The holidays already make families feel like they're being pulled in a million different directions, particularly if kids are involved. But when you and your significant other must split your time among your two families, then the holidays can be even more stressful. So what's a family to do when they're in high demand during the holidays? A few scenarios might be applicable. With people moving farther and farther away from their childhood homes, it's possible you and yours might live many miles away from your parents. So it might work for you to choose one side of the family to visit per year. Perhaps Christmas 2012 can be spent in California with your partner's parents, then Christmas 2013 will be spent with your family in Virginia. Or maybe you have an Everybody Loves Raymond thing going on, where yours or your partner's family lives nearby, but the other set of parents lives far away. Be careful of your time being monopolized by the family that's close - perhaps you want to designate a permanent holiday schedule where you travel on certain holidays, so there's no question each year when it's discussed. It might seem like an ideal scenario if both sides live nearby, but it can be tough to juggle, particularly if each side doesn't like the other side.
Work out your issues before you plan a joint holiday, and when you do, consider spending Christmas morning, for example, with one side, and Christmas evening with the other. Perhaps the grandparents want to come over to see the kids unwrap their Santa gifts early Christmas morning. It's an ideal time to have a meal together and get some peace and quiet later. Before planning a trip, examine your own motives and resources. If you want to travel, ensure that it won't be cost-prohibitive, particularly if you're buying gifts for the extended family. Be sure you have the resources to ship items if need be - and ship them back if you or the kids get large gifts that can't travel home with you on the plane or in the car. Consider the schedules of your extended family - perhaps they're doing their own thing for the holidays. Above all, remember that the holidays are supposed to include quality family time. If you're buzzing around trying to visit everyone and not hurt anyone's feelings, you'll get burned out and not enjoy the season as much. Do what you and your partner deem the right choice for your family