Polyamory Holidays

Some minor changes and updates here. Mostly edited for readability and to remove an old bias towards group relationships. This post originally went up in July just before the US Independence Day, but with US Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and a host of other holidays in the next month+ it’s even more relevant now.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, also known in the US as ‘Independence Day’. For my international readers, Fourth of July is traditionally a family-focused holiday. Family cookouts and bar-b-ques are as ubiquitous as illegal backyard fireworks displays. (Yes, Americans have issues with following laws we don’t like, probably why we have an Independence Day to celebrate in the first place. Though some in states you can legally risk setting their homes on fire with exploding rockets)


Subtract the tuba and this could be 90% of the 4th of July celebrations ever. Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Subtract the tuba and this could be 90% of the 4th of July celebrations ever.
Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

But, like many holidays, the focus on family causes problems for polyam folk. How do you handle family holidays when your family refuses to accept your partner? When you have invitations to spend the holiday with four different families, whose do you choose?

Like pretty much everything polyam, there is no easy answer or even easy set of answers. But here’s a few thoughts that can work, for Fourth of July or any holiday. For simplicity, I’m assuming everyone is out to their families of origin and lives close enough to visit. Having everyone’s families of origin halfway the country away does have the advantage of simplifying things.

Ideas for Polyamory Holidays

Host the Party Yourself

First heard this idea from a friend on a polyamory forum and couldn’t believe it never occurred to me. As long as you have the room, invite everyone’s family to your place for the holiday. No worries over who to spend the holiday with, you can spend it with everyone. And you don’t need to worry about how to deal with family who doesn’t accept your partners. Instead, unaccepting family gets to decide whether spending the holiday with you is important enough to be polite for a few hours.

Rotate Holidays

Traditional in some monogamous families, spend Christmas with one side of the family and Thanksgiving with the other. Having extra families to visit complicates things. Works well when all families are accepting of your relationship. Works really well when they celebrate different holidays.

Each Visit Your Own Family

You hit your parent’s place, partner 1 hits his parent’s place, partner 2 checks out her family’s yearly bash, etc.

Create Your Own Thing

Sometimes, it’s best just to move on. Family holidays are wonderful fun, and it hurts not to participate with them anymore, but maybe it’s time to start your own traditions. What if, instead of heading over to the family of origin bar-b-que, your polyam family has a picnic at the local parade? There are lots of options, so why not have a family chat about what works for you.

I hope some of these ideas can get you thinking, and that you can enjoy your holiday (tomorrow and all the future ones) happy and healthy.