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The (Hopefully) Sane Holiday Therapy Thread - Page 2

post #21 of 85
Thread Starter 

Still awaiting definitive Thanksgiving plans, but I've already done some editing.  Thank goodness, because so far December looks as crazy as ever.  I've decided to say "no" to the Thanksgiving/housewarming, and postpone a visit until mid-December when I can also deliver the kids' (little) Christmas presents.  Not sure what to give my new 7yo grandniece, but this stopwatch for my 5yo grandnephew, and a Corolle doll that belonged to my girls that is in excellent condition for my new grandniece.

 

So, one visit down for that weekend.

 

Next, I don't need to bake pies for one Thanksgiving dinner.  In fact, I'm not sure I'm bringing much at all, if anything, :2whistle and hope no one notices.  That leaves some pies for the other Thanksgiving, and I don't even know if I need to do that.  Not sure when the 2nd Thanksgiving dinner is.  My niece's husband is a police officer and he often works.  I should know this weekend.

 

New vow: no buying Christmas anything until December.  Scratch that--one little thing.  My *NOT L.E.D* multi-colr tree lights.  I managed to have all 4 sets working (with some wiggling) for the entire season last year, and it's likely I will need new ones.

post #22 of 85
I forgot Christmas was getting so close. I'm up nursing the baby at 5:30 am and I feel like I should stay awake and prepare!!
My mother is moving next week to a smaller house so this year I am hosting Christmas. Which means my slacker attitude about decorating must die! Good thing DH has always loved to do that, this year I'll facilitate it more smile.gif
post #23 of 85

Oh crap, if I make it though Thanksgiving, I will celebrate.  It has been a nightmare already. . . I will elaborate a little bit.  After all, I am up in the middle of the night (in part) due to this.  Now, if I can just keep it short.   It is my year to do Thanksgiving (this is just for dh's side of the family.  We decided long ago: Thanksgiving with his side, Easter with mine.  We do the family shuffle for Christmas.  Anyways, this year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of my in laws.  Their anniversary was in October, but the vote (not mine) was to celebrate it over Thanksgiving.  Dh comes from a large family; I don't think I have ever gotten my way (whiny, I know).  We had planned on having a small dinner party with the family and their close friends.  Then it was revealed that mom really wanted "the wedding reception" she never had.  So then, we were trying to do both. . . dinner with friends followed by a dessert reception with everyone they know.  Then someone realized:  hey, it is Amy's year to do Thanksgiving.  Let's skip the dinner thing because we will have a family dinner at her house anyways.  Thanks people.  While I do Thanksgiving every other year, normally not all the family is in town.  I am now hosting for roughly 45 people and wondering HOW I will manage to feed everyone and where I will put them.  Our house isn't tiny, but it isn't freakishly large either.  To top it off, some people decided we needed a large family photo done (now scheduled on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving) for a display of sorts at the anniversary party.  They want mom/dad with all their children and spouses.  They usually want to include all the grandkids too, but this time they want individual family photos to surround the larger photo.  We JUST had ours done this summer, but they won't work because we aren't in the "approved" color scheme.  So now, to top it all off, I am supposed to get my children dolled up for a photo too.  DH says no, but really, that won't fly and he knows it.  He is in denial.  Furthermore, I have been assigned tasks to do so that the decorating won't be just one person's job.  MY oldest daughter wrote several skits utilizing all the cousins (for entertainment/fun) and somehow she is also doing the slide show.  She is only 13 BTW.  Then, all the kids are supposed to write lovely letters to grandma and grandpa to show their appreciation for them.  My kids don't want to do it.  However, they will be bound in a book for them so it will be very obvious if my children don't participate.  Thing is, my kids are struggling with what to write.  Our children are treated differently than the other grandchildren and this hasn't gone unnoticed.  My oldest has started to get bitter about this fact.  (that can be another post).  She thinks she is doing enough already and I agree.  

