Ho Ho Holidays..
By Elizabeth Scarlett
December 18, 2005

The holidays are a time of great joy...we reflect on the current year and past holidays spent with family and friends, and look forward to the new year we are about to embark on. It can also be a time of great stress, dealing with families, spending too much money, and not having enough time to get everything done.

Now add polyamory to the mix. These problems just expanded exponentially. You've got to decide which of your partners you're going to spend which days with and how to keep everybody happy. If you're really lucky, you all are one big happy family and can share the holidays together. However, most of us aren't that lucky.

So, what to do? As with every other major or minor issue in a relationship, communication is very important. Sit down with your loved ones and talk about what is going to happen over the holidays. Let them know what you'd like and then find out what they want, as well. Chances are, you will find a happy compromise.

For example, this year, I spent the night before Thanksgiving out with my boyfriend, and stayed over at his house. I came home early in the morning to be with my husband and daughter and start the turkey dinner. My girlfriend (and another woman I love dearly) came to spend Thanksgiving Day and night with us. My boyfriend came to spend part of the day with us and then left to spend a second Thanksgiving and the remainder of the weekend with his other girlfriend, who has no other partner.

This worked out very well and I felt fulfilled getting to spend adequate time with each of my loved ones, and they with theirs. We planned and talked about this ahead of time, and knew exactly what to expect. This was made easier by the lack of expectations from our extended families, though this will most likely vary from year to year.

In addition to communication, in general, it is very important to distinguish the difference between what it is that you want and need from your partner(s) over the holidays, and to let them know. I don't need to see my boyfriend on Christmas Eve or Day, but he knows that I'd love to see him for some time together short before or after Christmas. My husband has made it clear that he really wants to spend New Year's Eve with me, and so I've made that a priority. Two days before that, I'll accompany my girlfriend to her company's holiday party. I'm tentatively scheduled to spend the night before New Year's with my boyfriend, though he knows we can move this date by a couple of days and I'll still be happy.

Everybody's needs are being met, because they've been clearly communicated. It's not easy; in fact, sometimes it is every bit as complicated as it sounds. Some of us have been hurt due to miscommunications; however, they were great learning experiences on how to avoid similar mistakes in the future. The longer we spend together, the easier it gets and the more rewarding it is to spend time with the ones we love.

The best gift you can give your partner(s) over the holiday season is this: be understanding, forgiving, loving and open to compromise. And try not to get fixated on spending the actual date with them if it's going to make things difficult. Do you really want to put your partners in a position to have to choose between the ones they love? Spending January 2nd, or any other day, with my boyfriend is every bit as wonderful as if I had him all to myself on December 31st...because every day I spend with my loved ones is a celebration!