Discussion: A Boyfriend Xmas?

By Amelia McLear

Art imitates life...or life imitates art?

About a month ago, my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to spend Christmas with his family.  It was very sweet—and serious—how he asked, prefacing it with: “I’ve never brought a girl home with me for the holidays…”  Granted, I’ve met his family many times and love them very much, but this would be the first Christmas I would spend with them, and the first Christmas I would spend without my family.

This was a big decision.  I am an only child, and consider myself a devoted daughter with parents who I see at least twice a week and with whom I talk daily on the phone, and, of course, like all parents, they are not getting any younger.  Let me also say, my boyfriend and I are not engaged.  I told him I would discuss it with my parents and get back to him.

My mom’s first reaction was: “Do you have a ring on your finger?”  Her second reaction was: “If your grandma were alive, I would never allow this.”  My dad was less emotive; however he seemed a little sentimental. “If you do go, we’ll miss you,” he said.  And then, of course: “Have you talked to your mom about this?”

In the end, we came up with a compromise (actually my boyfriend’s idea).  We are coming back from his parents on Saturday the 26th, in order to spend Sunday the 27th with my parents having a special Christmas brunch and opening presents.  My parents are looking forward to the brunch (Christmas brunch is our big tradition) and they are spending Christmas Day with my dad’s brother and his family in the Bay Area.

Right now, I am happy with my decision.  I feel like it was a way to move our relationship forward, and I am excited to be spending Christmas with my boyfriend and his family (they have snow where they live!).

No doubt I will be updating this story post-holidays, but in the meantime, I’m curious what others think?  If you’re in a relationship, how do you manage the split in holidays?

EDITOR’s NOTE:  Every Thursday, we’ll post a different topic meant to provoke discussion and debate.  We encourage everyone to weigh in (see comment form below).  If you have topic ideas, please email them to girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.

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  1. Devon says

    Two years ago, I was faced with this exact question. My family is very much into holiday traditions, so it was a huge shock to them for me to travel to the opposite side of the country to celebrate Christmas with my then-boyfriend. My cousins even called me to complain! Although it was hard for me to be away from my family, it was a great experience because it meant so much to my then-boyfriend, now-husband to celebrate with his family and me. I am now posed with the question of how we will continue to celebrate the holidays as a married couple when our family’s are on opposite coasts.
    I think the most important thing is to think about how you want to celebrate the holidays. Is it with your significant other, or is it with your family? I think a compromise is the perfect answer. We did the same thing two years ago with my family and did our traditional Christmas two days later and it worked out perfectly. Find a middle ground with both families that makes everyone happy (especially you!).

  2. Ashley Robinson says

    (Congrats on getting your first piece in, Amelia!!)

    Anyways, at least you aren’t traveling on Christmas Day. Barker and I had to compromise. I wanted to be in Visalia for Christmas Eve mass, and he wanted to be in San Diego the same night. So, we are doing Christmas Eve in Visalia, waking up early the next morning for some light presents, and DRIVING down to San Diego (a 5-hour drive) that day. With two cats. In my little junk car. And probably through a snowy Grapevine. To spend Christmas with his parents, his aunt, his sister and her two kids. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.

  3. Sabrina says

    So when it was just me and the hubby we had a schedule worked out at the beginning of the year alternating major holidays. For Christmas, the weekend before or after we’d celebrate pre/post Christmas with the family we wouldn’t see on the BIG DAY. Great idea – right? Well fast forward to now when we have a little guy in tow and it’s not so much fun to haul him and Santa’s loot across this great state. Plus, next year when he knows more about Santa, I don’t want him to stress out about whether Santa knows he’s spending the night at Nana’s this year. So we’re at a crossroads again!

  4. Nicole says

    My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 3 years.. 1st Christmas we did our own things (wasn’t that serious), 2nd Christmas my parents traveled to our house and he skipped his family entirely (would have to travel). This Christmas we’re both travelling to visit our families (both our families coincidentally live on the opposite coast from us) but we will ultimately be spending Christmas apart.

    We live together and I only see my parents/family once or twice a year, so I couldn’t care less about being with my bf at Christmas. We will exchange presents when we get back home on the 30th or 31st (also both our birthdays).

    To Amelia: sounds like you’ve reached a good compromise. I like the idea of alternating years instead of trying to fit too much travel or coordination into the holidays (holidays are for chilling!) — so next year, he could go to your family’s Christmas.

  5. Cynthia Bryant says

    Knowing what I know now, Amelia . . . I think you made the right call. What do you think? Kind of excited for the post holiday update.

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