One of the more stressful parts of the holiday season is making sure that you see everyone you're supposed to–going to your grandparents', your aunt's, your parents', your best friend's, your mom's neighbor's...you get the idea.
Well, those trips get even more complicated when stepfamilies and blended families get involved. Whether your parents (or your spouse's parents) are divorced or you are, there are many more people to factor into the equation when it comes to which direction you're being pulled for holiday celebrations.
We have a blended family here so there's me and my two kids (6 and 4), my husband and his daughter (almost 11) and our baby, who just turned one. So when we have to make plans for the holidays, there are three sets of parents to consider, nevermind the extended family.
We are very fortunate that we all get along and can work together to make the schedule work for everyone. Christmas is a holiday that rotates every year. This year, all of the kids will sleep here on Christmas Eve (my kids will go with their dad to his family's dinner before coming home) so we'll have Christmas morning at our house.
From there, though, it gets a bit more complicated and hectic...for them, anyway. Our family heads to my parents' house around 10:30 for Christmas brunch and round 2 of presents. We are there for two hours before my kids' dad picks them up to go to his mom's house (round 3) before they finally go back to his house, where they'll have their Christmas Eve and wake up on Dec. 26 for Christmas morning (round 4).
My step-daughter will be with us through the day, but she's got her fair share of celebrations, too. We've already had a 'Christmas' at my grandmother's, which has been the weekend before Christmas since I was little. She celebrated Christmas at her aunt's with her cousins this past weekend, too.
She also celebrates Hanukkah, so there will be end-of-Hanukkah festivities with her grandmother and Christmas at her other grandparents' house.
Then there are other invitations from friends and family that are up in the air. We usually end up just coming home, though, as it's an exhausting process for everyone.
It will be interesting to see how things work out as our baby gets older and his brother and sisters aren't with us every other year for 'real Christmas.' We'll have to figure out how we'll go about celebrating then as now, we just have Christmas a day early or a day late as he's one and doesn't know the difference.
What about you? How do these things work in your house? How many places do you visit over the holidays? Are their step-families involved? How is the schedule handled?