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How do you do the holidays with multiple family gatherings and kids?!? The question comes up a lot especially this time of year. It is one of those things you must figure out once married. How do you see everyone and still maintain sanity? Before kids it is easier to drive to the multiple holiday dinners and see everyone, at least make an appearance for a few hours at each.
I have never been a fan of that though. Maybe because growing up my grandparents were divided by 8 hours and that simply wasn’t an option. I love visiting and spending all day with the family gathered. I get to talk with family I only see a few times a year, because so much physical distance separates us.
Shortly after I was married, my grandparents that lived in Colorado moved to Nebraska. I settled down about 30 minutes from my parents and farmed with my husband’s family. That left 3 out of 4 sets of grandparents within 30 minutes of us. We could totally do the holiday circus run but chose not to. Instead, we rotate.
Since both my grandparents live so close to my parents, and many of the extended family doesn’t come back on Thanksgiving or Christmas, often the holiday is celebrated together. We choose to visit the side furthest away (3 hours), even though both grandparents have now died, over Thanksgiving every year. Since this is an overnight trip, we go when the weather is usually nice and little chance of snow, to leave the farm. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is then rotated between my parents and my husbands. Usually, we switch every year where we spend which day, but sometimes that changes depending on when family will be back.
Is this set-in stone? No. It is the general outline with flexibility for when extend family gets together. For example, this year my mom’s side is all getting together the Saturday after Thanksgiving, to celebrate my grandparent’s anniversary. Will we be there? Yes! Will we still make our normal Thanksgiving trip? Yes, we just won’t stay until Saturday!
The point is we don’t drive ourselves crazy trying to get to everyone’s dinner. Every dinner gets an entire day, to gather, to catch up, and make memories.