As the holidays approach, I am faced with the same issues I’ve been going through for the past 5 years – holiday dinner. The difference between my husband’s family and my family is night and day. My family is more traditional and I grew up with the quintessential holiday norms and I became accustomed to hosting, cooking the norms, such as turkey, dressing, vegetables, mashed potatoes, etc., baking pies, and being at home playing games and spending time with family and friends. My husband on the other hand grew up celebrating holidays completely different. They didn’t cook, didn’t gather together for dinner, most times than not going to any random restaurant to eat, and eventually split up spending the holidays separately visiting other people or doing their own thing. Since we’ve been married, we’ve pretty much operated the same way with my husband visiting with my family and me for a brief time, but eventually departing and going about his business. I’ve done my best to allow him to celebrate the holidays as he would like and enjoy them, but this year I want to host at our house, have everyone over, cook and bake, and have my husband participate in it all. I’m not sure how that will go over or whether both families can coexist. What should I do? Am I setting myself up for disappointment?
Thank you very much for seeking BrotherWord’s advice. What you’re experiencing isn’t new and happens often during the holiday season. Many couples grow up celebrating the holidays in different ways and then find it difficult to merge the two. The key is finding an agreeable compromise and beginning your own traditions.
One of the best ways to begin your own traditions is to sit down with your husband and discuss why it’s important to you and what you would like accomplish. Bring your ideas to the table and encourage him to do the same. Find out what is significant to him, why he does or doesn’t celebrate the holidays, and then offer a happy medium.
After that objective has been reached, discuss how to get the rest of the family aboard and create and atmosphere that may be conducive both. It may mean your family cooking and his family providing the entertainment. The goal is to make it enticing and exciting to both groups and to ensure that they actively participate and hang in there for as long as possible. Also, do things that are appealing to both families and will also bring them together. Have a baking contest, play family feud, have a talent show, trim the tree, make personalized ornaments, whatever it takes to bridge the gap and connect the families.
The main thing here is to establish a new tradition that will carry on for years and to make memories that will last a lifetime. Make sure to keep your husband involved, as it will be him who will be convincing his family to participate. As long as you as you and he are one accord, it will be that much easier to merge your families.
Let BrotherWord know how things go and what new traditions you create… and also save me a piece of pie. 🙂