The Family Holiday Tap Dance

The Family Holiday Tap Dance

Dabney Frake
Nov 13, 2012

My parents are divorced (shocking in this day and age, I know) and every holiday, I have to navigate the tricky issue of how and where to spend it. Before my dad got remarried, it was a piece of cake. My folks get along just fine, so it was easy to get together and be a family unit again for those few days.

After my dad re-married, his new wife didn't really relish the idea of spending holidays with her husband's ex-wife. Thus began the rite of passage that every adult child of divorcees has to go through — the process of figuring out whose "year" it is. Once you're married yourself, you have your spouse's family to also consider, and the number of parents multiply faster than rabbits.

I wish it was as easy as simply taking turns, but it's always more layered. For instance, my mom is still single, which means if I don't spend a holiday with her, she's alone. Should I weight this variable more in the already loaded equation?

Yes, I am lucky to have so many people who love and want to spend time with me. I also fully realize that these are princess problems compared to what others are facing this season. But I do feel a lot of guilt, and even holiday fatigue, before a single cookie is in the oven. Entertaining takes on an added meaning, in which I tap dance to address the tugs coming from all directions.

In recent years I've stayed put and hosted all holidays in my own home, loudly declaring that anyone who wanted to come was welcome. This Thanksgiving, for the first time, I'm granting myself a slight reprieve by leaving the country completely.

Problem avoided… until Christmas.

Okay, I know I'm not the only one. Do you feel the same holiday pressure?

(image: Shutterstock)

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