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How real couples divide up family time on holidays

Figuring out where to go for the holidays was a no brainer when it was just you. But now that you have a significant other to celebrate with, well, what do you do?

Happy couple on phone on Christmas

We questioned real couples to find out exactly how they divide up family time on holidays without hurting feelings. Read on to see if any of their ideas could work for you and your partner.


Give each family a specific holiday

“My boyfriend and I divide up holiday time by giving each family a specific holiday. We live in California, most of my family lives in Nevada and his family lives in Philadelphia. As you can imagine, there’s no room for sharing when it comes to the most important holidays. Last year, we spent time with our families without one another, and that’s no fun. So we’ll do Thanksgiving in Philly and Christmas in Reno this year. As for the rest of the holidays, well, we’ll probably be catching a cruise to somewhere without the fam!” — Christina Bacock, 23


Alternate every year

“My husband and I are very much on the same page about many things, the holidays included, so we usually decide pretty easily. If we had Christmas Eve at my parents’ and Christmas at his parents’ one year, we would switch it up for the following year. Our families are laid back so it’s usually a non-issue.” Jenny Law, 30


Create new traditions

“My husband and I have always done holidays together with both our families. We rotate timing so that, as a couple, we get to see both sides of the family. We’ve done this since the first year we were together. Now it’s just a tradition that we celebrate Thanksgiving Day with his parents and Black Friday with mine. Then on Christmas, we do Christmas Eve with his parents and Christmas Day with mine. It’s kind of just become the normal so we don’t even have to discuss anymore, although things will get much harder when we have kids and our sibling start to get married.” Andrea Keister, 26


Come up with your own system

“My fiancé and I have come up with a system that’s worked pretty well for the last few years. The challenge is her entire family is in Chicago and mine splits their time between Cincinnati and Tennessee. Hers is large, mine is small. Thanksgiving is a big deal in my family though and not in hers so we do Thanksgiving with my family. Christmas is huge for both our families so we separate for Christmas. Neither of our families cares about New Year’s so we spend that time with a concentration of friends.” Ben Cober, 28

Read about how divorced parents survive the holidays >> 

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