 

So yeah, and my mother likes her Christmas shopping to be done by Thanksgiving.  She relies on me more and more for what to get my kids (and then she still adds in too much stuff).  Also, my oldest and youngest have birthdays in January, so she wants that taken care of now too.  I 'get' it that she wants them to like their gifts, but I just don't need anymore right now.  My kids don't NEED anything.  They are the only grandkids on my side of the family and are spoiled.  Not so bad though when I get input, but again I don't need anymore things to do right now.  However, I am also trying to study for part two of the enrolled agent exam, homeschooling is bumpy this year, and I can't seem to shed any pounds.  Ugh!  I just want it to be over. 

 

Amy

post #24 of 85
Thread Starter 

That is a load, AAK.  Hopefully you can take something of a HSing vacation until after Thanksgiving.  It's probably too late to make them separate dates?  This would send me to the nut house.  I'm sure you can pull it off--and do it without going postal-- but yikes!  

 

But since your Thanksgiving is so over-the-top crazy, do you mind :innocent if I feel (just a teensy weensy) bit better by comparison?

post #25 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
 

But since your Thanksgiving is so over-the-top crazy, do you mind :innocent if I feel (just a teensy weensy) bit better by comparison?

Good.  I am glad.  

Typing it all out made me feel a bit better too.  :-)

post #26 of 85
AAK: Holy cow!!!!!!!!!! That is a crapload of expectations placed on you. After you recover from the ordeal, please come give us a juicy post with all the details!!
post #27 of 85

Dinner for 45 is no easy feat - good luck to you!  I need to vent myself - this year was going to be a mild easy Christmas with no travel included - my family is all over the state and we usually try and congregate in one town and see each other - this year my bro and SIL and new niece are about 4 states away - they arent coming home - my mom is going out there Dec 28 - Jan 3 or so....which is great - we cant afford to fly the whole family out to see my brother anyway - hoping we can plan a road trip in the spring - we'll see.  

I have to get my DD back home from college - roughly, Dec 13 - so i will take my 3 yr old with me - leaving DH and 15 yr old DS home alone with no car - i can drive to my sisters, spend the night,  then on to get DD, then back home - when my mother found out i would be at my sisters she decided to come and visit at that time too ...ok - a few hours on a Thursday night - not too bad i suppose...now i hear my mother wants to exchange gifts at that time and invite my other brother and his wife.....my sister is beside herself - she often doesnt even put up a tree - and to have one by Dec 13 is ridiculous!  and to go from me and my 3 yr old for one night - to a big family party including presents ....WTF????  

she and i both have a tough time saying NO to our mother  - ahh the ghosts of co-dependents Christmas past.......

its not better on DH's side either....and we have 3 major birthdays in the first week on January (including my DH's Grandmother turning 90 this year!)  and my sister will be 40 on Christmas day.  There is WAY too much shopping to leave it until December - i have gotten a bit of a jump on it ...i also try to do so much handmade ....which leaves the whole house a messy disaster until well after Martin Luther King day......

My 3 yr old saw a string of Halloween lights at Walgreens this year that he insists we need to buy and put up on our Christmas Tree - i have no idea where he got this idea ....but i live in abject fear that he will remember this...and no - i never bought the lights!!!

Ugh - all this extra work - this may be the REAL reason that bears hibernate......

post #28 of 85
Thread Starter 

AAK, if this group is far larger than the typical Thanksgiving, I'd be mentioning in no uncertain terms that you cannot possibly host this without some serious help from other families--dinner, decorations, everything.  I know, it's not my family so it's easy to say this.

post #29 of 85

SweetSilver is right. Even if the 'rules' say that the hosting person typically does everything (and that's a bit odd to start with, isn't it? Don't most families hand out dessert/salad/bread/drinks assignments, no matter whose house it's at?), this is clearly an atypical occasion. Time for a mass email. Start by saying something like "Whew, what a year this is going to be! We have the combined madness of X, Y and Z occasions - let's get planning so it all goes smoothly." List the names of every family who can reasonably be expected to contribute, list everything that needs to be done, and underneath your name write down all the stuff you're already doing. Then sweetly advise everyone else to divide the rest of the tasks up between them, with a warning that if they don't pick themselves, you'll pick for them.

 

I mean, seriously. Yeowch.

