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Thanksgiving Dinner Dilemma
Q: My husband and I just had our first child. Both of our families were looking forward to having us for Thanksgiving dinner at their house. What should we do? How do we choose whose house we go to?
A: If possible, spend some time with both of them! Economics, geography, and the age of your infant will influence your decision to travel.
When married couples feel pulled between their respective families at holidays, I always suggest not placing a special focus on which family you'll be with for the symbolic holiday event -- whether it be Thanksgiving dinner, opening presents at Christmas, or the Passover Seder. Spending some time with family during the holiday period is the goal, not seeing who "gets you" for the main event.
Rather than making this an annual "which family will be chosen?" contest each year, spend some relaxed, meaningful moments with both families, if possible. If that's not a workable plan, alternating holidays with each family appears to be the best solution.
Have you considered inviting your families to your home for the holiday? This might be a solution that both families would warm to, given your status as a new family. There are no wrong decisions to be made, as long as your decisions are not based on fear and/or guilt. Have a glorious day of thanks. You have much to celebrate.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.