Christmas is supposed to be a time for family, or so it is said. But what do you do when you have more than one family who wants your time over the holiday?
I'm not talking specifically of children who have to deal with separated parents, - though that is something to be considered - but rather bog standard couples trying to split their time between both sides of the family. How do you keep everyone happy?
This problem is one I have come across for the first time this year, as I have had to decide how to split my time between my family and my girlfriend's. It was all sorted in the end - I will spend Christmas with my family, the days between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve with hers, and then she will come back to mine - but trying to figure out how to split myself was quite a headache I can tell you.
I think in the end it comes down to the fact that for the majority of people family is still the most important thing. However much people may argue otherwise, and however much society may have tried to disprove this, I think it is still the case.
It has been suggested that nowadays, with the majority of people no longer living where they grew up and instead moving away and setting up their own life, family ties are no longer as important as they were a hundred years or so ago, when people lived and grew up in the same place. Now, while that does sometimes still happen, people largely "fly the nest" and create their own life and social circle somewhere else, learning to become self-sufficient. But I don't think that means that people don't still think that family is important.
If this was the case, then I don't think people would make such a big effort to maintain family ties at Christmas and at other times of the year. We may not see as much of our families as we used to, but that doesn't mean that they aren't still important to us. And thanks to modern telecommunications (email and Skype and so on) it is possible to maintain contact with family members, no matter how faraway they live, allowing for the old ties to be maintained even if you do move away for whatever reason.
Trying to figure out how to split yourself between various family members is never going to be easy, and it is never going to be possible to please everyone at once. Someone is inevitably going to be left out and disappointed and if you have somehow managed to please everyone else then you are going to find yourself with no time for yourself. But the fact that people still make the effort, rather than just throwing up their hands and giving up, proves, at least as far as I am concerned, that for most people family is still very important, even if you only get to see them once a year.