A Question about Christmas logistics re: your kids + family

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Posted 11/27/2012 by ratqueen in NSBR Board
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FBTXScrapper
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:25:36 AM
We always spend Christmas Eve with MIL/FIL. They are 45 minutes away. Then Christmas morning is spent at our house with just us and kids. Then if my side of the family is all in town, then we go over to my Dad's/Stepmother's that afternoon. They are 30 minutes away. If my step-sister and her family go to her husbands family then we do it the weekend after Christmas.

busypea
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:26:41 AM
Well, it's too late for her to do what we did. But we were in the same boat - holidays were ALWAYS at our parents' homes. Early in our relationship, we went to both parents' home each holiday. Later, we started alternating (so Thanksgiving at my parents', Christmas at his, then switch the next year). This was all pre-kid. We discussed along the way that when we had a kid(s), we would want to celebrate Christmas at home. Both of us always got to wake up in our own beds Christmas morning, open Santa gifts, and have a relaxing day eating good food, spending time with family at our home and playing with our new stuff. We wanted the same for our family - not shuttling around from celebration to celebration.

So the Christmas when I was pregnant with DS, we started talking to both sets of parents about how things would change int he future. That it was OK to keep doing what we were doing for a couple years, but once DS was a bit older, we would start having Christmas at our home and we really hoped they would choose to join us. That was Christmas of 2007. We reminded everyone of that with each holiday season. We reminded them how it was when we grew up and why we wanted that for DS. They objected to begin with softened with time. Last year, when DS was 3, it was time for Christmas to start being at our house because he "got it" enough that we wanted the at-home tradition to start.

By that time, it was painless. We had a big celebration at our house with both sides of the family and it was great. But had we sprung it on them with so little notice, it would have been mutiny.

I would suggest that they back off for this year, as it is so close, but be very clear that things will change next year and give all the good reasons, and extend absolutely gracious invitations for them to join.

After just one year of not hosting Christmas, my mom (who did have a few grumbles about the changes even leading up to last year) found she LOVED being a guest for Christmas instead of having to do all the work. She'd never complained about it and *thought* she loved doing it, but once she didn't have to... she realized it's pretty great to relax even if it does mean giving up control

Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:27:18 AM

Joy's mom usually does Christmas Eve, but Joy's family is *far* more flexible about the whole thing. They're just excited to get to watch the grandkids enjoy Christmas... for them it's about the kids and not the grownups, kwim?



So is Joy skipping her mother's Christmas Eve as well? It sounds like she is sacrificing her DH's traditions instead of her own to carve out time for her "own little family" Why not stay home on Christmas Eve and spend that time making traditions?

I think it's utterly unreasonable to expect her husband's entire family to change their tradition because Joy doesn't want to drive for an hour. Don't want to spend the entire day - no problem - head up for Christmas Dinner. It's only an hour a way - frankly the logistics here aren't that challenging. If she doesn't want to spend the holiday with her MIL, don't. But I think the idea that she's going to make time for her family but none for her MIL is lame.

And for the record - I do spend Christmas Day at home. We are a plane flight away from any family and so alternate time before Christmas and after Christmas - but make sure that both sets of grandparents get to see their granchildren during the holiday season.



melanell
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:28:11 AM
When I was a kid Christmas with the grandparents *was* the special tradition.


We woke up in the morning, got dressed, and went to church. My parents used to tie our scarves around our eyes as we walked through the living room to preserve the surprise.

When we got home, Dad (Who did not attend church with us) would have breakfast ready...something we could nibble on in the living room while we looked at our gifts. It was one of those really healthy traditions...you know..eating cinnamon rolls & cookies for breakfast.

When we had opened our gifts, we'd load up the car with gifts for our extended family members and set off for the 30 min. ride to my maternal grandmother's house. We'd have "dinner" there, aka a large lunch. Very large. Then we'd open gifts there. My grandmother, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 6 cousins would be there. 1 set of cousins drove over an hour to be there every single year, while the other set drove over 6 hours to be there.

After we finished, we'd get back in our car and drive 45 minutes to my paternal grandparents house. We'd have left-overs there from their dinner earlier in the day and open gifts with my aunt & uncle & grandparents.

We'd head home around 9pm.

We did this every year for as long as my grandmothers were both alive.

By the time they had both passed away, I was an adult and with DH.

We did the same thing, but with less driving. I'd take the kids to church, where'd I meet my mom, siblings, & nieces. DH (Who also does not attend mass) stays home and makes breakfast. When I get home with the kids, we eat and then open our gifts.

When we're done, we drive (only 10 minutes) to my parents to celebrate with my siblings & nieces. Then we drive 5 min. to DH's parents to celebrate with them. And *then*, when my grandfather was still alive, and my aunt & uncle still lived locally, we'd go *back* to my parents house for another celebration with my aunt, uncles, & grandfather!

