BF and I made it home from his parents, in one piece and are still dating. We agreed that our families are completely different from each other and that we need to just deal with that fact.
Difference 1) BF's family believes that the "rounds" to all family members need to be made immediately upon arrival. Never mind you've been in the car for 10hrs and are working on 2 hrs of dozing, not proper sleep, just dozing.
My Family hosts a large party where all are invited, and viewing of the far flung relative can be done in one easy pass with beer in hand. If you are unable to attend the viewing, so sad, too bad, your loss.
Difference 2) Present opening is a free for all. Wrapping paper begins to fly once the children hit the door and are able to decipher their names on the tag.
(Granted not kids, but this is the best I could find.)
My Family dictates that the children can look, but not touch, their presents until the appointed time where everyone sits down nicely and presents are passed out and opened one at a time. Perhaps a bit confining, but much easier on the senses of everyone involved.
Difference 3) No matter what physical state you are currently in(the stomach flu for yours truly), you WILL attend the family meal and help mind the children.
My Family(ok, not the entire extended family follows this one, but my immediate family does) adhere to the fact that germs are easily spread, and hence please keep yours AT HOME.
Difference 4) Family feuds are to be heard, and participated in by all. With the climaxing shout of, "It's Christmas for Christ's sake!" with various family members scattering to different parts of the house to sulk.
My Family, that I can ever recall, has NEVER had such an outburst during a family function. Perhaps because the women are well known silent fummers and only explode out of eye/ear shot and are masters of the passive-aggressive tactics of evil eyes, heavy sighs and Catholic Guilt.
The upside to the whole adventure was the trip into the City where I got to see the sun set over skyscrapers and the additional trip to an Outlet mall where my fabulous leather coat and matching handbag were purchased. Merry Christmas!!!!!!