We know that family of origin has a huge effect on how you spend your holidays. For couples, it is a time often filled with obligations and assumptions based on the traditions that you grew up with. For example, in my family Christmas Day has always been the “big” day, while Christmas Eve is more low-key. In my husband’s family, the opposite is true. In my family, we exchange gifts, but it’s not the “main event.” With my in-laws, the living room turns into a sea of presents and wrapping paper; it’s a pretty big deal.
It is assumed we will spend these respective days with our respective families and that we will follow the gift-giving guidelines of each. There is also a sense of obligation to make sure that we are spending adequate amounts of time with each side. It can get overwhelming sometimes. Although we do not have children yet, I know that the complications of these dynamics will multiply when that time comes. Couples with kids or those who are remarried: I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.