Big family, small family, loud family, tall family, political family, low-key family, nerdy family, dirty family and the drunk Uncle; everybody's got one. No matter the family make-up, newlyweds will soon be faced with the whose In-Laws they'll spend the holidays with decision. Even some couples, married for decades get anxiety and have nightmares when the holidays approach. She-Devil mother-in-law just can't seem to say something nice about you in that dress or anything nice at all. Do you know what your holiday plans are? Hopefully the answer is "Yes." As a newlywed couple, it's really important to discuss a few things; the holiday, who you'll see and what the expectations of each family are. Communication and pre-planning are the best ways to avoid disappointing both families, upsetting your mother-in-law, and your spouse. Below are a few of the most common holiday scenarios and some suggestions to make them fun, successful and less stressful!
In-Law Holiday: Are you spending quality time with your in-laws to celebrate? There are a few things you can do to make the holiday go smoothly. First, get the scoop from your spouse. What does his family typically do (it helps to know if you're expected to play flag football or croquette) and pack accordingly. Also, email or call his mom to ask if you can bring something. If she says no, be sure to bring a hostess gift of flowers or chocolates! You can also score family bonus points by bringing something for your new nieces and nephews.
The Holidays with Your Family: Preparing to spend time with your folks? Talk to your spouse about what your family traditions are and ask what his favorite parts of the holidays are. You can ask your parents to add a favorite dish or activity to make him feel included.
Holidays at Both Families Houses: If you live close to both sets of parents and they can be flexible on meal times, this may be the best way to begin your holidays together. Brunch with your family and dinner with his, gives you the best of both worlds and satisfies both families. Be aware though, you may be setting the expectation that you'll do double holidays for eternity!
Combined Family Holiday at Your House: Hosting a holiday as newlyweds is a great way for your families to get to know each other post-wedding. Just be sure to talk to both sides and make sure that they're okay with spending time as a group. The first celebration will be the biggest adjustment for all of you (especially if you are a mixed religion couple). If you can incorporate traditions from both sides and let both moms bring something for the meal, you're on the road to a successful event. Don't forget to add a tradition or dish that is totally yours!
Just the Two of You: Too far away to celebrate with your families? Consider the weekend as a great way to spend time together as a couple and create a memorable holiday and possibly some traditions. You could go out for a meal or make your own elaborate feast. Making silly decorations together or stuffing stockings for each other can also be fun!
2 + Friends: Spending the holidays away from family and know a few other people who are too? Host a holiday brunch and have each guest bring a component. You'll all bond over a meal and not feel like you missed out on the holiday hubbub and the kid/baby questions. You might be glad about the latter. Feel free to be creative when planning your holiday event. You could even host a themed cocktail party in the evening for friends and neighbors to unwind after time spent with their families!
However you spend the coming holidays, be grateful that you have a loving spouse to share the them with.