Juggling the holiday wishes of both sides of your family can be trying for anyone, but when the family includes several sets of divorced or separated couples, the demands seem to rise exponentially – as does the potential for hurt feelings and future grudges over who gets more face time.
Here is a game plan suggested by psychologists:
Get together and plan travel and family engagements early.
Gently propose alternative dates that at least one family may agree to.
Blend families with care. Don’t force divorced parents to come to the same event.
Prepare yourself for any emotional pot holes you may face. If there are unresolved tensions, put them on the back burner. Keep it light.
If your relationship is new, warn your partner if you behave differently around family.
If you haven’t made detailed plans for this year, it may be too late. So after surviving the best you can, use a January or February debriefing to lay the groundwork for next year. Try to address your hosts’ efforts and needs, not just your own.
Experts say the top priority for surviving the family is to plan carefully and early, sometimes down to the hour.