Phew! Tired yet?

But it was wonderful.

Only one year did we miss it...I was pregnant with DS #1 and we had a huge Christmas blizzard, and so we stayed home on christmas day.

And it was nice. It really was. But to me Christmas was and still is about being with all of those people. In fact, the day after Christmas, we still go back to my maternal grandmother's hometown to gather with her sisters, and all sorts of aunts, uncles, & cousins.

There are 12 days of Christmas, plus all of advent. Dh, the kids and I get plenty of opportunities to do things just the 4 of us. Plenty of our own traditions to enjoy. And we still get to let our kids enjoy traditions with their extended family as well.


Honestly, a 1 hour driver sounds like nothing to me. Certainly not spending all day in a car. They could easily have their own traditions in the morning, and still spend the afternoon and/or early evening with the in-laws.

Do I think the in-laws treated your friend right? Absolutely not. But I also think there are ways to easily compromise and include both traditions if your friend really cared to try.

melanell
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:32:26 AM

Joy's first mistake was making the call to her MIL. That needs to be her husband's job.

This seems to be a popular philosophy but I don't understand it. Either she's part of the family, or she's not. Nothing says 'outsider' more than having your spouse deal with everything involving 'his' family.


I agree. I am often the one who calls back and forth between my mom and my MIL when we are figuring out how we're going to split our time on holidays.


gar
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:33:44 AM
That MIL sounds awful. I really dislike it when one eprson thinks they get to dictate for EVERYone else

Thankfully my parents and my in-laws are all very reasonable people and we chat and make different plans each year, depnding on various factors like age of kids, various people's wishes and so on.

I think she should perhaps write to MIL so she can read and re-read the words when she's calmer and perhaps be less over-reactionary.



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mdoc
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:34:38 AM
My MIL always expected everyone at her house (an hour away) on Christmas Day. When my oldest two kids were 5 and 2-1/2, I realized that we were RUSHING them through present opening in order to get to MIL's, and that's when we decided we'd go, but on our timetable. We slowed things down, allowed the kids to play with their presents, and we showed up when we got there. Christmas went on. A few years back we decided to go to Disney World for Christmas. We've done that every years since, and will do it again this year. We have Christmas with FIL and some of the aunts/uncles/cousins earlier in December, and visit MIL after the first of the year. The family has somehow survived. Your friend shouldn't let the in-laws bully or guilt her into doing something that's not best for her immediate family. That said, why is SHE delivering the news to MIL, instead of her DH doing it? I always let DH handle any potentially controversial discussions with his side of the family.

UkSue
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:39:07 AM
I really can't understand people like the MIL in the Op. does she not consider that the grandchildren in this case also have other grandparents? What if they want everyone at their house the whole day? What happens then? I have posted many times here, that I have never travelled on Christmas Day. As others have said, I am willing to travel any other day- and indeed anyone is welcome to visit us, but Christmas Day is for us to spend in comfort and stress free at home.

My first MIL threw my ex husband out of the house on Christmas eve (literally threw all his belongings out into the front garden, in pouring rain) because he wanted to spend Christmas Day with me at my parents just after we got engaged. they ended up not speaking for 2 years because he was told he had ruined Christmas- despite the fact she had 3 other children at home aged 16- 19.

When my children grow up and move away then I will honestly not put any pressure on them- I just wouldn't do that to them.


It's not the passage of time that heals. It's what you do with that time.

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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:42:36 AM
Why isn't the DH discussing this with his own mother so the DIL doesn't have to be the one 'manipulating' her DS and being the 'bad guy?'

I never understand this. If it's a family decision, why is the wife left to deal with the MIL wigging out? Why doesn't the DH deal with his own mother and her issues?

If something was going on with the wife's mother and her family traditions, would the DH ever be expected to call and deal with it?

It's not right for the DIL to be put in this position in the first place. That's MY opinion.


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mom-2-2beagles
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:46:57 AM
I was the first (really only) one to put my foot down to the inlaws. Now I love my inlaws and I get along with them really well. We live 15 minutes from them and see them all the time. DH's sisters both live out of state and don't see them as often. My inlaws go visit them at least twice a year (each - they are in different states).

Growing up we always did Christmas Eve at my mom's parents (45 minutes away), Christmas morning at home, and Christmas dinner at my dad's parents (10 minutes away). So I thought everyone always did Christmas at home. Well, dh's family aways went away for Christmas - when we got married they had been going to ski every year. I'm not a huge fan of skiing, but I can understand the wanting a white Christmas.

When we got married we had all taked and the plan was supposed to be that we would do every other year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So each SO's family would have a major holiday each year. Well dh and I have been the only ones that I have done anything slightly like that. Mainly because I put my foot down.

