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6 Holiday Stress Tips

Q: My parents are divorced and live far apart. I'm tired of arguing about where we'll all spend the holidays. How can we avoid it?

Sigh. Tough one, "especially since you also have to consider your husband's parents and that they may want you to spend the holidays at their place, too," says Bobish. But good news, there's more than one way to work things out. You can start by trying to keep the holidays on your home turf for a couple of years to avoid appearing to prefer one parent over the other. "Say to your mother and father, 'Can you come here because there are so many of us?'?" Hall advises. "You can blame the cost, or say that long car trips are tough on the kids." Then work out a schedule of who'll visit your home when. Maybe your mom and in-laws can visit one day and your dad and cousins on another. Yes, the parent whose turn it isn't will be hurting, so do your best to include each of them somehow. Have your kids wait to open the gifts from Grandma or Grandpa until they're there to see it, or put them on the phone to hear the kids whoop it up as they unwrap.

If you really can't stay home-based, look into alternating major holidays altogether—do a round-robin rotation of homes for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever major day you observe. "Come right out and say, 'We want to do this evenly and fairly,'?" says Hall. Your parents can argue with each other, but it's hard to argue with that.