or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Have the holiday wars started in you house yet? (Way long!)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Have the holiday wars started in you house yet? (Way long!)

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
It's mid October and already I'm in tears!

Two or three years ago my Mother was going to be spending Christmas alone, so I asked my ILs if my Mom could drive down the fours hours and spend Christmas with all of us at their place. They said yes...if she would leave when they started "family" Christmas stuff. I was so upset! She was invited for a couple of hours and then expected to drive the four hours home! They wanted me to tell my DM this! I was furious to say the least. We swore no more of this bouncing for holidays, birthdays, etc. We would be staying home and all family was invited to our house if they came fine if not no hard feelings. Our parents live two to three hours from us in all different directions. I don't believe is scheduling a holiday over and over. One year due to illness we didn't do Christmas with the ILs until Feburary. My MIL made a big deal about it and whined and complained every week until we were able to do it. If they want to exchange gifts all together fine, but don't get all over excited if it can't happen for awhile.

It has worked out well for two years that we just stay home. Last Thanksgiving was awesome! Our little boy announced that he was going to be a big brother just before dinner. Some family stayed all weekend it was lovely. Granted the flaw is that we miss BIL and SIL's Thanksgiving, but really they do it on Saturday we could go if we wanted.

This year I told my step-mother in August we would be over here for Thanksgiving. She was fine with that. It was fun to have everyone together. No fighting, and even her parents come. Then last month my FIL announces that since they just had their kitchen remodeled they want to do a Thanksgiving as a kitchen warming. Um, I guess I can't say no to that without looking like a jerk. So I now have to cancel on my family, cause remember they aren't allowed at his family stuff. (BTW, my family is a little loud and some are closed minded, but they are nice and polite people. That is not an issue.) I still haven't told my step-mom cause I'm pretty sure it isn't going to go over well.

DH parents sent an email yesterday about coming this weekend and doing DS birthday which was in August cause they couldn't come over. Which we didn't have or even plan a party for. We took him to a water park instead. He called them and told them we had plans, but we would be coming to Thanksgiving for the day since we have a dog to get home to. Then today my husband gets a call at work from his Dad saying that MIL is depressed, because the only way she got through living in a hotel during the kitchen remodel is knowing she would be coming over when it was complete, so can they please come over the second weekend in Nov.? To explain her depression the kitchen remodel was so it was handicap accessible, and she was stuck in the room/suite for most of six weeks while the work was being done. That being said our kids are not her happy pills. If we didn't have a young baby that my family would also like to see I would probably be more up for it too. Two weekends in one month with one of them being a major holiday is just not fair to my family. Not to mention that I will still have to deal with them and Christmas. DH still wants to stay home even after going to see his parents for Thanksgiving.

This whole wonderful discussion with my husband on IM about this ended with me mad and him saying we should just give them a weekend in December to come, and that can be Christmas with them too. Yeah right! Anyone else see the lead balloon? <sigh> It's only mid-october...
post #2 of 34
Sounds awful. It's too late now, but I'd have told the ILs that you already had plans for Thanksgiving - sorry. Unfortunately, now you've already committed to going to their house.

I'm not sure what I'd do, but this kind of crap isn't good for anybody. Holidays should be fun. Oh - and your FIL needs to understand that you don't get someone through a bad experience (MIL living in the hotel) by making promises you can't keep. Being able to visit you wasn't something you had okayed, so it's not on the table. Your dh also needs to understand that you and he are not responsible for the assumptions his parents make about when they can visit.

Other than that, I've got nothing. DH's parents live a long way from here, so they come up for a week every year, and we spend all our time with them that week. My family gets way more of our time, but it's because of logistics. I'm actually a little boggled at the all around sense of entitlement that seems to be present in this dynamic. You and your dh need to live your lives.
post #3 of 34
Yep.

My father and his wife are holding a big Christmas at their house for the first time in decades. My mom expects us at Christmas, as usual. My husband said last Christmas he just wants to have Christmas Day here and go down afterward. I'm exhausted thinking about the holidays already. I have no idea what my ILs are even planning/expecting yet...

My parents' divorce when we were young was really for the best for all involved, and my mom did a great job as a single mom. ....it's just NOW, that we're all adults, that the divorce is a royal pain. "Are you coming to our house?" "Are you going to their house?" "When are you bringing the kids down to our house? We haven't seen them in so long!" "Why don't you come down more when you're at your mom's?!"