Four years ago I put my foot down, we had been going to Cabo for Christmas for a couple years at that point - every year - and even though my sil's have kids they seemed to disregard their inlaws (one lives a 2+ hour drive from hers, the other a 3+ hour flight from hers). So I said we would come the following year and that I hoped to be pregnant that year, but that the year after (last year) we were going to stay home. I wanted my child's first Christmas to be at home and that going forward we were going to only go every other year. Dh backed me and that is what we have done.

In the end it has worked out, the sil that lived on the other side of the country is moving to the middle of the country where her sister lives. We have been informed that we are all going there for Thanksgiving next year and then that they are both going back east for Christmas to visit their inlaws. I think my inlaws are feeling a little lost in all this because they are used to having everyone for Christmas, so I have reiterated that they are welcome at our house.

I'm pregnant and due with baby #2 in February so this baby will have its first Christmas at home too. Now if we have more kids who knows if we will be able to plan it the same way, but I'm looking forward to Cabo this year and home next year.




batya
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:50:18 AM

This seems to be a popular philosophy but I don't understand it. Either she's part of the family, or she's not. Nothing says 'outsider' more than having your spouse deal with everything involving 'his' family.


DH and I have been happily married for 18 years. I deal with my family b/c I know their crazy. He deals with his family b/c he know their crazy. I am on very good terms with my ILs. They are family to me at this point, including DH's aunts, uncles and grandparents. I am the one who initiates visits and sending them photos, etc. But when it comes to anything dicey, I let him do the dirty work. and I would never have him deal with my family that way. I want everything to stay happy and for many years this has worked well for us.

What I notice, here and IRL, is when people cross over, the ILs pull stuff on each other that they wouldn't with their own or they take a tone that they would not. That's my experience. And in a way, you are almost always an outsider to the family you married into in a way that you are not to the family you were born into. It's different and yes, there are exceptions. But why ask for trouble when you're dealing with something you KNOW is sensitive?

Joy knew this was going to be a problem. Why not have the woman's SON go to her and soften the blow? It's easier for a woman to lash out at the woman her son married and ruined all her future christmases than the boy she carried for 9 months.

Really, no one contacted the Dh in all this? You don't find that odd at all? Like he is the non entity. The outsider. I find that to be the far stranger piece of this story.


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jjjulee
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Posted: 11/27/2012 11:58:41 AM
I like the idea of Christmas in the morning and then dinner at the in-laws.

We "did" Christmas with MIL once and that was enough. Same with my dad and the extended family he visits. Neither of them "do" it the way we want to do it with our kids. MIL now travels to see extended family for Christmas, the way my dad has for years. She gets ticked off about it every year, but we refuse to listen to her complain all day about how she doesn't like how we do things. We are welcome to travel with them, but we don't. We celebrate Christmas with them either before they leave or after they come back. The sentiment doesn't change based on the day that we "do" Christmas with them.

I have to admit that I have a Norman Rockwell-ish vision of all of my kids with their spouses and grandkids wanting to come to my house at Christmas, spend a few days, the whole bit. And I'll encourage the hell out of it when the time comes, but will do my best to remember when I just wanted to do Christmas MY way.

pretzels
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:00:31 PM
I'm another one who isn't sure why it has to be all or nothing. Why can't Joy, her DH and her kids drive up to the ILs after they've unwrapped their presents?

When I was a kid, we lived in the same town as my paternal grandparents, and six hours away from my maternal grandparents. In all the years I was growing up, we spent one Christmas away from home. And that is the one Christmas that I remember above all else. It was fun, it was different, and it didn't ruin the magic of Santa. To me, it proved even more that he was real because he knew where to find me!

I think that bringing it up so close to the holidays was a mistake, also.

Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:03:54 PM

He deals with his family b/c he know their crazy. I am on very good terms with my ILs. They are family to me at this point, including DH's aunts, uncles and grandparents. I am the one who initiates visits and sending them photos, etc. But when it comes to anything dicey, I let him do the dirty work.


I couldn't agree more - it also heads off any belief that it's not OUR idea or plan. We discuss as a couple what we would like to do in the situation and then each of us communicates it to our respective parents/families.

batya
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:05:51 PM
And if you want to hear crazy-

Aside from the seders we host annually, accepting whomever wants to attend each year but insisting it for no one (though we have our yearly regulars who have nowhere else to go)-

We try not to do anything, anywhere for two consecutive years lest someone decides they have a tradition that involves us and we don't get to make a decision for our family. Memorial day weekend? Nope. We try not to visit the same relatives more than one or two years consecutively.
December break-same story. One year we stay home, another we plan to see the great-grandparents, etc.
February break-one year we went to Disney, one year we stayed home...,
Passover, we always host, wanna come, our door is open, you have other plans, that's fine too-we don't own you-we just want you to be happy (who ever heard of THAT?!?!),
Mother's Day-one year we visited the great-grandmas 6 hours away (surprise!), one year we saw the local grandma, one year we hung out at home and DH cooked dinner for me (frankly, I don't care much about holidays-obviously).
Yom Kippur-Break Fast at a good friend's house one year, no formal Break Fast the next, back to good friend's for Break Fast the next, had DS's friend over for Break Fast this year

I know it sounds nuts, but we are pretty independent, DH's work schedule is pretty erratic so we can't be depended on that way and no one gets disappointed.


OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




ashazamm
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:10:01 PM
We do pretty much the same thing as we did before kids. I don't understand the "whole day" thing. If my MIL wanted us for the whole day, I would draw the line there, she only gets 3-4 hours.

Our Christmas Eve is our time with other family and celebrating. We go to my in-laws for a party (3-4 hours). Later, we either have a party at our home for my family or at another family member's house for a few hours. This is the time we all exchange gifts and eat. Christmas Day is meant to stay home all day with our immediate family (just DH & kids). We rarely leave the house. We stay in PJs all day too.


gmcwife1
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:13:00 PM

So - when your kids got to be just big enough that Christmas traditions started to matter, what did you do? Did you stop doing whatever HAD been the family plan? How did you decide and get family on-board?


We don't do the old traditions vs. our own new traditions in our family.

We all spend the night at my mom's house and enjoy having all the siblings and kids there to open our gifts together.


~ Dori ~

Dalai Mama
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:13:11 PM

DH and I have been happily married for 18 years. I deal with my family b/c I know their crazy. He deals with his family b/c he know their crazy.
Okay, that's an answer to my question that makes perfect sense to me.

I tend to deal with conflicts on his side because Trenton's family, crazy or not, are more likely to be understanding if I'm the one asking.


Jo Mama

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melanell
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:13:47 PM

Really, no one contacted the Dh in all this? You don't find that odd at all? Like he is the non entity. The outsider. I find that to be the far stranger piece of this story.


I wonder if he's fine with the way things are and so left it to his wife to sort out since she is the one wanting to change things.

kmoller
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:17:02 PM
DH should have been the one to tell his mother, not the DIL to MIL, and then FIL getting involved and the situation going downhill from there.

XMas is a time for sharing, and that means family too. If MIL wants to get her knickers in a knot, then that's her problem. Joy should be able to start her own family traditions, whether it's present opening time in the a.m. and dinner at her in-laws later, or even dinner at her own house with the invite out to the in-laws. At that point the ball is in the MIL's court to see what she will do.

We always divided the time in our house during the holidays, Xmas Eve with my FIL n spouse, morning with my children, and Xmas day afternoon/dinner with my MIL and her spouse (and later a rotation amongst the MIL and SIL's).

Some people just don't like change. Me, if I can spend the morning with my children, and rotate the Christmas cooking every year, then I'm happy and so is everyone else in the extended family.
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smilesnpeacesigns
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:30:52 PM
Have ya'll not been reading the OP and her replies?

She said

Joy's husband didn't make the initial call, true, but Joy and MIL have the kind of relationship where they talk directly to each other even about important stuff. When FIL showed up yesterday Joy's DH was home and he backed her up about staying home.


Joy's DH knows, let her handle the initial call and backed her up when FIL came and made her cry.


Even with the snark, trolls and spelling police you are a great group of ladies!

ADD_Housewife
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:34:52 PM
Maybe I'm in the minority but I have fond memories of spending all of Christmas Day at my grandma's. we also had to travel a bit.

But I remember being excited to finally be old enough to play scrabble, eating a huge dinner, etc.

To me, that IS a wonderful family tradition.


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peapermint
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:40:22 PM
Our tradition is to go to family out of town (DH's or mine). It would be so lonely at home just the three of us. I have no interest in making our own Christmas Day traditions. There are traditions at the grandparents'. We have our own nuclear family traditions elsewhere in December, like tree-hunting or cocoa or whatever.

rachag03
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Posted: 11/27/2012 12:43:48 PM
No one gets to claim a whole day...in our family we have to visit four sets of people for Christmas. If we had to see all those people on Christmas Day because they claimed that day as theirs and were completely inflexible, that would make one miserable stressful day for us.

We stay home Christmas morning...the morning is ours for our kids to wake up in their own beds and open presents at our house. Christmas Eve we go see two sets of our family, Christmas Day in the afternoon we go see at least one more, maybe two. If we can't get to both we do one the day before Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas.

Flexibility goes a long way in keeping the peace and making the holidays enjoyable for everyone. Things change, and everyone needs to be able to deal with that.

knit.pea
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Posted: 11/27/2012 1:00:45 PM

If I were Joy, I'd extend an olive branch if she and MIL have had a very good relationship up to now.