 

And yeah, it'd be awkward if your kids didn't contribute letters, but there's no reason they have to lie. :p They can list exactly what they're thankful for about your grandparents - no more, no less, no gushing. Heck, five lines each should do it.

 

Anyway. My holiday season isn't looking toooooo crazy, but well, still a bit crazy.

 

We'll do a Thanksgiving dinner with a few vaguely American or America-affiliated families we know. Mum's organising that, so all I'll have to do is show up with a dessert and maybe some bread. Easy.

 

Next task after that - dressing up DD, DS and my two little nephews and doing a photo shoot with them. We'll use the photos for Christmas gifts for the in-laws and overseas relatives. We did it last year and it was greatly appreciated.

 

Last year they wore sailor suits (well, sailor dress for DD), all made by me, and we went to the beach for photos. This year... any ideas? I've already rejected (on the grounds of 'too much work', mostly):

 

Pirates

Stargate: SG-1

Ninjas

Medieval knights and lady

Superheroes

Cowboys

 

Ideally the costumes/outfits would be wearable again (the kids all wore the sailor suits to church for months), not take too long to sew, and not require hugely expensive fabric. So, say, Wizard of Oz costumes would be out. I could just make them all plain ol' matching shirts and trousers, but that seems kinda boring after last year.

 

(ETA: Never mind. We decided to go with cowboys after all. Yay, that's one thing sorted!)

 

Anyway, after that, Christmas itself. I bought tons of presents ahead of time this year (thank you, New Year's Resolution!), so I'm not too frantic about that. I will be giving DD a bunch of clothes/costumes as gifts which I still need to sew, and I'm sewing DH a manly apron. Have to buy glass bottles for the homemade vanilla essence I'm giving people. Plus I need to figure out a nice activity we can do on Christmas Day itself, after church.

 

We might end up having a 'friends' Christmas dinner as well; we did last year. I won't be hosting, but - like last year - I'll probably do a fair bit of cooking. Breads, at least one dessert, sweet nibbles and fudge or truffles for the friends I didn't buy 'proper' gifts for. Not too bad.

 

The most stressful thing is that in early January, we're taking a big trip to Disneyland - which is awesome and exciting, of course, it's just another thing to think about and plan. Still have a fair few hotels and things to book, DH STILL hasn't gotten his passport sorted, yadda yadda... and we'd better not be too extravagant over Christmas! DD's stocking theme might be 'stuff to do on the plane'...


Edited by Smokering - 11/9/13 at 6:21pm
post #30 of 85

My extended family decided to change the Christmas party from Christmas Day to a day my dh will be working.  Guess we're not going, because I don't want to go without him.

post #31 of 85
AAK, that's nuts. I'm so sorry you're getting hit with all of it. Did it occur to the brain trust that assigned you decorating so that one person wouldn't be stuck with all the work to kick in some grocery money, dishwashing, or pie for the 45 person T-day blowout?

SweetSilver, your question screams "superhero pajamas" to me.
post #32 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
 

My extended family decided to change the Christmas party from Christmas Day to a day my dh will be working.  Guess we're not going, because I don't want to go without him.

That's annoying! Though after last year, I'd probably be happy about it myself. I'm hoping for a low-key Christmas, this year... At least our finances are better so the idea of modest gift giving or buying extra gas to visit anyone on top of buying basic food won't make me feel like bursting into tears. Things were really bad last year and all sorts of people decided to visit and dictate how things were going to be (and living with relatives, we don't have veto power.)

 

If my mom goes to my brother's for Thanksgiving, I might have to actually cook! I usually just do pies and also generally help out on Thanksgiving Day, juggling what needs to go in the oven when, etc. I'd be happy with baked squash, stuffing, and pie. But dh would miss turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls. I really don't like cooking and tend toward one pot cooking when I must cook. So I'll have to think about how to simplify this. One year when we were on our own, I did chicken breasts on a bed of stuffing. And I added cranberries to the stuffing. Worked for me! But dh will still want cranberry sauce. I can probably skip the rolls, though... Don't need them with a bread stuffing, imo.

post #33 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
 

That's annoying! Though after last year, I'd probably be happy about it myself. I'm hoping for a low-key Christmas, this year... At least our finances are better so the idea of modest gift giving or buying extra gas to visit anyone on top of buying basic food won't make me feel like bursting into tears. Things were really bad last year and all sorts of people decided to visit and dictate how things were going to be (and living with relatives, we don't have veto power.)

