Celebrating Thanksgiving in a poly relationship

Oct 31 '2022, 1:21 PM | By Chris

Thanksgiving for poly folks can be complicated, to say the least. Who’s cooking? Where is dinner, and what time? Are Mom and Dad comfortable with hosting your new girlfriend–if you’re married already?

The big feast should be about gratitude and celebrating abundance, but it can be tricky to navigate for people new to poly relationships. Here are several ways to figure out how to split time fairly between people in a poly arrangement.


Depending on your schedule, you and your partners might decide whose family’s dinner to attend. Does your work schedule permit you to take the day off, allowing you to drive the few hours out to mom’s house?

Or, do you have an early morning the day after Thanksgiving and need to stay close–which means you’ll be attending your partner’s family’s dinner, which is just a ten-minute drive? This is a logical way to divvy up time between multiple families, and it can take the headache out of planning long day trips to families who live further away.

Holiday preferences

For some people, Thanksgiving is just another day. If you’re not much of a holiday person, then it’s reasonable to assume that you’ll be spending the day with your partners’ families, instead. 

Another idea is to split the holidays between different families such as New Year’s with your family, Thanksgiving with Partner 1, Christmas with Partner 2, and so on, depending on each person’s favorite day to celebrate with their families.

Between sister wives and shared children, it may be easier to do a joint dinner at someone’s house or a small venue such as a restaurant. This eliminates hard feelings about which family is ‘prioritized,’ and allows the family to spend quality time together.

Switch dinners every year

If discussions are getting heated over which family you’re meeting for Thanksgiving, it may be helpful to draft up with an official agreement. One compromise is to switch between families every year, which is a great approach for polygamists who don’t want the hassle of planning from scratch every year.

Split the day

For budding poly relationships with more than three people, it may be more sensible to split the day instead of switching venues year by year. Ask Family 1 if you can do an early brunch or lunch instead of dinner, then head to Family 2 for dinner. If there’s a Family 3, try to make it for the after-dinner activities or explicitly make post-dinner plans such as family game night.

Thursday with family, Friday with poly circle

Although Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday, you can celebrate gratitude any day. Many people in poly relationships spend Thanksgiving Day with their biological families and then spend Friday night with their poly circle and friends. This arrangement can also ease the pressure off of partners who may not be out to their families just yet, or partners with conservative families.

Other tips for Thanksgiving for poly people

Going into the holidays, it can be tempting to use Thanksgiving or Christmas as a way to ‘test’ your relationship with a new partner. However, it may not be a smart idea to place that kind of pressure on a new relationship, especially under circumstances they cannot control. For example, just because they choose to attend their other partner’s family dinner and not yours does not indicate that they love you any less.

Here are a few more ways to be more compassionate and intentional during Thanksgiving.

● If possible, don’t choose this day to introduce new partners or come out as poly to your family, especially if you’ll be a guest at somebody else’s home.

● If you don’t feel comfortable bringing your partners to a family event, host your own dinner where you can set the rules instead of suppressing your identity or your partners’.

● Respect your partners’ wishes if they don’t want to meet your family just yet or face conservative family members.

● Have a discussion with partners about their expectations for the holidays.

● Talk about anything that may not have gone to plan after–and talk about the best strategy moving forward.

Published By: Sister Wives 

Matchmakers Inc


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