I'd stay home Christmas morning. We'd have breakfast together. Two year olds usually still take naps. I'd load the kiddos into the car at nap time, drive over and have Christmas dinner with the in-laws. The kids get their naps, MIL gets to see the kids for Christmas. Joy doesn't have to make Christmas dinner. Joy, her dh and her kids get to create a lovely Christmas morning tradition at their home AND a lovely Christmas dinner tradition with their family. Joy can bring the kiddos pajamas and change them and then head home when it's bed time.

Win/Win.

I wouldn't encourage Joy to "embrace the villian" role. I mean, she could. Look, life is about compromise if you want to be peaceful. If Joy's in laws have treated her with love and kindness, it may behoove Joy to compromise. I compromised. It wasn't hard and it meant a great deal to my husband's family. It was a small kindness that i'm not sorry I extended.

Wise words

Wish I had the perspective I have now when I was a new mom.

By noon on Christmas Day all the gifts are opened (and sometimes even put
together!), breakfast has been enjoyed, and that's a fine tradition to start
for your new family.
Keep with some of the old traditions, though, because you will look back
in the blink of an eye and so miss being with the older relatives.
Time passes so fast.



MerryMom937
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Posted: 11/27/2012 1:03:45 PM

Maybe I'm in the minority but I have fond memories of spending all of Christmas Day at my grandma's. we also had to travel a bit.

But I remember being excited to finally be old enough to play scrabble, eating a huge dinner, etc.

To me, that IS a wonderful family tradition.


I've read all of the responses. People enjoy spending Christmas Day with their kids, other enjoy spending the day at a relatives, others split the time between home and relatives, others between home and relatives and relatives.

Others celebrate the big family get together on another day.

Others cannot due to travel distance.

Others have to accommodate based on someone's work schedule.

It's what WORKS FOR YOU.

Your family, your traditions. And guess what, things change as people change, move, die off, kids grow up, you have kids, spouses' relatives to accommodate.etc.

It's the whole inflexible "you've ruined Christmas because you dare do something different" just smacks of so much selfishness and self-centered that I am just "gob smacked".

OP, do what you and your husband agree on on WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU.
If you want to have your Christmas in the morning and maybe go over to In laws for the rest of the day, fine. or don't do that. Or trade off each year,

Make your decision and stick with it, alter it as you decide or as needs change.

batya
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Posted: 11/27/2012 1:22:54 PM

I tend to deal with conflicts on his side because Trenton's family, crazy or not, are more likely to be understanding if I'm the one asking.



And this makes total sense to me. We come at it from our experiences and what makes sense to us. I see some much drama that can be avoided when the man doesn't want to deal and leave it to the wife who then looks like the botch who ruined MIL's life. KWIM?

Here, where the situation is supersensitive (YOU RUINED MY XMAS!!!), maybe DH should have talked to her.



OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




guzismom
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Posted: 11/27/2012 1:34:10 PM
Honestly, I've never really understood why it matters WHERE the traditions are made.

When I was a girl it was a given...holiday at my maternal grandparents' house; period, the end. When they passed away, it then became holidays at my Mother's house. Now that my Mom is gone, we have holidays at our house.

The traditions are no less special because they weren't always made at our house. Heck, some of them are MORE special because of the connection they have to my grandparents/parents and their home.

I know I will be the odd man out on this one...oh, well.


Marilyn (now in New Mexico!!)
SCUBA diving and SCRAPPING Mom of two

tamhugh
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 11/27/2012 3:02:52 PM
When DH and I got engaged, we agreed to split Thanksgiving and Easter between our parents, alternating years. We also agreed at that point to spend Christmas Eve with one set of parents and Christmas Day with the other and reverse that the following year. We planned on stopping that when we had kids. Both of us grew up in homes where the extended family came to our house on Christmas Day and it was important for us to have that for our kids. It went well for a few years, but, DH and I both worked two jobs at that point. I had a second, part-time job in retail so I would work Christmas Eve until early afternoon, run home, and drive to whoever's house it was that year (1 1/2 hours away in opposite directions), have dinner, go to late church, sleep a few hours, get up and open gifts, eat breakfast and drive to the other parents', 3 hours away. We would open gifts there, hang out, eat dinner, and then drive an hour and a half home. It wasn't awful until we had a baby to bring along on the trip.