Ugh.
post #4 of 34
DH and I do things differently, but I'll throw this out there. My mom had problems dealing with her mom (because Mother Theresa would have had problems dealing with my maternal grandmother). When I was born, she told her parents and my dad's parents that she wasn't leaving the house on Christmas, now that they had kids. So, the grandparents were welcome to come to our house for Christmas dinner or not, but if they didn't, they'd have to make other arrangements.

My maternal grandparents came for dinner and grandma brought dessert. My paternal grandparents were "snowbirds". So, before they left to go south, we met up with them at a nice restaurant and had dinner. We exchanged gifts in the parking lot and opened those on Christmas morning, while they were in Mexico or wherever. It worked out well, and there was no drama.


In my family we have my dad over for lunch on Christmas Eve most years (sometimes, my sister has him over for dinner, instead - or in addition), then I took/take ds1 to his aunt's (ex's sister) for dinner. I pick him up later. We spend the day here on Christmas, then go up to mom's to exchange gifts and have dinner later in the day. Still...no drama. I'm not sure how we'd work it if my in-laws were closer, although we would like to spend one Christmas with them!
post #5 of 34
I'm sorry to hear that! What a drama!

DH and I have insisted Christmas Day is for OUR immediate family ever since we got married (all of what, two Christmases ago? Three?). As in, him and me. And the baby, when she came along. Mum mutters, but tough. We go to DH's parents on Christmas Eve, mine on Boxing Day. It's awesome. But I guess that's not a terribly helpful scenario for you, given none of us live out of town. Hmm...
post #6 of 34
Ug, holidays. Yeah, the more I think about it, entitlement is an apt descriptor.

My IL's live 2000 miles away. My family is only 100 miles away. When DH and I got together we agreed to spend every other year with his parents for Christmas...and somehow it morphed into the off years they "got" Thanksgiving instead. We have spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets traveling to visit family (most put on credit cards that we are still paying off...and will be until halfway to forever). Last year we lived in Nebraska, and it was my family's "turn" so off we flew again, this time to California.

I am so tired of it. All of our vacation time and extra money goes towards visiting family. This Christmas is big guns because we now have a newborn...both of our family's first grandchild. Yet we are expected at his folks' house for Christmas...they "called" it over a year ago! I want this to be the last year we do this with his parents. He has agreed to talk to them about coming to our house next year (and all subsequent years!).

Sorry about stealing your rant.
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
I am so tired of it. All of our vacation time and extra money goes towards visiting family. This Christmas is big guns because we now have a newborn...both of our family's first grandchild. Yet we are expected at his folks' house for Christmas...they "called" it over a year ago! I want this to be the last year we do this with his parents. He has agreed to talk to them about coming to our house next year (and all subsequent years!).

Sorry about stealing your rant.
"Called" it? Seriously?

Why don't you and your dh tell them to bugger off? You can't afford to visit them. Period. You can't afford it. Tell them that. They don't have small kids, so if they want to see you that badly, they can get off their butts and pay to visit you.

Some of you have in-laws that sound like preteens.
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Your not stealing my rant.

Before my Mom got left alone that Christmas we were rotating...Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Talk about insane we almost always ended up sick by New Years and someone got shorted...

Ya know the thing that grinds me is that my husband got so upset when my Grandmother pulled something this summer. Honestly I say we tell them that it is now holiday time and no we can't spare an extra weekend.

I really wanted to tell them tough cookies about Thanksgiving, but I really felt like that would make me seem like a jerk. After all it's the their kitchen warming. Can I really say..."Nope sorry we are having a family Thanksgiving." FIL did offer to have it on Saturday so we could still have Thursday. Then though it involves cooking a huge meal, cleaning up, telling everyone that can't stay the weekend and have to leave, and then doing a two hour drive there and back with two kids that are already tired.

Frankly, I feel like I can't say no. They are constantly complaining that they never see us. Mostly to our poor SIL until she gets so fed up that she starts complaining to us to come over.

