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Dealing With In-Laws at the Holidays

November 25, 2008

With Thanksgiving just a few days away and the other winter holidays quickly approaching, it can be a tough for couples to balance time together and family wars of which relatives to see. Dealing with in-laws during holidays isn’t a piece of cake – but there are a few things you can try so that everyone is happy.

Here are some tips to make your holidays less stressful:

1. Don’t Try to be Everywhere at Once: This is the first major problem couples face – everybody wants to see you for the holidays. But if you spend the day going from one house to another, you find yourself exhausted and irritable and realize you really didn’t actually see much of anyone at all. Pick just one or two places at most – and stick to it!

2. Compromise: Many couples can get into battles over which person’s family they spend visiting. It’s easy for one partner to feel like their family has been slighted – and it can often make them feel like their family is not good enough or cause resentment to build up in the relationship. Try to compromise – maybe you see his parents for breakfast, her parents for dinner. Compromising can help keep the peace between family get togethers during the holiday times.

3. Don’t Complain: So you’re stuck at your in-laws, the food is awful, the conversation is worse (they’ve spend the last 3 hours grilling you about every uncomfortable topic you could think of) – keep your lips sealed before you start voicing your frustrations! Go for a walk, start cleaning up dishes to get your mind off of it.

4. Find Alternatives: We’ve been pretty creative over the years – we’ve even celebrated the holiday with the family on other days before and after. Since you can’t be everywhere at once, maybe you can schedule to see some relatives the weekend before or after or celebrate in a different way. You can also choose to create your own traditions.

5. Stay in Tune to Each Other: It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of visiting relatives during the holidays – make sure you’re on the same page as your partner with everything from how long you expect to stay at each place as well as signs its time to bail out. Make sure you’re there to help if your partner starts getting the “third degree” from the in-laws.

6. Find Time for Yourselves: This is probably the hardest thing to do, but also important also. Spend at least an hour of the holiday completely alone – even if its just for a long car ride between stops or a late night piece of pie together.

Have any other tips for surviving the holidays as a couple and avoiding the common in-law holiday woes? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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