When DS #1 was 2, we said we were done. We would still travel on Thanksgiving and Easter. We would do Christmas Eve with one set and flip that the next year, but we were staying home on Christmas Day. Both moms refused to speak to us for weeks. Every year we would ask them to come to our house on Christmas Day and they would refuse. Neither one wanted to give up their own control of the holiday. It has been 21 years since we started doing it. In that time, each set of parents has come here just once. My mom has finally admitted that we did the right thing. My MIL still tries to make us feel guilty. We are happy with the decision though. My brother doesn't come for any holidays. My sister lives nearby and sees my parents and her in-laws on all holidays because it is easy. ON the in-laws side, DH's older brother goes to their house every other Christmas. Younger brother stays home. The in-laws have started going to see both of them on Christmas Day, but for some reason, still won't come here. (Ironically, MIL and I get along better than the other DIL's). We have a family Christmas party for both sides on different days around the holiday.

Last Thursday, as we were packing up the car, my older DS said, "It is really depressing that I have never had a Thanksgiving or an Easter in my own home." I promised him that when he has his own family, DH and I will do what they and their wives want us to do.

gmcwife1
SamFan

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Posted: 11/27/2012 3:25:24 PM

When I was a kid Christmas with the grandparents *was* the special tradition.



My ds is 30 and brings his kids to spend the night at my mom's house Christmas Eve.

My dd is 23 and last year was the first year she didn't come to grandma's house for Christmas, she stated it would be the last time she did that

My kids would have missed out on so much if I would have insisted that Christmas was about staying home at our house for us.


~ Dori ~

*~*amanda*~*
...

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Posted: 11/27/2012 3:48:25 PM
Since this means so much to his family I would stay at home and take my time on Christmas morning, then head over to the ILs.



batya
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Posted: 11/27/2012 3:57:45 PM
Is this really about it meaning so much to them, though? Or is it about someone wanting what they want, being manipulative and then having a tantrum? Her parents lose out on Christmas day b/c they are more flexible, i.e. not manipulative, stubborn?

I'll tell you, Thanksgiving in my favorite holiday hands down. My sister always spent it at my house. She is super close with my kids and is my other half, other than DH (but she was my other half first). Once she got married, her DH's family wanted them on Thanksgiving, even though they got them on Christmas and Easter as well (b/c we're Jewish). My sister felt badly and was going to make a thing about it and I told her not to. I said go and don't worry about it. Don't make a problem with her new family. You don't know how it will be in the future and my BIL was a nice guy.

Fast FW, BIL's family treated him poorly over a few different things. He willingly offered to come to our house for Thanksgiving two years later and every year after that, they either invited us to their apt for Thanksgiving or came to our house.

My point is, that it was very important to me. I love my sister and would rather be with no one else on important days other than my immediate family. And I knew that I if I truly loved my sister and was not putting MY wants first, that I would do what made her life happier and easier. And once I let go, it came back to me ten fold.

That is not what this MIL is doing for the people she supposedly loves. She loves herself most of all. That comes through loud and clear.

ETA: Just wanted to add-don't say it isn't the same b/c it's my sister and not my child. In a lot of ways I've had a maternal relationship with her and I always joke that she was my first child. So it did feel like a child was missing at the table. But it was that feeling of selfless love that you have for a child (and I do have 3 children) that made me tell her to go, knowing it could be for every Thanksgiving. So ITU.


OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




3SugarBugs
PeaAddict

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Posted: 11/27/2012 3:59:25 PM
So I'm telling myself while reading this thread to be very flexible when my own children are grown with children of their own.

I see this from all angles...what works for some, won't work for others. To me, the holidays are about Family (the whole Family) and I try to be as flexible as possible. We live 9 hours away from my family, so some years we go home to Louisville and some years we stay home. My in-laws moved to Iowa from Chicago 5 years ago, but my husband still has 2 siblings in Illinois and 1 in North Carolina, so they're not always home. We just do what works. This year everyone is coming to us, but last year we were home in Kentucky. My kiddos just roll with it.

I hope Joy can find a solution that works for everyone....I hate to see people have so much angst around the holidays....it's supposed to be a time or renewal.


Christy

Working Mom to "3 Sugar Bugs", Madeline (15), Piper (10) and Grey (5)


leslie132
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Posted: 11/27/2012 4:03:10 PM
Basketlacey......I'm about to join your ranks

My take on Christmas and traditions is this.....every family has there own set of what is important and *you* as a parent have to figure out what is best.

What is best for my family is.....being with my extended family. Out tradition is Christmas Eve with MIL, Christmas Day with my family , and then New Years Day with my FIL. Each of those visits are an hour away so we do a good deal of traveling as well. We load a Christmas CD in and drive. That , along with our not so terrific voices singing along, make the trip fly. I will say that as parents we figured out how to make it work for us. We asked our MIL to do an early day so we leave by 5:30. Then on Christmas Day we arrive for 3 at my Mom's. It gives us enough time in between visits to recoup and do what we want as a core family unit.

