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Holiday Dinners At Both Parents Exhausting

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My wife's parents lives 45 minutes from my parents, and both families expect us to go to their houses for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. One set of parents used to have the holiday dinner early, and the other late, but we were always too full from the first meal to eat much of the second. Now, we end up eating dinner at one and dessert at the other. But, with a two-year-old daughter, it has been a real hassle to go to both houses, and quite frankly, we cannot enjoy ourselves at either house with all the running around. We are exhausted and are dreading the holidays. My wife and I are bickering with each other and becoming resentful of our "duty." Is there another compromise?


Exhausted before it begins

Dear Exhausted before it begins,

Once married, many couples find themselves in such a bind, especially around the holidays. Both sets of parents want to spend time with you, which is very understandable.

However, realistically, the holidays would be much more enjoyable if you could alternate going to only one of the homes for one of the holiday dinners each year. For example, this year go to the Thanksgiving dinner at your in-laws, and to the Christmas dinner at your parents' house. Next year, switch, and go to your parents for Thanksgiving and to the in-laws for Christmas.

Another alternative is for one of the families to switch or alternate the day of the dinner. Instead of Christmas Day dinner, they could have a Christmas Eve dinner. Or, instead of dinner on Thanksgiving Day, there could be an after Thanksgiving dinner with a big pot of stew made from the turkey.

You need to have a nice talk with your parents about this; your wife needs to do the same with hers. Spending enjoyable, quality, and a more relaxing time with each family will be much more meaningful.