 

If my mom goes to my brother's for Thanksgiving, I might have to actually cook! I usually just do pies and also generally help out on Thanksgiving Day, juggling what needs to go in the oven when, etc. I'd be happy with baked squash, stuffing, and pie. But dh would miss turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls. I really don't like cooking and tend toward one pot cooking when I must cook. So I'll have to think about how to simplify this. One year when we were on our own, I did chicken breasts on a bed of stuffing. And I added cranberries to the stuffing. Worked for me! But dh will still want cranberry sauce. I can probably skip the rolls, though... Don't need them with a bread stuffing, imo.

 

 

I hate cooking, too.  Fortunately my dh loves to cook.  Missing the family Christmas party won't be so bad, except my 11-yo. son is such a social creature; he'll miss it.  And my extended family thinks dh should just be able to take off work for a day that isn't even Christmas.  Uh, no.  Or that we should go without him.  Uh, no again.  

post #34 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post


Missing the family Christmas party won't be so bad, except my 11-yo. son is such a social creature; he'll miss it.  And my extended family thinks dh should just be able to take off work for a day that isn't even Christmas.  Uh, no.  Or that we should go without him.  Uh, no again.  

This is your side of the family? Are there aspects of the situation you haven't mentioned, or is it just that since DH can't be there, you don't want to be there either? Circumstances I can think of that might make me consider not going are:
--They live far away
--I don't care for them much and don't really want to celebrate with them anyway
--I already had important, unchangeable plans that day
--They planned the party date with the specific intention of excluding my DH
--The family party is soon after Christmas Day, and I anticipate being wiped out and needing that day to recover
--The family party is soon before Christmas Day and I anticipate needing the day to prepare for our own holiday celebration
--Something else I haven't thought of...?

Otherwise, I would figure that we won't be with DH that day anyway since he has to work, so since DS wants to go and the family would (presumably) enjoy spending time with us, we might as well go instead of sitting at home by ourselves.

I realize that I'm seeing this through the lens of my own family dynamics. In my family, every effort would have been made to have the party on a day when the most people could be there. So if it fell on a day when my DH had to work, it would only be because on another day an entire branch of the family wouldn't have been able to come, or something. As families grow and there are more and more in-laws to coordinate with, this stuff can get complicated. DH and I do occasionally attend family events without each other, and we've even attended in-law family events without each other (like I've taken my kids to birthday parties on my DH's side even though DH couldn't go). But we know that both sides of the family have only the best intentions and truly wish everyone could be there every time -- if that weren't the case, I suppose things would be different.
Edited by limabean - 11/10/13 at 11:24am
post #35 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post


This is your side of the family? Are there aspects of the situation you haven't mentioned, or is it just that since DH can't be there, you don't want to be there either? Circumstances I can think of that might make me consider not going are:
--They live far away
--I don't care for them much and don't really want to celebrate with them anyway
--I already had important, unchangeable plans that day
--They planned the party date with the specific intention of excluding my DH
--The family party is soon after Christmas Day, and I anticipate being wiped out and needing that day to recover
--The family party is soon before Christmas Day and I anticipate needing the day to prepare for our own holiday celebration
--Something else I haven't thought of...?

Otherwise, I would figure that we won't be with DH that day anyway since he has to work, so since DS wants to go and the family would (presumably) enjoy spending time with us, we might as well go instead of sitting at home by ourselves.

I realize that I'm seeing this through the lens of my own family dynamics. In my family, every effort would have been made to have the party on a day when the most people could be there. So if it fell on a day when my DH had to work, it would only be because on another day an entire branch of the family wouldn't have been able to come, or something. As families grow and there are more and more in-laws to coordinate with, this stuff can get complicated. DH and I do occasionally attend family events without each other, and we've even attended in-law family events without each other (like I've taken my kids to birthday parties on my DH's side even though DH couldn't go). But we know that both sides of the family have only the best intentions and truly wish everyone could be there every time -- if that weren't the case, I suppose things would be different.