I guess after being with my extended family for the past 25 years on Christmas Day, I have found "family" the greatest tradition to share with my husband and now my children. The toy that I got him on his 5th Christmas will be long forgotten, but the video we made of him and his Uncle dancing to Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer will be watched for years to come. Even when he is to cool to have done something like that

***** I will also say this....Joys MIL should be willing to listen and come up with a compromise as well. That is what families should do ( I say should, but we all know that not everyone can act like a grown up) and when they do come to a compromise Joys husband needs to tell his father that he was out of line!!! Not a cool move!


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PeaNut

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Posted: 11/27/2012 5:50:35 PM
I don't get the need to do the same thing every year. We have rough 'guidelines' in our family - Christmas Day with dad's side of the family and Boxing Day with mum's.

So on Christmas Day we're either at our house, at my grandparents house, or at my cousins house. Everyone wakes up at home, has breakfast, opens presents, gets ready, and gets to whoever's house around 11.30 or so.

Then we have lunch, do presents, sit around and play/drink/chat/whatever. Leftovers for tea and then home.

It's a similar thing on Boxing Day with the other side.

If my MIL wanted the family over first thing in the morning I would laugh in her face. That just seems like the weirdest thing in the world. I will have Christmas morning in my own home with my family and when we're ready, we'll come to the family gathering.

writermom1
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:51:09 PM

The toy that I got him on his 5th Christmas will be long forgotten, but the video we made of him and his Uncle dancing to Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer will be watched for years to come. Even when he is to cool to have done something like that


I teared up reading this. So true.



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Nicole in TX
The Peas did what we do and went insane over it

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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:55:36 PM
The MIL's attitude would make me stick to my decision to stay at my home. Sorry, I wouldn't buy into that drama.



fredfreddy
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:59:37 PM

When my children grow up and move away then I will honestly not put any pressure on them- I just wouldn't do that to them.


No kidding. My oldest dd (granted my stepdd but still my own since I raised her since she was 4), is now 20 and living with her boyfriend. Whomever she wants to spend Christmas with is her business. If she wants to be alone all morning with her bf, good for her. But I'm going to guess "NO" because biomom is great with the guilt trips.

As soon as my kids have a serious steady, Christmas is their choice. Yes, I'd love them to come here, but it is their life and their choice.

I am finding a funny similarity in this thread. Whatever traditions we had growing up isv(usually) the ones we want as an adult with own dh and children.


Alana

it rhymes with banana

mom to a 21 yo dd, 14 yo ds, and 11 yo ds and a scrapper for 13 years

*KAS*
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:04:55 PM
My parents made the same decision - Christmas morning would be at our house, not at my grandma (mom's mom) house (as it had been pre-kids). We did end up going over there on Christmas evening (but only about 20 minutes away) but my dad refused (and my mom supported) leaving until we were done with Christmas day at our house. We would usually be up at 7 am or so, and wouldn't leave for Grandma's until around 4:30 or so.

So I guess it's 1/2 of what you're saying. We went on Christmas day, but not until evening. Not sure if that's an option.


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biochemipea
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:11:34 PM
I would honestly be heartbroken if my children will not/do not want to spend Christmas with DH and I when they are grown up.






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busypea
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:15:01 PM

I would honestly be heartbroken if my children will not/do not want to spend Christmas with DH and I when they are grown up.

But they will most likely have another set of parents - and perhaps two, in case of divorce - who would also be heartbroken. There has to be a balance.

Fireflyy
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:31:14 PM
I've seen OP's comments that the DH supports Joy, but nothing in his actions reflects that. In the end, Joy backed down. Where is DH supporting her there if she was bullied into doing what his mother wanted?

Joy should stand her ground (politely), and her husband should have her back. And he has to be verbal about his support.

biochemipea
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:31:51 PM
Sure, I'm just saying I'd be heartbroken. Everyone on these threads acts like it's the easiest thing in the world -- share or travel around to a handful of houses in one day, or the youngest generation in the family stays home and anyone who wants to travel to see them can do so. I'd be really really sad if OUR Christmases turn into that.

Not saying anyone else is wrong or that there IS an easy answer, it just would not be Christmas for me without having my immediate family with me for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.






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Quokka
PeaFixture

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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:57:18 PM
No kids here but thinking back to Christmas as a child we usually traveled. It was our summer holidays though so that might make a difference. We had plenty of time to play with Santa's toys and friends on the 27th if the 25th and 26th were busy.

I don't know why they can't just leave for Grandma's at around 11 am or so and spend the rest of the day there. That's enough time for opening gifts, a nice breakfast and getting ready to go in time for a great afternoon with cousins and family. To me, that IS a tradition and it helps to solidify family relationships with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Isn't Christmas about family?

My dad comes from a big family and each year someone would host. That often meant driving a lot to get there (*up to 3 hours) but that was our tradition - spending the day with all the cousins. It was great fun and there were plenty of gifts to open and play with there too. On boxing day we would head to another family member/ close friend's house and spend time there. More gifts and things to play with.

