After World War II ended, the British, Americans, and Russians decided to divide the German city of Berlin into pieces because they thought this would be a fair way to preserve the post-war peace. Then the Cold War started and everyone spent the next forty years waiting for armed conflict to break out in Berlin.
Why the history lesson? Well, now that you’re married, the holiday calendar will start to look a lot like Berlin. You’ll divide each holiday into pieces and then spend the next forty years waiting for your families to go to war with each other over who gets to be with you on Flag Day.
Here’s a rundown of the major holidays that your parents will fight over and tips to manage each one. Let’s go through the year chronologically:
New Year’s Day
When you announce that you want to spend New Year’s Eve with your spouse, maybe alone at a romantic restaurant, your parents will remind you that for years you always spent New Year’s with them. You should remind them that for years you sucked your thumb and had an unhealthy attachment to a quilted blanket. Progress is good.
You will wind up visiting whichever set of parents lives in a city that’s having a blizzard that weekend. Best solution: pack warm clothes and entertain each other by wagering on how long your flight home will be delayed due to weather.
Even though you’re in your thirties, your parents will insist on having a candy and egg hunt around the house. Aren’t you looking forward to finding chocolate eggs that have been hidden for twenty years (and are now covered in larvae)? Don’t eat anything you find.
Even though you have flown, driven, or biked in specially to spend time with your family this weekend, your parents spend the whole time on the Internet trying to figure out the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Thus, Memorial Day weekend becomes a great opportunity to catch up on sleep, reading, and snacking. It’s your favorite trip home all year!
No holidays this month! God bless you, August!
Veterans Day should be spent with whichever family you didn’t see on Memorial Day. They spend the whole day on the Internet trying to figure out the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day (see Memorial Day for why this is wonderful).
This is a holiday where Americans take time out from their busy lives to appreciate how much they have to be thankful for. Or, in your parents’ case, to let you know that they’d be more thankful if you were spending Thanksgiving with them and not that “other family.” Solution: remind everyone that fighting goes against the spirit of the holiday. And when that doesn’t work, schedule a second turkey dinner for Friday night.
The year ends with the biggest battle of them all! Whether or not either of your families is even Christian is completely irrelevant. The bride’s family could be Buddhist and the groom’s family could be Jewish and, amazingly, both sides will want you to come sing “Oh, Holy Night!” with them on December 25th. Since no one will believe you’re an atheist (“What does that have to do with Christmas?!”), the best thing you can do is dust off the red sweaters and make a beeline for the eggnog.