The Smart Parent's Holiday Survival Guide

Stay Put or Visit Relatives?

This is one of the stickiest issues for most new moms. "You're used to spending Christmas with your family, so once the baby arrives, it's easy for everyone to assume it's going to continue that way," Kate Clow says. How you handle the day (whether you are at your in-laws' or at your parents') is also crucial.

Here's what some moms do:

Make the trip, but also have people come to you. "We spend Christmas with my parents," says Berry Walker. "But the year my first daughter was born, friends and family from my hometown all wanted to meet her. Rather than schlep everywhere, we held an open house at my parents'. It made for a fun, no-hassle afternoon."

See family in spread-out doses. "I have my husband's folks over on Christmas Eve for a simple dinner," says Jennifer LaFond. "We spend Christmas morning at our house opening presents with our kids -- just us, no family -- then my parents come for dinner that night."

Make it clear that you're only going to travel for the first few years. "It's easy to travel with a newborn," says Cartwright Holecko. "But if you show you're willing to travel for the holidays, you're setting yourself up for more difficult trips as the kids grow."

Consider what's going to be the most fun for your child. "Christmas is a much bigger deal to my husband's family, so we always spend the day at his parents'," Ann Glackin says. "They invite 5,000 cousins and aunts and uncles over. I used to dread it, but I've learned to see it through my children's eyes, and it's helped me enjoy the day so much more. They have a ton of fun being around all the other kids. And knowing that makes it feel less lonely and overwhelming for me. That...and lots of wine."

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