Family dynamics are funny. They are funny when you sit back and look at them but not too funny when you are living it. Right now I am living it.
Every Christmas for the last 23 years my husband and I make the 6 hour drive to Kentucky to visit our parents. During our stay we also see my brother's family and my husband's family. We can't really leave behind our kids so they have joined us since they were infants. My brother lives 5 minutes away. He has two kids. One of my husband's brothers also lives in Kentucky. He has an older brother that lives in St. Louis. Their children are older and scattered. They try to make it in for Christmas also. As they get older, and more of them marry and have kids, the Christmas visits are less predictable.
My parents and my husband's mom live across the street from one another in the same subdivision. They have for as long as we have been together. Kind of crazy but tremendously convenient all the way around. When the kids were little it was so nice to walk from one grandparent's house to the other. It's convenient now because the kids can walk themselves and we don't have to worry.
Initially when my husband and I moved to GA we would could visit our folks Thanksgiving and Christmas along with other visits sprinkled in. Now, as the kids have got older, we come up 3 times a year which includes Christmas.
We stay at my parents house because it would just work out better that way. We tried staying at his mom's before but there were just too many people in that house at one time for me. To begin with, I am forced into cohabitation with those I have never lived with nor do I see them very often. They have not only a different way of living, what's acceptable and what isn't. Secondly, it seems there is never enough space. Everytime you turn around you bump into someone you really don't want to bump into. Lastly, the kids are bored unless they are with their cousins and even that after a while becomes old.
By the end of the week everyone is ready to hop back in the car for the 6 hour trip. Also on the way back the kids plug in and all is well. It's a little on the sad side but everyone is happier with this type of closeness.