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Being fair for the holidays

Ah, the weather is changing, the clocks are changing, and the holidays are rolling in.  Plan ahead so you’re not arguing.

  • Discuss the issues ahead of time so that you’re putting on a united front.  You don’t want one person making promises the both of you can’t keep.
  • Determine a holiday schedule.  Do you visit his family on even years and yours on odd years?  Do you opt for one major holiday with his family per year and one major holiday with your family per year?  Do you give up and merely arrange phone calls on the day?
  • Build time into the holiday season to be together as a family.  Create a new tradition of your own and re-charge your batteries.
  • Fix two budgets for presents.  One as an overall budget (i.e., we’re not going to spend over X number of dollars for presents this year) and one budget for individual presents (i.e., budget for moms’ presents is X dollars each, budget for niece/nephew presents is X dollars each).  This makes shopping very easy – does the present fit in the budget?  No? Pick another present.  Buy one or two generic presents in case you’re caught short.  Do NOT feel bad if someone gives you a present and you have nothing to give them but a sincere thank you.
  • Shop early to avoid panicked buying.
  • Make a budget for entertaining if you’re hosting a holiday party.  Do not feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses, your guests are coming to visit you, not your sofa or the Christmas goose.
  • Agree on an alcohol limit AND a designated driver before you leave the house.  You really do not want to be bickering in public over a glass of eggnog.
  • Understand that not all company holiday parties are parties – sometimes they’re cleverly disguised opportunities to meet and impress the higher-ups in the company.  Dress sharp, avoid alcohol entirely, act like you’re in church.
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