The holidays are approaching! Store windows are filling with the lights and sounds of cheer that the season brings. As I create lists and check off items, one thing comes to mind…how will we divide our time, our family time, during those precious holidays? Before getting married, it was simple. I spent time with my mom and sisters, then visited my significant other’s family for an hour or two. But now that I have a husband and son, things are very different. An hour or two of family time would definitely not make grandma and grandpa happy, nor would I expect it to. Here are a few tips to keep the joy (and peace) alive during the holiday season.
1. Mix and mingle!
If at all possible, gather your family and your in-laws for a get-together in one location. You can avoid the hassle of strapping babies and antsy toddlers in their carseats when going to multiple places. Also, your guests can bring their own creations to share in a potluck manner, which can open the door for conversation and interaction between your family members while cutting back on your cooking time. (Did you read Lisa’s post about Hosting Thanksgiving?) Keep in mind how many guests you will expect so that you can accommodate them, both with space and food.
2. Be sensible to each family’s needs
Spending the entire afternoon with your own family and only an hour with your in-laws may be a reason for hurt feelings. Keep in mind that your families want to see not only you, but your children as well. Quality time, especially during the holidays is precious and fleeting. Your families will greatly appreciate the effort you have made to create memories with them during these special days. (Here are some family craft ideas and here, too) Try to divide your time evenly so no one feels left out. My husband and I visit with his family during the morning and have lunch on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. During the afternoon, we visit with my family and have dinner. This has seemed to work the best for us, especially now that we have a son added in the mix.
3. Discuss your plans ahead of time
Talk to your spouse about your expectations and how you can consolidate your ideas regarding spending time with your families. Make sure that you are on the same page and have agreed on a particular plan of action before the holidays begin rolling around. Next, discuss this with your respective families and let them know approximately when and for how long you will be visiting their homes or if you will be hosting a particular meal of the day. Making sure everyone is aware of your plans will help ensure no one gets their feelings hurt or has unfulfilled expectations.
4. Follow the timeline you create
The minutes seem to tick by faster around the holidays! Try to adhere to your timeline as best as you can. While wrangling kiddos in and out of vehicles can be difficult to say the least, being on time (or as close as possible) will let your families know that you care about spending time with them and respect the importance of good old quality time.
5. Have fun!
Planning your activities during the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful, especially for type A mommies like myself. Try to give yourself some credit. At the end of the day, you can only try your best and know that you are putting your kids first. Enjoy your time with your families, whoever that may be and know that your efforts will allow for special memories that will last a lifetime. Happy holidays!
What will your plan of action be this holiday season?