My partner and I are trying to figure out which side of the family gets to see us for Thanksgiving this year. It’s our first holiday we’re spending together as a couple. Unfortunately we can’t split up the holiday since my parents live in Denver and his live near us in New Jersey. We’d save more money if we stayed local but I know my mom would be devastated. Also, who pays for the plane tickets if he and I venture out to see my family? Should I pay for both our tickets?
Your question requires some analysis. (And boy, have I been there!) My boyfriend and I live in New York City. His family is about three times bigger than mine. They live about two hours away from us and love Christmas. My family, on the other hand, is small. Like your parents, they live out West and my mom goes nuts for Thanksgiving.
The situation can be perplexing at first, but we’ve managed to work out a plan that keeps everyone happy (for now).
Here are the steps that got us there that I think can help you and your steady, as well.
1. Discuss What the Holidays Mean To Your Families
Though you may be focused on Thanksgiving at the moment, think a month down the road, as well. Which holiday does your family cherish the most: Thanksgiving? Christmas? Hanukkah? It sounds like your mom is a big fan of Thanksgiving, so having this discussion with your boyfriend may help guide your travel plans. In my family (since we’re not very religiously observant) it’s Thanksgiving. For my boyfriend’s family, it’s Christmas. We usually spend Christmas with his folks for that reason—in addition to the fact that his family is bigger and we have more time during the Christmas holiday to see them all. In exchange, we spend Thanksgiving in San Francisco with my parents.
2. Discuss Vacation And Time Off
In addition to reviewing each family’s holiday traditions, see how much the two of you can take off from work. Do you have enough days off to fly across the country and back in order to see your family without making your heads spin?
3. Discuss Costs
Start planning for these important trips a few months in advance. As for who should pay, I think it will be easier if you book your flights together but you each pay your own way. It’s not your fault that your parents live in Denver!
4. Book ASAP
Visit a site like FareCaster.com to see which dates are cheapest for flying. Also, check out alternate dates to fly surrounding the holiday—the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward are two of the most expensive days of travel all year. If you leave on a Tuesday and return Saturday and Monday, you could save hundreds of dollars.
5. Stay Flexible
No need to establish life-long holiday traditions this year. If you can’t see your parents for Thanksgiving this year, vow to make it work out next year or visit during another time of year, like in the spring when flights are cheaper.
Follow Farnoosh On Twitter! @FARNOOSH