Scheduling the Holidays With Your Extended Family

My husband has three siblings, two (soon to be in-laws), one nephew, and about a dozen extended family members all living in Baton Rouge. My biological family is scattered across the U.S.

I knew scheduling holidays between local family and out of state family would be tough. I did not know the toughest part would be coordinating holidays with my husband’s family! Once you start adding more families through marriage, and those families are local too, it gets pretty hectic! Knowing who will be available for Thanksgiving dinner between 4 and 6 pm, or who wants to have a Christmas lunch, and making sure everyone is satisfied with their schedule is more work than most need for the holidays!

Until my mother in law presented an idea to us…

She suggested we schedule an “Official Lero Thanksgiving” for the Friday after Thanksgiving and have our “Official Christmas” on Christmas Eve. Our answer was a resounding “Yes!” She also pointed out that scheduling our official celebration for the day before (or after) meant that we could be as involved or as relaxed as we wanted to be on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.

Since my husband works shifts, his mother’s idea took the guilt off of not being there on these special holidays. It also gives my husband an opportunity to celebrate it with his family no matter what day he works those weeks.

Maybe we’re odd balls, but we LOVE Christmas Eve.

We immediately jumped in with how much we love Christmas Eve, and how special it would be having Thanksgiving drawn out over two days. There’s something about the anticipation on Christmas Eve that (dare I say it?) is almost more fun than Christmas Day. Perhaps it’s just my history of being an army brat who is separated from my own family, that a specific date doesn’t bring as much joy as just being with family. Now, we get to celebrate with family even if we miss that calendar date!

Holidays are hectic enough as is!

As a mom of two very cute toddlers, I felt pressured to attend multiple family gatherings on Christmas Day so visiting family members could see my boys. So far, at least two of those Christmas Days fell on my husband’s shift at the fire department. Running around town on Christmas Day as the solo parent is tough! Kids are hyped up from presents and sugar, and I’m ready for a nap after one social gathering.

So why do we tire ourselves running all over town from one family’s get together to the next for the sake of celebrating on that day? I understand wanting to see visiting family, and having to share the holidays with in-laws, but if one family is willing to move their “official” celebration to the day before or after than our December 25th could be more relaxing!

What are some ways that you navigate holidays, especially with your family and/or your in-laws?

Victoria grew up in a military family, and spent her last two years of high school in Fort Polk, LA. She promised to leave Louisiana as soon as she graduated, but after touring LSU she felt that Baton Rouge wasn’t too bad, and stayed! While attending LSU for her bachelor’s degree in English, she met her incredible husband, Jeff. Together they have two wonderful boys, James (3) and Asher (1). Now, she’s proud to call Baton Rouge home, and has experience connecting with other moms through the local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness) and Mothers of Preschoolers groups. She’s convinced that some of the best people in the world live in Baton Rouge, and loves raising her boys here. She loves to bake, especially vegan and paleo recipes! She’s a Chick Fil-a addict, and a lover of books and gardens! Both of her boys are full of life! James is a social butterfly who loves to sing worship songs all day, every day! Asher is a cuddle bug with a heart of gold, who has to do everything James does! When Asher was only 1 day old he was diagnosed with craniosynostosis (a condition where the plates in his skull fused prematurely). He had major surgery to repair the fused sagittal suture at 3 months old. He had helmet therapy for 11 months, and was the cutest “helmet baby.” Now, 7 months later, he’s a totally normal, very active toddler.


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