Where to spend the holidays

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Snow, hot chocolate, fancy dinners, unlimited desserts, presents, cozy fires and laughing with the family are all part of this holiday season. As the semester is wrapping up, students are making plans to return home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But how do married couples decide where to go?

It can become a heated debate between husband and wife when it comes to deciding which side of the family to spend the holidays with. Family drama can arise between the two sides if parents prefer to spend a certain holiday with their children. It may be a difficult decision among newlyweds as they might experience missing a holiday with their families for the first time.

Megan Derrick, a junior majoring in psychology and who is newly married, started planning months ago about which side of the family to spend the holidays with in fear of a family feud. She is grateful that her family and her husband’s families only live 10 minutes apart.

[Courtesy of Michael Dickson] Michael Dickson acts as Joseph with his wife, Jenna, as Mary in the Nativity one Christmas with his in-laws.
“This makes it great for spending time with both families over the holidays,” Derrick said. “We also have on and off years for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so one year it is my family’s year for Christmas day and the next is his. It may seem silly, but having both families on board with what we are and are not coming to really relieves stress.”

Derrick says it can be difficult to balance out how to spend the holidays. She wants to have her own little Christmas morning with just her and her husband for the first time as a married couple. However, her mother wants her to spend Christmas morning with the family since she is the oldest child.

“Basically, holidays as newlyweds are just hard, especially if you are a sentimental lass like me,” Derrick said.

The switch-off technique between families during the holidays has been a popular method. Michael Dickson, a senior majoring in molecular biology, said the decision was simple for him and his wife.

“When Jenna and I were married, we decided that we would switch off houses each year for the major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Dickson said. “This rotation has worked out really well for us because all of my married siblings are on the same rotation, so everyone is able to be home or away at the same time for all major holidays. Jenna is the oldest in her family and the only married one, so it was easy coordinating how to start the rotation.”

No hard feelings were felt between Dickson’s family or his wife’s. He is grateful for understanding families who realize the compromises that need to take place.

“Both of our families understand that being married means fusing two families together,” Dickson said. “This means that sometimes you can be at your family’s events, other times you are with your spouse’s family and sometimes you will be spending time building your own unique family traditions.”

Tyson Williams, a junior majoring in business management, is from the same town as his wife, so they get to see both sides of the family during the holidays. He said that their families were very understanding and got along well, eliminating any drama that could have happened.

“We decided the first year we got married, so last year, to spend Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with hers,” Williams said. “All of her sisters were there with their husbands last year. This year we are doing the opposite. I think we split the time well.”

To all the newlyweds out there struggling with this year’s holiday decisions, Williams suggested that husbands should just listen to their wives and that they can switch it up the next year.

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