I think the craziest part of it all is that I really don't want to deal with cooking for everyone and playing host with a six month old, but it's way less stressful than all this!
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightmommy View Post
This year I told my step-mother in August we would be over here for Thanksgiving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightmommy View Post
Then last month my FIL announces that since they just had their kitchen remodeled they want to do a Thanksgiving as a kitchen warming. Um, I guess I can't say no to that without looking like a jerk. So I now have to cancel on my family,
Sorry, but if you haven't already cancelled with your family, DON'T. You don't make plans with someone and cancel when something else comes along.

If you have cancelled with your family, then I think you need to also cancel with your in-laws and either stay home or hope that your family will have you back.

Assuming you haven't already cancelled, can you do one on the Thursday, one on the weekend?

Or stay home.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightmommy View Post
I really wanted to tell them tough cookies about Thanksgiving, but I really felt like that would make me seem like a jerk.
Honestly, you look more like a jerk cancelling already made plans.

We never leave the house at Christmas. If people want to see us on the day, they know where we are.
post #11 of 34
Wow....I would tell them all to kiss off.

My family doesn't give a rat's patootie if you come or not. They love to see everyone and usually things go from 2 in the afternoon until you are ready for bed...everyone just comes when they can...if at all. We usually go for Thanksgiving and the Easter Egg Hunt every other year. My sister has people over for Christmas, but we don't leave the house on Christmas.

My wife's family gets together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I am not sure what is going to happen this year. Her family doesn't appreciate our relationship, so I am not sure if we will go or not.
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
You know the only reason I decided to cancel our Thanksgiving is because my family will be understanding about it, and his family already looks at us like we are uncaring and ungrateful. I left it kind of open with my step-mother, but that our plan at the moment was to stay home. She likes to come over and do big city shopping, so she was happy with that. I haven't said anything to them yet cause honestly I don't want to go. Not that it won't be fun. It's just the fact that they feel invitations to holidays are limited. They even tried to put limits on our last year in our home to extended family. I also don't want to hurt my family. Because of limited money, time, and until last year our vehicle going to things like family reunions was just not in the cards, and they complain to the entire family that they never see us so to not go to their kitchen warming would look really bad.

To me we see them a lot. Usually once a month. To me that seems pretty good since there is a two hour drive gap between us. We try really hard to see them when we can. Same with my family which is why if we aren't doing thanksgiving with them I want to keep the other weekends open for them to come and see the kids. For his parents to try to guilt DH into another weekend to me seems low. DH feels like his mother has to have a date on the calendar that she is going to see them just to make her feel better. I think she had better circle T-Day and be content, but that's just me.

BTW: It's really nice our family isn't the only one dealing with the holiday crazies. I also still feel lucky to have the problem of everyone wanting us there and not the opposite. Anyone with mean family just want to come to my house. All are welcome.
post #13 of 34
Oh, hell no!

I had it after a few years ago, my MIL cancelled Thanksgiving dinner reservations for noon at 9 am. That day. Uh-nuh! I don't think so. We could have starved! Luckily my grandpa called the restaurant they had reservations at and got two extra chairs squeezed into the table.

Honestly, they had their chance at the holidays when they had little kids. Now it is our turn. We have the children, we get to make the rules. They can play or not.

So now I host all the holidays. I got sick of the bs & bad cooking being offered by all the alternatives. No thank you. My SIL would never make anything for me to eat (I was vegetarian for 12 years until just recently) so I would starve. Plus the family politics were just ridiculous. And my grandparents are just plain loony.

I have the holidays on my terms. I am an excellent chef. We offer a wide range of dishes on a variety of days and times. And, shocker! *gasp*, you may actually really like LAMB or DUCK if you give it a try! Come when you can or don't come at all. Our doors are (almost) always open. If you don't want to come, you can suck it!

Just don't expect any ham.

