4 ways to making dividing the holidays a bit easier - KMSP-TV

4 ways to making dividing the holidays a bit easier

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For a lot of couples, splitting the holidays between your families can feel more like holiday fear than holiday cheer. Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, gives tips for handling stressful family demands this time of year.

Splitting the holidays can be difficult for many reasons. First, each of you have certain traditions with your own families that you want to continue to celebrate. Most people enjoy being with their families during the holidays (dysfunction and all) and it can be hard to think of not attending the celebrations you've been used to for so many years. It's especially difficult to forgo the comfortability of your own family if you don't quite feel part of your in-laws' family just yet.

What to do:

1. Talk about what you want as a couple BEFORE involving anyone else. Make sure you and your new spouse are on the same page before one of you commits to anything. You have to be fair and spread your newlywed joy evenly, so you don't have hurt feelings from either set of parents. Maybe you can agree to attend the holiday that is most important to each family. Or, start a new tradition and invite both sets of parents over to your home for the holidays {make them bring something!}.

2. Discuss the traditions you each have with your respective families, and why they're important to you. What traditions do you want as a NEW family, and how do you want to celebrate each holiday as a couple. If you're lucky, one family might love to celebrate Thanksgiving while the other could care less. This will definitely make splitting things up easier.

3. Work on compromising. If you both feel strongly about attending your own parents' celebrations for Christmas, work with both sets to coordinate schedules. Hopefully your families will realize they need to be flexible too. Tell them why it's important to be at each family for this holiday.

4. Tell your families your decision, and present a united front. Don't say things like "John is making us spend Thanksgiving with his family and there's nothing I can do about it." You have a lot of time ahead of you to negotiate holidays, so if you fail to present a united front in the beginning, the pressure will only get worse. Show both sets of parents that you decide as a couple, and that they need to respect your decisions {whether they like them or not}.

For more information on Adrienne's counseling services and relationship tips, please visit her website at www.TheEngagementCoach.com

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