How to Figure Out Holiday Plans WITHOUT Starting a Fight

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Take two people's yearly holiday traditions then mix in family, friends, logistics, and potential hurt feelings, and you've kinda got a recipe for disaster, right? While it's never easy to be accommodating and diplomatic while navigating this tricky time of year, both you and your partner will need to compromise in order to make it through the holiday season. To help you and your partner keep the peace, we've rounded up 9 ways to figure out your plans for the upcoming holidays without starting a fight.

Stay calm

While discussing plans with your S.O. it's super important that you go into your discussions with a calm disposition and try to remain calm throughout. Things can get heated quickly when trying to figure out whose holiday plans to skip this season, but try not to take it personally. If you remain level-headed through your conversation, you'll be able to make more logistical and sound decisions. You can also help your partner to stay calm if you can refrain from getting worked up.

Consider what the holiday means to your significant other

Before making holiday plans, consider what this specific holiday or event means to your partner. If you know that your partner's family has a big gathering on Thanksgiving and yours doesn't even get together, then let your partner make the plans. If your partner’s family has had a significantly harder year then maybe spending the holidays with them this year would be the kinder and more considerate decision. Determining the importance of the holiday will be essential to making compromises.

Factor in vacation time allotted by your job

It's important to remember how much vacation time you and your partner will have during the holiday season. If long distance travel is needed to accommodate your plans and you only get two days off, you might have to make some changes to accommodate both of your schedules. Take the time to sit with your partner and plan it out carefully so your traveling plans don’t interfere with either of you getting back to work on time.

Determine the cost of your potential plans

Make sure your holiday plans are on-budget! If you want to plan something that's extremely costly but your S.O. can't swing it, you might need to compromise or scrap your plans entirely. It’s always better to go with the more affordable option so you aren’t left in debt once all your holiday expenses are covered. Consider pushing off those more expensive plans for a time when you’re both able to afford the trip comfortably.

Think about how the holiday plans will affect you or your partner's family and friends

Will your partner's mother be absolutely devastated if you skip even one night of Hanukkah? Will your friends totally hate you if you miss their annual ugly sweater party? Don't forget to factor in other people's feelings when making plans. Remember, the holiday season is about spending time with family and friends -- it's not just about what you and your partner want.

With that being said, don’t be guilted into going along with plans that don’t align with what you can realistically commit to and don’t allow anyone to shame you for missing an event. Finding that sweet spot in the middle where you can cater to your loved ones while also doing what feels right will take some time, but talking to your partner can help you both have a clear and levelheaded approach to

See if there is a way to combine holiday plans

Get creative! Perhaps your two friend groups would merge holiday parties for one big blowout, or you and your partner's families live close enough that you could do breakfast with one group and dinner with the other. If one group is having a Christmas Eve party and the other is having a party on Christmas Day, then utilize the opportunity to visit both groups. Instead of being stuck on your traditions, make sure you're open to the possibility of a hybrid holiday.

Reference future holiday plans

If you plan to spend an upcoming holiday with your partner's family and friends, commit to spending the next holiday with your family (or maybe agree to alternate years). Try to be as equal and fair as possible when determining plans. While nothing is set in stone, be mindful of the possibility that your plans can change at any times so try to refrain from making promises about future events as your plan ahead. You and your partner should strive to be open-minded to sticking to your plans, but also be willing to change them with no hard feelings if needed.

Consider hosting

If you and your partner have considered all of the previous factors and are still struggling to decide on where to spend the holidays or how to split your time, consider hosting a holiday get-together yourselves. The money that you would put towards traveling can be spent on renting out a section of a restaurant to host a holiday dinner. If you have enough space at home, you can have each other’s friends and families come over to spend the day with you. This won’t exactly be the cheapest alternative, but if it’ll save you the headache and hassle, then it may be worth it.

Split Up

While this might not be the most ideal option for every couple, if you and your partner are comfortable with spending a few hours apart during holidays, (granted your friends and family members don’t live too far away from one each other) consider splitting up for a portion of the day before meeting up to spend the rest of the night together. If spending time with your families are both important to you then consider spending the mornings and early afternoons with your own families before getting back together at a mutual friend’s party to spend the rest of the night together. You can also meet back at your partner’s family’s house after spending time with yours or even skipping a second event and heading home to spend the rest of the evening how you please.
The holidays are a time to show graciousness and kindness, not to fight! But it is perfectly normal to not be on the same page with your partner in wanting to spend important holidays with the ones you love. As with anything in life, when you’re in a partnership, compromise is needed to keep both parties feeling respected and valued in the planning process. Be kind and compassionate with each other as you make plans for the holidays, and making tough decisions will be that much easier. 
Alexia Conley
About The Author
Founder of Wiley Events.
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