic or stops... not easy to do with kids AT ALL. I think we drove late at night so that she slept in the carseat and we might have had to stop at a hotel in the middle of the drive because she wouldn't sleep -either way, it ended up working out ok and not being too hard. She always slept poorly when we travelled and then slept poorly for a few days after travelling too... So, it's not something we like to do all the time.

We love going to maine, but it's such a far drive that it makes it very hard to do. Now with Ben, it's even harder to do because he doesn't sleep for long in the car and won't sit in the car awake for too long before he tries to break out of his carseat - so we aren't sure what we are doing for holidays this year. It's hard to travel as a family of 4 and stay overnight anywhere - especailly with a baby who doesn't sleep through the night. But, at the same time, we like spending holidays with our parents - so every year we are torn about what to do and where to go.

How do you split your holiday time? Do you travel? Do you refuse to travel? Do you have people come to you? Do you pick a time other than the holiday itself to get together so you can avoid high priced tickets and expensive, travel with traffic??

When do you decide to just have holidays be for you and your kids?

Lucky for Dave and I, we don't have siblings that we have to share holiday time with or plan around their plans - so I can't even imagine if you come from a big family, how you get to see everyone and not hurt anyone's feelings. I feel for you because I can only imagine all you want in the world is to sleep in your own bed and stay in pj's all day - cause sometimes that's all I want - but then I think to myself - how is that any different than any other weekend (well, except for the presents of course) and I end up deciding to have holidays with our parents because it's more fun that way!

I think this year, we might have our Christmas be just the 4 of us - as we are in a house now which to me, feels a little more festive and manageable - but who knows - I will probably decide that's too boring!

Thanksgiving is tough too because I don't know if Ben will sit in the car for as long as it takes us to get to Maine and the trip home always ends up feeling like it takes FOREVER....The holidays are stressful enough right? If only someone could come up with a way to teleport instantly! It's 2011, someone get on that please!


  1. Hi Annie!
    This is something that is extremely difficult and we only have one child right now! Like you said, traveling any amount of time (for us it is over three hours) is not always fun, especially with not being in your own place, needing to bring everything under the sun INCLUDING gifts and worrying about inevitably forgetting something. We have a (little) dog too! Both of our families are in CT but it is hard to split the time between the two sides and we both have two siblings each. We usually do the meal at one place and dessert at another for Thanksgiving (we switch off) and for Christmas, we spent Christmas Eve with one family and Christmas Day with the other. We also have to consider our brothers and sisters and what is going on with their in-laws and jobs so things have changed from year to year! We just bought our house this summer and I wonder as Jeremy gets older if he will wonder why Santa goes to Nonnie's house and not our own...
    Good luck!
    :) Danielle

  2. We always travel for holidays. We usually switch between my family and hubs family for Thanksgiving each year and then we switch Christmas Eve & Christmas Day each year the same way back and forth (because we also have to coordinate with two sides of my family and our sisters & brothers). It's exhausting and I hate when we can't seem to get everyone in - but Mike also put his foot down and said he would like to have it be just our family first thing Christmas morning. That actually makes a little easier, because in my family we used to shlep all of our things and spend the night at someone's house with all of our cousins and it was pretty chaotic. Definitely not relaxing at all!! That being said, I couldn't imagine not seeing anyone else in our family for holidays - grandparents definitely get priority and then our sisters & brothers (& the kids cousins) and then anyone else we can get in there is a great bonus... even if it means driving out to Long Island for Christmas Eve and then driving back out to CT for Christmas Day. When we have our own house, I am sure we will elbow our way in for a turn for Christmas (did I mention my side of the family also rotates where they do Christmas each year?) I am already getting a little bit of a headache thinking of it all! haha

  3. OK now I know things would be completly different if my family lived some place other than 15 minutes from me. However Gene's family is 14 hours away so I will say that there is no way I am ever traveling that far for a holiday. So we holiday at our house and invite all strays without a place to go to join us. Gene's parents usually come down for Christmas. Easter I am flexible and have traveled to FL and GA to spend the holiday.
    I remember as a child having Christmas morning at home and then getting pulled away to travel to different sides of the family thoughout the day. I always hated leaving everything I just got and swore if there was anyway I could avoid that for my kids I would.

  4. So my family all live within 20 minutes of us. I suppose we are lucky for that, however...My side of the family is LARGE and kinda anti-social. My immediate family likes to have thanksgiving and Christmas at the parent's house...basically just the 10 of us. Our grandparents sometimes come by for dinner but leave after a few hours. My husband's side of the family is in basically just his mom. You think, easy! just have MIL come to the parent's house for the holidays. Thing is, we tried it and our families DO NOT MESH well. EVERYONE was uncomfortable and I decided that I'm not gonna make 10 people miserable on the holidays just because I got married. So, now we do a brunch at the MIL's for thanksgiving, main event at my parent's. Christmas eve at Hubby's godmother's house with the MIL and Christmas day at my mom's with a second Christmas during the week after. It is a giant pain in the ass and everywhere we go with the in laws there are cats which both Pete and I are allergic to so we can't stay and then get made to feel bad when we leave. So. Much. Fun.