Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some other holiday, deciding where to spend your time is never easy! You maybe split between a significant others family and yours, shelling out the big bucks to get home, or are simply tired of family drama and would rather be home alone or with friends ??♀️.
Today I'm answering a reader Q:
“My boyfriend wants me to go with his family for Thanksgiving and I'm freaking out! I've never not spent Thanksgiving with my parents. What if they are mad? What if his family doesn't like me and we break up? Then I'll be even more upset I missed spending the holiday with my family! Where should I go?!”
I totally get the dilemma. Where to spend Thanksgiving, and the holidays in general, is one of those issues that grows as we move into this whole #adulting thing. Like never before did you have to think about this, amiright?! Anyway, it sounds like there are a few things to consider here… I'm going to break down my answer specific to the reader, but also more general to help others figure out where to spend the holidays for themselves!
How To Figure Out Where To Spend The Holidays: [Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years!]
Can you make both happen?
First things first, let's tackle the ideal situation where everyone gets what they want and you hit up all the festivities! Is it possible to get to both? If they are within reasonable driving distance of one another it may be possible! Perhaps one of you can ask one of the families to start at a particular time so the meals are staggered and you can spend as much time at both as possible! I know a lot of families do Thanksgiving at like 2 pm and many who do it at 7 pm. If distance, and timing aren't working out, then maybe it's a matter of spending the morning with your family, prepping the meal and enjoying some appetizers as people come, then whisking off to the other family. Try to get creative and be flexible here while asking for what you want. Family and friends aren't mind readers and they may be more than happy to accommodate a switch if you give them enough notice.
Do you like your family and want to spend the holiday with them?
It sounds like the reader does from how they asked the question – but I know that isn't the case for everyone! So I want to pose it as a serious question – do you actually enjoy spending Thanksgiving or the other holidays with your family? Personally, I realized after leaving one too many family holidays in tears that it didn't make me happy. So I decided to stop going. If you're in that boat, here's your permission to do what feels right for you! At that point, it's probably a no brainer to try spending the holiday with your significant other's family or even friends!
Now if you do love spending the holiday with your family, that's great! Continuing reading…
What will it cost you to get to your Thanksgiving or holiday destination?
Whether it's your family or your significant other's do you have the funds to actually make the trip happen? Is it just a drive down the street or a cross country flight? If it's the latter, beyond money, what else will it cost you? Personally, a cross country flight during one of the busiest travel times of the year sounds like my worst nightmare, so it'd cost me a bit of my sanity, and probably some of my productivity too since I may need a few days to recover before jumping back into work.
Now, if you're going to meet your significant other's family for the first time – that's a big milestone. Not going could imply you don't want to meet them or that you may not be in alignment with your significant other in the future on these things. It may be worth traveling just to meet them and see if you can see yourself in this relationship for the long haul. If you decide you don't want to go because of money or your sanity, but not because of the family, make that clear to your significant other so it doesn't cause potential issues down the road.
Evaluate the cost/benefit of getting to each Thanksgiving or holiday destination and see if that rules either one out.
Meditate on it.
After going through all of the above, if you're still stumped, meditate on that ish! Seriously, take some time to turn inward and figure out what you actually want. Are you scared to go to your significant other's Thanksgiving because it makes the relationship more real? Or are you scared because you know the relationship is already over and you don't know how to say it? If you're in a different situation, are you afraid of just disappointing others or something else? Chances are your fear is a sign of something greater, try turning inward and figuring out what that is.
Talk about your wants for Thanksgiving and holiday plans
Alright, you've been doing a lot of internal investigation with these last few steps, so now it's time to actually talk with your partner if you haven't been already. See if there's a compromise. Let them know the fears you discovered. These moments are where partnership either grows in a couple or distance does. This is your chance to express where you're at, what's been coming up, and see if there are any solutions you may not have come across already. How you handle this conversation as a couple could make all the difference with regard to your desire of where you spend the holiday.
If you're in a slightly different situation where you're simply being pulled in a million directions for the holidays, but not because of a significant other, then talk with whoever is involved. Take everything with a grain of salt though since everyone has their own motives at the end of the day.
Originally published 11/9/18