Stick to your guns. They've obviously spent their entire lives bullying everyone around them into doing exactly what they want them to do. don't feed their egos & manias. I found out that when I stopped doing it, it all worked out so much better. And surprisingly, I consume a lot less wine at holiday events! Imagine that.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightmommy View Post
You know the only reason I decided to cancel our Thanksgiving is because my family will be understanding about it, and his family already looks at us like we are uncaring and ungrateful.
This is setting up a dynamic here where you and your family just can't win. Because your extended family is more polite and reasonable, they're getting the short end of the stick. And the louder, more demanding faction is benefitting from lower expectations of behavior. Imagine if each side were a kid. You've got one who's saying "please" and "thank you," using their words and manners, and compromising. You've got the other whining, demanding, throwing tantrums, and using circular logic to get what they want. You're catering to the second child? What future do you see if that continues?
post #15 of 34
My IL's are JW so no holidays to deal with with them. After 30+ Christmas's being celebrated on my birthday and never getting a birthday, I put my foot down last year and told my mother I would no longer celebrate Christmas or do anything Christmas related on my birthday, (Christmas Eve) ever again! She was pissed, we got in a big fight or something un-related and did not speak for 9 peaceful months. We will have to see how it goes this year becuase I refuse to do a Christmas Dinner for my family, (my mother stands there and refuses to lift a finger to help) and I will not go over there for on Christmas Eve. Oh well.. such is life. :P
post #16 of 34
I'm going to add my holiday rant to all the others!

DP's family is lovely and reasonable and there is never any drama.

My family is wacked out and there's always tons of drama- if DP comes with me, we're not allowed to stay in the same room at my mom's OR my sister's because we're not married. My mom has issues and generally ends up throwing a fit or leaving in a huff because someone isn't paying enough attention to her- last time I visited she left my sister's house because my 4-y-o niece asked her what time she was leaving... My niece asked me the same thing, it wasn't like she was hinting or anything! My mom called 911 last Thanksgiving to report my 30-y-o brother missing because he didn't return her phone calls for 4 hours. My younger sister is always late and this always causes drama. My older sister is super controlling and ends up completely annoyed and grumpy...

And just to add to it all- my older sister has visited my home ONCE in 10 years, yet seriously expects me to visit her multiple times a year. Her excuse for this is that I moved away. UGH.

Anyway, we're going to DP's family for Thanksgiving. And Christmas most likely (otherwise we'll stay home). There will be drama from my family. Oh well.
post #17 of 34
Not going home for Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore has been WONDERFUL for us. We stopped going home for Thanksgiving 10 years ago and for Christmas 5 years ago. Both of our families live in the same town, so when we used to go it was this ridiculous, stressful shuffle of my mom's family, my dad's, dh's mom's, dh's aunt's, etc... And then trying to squeeze in visits to old friends and landmarks and it was insane. We swore we would never do that with kids. So now we usually go home for a few days in February when I have a week off of teaching and then we can spread out our visits and really enjoy spending time with everyone. All of our extended families are lovely, pleasant people, and it would be nice to celebrate holidays with them, but it's not worth the stress--mostly between me and dh over quietly wishing we were each spending more time with our own families.

So my advice to you: start your own family holiday traditions, in your own home. It may take a year or two for your families to get used to the idea, but they will eventually, and your LO will grow up really enjoying the holidays rather than being shuffled around from one croweded stranger's house to another.
post #18 of 34
The holiday's have been crazy around here. In past years family members have "claimed" our time the day after christmas for the next year.

Mil thinks if we don't celebrate Christmas eve with her she just claim whatever other time she wants, but we have set plans with everyone (lots of different families to see). My dad is usually day before Christmas eve, or Christmas eve morning. My mom is Christmas day evening. Our family (dh,ds,dd, and I) celebrate Christmas morning at home.

One year mil suggested we sleep over at her house because she wanted to see the kids Christmas morning! NO way! She wants to do all the traditions she did with her kids when they were little, now that they are grownups. Annoys the heck outta me.

Now, we have moved away and it makes it so much easier to say no.
We told mil she gets Christmas eve every year, either in the morning or night, depending on what sil can do (she alternates with her mil). She can take it or leave it. (We leave town!) Christmas eve night and christmas day morning are for our traditions.

My mom gets leftovers for every other holiday (mil's family has like, 5 seperate celebrations for every holiday) so she gets what she wants, plus she comes to our house . Mil is just controlling and won't budge on anything.
post #19 of 34
Also, forgot to say.... um, yeah. It's a kitchen warming. Not a golden wedding anniversary; not a birthday; not even a house warming. Who even has kitchen warmings? You can totally cancel. A previous engagement is an iron-clad excuse, etiquette-wise.
post #20 of 34
This thread reminds me of my glorious dream to go on a real awesome family vacation for Christmas. I should start saving now. We would love to do one of those all inclusive joints at a Beaches Family Resort. No families in sight. *sigh*
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Talk Amongst Ourselves
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Have the holiday wars started in you house yet? (Way long!)