Relationship Advice for Holidays
Whom You Should Spend the Holidays With?
Dear April Masini,
I get thoroughly confused when the holidays roll around because I never know what the proper rule is -- do I spend time with my parents, my husband and his kids, or my friends? Should I just throw one big party, invite them all and go crazy trying to keep the peace between them and mingle with everyone? I know lots of my friends (single, married, divorced, etc) could do with some advice as well! Please give me some helpful holiday tips.
There's Only One of Me
April Masini's Advice :
Dear There's Only One of Me,
Relax! Holidays are not the time to panic. Instead, you should keep your cool and enjoy it! Holidays are a time to come together, laugh and make merry -- so don't waste your time and energy worrying about whom to spend the holidays with. Generally, the rule of the thumb is:
If you’re single:
Spend time with your parents. You owe it to them.
If you can’t bear to spend time with your parents, spend time with your friends instead, but send a gift to your parents and siblings homes (where you’re not going) and call them on the holiday to send good wishes.
If you’re dating, DO NOT spend the holiday with your boyfriend or girlfriend UNLESS this is serious. If you invite him or her, they are going to assume it’s serious. Don’t invite a “fun” date or a casual date to be with you for the holidays unless you realize and are okay with sending them a clear signal that they are “the one.”
If you’re married:
If you’re married, invite the entire family to one home.
If you’re married and it’s not feasible to have everyone from both sides of the family come to one home, consider having a restaurant or catered holiday so cooking isn’t an issue. Hotels are also great respites for a holiday family weekend for all.
If you’re married and the above two ideas don’t work, switch years. Spend one year with her family and one year with his. If possible use both Christmas and Thanksgiving in this rotation or winter holidays and spring holidays in this rotation to increase visits.
If there are children and a divorce involved:
- Plan the schedule for the kids ahead of time. For anyone divorcing, splitting up the holidays for a custody schedule is not a pleasant task, but it is necessary, and if you do it sooner, rather than later, you will avoid combining fighting over the splitting of the holidays with the actual split. In other words, split the holidays in the custody agreement before the judge signs off on it to avoid fighting down the line.
- Alternate years. One year mom gets the kids for Christmas, and the dad gets them for New Year’s, and the next year, the reverse is true. Spell this out in the custody agreement. In fact, spell out the exact time that the custody schedule takes place — 2 p.m. on the Friday before Christmas — or whatever it is. Be exact because it will help to avoid doing it later.
- Tell the kids in advance of the schedule. They will handle the split better if they know what the schedule is and that both parents agreed on it.
- Send the children off with a happy face. Make sure that if you are not with your children, you are doing something to take care of yourself on the holidays, that the kids know where you will be, what you are doing, and when you will next meet up or talk on the phone, or both.