|My head spins contemplating the people with separated parents who have 4 families!
This is us. My parents are divorced and remarried so DS has 3 sets of grandparents. Since they, plus the 2 great grandmothers and all direct aunts, uncles & cousins live within a 30 minute radius, they all figure they should get to see us over Christmas (or any other major holiday, for that matter).
The first couple years we tried to make it work but it ended up being a lot of travelling between places, no time at home, and honestly, too many presents (it just felt like 90% of the time was spent opening gifts, which is NOT what I want DS to remember about Christmas). Last year I tried to simplify it by having everyone come to us. HUGE FAIL!!! It was the most stressful, unenjoyable Christmas I've ever had.
This year, after some great discussion with DH, we've decided to get "mean". Christmas Eve we will go to visit one set of parents. Christmas morning and day we will spend at home. Christmas dinner will be at another set of parents' and the third set will have to fit us in another day. Whether that's the week earlier or (hopefully) New Years day, I don't really care, it just will not be over the 3 day period. We will rotate through the parents each year so only once every 3 years will they not see us over the actual Christmas period.
In principle they've all agreed to this plan and generally understand, although my mom didn't quite seem to "get it" that we wouldn't automatically be doing Christmas dinner at their place this year (in the rotation, it's actually the IL's turn). I kinda should've seen that one coming though since my mom's the one who grew up with a large family so Christmas isn't Christmas for her without a ton of people and chaos.
Besides family get-togethers the only other events we will be attending for certain are my and DH's office Christmas party. Oh, and possibly a party with all the parents of the dayhome DS attends. But spread out over a month, I don't feel that's any worse than any other month (with birthdays and such).
BTW, I do feel bad thinking of family visits in such strict and impersonal terms but it's the only way we can deal it. I try to remember that we're lucky to have so many family and friends to share the season with, but I needed to find some balance.