Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Three Suggestions to Figure Out Family Visits During the Holidays

gift 1Reader Question:
  1. Both my husband and I love visiting family during the holidays. Each year we are invited to both families but they live in separate states about a three-hour drive from our home. Our relationship with both families is good and we don’t want to let either one down by not coming. How do we accommodate everyone without upsetting someone?


What a great problem to have. Both families want you to visit and you get along with both families. Obviously, you can’t be two places at once.


Many couples handle home visits by alternating years and holidays—visit your family one year and his the next. That said, kids grow quickly and grandparents don’t want to wait an entire year to see little ones ripping through gifts and squealing with delight. Those early years are so precious.

Another option is to have one set of grandparents visit you for part of the holiday, and travel to the other grandparents for the rest of the holiday.

One final suggestion is to examine each family’s traditions and prioritize where you will be and how long you will stay based on those priorities. For example, if Christmas Eve is more important in one family than Christmas day, go to Christmas Eve, bundle up the kids and travel for Christmas morning to the other family. I know this is tiring for you as parents, but the joy you bring to your families may be worth a few hours of less sleep. And grandparents are usually fine with giving you a nap while they watch the kids who slept in the car.  Traveling back and forth may be a little hectic but it can be done if it is important to you. I am a big believer in the importance of family and making time for children to know their grandparents. When my kids were little, we did a lot of travel back and forth to both families and I was so glad we did. It created a bond that continues in their teen years. It also taught them to value family, something that seems to be fading in our culture.

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