Family: Holiday Time Allocation
It's all good until you're in a serious relationship or married, and suddenly you have to figure out how you will split your time for major holidays. You suddenly would like nothing more than to have more than 24 hours in a day, or to miraculously be in two places at once. On my wedding day, the last thing that was on my mind was if we would wake up in our own home on Christmas. When I was pregnant with Madison, I never once thought, "How will our time be allocated on Mother's Day?" It is certainly something to sit down and plan out far in advance, its far less stressful that way. Just make sure you consider 3 families, and not just 2. After all, even if it’s just you and your spouse, you guys are family too, and the most important one.
JD and I are both EXTREMELY close to our families, and not only that, our families live about 2 hours away from each other. One may think, "Oh, that's drive-able, not bad at all...splitting the day is easy" haha, think again. It would be so much easier if they lived only 15-20 minutes apart, but over the last few years, we have tried our very best to make it work.
I am going to share with you how we allocate our time during the holidays, and while it works for us... it doesn't necessarily mean it'll work for you. Our plans are always changing and it’s for sure a work in progress. I just remember when I first realized we had to figure out how we were going to spend our holidays, I went to google for answers.:) When it comes down to it, sacrifices will be inevitable, old traditions may change, new ones will be started -beautiful memories will continue to be made.
The five holidays I find most difficult to allocate our time are: Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. So, for starters, my husband and I work every 3rd weekend. We have a very similar schedule which works beautifully. Easter is one of the only holidays both of our workplaces are open for business, so there is chance we are scheduled to work. When we are off, my sister-in-law hosts a huge Easter gathering for family and friends at her home which is about 1 hour away from us. It usually starts around noon, so we usually do Easter Vigil with my parents the night before Easter, then head to Youngsville late Sunday morning. We stay until about 4:30 PM, then head to my parents’ house for dinner. This holiday actually works out the best because our families have events scheduled at different times.
For Thanksgiving, we are usually both off. Both of our families love getting together for this holiday. Traditionally, both sides of our families had gatherings scheduled around 12:30-1:00pm, so we have had to compromise a bit. We typically hang out with my parents Thanksgiving morning, then head to New Iberia for a gathering with his side of the family that usually starts around 1-2pm. The thing that sucks is it’s about an hour and 45-minute drive, so we spend a BULK of our day on the road. We try to make it back in time to have dinner with my parents. The real big compromise is spending so much time driving in such a small time frame, but it’s completely worth it to see smile on our families faces.
Christmas, is where it begins to get a little tricky. For starters, I am an only child. As a little girl, my mom and I always went out in the Christmas Eve chaos early in the day, then we would head home to settle in and prepare for Christmas day. My parents would allow me to open one gift, and without fail that gift was Christmas pajamas. I would put on my new pajama, bake cookies for Santa and watch Christmas movies until I fell asleep. We ALWAYS opened gifts at home the first thing on Christmas morning - just my parents and I, and then later in the day, we either hosted Christmas for our local extended family, or went to my Mimi's for Christmas supper.
My husband's side had their own set of traditions as well. They all went to Christmas Eve mass together as a family, then prepared for their annual Christmas Eve they hosted for their extended family. They would then wake up Christmas morning and open gifts as a family and leave wrapping paper all over! Imagine doing things one way for so long, and boom, you're married and everything has to change.
We were fortunate enough to have time to transition into the changes and kiss some, but not all, of the traditions goodbye. Our first Christmas that we were engaged, my mom and I drove down to Abbeville, Louisiana for The Fusilier's Annual Christmas Eve party, and drove back home that same night. Christmas morning, I opened gifts with my family, as did he, and then he came down to Baton Rouge to spend the rest of Christmas with me. This same exact plan worked for our first year of marriage too, but Madison’s first Christmas was the true test.
There is something about waking up in your own home on Christmas morning with your spouse and kid, it just gives life an entirely different meaning. For Madison’s first Christmas we all attended the Christmas Eve party together and all came back together the same evening. We both agreed on the importance of starting our own Christmas traditions as a family as well. We wanted nothing more than to wake up at home on Christmas listening to Christmas carols, and hosting a Christmas gathering of our own. It makes me smile so big just thinking about it.
The final holidays I want to talk about are Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. This was probably the most difficult holiday to split up by far. Prior to us becoming parents, it was pretty simple, we both spent time with our mom or dad. When we became parents ourselves, that’s when it got a little more complicated. I remember asking so many of my friends and googling how to best split the day, but I kept getting different answers. For our first Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we both spent the first half of the day with our parents, then the latter half of the day, JD drove back to Baton Rouge to spend it with my parents and I. Not everyone will agree with this, but thinking back on the day, I would do it the exact same way!
I cannot say enough, that you have to do what works best for you and your family. Your circumstances may not be the same and your perspective may be completely different than ours. I am an only child, and he’s the only boy, so both our families love spending time with us a whole lot (haha). Here is what I know for sure, when you’re making holiday plans, communicating and compromising with your significant other/spouse may not be the easiest thing, but it is extremely important. You should also consider talking with both sides of your family, they deserve to be in the loop. It is sometimes impossible to make everyone happy every single time, but as long as you’re fair, that is all that really matters. To anyone who is stressing wondering how best to spend your holidays, pray about it, that’s made all of the difference for us!
Thanks so much for reading!