Monday, October 31, 2005

Explaining Your Holiday Plans

One of the problems with having a baby is that everyone wants to be around! While that may seem like a lot of fun, it can turn into a problem easily because you will find that you cannot accommodate everyone. The holidays are one of these times, and they can be stressful when you are having a baby.

You and your partner need to decide how you want to spend the holidays. Be honest with each other. If one or the other has holiday celebrations that are not very exciting, then say that you would like to spend the holiday with someone else. If you are close enough to everyone, you can work out a schedule to see both families (or all families if there have been any divorces) around the same time. If everyone is spread out, then you may be looking at Thanksgiving with one set of grandparents and Christmas with another.

Be honest with each other. Think about who has other children at the celebration, who has a more baby-friendly celebration, and who gets to see baby often. The holidays are a time to be with family, so if you often spend the time with one set of grandparents, you should make the effort to see the other set at Christmas. For example, in our family, my husband's sister never comes down for Christmas. Her husband has a child from a previous relationship, and they stay close to him for Christmas. We have decided that we will spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws instead since my family has a huge Christmas celebration.

You need to let everyone know your plans in advance. Because Grandma will be making plans in her head even if she has not started planning, you should let her know if you will not be there. This situation definitely can be a case of "easier said than done." The best way is the direct approach. Give Grandma and Grandpa a call or visit. Sit down with them and explain what you are doing for the holidays.

If this family will feel shafted, then you should have your explanation in hand (and the two of you should be together). Just tell them that you are going to divide your time X way and then let them deal with it. You can explain why. "Well, we feel that her parents have a bigger Christmas thing. They're very religious, and we're not, so it's just a holiday to us. We want to share it with her family." Do not be negative or make another family sound better; just explain it the way it is.

Whatever you do, do not allow the grandparents to make you change your mind. Their reasoning may sound logical at the time, but you have to remember that they are biased. They want you to be with them, which feels great, but you and your partner must stick to the plans you have made with each other. Take charge of your family while your baby is still young so that it will be easier as he or she ages.

By Julia Mercer

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