The first time I got married, both of our parents lived in town. I sat down with XH shortly before our first Thanksgiving, completely stressed, and we worked something out. Then WE had a chat with our parents.
One set would get Thanksgiving
One set would get CHRISTMAS EVE
Christmas DAY was ours. I planned that because I didn't want our future kids to have to get up, unwrap presents and then leave their new toys. That was going to be our tradition.
We would alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas with each family.
I let his family choose which one they wanted first...they picked Christmas Even. So then his StepMom demanded that we spend Thanksgiving Supper with her daughter, as it was her first Thanksgiving that SHE was hosting... over an hour and a half away from where we live. My family has always done lunch...but Thanksgiving was their day. But XH didn't stand up to them...and I looked at him and said 'fine, but there will be a consequence." My mom was pissed. Of course, then my parents got Christmas...afterall, his parents stole thanksgiving.
My problem? Thanksgiving is one where the women all get to prepare the meal and clean the kitchen, while the men sit on their butts and watch football. And to have to clean up two of them was frustrating, especially since we had come to an agreement as to how it was going to be.
The bigger issue with it was that in some families one family tends to demand all of the attention, so the other side gets ignored. I saw what the step beast was up to, and put it back to her. She was pissed about losing Christmas. I didn't have a lot of pity.
And yes, it does sound harsh. However, I also saw that there would be two massive kitchen clean ups for me at Christmas and Thanksgiving. One where I would be treated with distain. (This is someone who once at a Thanksgiving dinner literally looked at me and said "who invited you"...and this was when I was engaged to her son.) I also knew how his stepbeast was..I knew her point was to take over, and I was not going to play.
Now...MIL lives in Vegas. My parents live in town. My parents get the lions share of visits during holidays, because of trip costs. We went to Thanksgiving in 2008 to spend with DH's family. And we're going to Vegas this year at New Years. DH works retail... Thanksgiving to Christmas travel is not an option.