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First of all, I am kinda ranting <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: here after talking with dh about his dad's comments about Christmas. Long post-sorry.<br><br>
I love the holiday season. I love to bake, put up decorations, and make my house warm and cozy. I do however dislike the family aspect of Christmas. On my side, I have my mom who is single, whose house dh and I went to last year. We stayed until Christmas morning-very nice and relaxing. I have my dad's house that is very comfortable-they do get quite a few gifts, but they don't expect us to go hog wild with money. My dh's mom's house is great-good food, comfortable family time.<br><br>
Then there is my dh's dad's house. It is all about the two step-grandgirls. We went the last three years, and were ignored. There was no good food, it was not cozy, and the agreement to only buy for the name drawn apparently didn't apply(nobody told us). So we went and watched spoiled girls rip open presents, and not say thank you. We watched everyone open gift after gift, while we just sat after having opened our one small gift. Anyway, it sucked!<br><br>
We haven't even been to my dad's house for Christmas since we met, so we decided to go this year. DH's dad gave us horrible guilt trip. "Oh but the whole family will be there(only family of dh's is dad and bro, the rest are step family)." "Oh why do you have to go somewhere else." Because we both have families and they both want to see us.<br><br>
We both think we shouldn't have to feel guilty for spending time with my family also. We have spent every Christmas with his family. Wait until we have the baby! DH and I have already agreed that we won't be running from house to house with kids. We will do our own Christmas Eve, then visit one parent on Christmas day. I mean there are a lot of days around Christmas, why do we have to go crazy in on one day?!<br><br>
Anyway, this doesn't really relate to the pregnancy board, other than my hormones are not helping the situation. What do all you mamas think about the upcoming holiday season?
 

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I watch what happens to other people's family Christmases and it makes me very very sad.<br>
Dh and I are lucky, we don't have step families to deal with. Dh's mom was widowed young and remarried when the boys were grown. My parents didnt' divorce until three years ago. Both families are small and get along well. When dh and I started dating (16 years ago) my mom just decided our familiy would celebrate Christmas eve, allowing my brother and I to spend Christmas day however we want.<br>
And so it went every year, simple and straight forward, Christmas eve, my family, Christmas day, his family.<br>
Then we had children and realized it made for some busy time. So now we all (his parents, my parents - despite the divorce, my brother and his family, his brother, the children's remaining great grandparent (my mom's mom) and us all together on Christmas eve.) Then Christmas day we just hang out in our pjs and cook something really easy like a frozen lasagna. It allows us to have a relaxing day with our children in our home (my dad stays over here with us ) Anyone who was there Christmas eve is welcome then too.<br>
Its actually really nice. Really relaxed.<br><br>
I'm so sorry that your holiday is so complex. I've watched my friends struggle with step families too and its just too darn much.
 

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I'm with you Chelsea - and once the baby gets here, I'd say "hey, if you want to see the baby, you come here - it's just too much work to drag a baby from place to place" I totally understand how you feel. I'm expecting problems this year as well, we always spend christmas with MIL and FIL, this year we are going to AZ to see my mom and dad (dad lives in WA but is flying down for Christmas) haven't told the IL's yet but I'm expecting WW3 when we do....
 

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Good thread, and yes I think this relates to our pregnancy, it's all about dealing with family stuff. How we deal with this certainly effects our stress, the baby, what we want to model to our children etc. Venting helps <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blahblah.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blah blah"> ! So I've got a long post too.<br>
Oh, the Holidays...It's really a myth that most people are happy around the Holidays really it's the opposite and studies show a big spike in stress etc. A lot of mental health centers give out phamplets on coping with the holidays to the general public. Not to be a downer but just to say that it's pretty normal to have lots of conflicting emotions. Taking all the hype of the Holidays, pressure from our consumer culture and mixing that in with extended family dynamics and people living all over-that's a lot to deal with.<br>
Every holiday season I try to remind myself not to take on other people crap which is ALWAYS easier said than done. Example, just last night my sister called me to say that my brother & his wife have decided to go to a Football game instead of to the Thanksgiving she planned far in advance, he wants to move it. The catch is my other sister is already flying in for this and my sister who is hosting it won't be able to have her kids there if she changes it to what he wants b/c they'll be with her ex. So my mom wants to change it to accomodate my brother and is guilting my sister with this. After listening to my sister vent & she wants to keep it as planned, and me adding in my two cents conclusion = people make their own choices and I'm not going take that on. Proceed as planned, love & logic. We'll miss them at Thanksgiving and hope they have a good time at the football game<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.<br>
So after the years we try to accomodate everyone and please people, let's just remember that it's up to us to have the Holiday experience we want and so sometimes that means not taking on other people's crap/not going to/or limiting the time you spend with people that can't share in the experience, for whatever reason, that you want for yourself. It's a special time for us that we will be far in pregnancy around the holidays...enjoy it<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> (this helped me)
 

