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"But it is my year for Christmas!"

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure where to put this and since I've seen other posts about grandparents here, I thought I'd post here.

So after an incredible amount of drama about who got us for what period of time at Christmas this year, (think crying, whining and complaining) we decided that we were not going to fly all the way and drive for hours to appease everyone.

But after I decreed that we were staying home my in-laws called and asked if they could come here for Christmas. I didn't see much of a problem and said they could. I thought it would take them a while to buy tickets. But nope. They sent us the itinerary already. I told my parents and my mom complained that it was her year this year. And really it is 'her' year as we were at my in-laws for this past Christmas. They are fighting over Christmas in march!!!!!!! I'm so angry that I want to scream.

How do you break up the holidays? How do you keep sane?
Edited by prone_to_wander - 3/8/13 at 6:57pm
post #2 of 17
I ditched them. We traveled at xmas time for many years to avoid the santa, gift bonanza thing that spoils kids rotten. Then we came home and made our own traditions, a winter solstice, no gifts.

No muss, no fuss. The grandparents tried to send big presents by mail for my "poor kids" but I put an end to most of that as well because it was always some crappy plastic stuff.

Be brave. Your kids deserve holiday in their own home and drama free.

Maybe you can pick two other holidays to spend with your families like Memorial Day, Labor Day and always try to be there. Pick the kind without gifts.
post #3 of 17
Originally Posted by prone_to_wander View Post

How do you break up the holidays? How do you keep sane?


We don't travel on holidays any more.

We are home on Christmas day. Christmas is more a season, not one day. We traveled for several years with no reciprocation or appreciation for our effort. It was stressful and made the holidays miserable for us. We now just visit some relatives before and some relatives after the holiday. Some people don't like it because it isn't their ideal Christmas extravaganza. It isn't really about spending time with us. If people want to come to our house then they are welcome to do so but they never want to.

No one owns our holiday time just because they are a relative. There are 364 other days in a year when we can visit each other that can be just as special.  They can be more flexible and work something out or be angry and alone.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

I think the unique thing about my situation is that my family and my in-laws both live in the same state, but on opposite ends. The culture of driving isn't one where you can fly 6 hours and only see one family. The culture is so that it is unacceptable for you to not drive the 4 hours to see the other family.


And I don't really mind going. I don't even mind driving to go see the other family, especially as I want to be with my family. We spend two weeks in my home state at Christmas usually. But my in-laws essentially think that my family gets to see us more. When in reality, I strive to make the visits as equal as possible. Then I get to deal with (mostly) passive aggressive remarks and the previously mentioned crying and whining which happened this past Christmas when the in-laws felt they got the short end of the stick.


And so we did decide to stay home this year to avoid the drama, but as it was my mom's 'year', and my in-laws will be here, because I foolishly said yes without talking to my parents. I don't feel like I can bar people from coming (although I do feel like doing so right now). I don't know how to deal with this (childish) behavior that happens to manifest itself over Christmas. And to be fair, I do like my in-laws. I like spending time with them. But I am tired of this "its my turn".


Perhaps we should just go traveling, but I'm pretty darn sure that everyone will start traveling with us. There aren't very many grandchildren to go around.

post #5 of 17
Four hours is still a lot of time for kids to be in the car. If you are close to your mom, maybe go to her with this issue and see what she says. No one should feel so much pressure to keep everything fair.
post #6 of 17

Every other year we travel out of town for T-giving - rotating who we see - his family or mine. Christmas is always home, we have the tree and gifts. Can you have your mom out for T-giving? 

post #7 of 17
Can you bring your family before or after the inlaws?

I always see my family before Christmas. Inlaws after.

Anyway to host everyone? For my inlaws we often rent a large home so 4+ families can gather at once
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

I was thinking it would be ok if everyone could come here, but my mom claims there isn't enough space (it would be cosy). Renting a big house for the holidays is out of our budget.


There isn't really a better time for my parents to come. They might come this Easter, but that is right around the corner, so I'm not sure they'll actually come.


Onlyzombiecat - how did you tell your family the change of plans? I guess I'm a people-pleaser and I hate that my mom is upset about all of this. I'm wondering if I need to have a conversation with my mom and in-laws where I tell them to relax. But really I'd like to hide under a rock and avoid. Which is strange because I usually have no issues with conflict, but my in-laws react so strangely sometimes, I don't understand where they are coming from.

post #9 of 17

Can your family come for TDay? Or New Years? Like I posted somewhere, we do our big celebration with gifts on January 7th (Russian Christmas). Mostly because I work retail, and TDay -> Jan 1 is crazy at work. It's so much less stressful for all of us. And now that the kids are in college, we can set aside a day or two to go shopping together, get some great deals, eat out, etc. We've embraced that as *our* Christmas. The 25th? We have a nice dinner with my parents.

post #10 of 17

This makes me so happy that dh and I decided that the Christmas before I was even pregnant that once we had kids we would no longer be leaving the house on Christmas.  We both HATED the driving around, leaving all your new toys at home suckfest of holiday travel as kids and decided we wouldn't put ours through that.  Mil was PISSED and eventually decided she wasn't coming to us anymore.  Oh well, her loss.


I personally would invite everyone and they are welcome to join us if they like.  


We are retail too.  We celebrate whenever we can.  We do Christmas Day, just becuase of the kids, but the rest of the family comes to visit whenever it works for all of us.  Sometimes that's in February!!

Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

Can your family come for TDay? Or New Years? Like I posted somewhere, we do our big celebration with gifts on January 7th (Russian Christmas). Mostly because I work retail, and TDay -> Jan 1 is crazy at work. It's so much less stressful for all of us. And now that the kids are in college, we can set aside a day or two to go shopping together, get some great deals, eat out, etc. We've embraced that as *our* Christmas. The 25th? We have a nice dinner with my parents.

post #11 of 17
I get where you are coming from here, my parents and ILs live ~45 minutes from each other, both ~5 hours from us, so yeah we really feel we should visit both when we visit one. Personally, with a 4 hour trip between, I would just tell them you can't always see both on every trip, but like I said I get it as I don't feel like I should ever say that myself with only 45 minutes!

Anyway, for future, you can totally tell people they can't come to your house for whatever reason. I get that it is harder to do than to say though. However, I would just tell your Mom that she is welcome to come for Christmas too (and stay in a hotel if she thinks it will be too crowded) or to come visit some other time(s) this year. I also think it would be worthwhile to have a talk with both your parents & ILs about how stressful and not fun it is dealing with their guilt trips about visits and it makes you want to stop doing visits.

I actually had a talk like that with my parents recently as they were giving us the guilty/disappointed parent looks and sometimes comments when we weren't participating in everything they thought we should be on visits (my parents schedule tons of stuff which is fine, but with our high need toddler and wanting to visit the ILs, we have to make choices that work for us!). It helped that my brother who has the next oldest (almost a year now) also chimed in. It was a really awkward, painful conversation and I did it mostly over e-mail as that let everyone process without having angry instant reactions, but things are so much better now for us and for all my siblings and visits with my parents are now nearly stress-free. I also talked about some other things too that were bugging me, so if there is anything else, I'd suggest laying it all out there and get it all over with at once!

Also, if holidays are going to be a battle, I'd just stop visiting for them and do visits when it isn't a holiday. Tell them you want to start building your own traditions just like they did as their children got older. Or just keep inviting everyone to your place or invite on an every other year schedule, but do what works for your immediate family first.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 


Edited by prone_to_wander - 3/13/13 at 12:39pm
post #13 of 17

:( Ugh.


Can you have an open conversation with each side (and bring your dh in when talking to the in-laws) about the stress it causes you and your family? I think sometimes, esp. when it comes to grandchildren, the grandparents act out of their own interests and forget that their behavior has a wider influence than just what happens between them and the kids. Hopefully they would be sensitive to the bigger impact and be willing to work it out and deal with their own stuff around it. 

It's hard to draw a line in the sand and watch other people's reactions to it, but I think every family needs to be protective of their time and energy and what others do in reaction to that is their issue. 

We live 3,000 miles from my in-laws and this year we traveled to them for the first time. It was fine, but we won't do it again for a long time. My mom lives 30 min. away, so we always see her. My dad caught wind that we traveled this year (he lives 4 hours away) and asked when we were coming to his house for Christmas. It was like traveling one year (after 6 years at home) opened a can of worms. We're going for Easter instead :) 

post #14 of 17

We don't travel for the holidays as both sets of parents live (well, lived, as my in-laws are now both dead) in the same town as us.  Fortunately, my family has the main celebration on Christmas eve and dh's parents did Christmas day.  So we went to my parents on Christmas eve and dh's parents on Christmas day.  When my father-in-law died and my mother-in-law decided that she wasn't going to do Christmas anymore (it reminded her too much of her husband; he loved Christmas), we took on Christmas day at our house with dh's side of the family..  Now that my mother-in-law is gone and we inherited her house (our oldest lives in the house with her family), we have Christmas day over there.  When my parents die, my part of the family (accounts for 1/2 of the collective family) will probably come to our house for Christmas eve.  Or, if I'm lucky, my sister will decide to continue the tradition at her house (mom and dad live in a retirement apt. attached to my sister's house).


As for the other 2 main holidays (Thanksgiving and Easter), we went to the in-laws house where the girls got Easter baskets before going to my parents house where we had the Easter egg hunt.  Thanksgiving was every other year between the them until my father-in-law died.  Then my mother-in-law divided her time between my parents and her other son's house for Thanksgiving.

Edited to add:  Now we have Thanksgiving at our 2nd dd's house.  There can be upwards of 26 people, including babies, at one of the holiday gatherings or as little as 8-10.  Who has the biggest house factors in where we hold the holiday.  Until now, my sister's house was the biggest.

post #15 of 17

Not sure if it's frasible, and this year you're in a more complicated situation, but would doing Christmas with one set of grandparents and New Years with the other work?

post #16 of 17
Here's what I think you should do. Sit down with your husband and decide what *your* ideal arrangement would be. Would it be to see both sides of the family on different holidays every year? To see one side one year, and the other side the next year? Would it be for you to travel to them, or them to travel to you? Make a plan that seems fair and sensible to you, and takes your family's needs into consideration. I suggest making a plan that will be what you do every year from now on, but of course you can change it later if it no longer works for you.

Then call your mother and tell her, "My husband and I have discussed the holidays, and this is what we are going to do." If she doesn't like it say, "I'm sorry you feel that way. If you don't want to see us for the holidays, I guess I can't make you. But this is what we are doing."

Then your husband calls his parents and says the same thing. This is our plan. This is what we have decided. This is what we are doing. No, "would you be ok with...?" or "how about we...?" Don't ask them, tell them. Then, do exactly what you planned.

It doesn't really matter *what* your plan is. What matters is that you get to make the plans for your own family, and both sets of grandparents need to respect that without acting like whining, crying children.
post #17 of 17
Originally Posted by prone_to_wander View Post


Op, did you get anywhere with this issue?
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