 

 

 

It has always been on Christmas day. This year it was changed for mere convenience, nothing else, even though dh has to work on the day it's now scheduled for (and they all knew that.)  I don't think they purposely excluded him, per se, but they didn't really seem to care about excluding him, either.  My dh works most weekends, so I've gone to all sorts of events without him---most recently, my niece's wedding.  I just don't want to celebrate Christmas without him (even though we'll be doing our own celebration on Christmas itself.) The drive is about an hour and a half, which isn't too bad, but it might be snowing on Christmas, which makes the drive much worse.    

And it didn't help that when I tried to discuss it with my sister the hostess, she called me manipulative and a drama queen.  Ok, whatever.  We'll just stay home.  

post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

AAK, that's nuts. I'm so sorry you're getting hit with all of it. Did it occur to the brain trust that assigned you decorating so that one person wouldn't be stuck with all the work to kick in some grocery money, dishwashing, or pie for the 45 person T-day blowout?

SweetSilver, your question screams "superhero pajamas" to me.

No, they didn't.  However, we are forcing the issue a bit.  I finally got DH to realize how much stress this was causing me.  We made a list of what needs to be done, etc.  He is calling them all and giving them assignments.  They are always good at helping with the dishes though--so that part is no problem.  The expense. . . well, thank goodness this isn't last year or we would have had a serious problem.  This year, it will tighten things, but it is nothing like last year!

 

Amy

post #37 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post

 
And it didn't help that when I tried to discuss it with my sister the hostess, she called me manipulative and a drama queen.  Ok, whatever.  We'll just stay home.  

Yikes! Sounds like you made the right choice.

AAK, I'm glad your DH is delegating some duties. Good luck to you with all of this!
post #38 of 85

I really feel for those of you with crowds expecting you to pull a rabbit out of your ass for the holiday.  DH and I are both only children, and while that really sucks in some ways it makes it easier to control a toxic situation.  MIL is really entitled, but there's only one of her.  Our un-vitation for Thanksgiving went well; we just couched it as an invitation for dinner on an alternate weekend.  Roast chicken instead, still a very nice lunch, she's more interested in being patronizing to her audience anyway.  :P 

post #39 of 85

Oh, I need to join this thread. We are trying to avoid dysfunction this year: run away! run away!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAp9sFVdERQ

 

Thanksgiving will be with friends in another state. Some of my family regularly travel elsewhere for T-giving, so we decided a few years ago that we could, too. This year almost everyone is splitting up and heading to see other friends and family or taking a vacation, so no big deal. New Year's will be with friends in another state. (seeing a pattern here) Same friends we usually celebrate with, just different location.

 

Luckily, my extended family and my DH's immediate family have really reduced Xmas gift giving, so that part isn't super stressful. I do like making stuff by hand, but not sure if I will make it this year - need to check for handmade holidays threads! - but if not, there's Etsy! We like to decorate, but have the same stuff we put up every year, so that isn't stressful, either. Since we are the "traveling" family (no whole-family events are ever at our place - can be stressful), I am trying to think of a few nice things DH, DDs and I can do together so we have our own traditions/memories.

 

The stress will come with doing the "family shuffle" (who said that? good one!) at Xmas with divorced parents and extended family, and a larger family b-day party between Xmas and NY eve that I am helping organize.

 

Hang in there, everyone! Breathe!!

post #40 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post
 

We made a list of what needs to be done, etc.  He is calling them all and giving them assignments.  They are always good at helping with the dishes though--so that part is no problem.  The expense. . . well, thank goodness this isn't last year or we would have had a serious problem.  This year, it will tighten things, but it is nothing like last year!

 

Amy

I almost hyperventilated just thinking about having 45 people over. We have a lot of people in our family who like to cook, know good wines or beers, etc. so we split up duties for all events, pretty much. Thank goodness you will have help!

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