How To Manage The Hectic Holiday Schedule

Thanksgiving divorceBy Contel Bradford

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series. In Part 2, I give three more tips on how to make the most of your holiday visits.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and for most people, it is one of the most joyful times of the year, the day that officially kicks off the holiday season. This is a sentiment I wasn’t always in agreement with.

Why? Because running back and forth between two crazy families was something I never really looked forward to. My girl and I have been performing this balancing act for a couple of years now, and tough doesn’t describe just how hectic it can get.

Fortunately, we have gotten better with it in recent times, so I’ll use this article to share some advice on how your holiday visitations don’t have to be so crazy.


Figure Out Where You’re Going

There is usually a lot going around the holidays. Your uncle is hosting the Lions game, your cousin is having people over for drinks, and grandma is cooking the annual turkey dinner. The agenda may be similar on your significant other’s side of the family.

Everyone wants to see you, but no matter what type of magic tricks you employ, you can’t be everywhere at once. This gives you all the reason to decide exactly where you will be going before hitting the road blindly or making promises you can’t keep.

Some family members may be disappointed on either side, but try to remain firm in that decision and don’t let them pull you one way or another.


Be Willing To Compromise

It is common for heated debates to break out once the holidays roll around and not all of them are caused by drunk Uncle Bill. The inability to agree on where to go could spark an argument before you even pull up at Granny’s.

Being willing to compromise can help make these battles a little less fierce. Though it seems more like 20, I’ve actually been with my girl for just over 10 years. I would say seven of them were spent arguing why I should and shouldn’t visit her father’s house for Christmas dinner. Three years ago, I finally caved in and agreed.

Turns out, it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and we’ve being going together ever since. Our current routine is to visit her father’s house first and then head over to my cousin’s for her annual Christmas bash.

Now you couldn’t pay me to show up at my girl’s grandmother’s house and congregate with all those yahoos. Been there, done that, and hope I don’t have to relive it for a very long time. The point is that I compromised and now there’s a lot less tension in the air.


Grin and Bear It

If you do end up visiting relatives from the other side, you just may find yourself feeling “stuck.” The food is horrific, the conversation is lame, and instead of watching the NBA on ABC, Aunt Odessa has A Christmas Story marathon playing on the big screen. This is pretty much what I experienced during the first and last trip to my girl’s grandmother’s annual Christmas affair.

Dealing with this sort of madness can foster frustration, but try your best not to let it show. Make an excuse to take a walk, go out for a smoke or three, or start stacking dishes – anything to take your mind away from the situation. Remember, your partner is keeping a close watch, and you if you are not on your best behavior, it could lead to some head bumping once you finally do escape.

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series. In Part 2, I give three more tips on how to make the most of your holiday visits.


Contel Bradford is a professional freelance writer, journalist, and published author of multiple books. He specializes in many areas, including legal, divorce, and family-related topics. You can learn more about his services by visiting

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