My boyfriend and I have been together in a long-distance relationship for about a year and a half. He’s 26, and I’m 22. We are very much in love and planning on moving close together next summer and probably working toward marriage in the near future. Everything is perfect right now, but I am having some major holiday anxiety. We won’t be able to spend the holidays together this year because he will be flying across the country to meet his new niece, and I need to be with my family since we will be grieving the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s death.
I am mostly writing in to get ideas about how to combine our holidays next year. Our families live about two and a half hours away from each other, so we could feasibly see both families in one day. The major problem is that I do most of the cooking for my family holidays at my parents’ house, and hosting will become my job once I settle down. I usually spend about twenty-four hours cooking our meals, which makes my schedule fairly inflexible. Alternating between Thanksgiving and Christmas with each family won’t work since I do the cooking. I am so busy cooking during the day that I can’t leave to see his family while preparing for my own. His grandmother cooks their holiday meals, and it would be a major offense in his family if I tried to invite them over to a meal that I hosted. I really want to get this right and spend quality time with both of our families. I would love to hear some fresh ideas, or any arrangements that have worked for other people with two demanding (but also fairly understanding) families! — Holidazed
If you’re thinking about marrying this guy in the near future (or any guy, really), you’re going to have to make some sacrifices eventually. By the time you’re married, if not before, you’ll want to spend holidays together, and you can’t expect him to always accommodate you and your family. That may mean alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It will most surely mean not doing ALL of the cooking for ALL of your family holidays. Surely someone else from your family knows how to cook, even if it’s not as well as you. If not, meals can always be catered, or your family could go out to a restaurant. People do go out to restaurants on holidays. It’s not like the world is going to end if you don’t spend 24 hours at every holiday cooking an enormous meal. The world won’t even end if you spend the holiday with your boyfriend’s family sometimes. And the world won’t end if you celebrate Christmas with your family on, say, Christmas Eve, or a week earlier or a week later so that you’re free to spend Christmas day with your boyfriend’s family (or vice versa).
This is an issue that couples have been dealing with since the dawn of time. When two people come together and merge their lives, there has to be some sacrifice and compromise made. Maybe with only a year and a half under your belt, you aren’t quite ready to make the sacrifices necessary for a long-term/life-long commitment. That’s fine. Most people wouldn’t expect you to at this point. But when you do marry eventually, whether it’s to your current boyfriend or someone else down the line, it’s unreasonable to think you’re always going to spend major holidays with your family simply because you seem to think you have to do all the cooking or your family will perish. Get used to the idea — and get them used to the idea — that at 22 you’re beginning to forge your own adult life in the world and traditions that won’t always include them. They’ll adapt. Just like their parents did before them.