Blended-Family Holiday Mania: How I'm Guarding My Sanity

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I completely underestimated how challenging blending our family celebrations would be.

There's a good chance that whoever paraphrased Honest Abe by saying “You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time" was facing holiday planning with a large family. And if they hadn't, I think I'd have to coin the phrase myself this year. When I got married I knew we were combining two families, and I knew that blending holiday traditions would be challenging, but I completely underestimated how challenging.

What nobody told me is that two sets of divorced parents, a total of four siblings with their own set of in-laws, and nine children would add up to a completely unmanageable set of holiday expectations. And this isn't even factoring in our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…oh, my. I've heard people joking self-deprecatingly about their celebrations resembling the Griswolds, and let me just say now, if the worst thing you have to deal with is a septic tank explosion and a squirrel in your tree, I'll trade places with you in a blink of Rudolph's nose.

As the oldest child married to an oldest child, I feel a lot of responsibility when it comes to holiday planning, but when I sat down to try to draft a 2011 holiday schedule, I came thisclose to running away to Aruba. The requirements for fitting in all necessary celebrations were absolutely mind-boggling. One sister-in-law always does brunch with her family. The other always does dinner. This relative isn't speaking to that one, and every single one of us has children with nap schedules to consider.

Holy eggnog, Santa. I think it may be easier to get a room full of Occupy Wall Street protesters to have a peaceful dinner with Mitt Romney and Donald Trump than it would be to coordinate holiday celebrations for my family. Please tell me this sounds at least a little familiar. 

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