Staying home for the holidays is a very normal transition for many families.

Changes in the holiday routine often start when a couple gets married and must split time between their extended families. This is made more complicated with children and traveling with all the presents, luggage, and toys.

Although grandparents are saddened and disappointed by the changes that occur, most understand and will remember their own dilemmas over holidays in the past.

Here are some things to remember when planning a stay-at-home holiday:

  • Develop Your Own Traditions: Family traditions are important, and you can let your parents and in-laws know that some of their traditions will be included and honored as you establish your own traditions. Let them know the special things you are planning for your family to help them with the adjustment.
  • Encourage Others’ Creativity at Holiday Time: Encourage your parents and in-laws to do their own special things at Christmas. Maybe they have wanted to try something different, such as a trip or special event, but haven had the freedom or encouragement to actually try it.
  • Model for Your Children: It is also important for children to see you model relationships with the extended family. My husband and I realized that how we treat our parents, grandparents, and siblings families would be the model our children will likely follow. It is seldom a solution to spend all of your holidays alone as a family or spend all of your holidays with extended family. There is a delicate balance that we must discern to make those relationships positive.
  • Maintain Communication with Relatives: The important thing about holiday celebrations is embracing the relationships. If you choose not to travel and visit grandparents over the holidays, then be creative in ways to both maintain and enrich those relationships for yourself and your family. Extra phone calls, emails, pictures, drawings or crafts done by the kids can make it a special time for them as well.
  • Plan Future Family Visits: Let relatives know when you plan on seeing them and plan some special activities for those important next visits.
  • Resist Guilt over Decision: Making the decision to stay home should be stress relieving not stress inducing. Don’t second-guess your decision. Instead, once the decision is made, focus on making it a memorable family holiday.