5 Tips for Spending the Holidays with Extended Family

By Anna Radchenko, Contributing Writer

Whether you’re in a dating relationship, newly married, or have been married for many years, spending time with your significant other’s family is important in order to maintain healthy, growing relationships.

However, the holidays are a busy time of year, and when you’re mixing two families together, plus adding your own children, time can be spread thin, and one can easily get on edge, bitter, and just plain worn out!

5 Tips for Spending the Holidays with Extended Family

Photo By: libertygrace0

1. Make a Plan (and stick to it!)

If you have yet to do so, make a plan so that when the holidays come, you’ll know which family parties you’ll be attending, which ones you’ll have to pass on, and what extra events (church, work, etc.) can be added in.  Of course, we don’t want to offend anyone, but we only have so much time!

Switch off holidays so certain days are spent with one family, others are spent with your spouse’s, and even leave some to just have a restful day at home.  You can’t be everywhere at once, so don’t try to be!

2. Give One Gift per Family

My husband has five siblings.  With eight total being in his family (including him), plus my family, that means every month there’s a gift to give and reason to celebrate, whether for a birthday, appreciation holiday, anniversary, etc.  That adds up quick!  Last year for Christmas, we decided to give one gift per family to save on cost and time.  It’s simple and easy to come up with a gift basket that the whole family can enjoy!  Baked goods, jams, coffee, tea, soaps, family movies etc. are all great items that are not only useful, but delightful for everyone.

3. Offer to Host

Sometimes it is just easier to stay home.  For a homebody like me, I love being able to plan and take care of the menu, times, comfort, and festivities as it means that I don’t have to go anywhere!  Although something like this requires a little extra when it comes to preparation and cleaning, it may just be what you need to not feel as though you’re running around from one place to the next.  When the merriment has settled down and the evening is coming to a close, there’s no driving home to be done – you’re already there!

4. Keep It Simple

While decorations and great food are lovely, it’s the people that really matter.  We share in the holidays because we care about one another and want to spend our time together.  Try keeping it simple this year.  Some white lights, a single stocking, and a signature dessert can be just as beautiful, if not more, than a fully decorated tree, table, and mantle, and a dozen desserts to choose from.

5. Remember What is Most Important

Although society wants us to believe that Christmas is about decorating/cooking skills, and receiving gifts, remember what it’s really about.

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, KJV)


God gave us the greatest gift anyone could give: Himself.  Take time this month to slow down, breathe in the peace of Christ, and rest in His presence, knowing that for those who are in Him, we’ve already been given everything we need. (2 Peter 1:3)