We used to get up pretty early as kids anyway so we had some time to play with whatever santa left before heading out (or waiting for people to show up). It was always a full day thing and it was exhausting but very fun. We did OUR family tradition on Christmas Eve (European style since mum is German) and I looked forward to it every year.

I can empathise with grandma since to her mind, this is the tradition. I don't think it's unreasonable to modify it a little and go a bit later. An hours drive isn't that far.

Gilly.




AussieMeg
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:57:51 PM
Why can't Joy's family tradition be to spend part of Christmas Day / Night at her in-laws house? Not the whole day, but lunch or dinner.

I absolutely *LOVED* Christmas as a child. My favorite part of the day was going to my grandparents' house at about 4pm to see the rest of the family (this would be my mother's MIL). I am so glad that my mum didn't stop that tradition because she wanted to make her own tradition.

My MIL has lunch at her house every Christmas Day. She would be devastated if we said we were not going because we wanted to make our own traditions.

TXDancermom
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/27/2012 8:10:12 PM
I grew up in a similar situation - it was my mother's mom that "controlled" christmas. My family and my aunt's (the only two children) both lived about 30 min from grandma, but aunt, uncle and cousin would spend Christmas eve and christmas night at grandma's since there were other relatives on uncle's side that lived near grandma.

we would get up christmas morning, open our "santa" presents and some others at home, have a quick breakfast and then head to grandma's for the big celebration. we would open presents, play some, and then pack up our loot (or most of it) and head home for a snack/lunch and maybe a nap.

then dress up and back to grandma's for dinner.

the year my brother had chicken pox, you would have thought he had killed christmas. There was no changing it, especially after we got older.

my dad admits that when we were younger they should have put their foot down and only gone once on Christmas - at dinner time - not two trips. However, my mom couldn't stand up to her mom, and my dad couldn't do it or my mom would be mad at him.

We finally broke the cycle when I got married - my dh and I refused to come home for Christmas (too far/no money/no time off of work) and you would have thought the world ended!! However, my family was finally able to just do one trip on Christmas....

You have to stand up - maybe make a deal that you will do Christmas morning at home, then go to the MIL's after lunch. when my kids were little they would nap in the car - making trips much more pleasant.

I hope your friend and her dh can find a compromise that will make everyoen happy.

pat

babybeansmom

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Posted: 11/27/2012 8:17:37 PM
my DH's mom and sister live 10 minutes away. My mom and dad and brother and his family live 4 hours away.

We always do Christmas Eve at my MIL's house with DH's family. He always then had them come over for breakfast and to do presents here. We don't do presents on Christmas Eve except with his other sister and her daughter/kids.

After getting married we did Christmas Eve at MIL's, Christmas AM here, then trucked it up north for Christmas dinner with my family. Was a rush, but worked.

We did this when DD was just a few months old, and one as well.

When she was 2 I said forget it, Christmas Day is mine, and told my mom that we'd head up the day after. She probably wasn't thrilled, but dealt without saying anything.

When she was three DH was recovering from surgery and couldn't travel, so we stayed here the entire time. It was HEAVEN. I hope we can do that again sometime, even though I love going up there to see my family.

tamhugh
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 11/27/2012 9:46:30 PM

Not saying anyone else is wrong or that there IS an easy answer, it just would not be Christmas for me without having my immediate family with me for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


You mentioned that you spend the whole holiday at your mother's house. Do you see your in-laws over that time period? If there is only one family to deal with, that might be easier. I often see peas post about the old "a son's a son's..." thing, but that isn't true for our family. My DH and his brothers are very close to their parents and want to see them on the holidays as well. The in-laws have moved even further away now and it isn't possible for us to visit both sets in one day. Well, I guess we could if we didn't mind spending 8 hours of Christmas Day in the car.

I will always be a little bit sad that Thanksgiving or Easter were never celebrated here. But not sad enough to put pressure on my future DILs to travel here for the holidays. Both my mom and my MIL complain about the work and expense of hosting, but neither of them are willing to give it up. I don't want to be that person.

biochemipea
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Posted: 11/27/2012 9:52:35 PM
We see my ILs at their house sometime between Christmas and New Year's.






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PeaFixture

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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:02:20 PM
I'm a Mom and MIL 2 DD's 2 SIL"s 6 DGC

I gave up! Just watching my DD's stress level rise every year around T-giving was awful. I don't make any plans with them, I don't invite anyone over, I just buy presents for every one they pick them up while they run errands trying to make their MIL"s happy this time of year.

I have told them if they want to use me as an excuse NOT to go to MIL's they can or if they want to do something we can but I need a few weeks advance notice. I don't put any pressure on them.

This year I won't even get to see them one is away for a while and the other moved to RI.



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