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My only advice is to decide together what you want and stick with it. Tell your families "this is what we are doing, if you want to see us, you'll have to make it happen."<br><br>
Dh and I decided the year before we got pg with ds that we were no longer going anywhere for Christmas. We both worked retail and had to be up at the crack of dawn the next day. It was exhausting to sit at my inlaws, eat super late and not the tastiest food<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> We knew we would be having kids and both remembered how much it sucked on Christmas to leave all your toys, get dressed up and go sit at someone's house. We told our families what we were doing and it's been that way for 6 years. Everyone comes here on Christmas day, we spend Christmas Eve as a family with my dad. His mom pissed and moaned about the whole thing because "she always had Christmas". Why did she get that holiday? Because she HAD the little kids! Now we have them <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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It's interesting to see how a lot of you stay at home on Christmas. I grew up in a family where Christmas was very busy, always running from one place to another and I don't remember being upset about it. And now, if its not like that I don't know if I would know what to do with myself.<br><br>
We spend Christmas Eve with DH's father (his mother passed away when he was 16). Christmas Day, we do our own thing in the morning, which of course is always really early because of the kids. We then go to my mom's for breakfast, open gifts there and then to to my grandmothers. Then its usually home for a nap and we go to the local basketball game that night. It's a busy day but I don't know that I would want it any other way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There are some good points here ladies. 3timemomma, that is so great that you enjoyed that as a child. I was raised pretty much as an only child, and we lived far away from relatives. I just loved that we had Christmas at home, and didn't have to go anywhere. When I had Christmas at my dad's, we had a huge family, but also would just hang around grandma and grandpa's house all day.<br>
I just think it is exhausting to run all over, and since I have become an adult, I have done a lot of it. I think extended family is very important, but I don't want my kids running from house to house just to get gifts. I want it to be about quality time with family. That is easier said than done, I know, so check back with me in five years to see how I'm doing with it!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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We have another issue and that is that DS's birthday is Christmas eve. We hate travelling on/around Christmas and we don't think DS should have to give up his birthday for family crap. But I can't get my mom to recognize that Christmas eve is his BIRTHDAY and we can't just celebrate it "with" Christmas on Christmas day which is when she would prefer to come and visit us, just for the day. She didn't even come up for his birthday party last year (which was the weekend before) and it's not like she lives in another state, it's only 2 hours away <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> She thinks it's good enough that she sees him on Christmas. Sometimes I wish I had family that was a little more "into" stuff like that. DH's family lives in another state (and they're really horrible people so we never spend holidays with them) and I haven't spoken to my dad in 10 years, so my mom is all we have.<br><br>
I will say that it does get easier to say no once you have the baby!
 

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Ahh, the holidays. Joy and cheer (and anxiety and irritation and family guilting you into doing things to suit them, even if it's to your own detriment).<br><br>
Since we live two time zones away from DH's family, and we no longer travel for Christmas, and they don't want to come here, either. My brother and his family decided a few years back they weren't travelling for Christmas anymore, so even though they only live 3 hours away, there's no pressure to rotate who visits. So it's just my parents (2 hours away) that we get together with. DD's first 2 Christmases we went to their place, but the last 2, we decided we wanted to stay here so my parents came over. We want DD to wake up to Christmas in her own house. So far they haven't complained about it, hope that continues. When they come here for Christmas, we go there for Thanksgiving, so it seems "fair."<br><br>
The downside of DH's parents is the excessive, ridiculous, obscene number of gifts they send for our DD. And they don't seem to "get" that some sorts of gifts are not okay with us. Last year after the fact DH talked to them about it, but I'm sure they've "forgotten" by this year. Last year I finally decided to go through and "screen" the gifts beforehand. So, 4 out of 5 of the outfits they sent were 2 sizes too big, so I put those back for when they fit. A few of the gifts were Disney or Barbie crap, so I gave those to a toy drive. They always send a couple of videos, one or more of which is inevitably too scary or inappropriate for DD, so I donate those as well. Believe it or not that still leaves a crapload of stuff, but at least it wasn't utterly out of hand. It finally hit me that one of the reasons I was so irritated by their lavish giving was that I felt like *I* couldn't buy DD things I wanted, b/c I didn't want to add to the pile. She's my child, I want to be able to give her special things and have her actually notice them. Not to mention that it makes me gag to think how many kids have nothing for the holidays and here she's got 30 gifts to open.<br><br>
Well, that's MY rant!<br><br>
Carol
 
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