Holiday Dinner Celebrations – The Ultimate Relationship Challenge?

African American Family Eating Meal At Home Together

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, New Year’s – it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, except when it comes to figuring out how to make everyone happy at dinner.

The classic holiday dinner dilemma presents challenges for couples, especially those who are in new relationships. Sometimes both sets of families can become very emotionally attached to spending holidays together, and the question becomes “Who’s house do we go over for holiday dinner?” Whether you’ve been together for two months or ten years, the stress of the holiday season can take a toll on your relationship. Here are some holiday tips to handle this classic dilemma that will not only help you survive the dinner with your partner but also make sure that you maintain your sanity throughout the holidays!

Host Dinner At Your House

Hosting can mean a world of stress if you’re not prepared, but it also brings both families together, giving them an opportunity to bond and get to know each other. If you choose this option, get someone to help you plan the meal ahead of time and start early. Get the side dishes out of the way well ahead of time, and assign everyone a clear directive. Your perpetually unhelpful in-laws can bring the wine, anyone who has a special dish of their own should be welcome to bring it, and enlisting clean-up assistance from everyone can mean an extra chance to bond! Uncertainty causes stress, but if you plan for a lovely meal at home hosting both families, there’s no reason you can’t pull it off and keep spirits high.

Create A New Holiday Tradition

New holiday traditions can be a beautiful hodgepodge of old traditions and new innovative ideas. When expectations are elevated during the holidays because of family traditions and assumptions about how the holidays are “supposed to be,” throw something new at the clan.  Your new tradition may be to take a family vacation during the holidays, feed the homeless as a family, have a family potluck, etc.  With a little creativity, your holiday traditions will be joyful and meaningful, reminding you all to be thankful and enjoy one another in love and fun!

Go Out To Dinner

A restaurant is a great choice for having holiday day dinner especially when you consider that the cost of going out is equal to the cost of the grocery bill. This option lets you be fully present at the family festivities. Everyone can get all dressed up, there is no stress of cooking or having to eat your aunts nasty fruit cake, there are more menu options and best of all no one has to clean up! All the time to can be spent on family fun! The whole point of the holiday is spending quality time with family and friends. However, the downside is that a restaurant can be a little impersonal since you do have to leave once the bill is paid! To add a cozy denouement, why not plan to invite everyone over for coffee and dessert?

Alternate Families

One year it’s at his family’s, one years it’s at hers. The downside is… how do you decide whose family to have dinner with first? While this may be the obvious and easiest decision, it can also be the most challenging. You risk hurt feelings from family members who don’t feel that they were consulted. Use fairness to resolve the dilemma and keep everyone in the loop. Try to come up with a decision that involves spending equitable time with both families. For example, you may spend Thanksgiving dinner with one family and Christmas with the other. Or if one family requires a trip out of town, resolve to have a proper conversation ahead of time with the ‘left out’ party and plan for another time. Communication is the answer.

Get Creative

Be willing to “think outside the box” as you try to make a fair and equitable decision about holiday dinner.  After all, there are no rules or guideline that you must follow when making this decision.  Just don’t get caught up believing that there are only two options – one family or the other – to choose from. Instead, challenge yourselves to plan a fabulous way to spend the holiday that works and feels good to the both of you. Would it be World War Three if everyone got together in one place? Weigh the pros and cons before you dismiss any creative idea!

Go On Vacation

If the pressure to decide where to go for holiday dinner is too much, change up the whole equation. Instead, ditch the family and go on a vacation! Send postcards to your family or even pick them up a souvenir or two to share with them up your return. Maybe you live in a warm climate and crave a white Christmas? Or maybe shoveling is getting old and you’re dying for a swim in the Caribbean?

Just Stay Home

Refuse to get stressed out by all the holiday hustle and bustle. Stay home, don’t host, and create your own holiday dinner together as a couple. It’s a great way to begin building your own memories and traditions your family or future family. Don’t worry about missing out. You can still be connected with smart phones by using Skype or Facetime to chat with your loved ones. Staying at home can not only reduce the stress but it is also a great cost effective option if one or both of the families live out of town.

Don’t let the decision on where to have holiday dinner become a fight! Talk about your expectations for the holidays with your Beloved by expressing what is really important to you, consider all the options and make a decision together that you both can live with. Keep in mind, that the decision will require compromise on both parts. Finally at the end of the day, the important thing is to find a way to make your holidays together as meaningful as possible, with or without holiday dinner!

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Dr. TaMara loves nothing more than talking about sex! At the age of 13, she told her mother she wanted to be a Sex Therapist! Her passion is deeply rooted in spreading messages about healthy sexuality. Dr. TaMara is a certified clinical sexologist, sex therapist, best selling author and powerful motivational speaker with more than 20 years of experience speaking, writing and teaching about sexuality. She travels the country helping individuals embrace and honor their sexuality. Dr. TaMara has published numerous books and articles. She is the owner of L.I.F.E. by Dr. TaMara- Live Inspired Feel Empowered LLC-LIFE. Dr. TaMara is also the Editor-in-Chief of Our Sexuality! Magazine. Our Sexuality! is the premiere magazine for women’s sexuality and sexual health. Dr. TaMara is the National Correspondent and a “Thought Leader” for the Association of Black Sexologist and Clinicians. She is also a member of the American College of Sexologists International. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook at LIFE by Dr. TaMara or Instagram, or her Live Inspired Feel Empowered (L.I.F.E.) blog www.drtamaragriffin.com. Join Dr. TaMara movement of Healthy Sexuality #HowDareINot #ISaveLives www.howdareinot.com.

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