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Relationship Rx: Family Stress During Holidays?

Q.

The other day, my fiance casually mentioned spending Christmas at her folks'. There's just one catch -- I already told my mother she could definitely count on us at her big holiday dinner. There's no way we can see them both in one day, so is there any way to stop this from turning into World War III, or is it already too late?

A.

Unless you've got an obvious reason for ruling out one choice or the other, someone's always going to feel left out with this one. That's why when it comes to heading home for the holidays you've got to lay down the law. Make a plan to visit, for example, your parents this Thanksgiving and her parents this Christmas. Then next year, switch. And don't leave any room for leeway -- rather than waiting around for one parent or the other to ask, let them know your plans well in advance. Even though they might be sad their baby won't be home for Hannukah this year, they'll feel better in the long run being able to plan around it rather than being disappointed at the last minute. Also, planning ahead of time means you save yourself from a last-minute guilt trip (and the subsequent last-minute car, train, or plane trip it'll likely lead to).

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