Ayone else putting off the 'where shall we go for Christmas?' chat?

(47 Posts)
2kidsintow Mon 01-Oct-12 23:08:16

DH is a bit of an arse a stick in the mud when it comes to fitting around other people. Some years we stay at home (not too bad now we have little ones of our own) and others we go to my parents for dinner. Then the children in the family (me and 3 sisters) take it in turn to host tea so the jobs are shared out.

2 years ago, we stayed at home for lunch as it was our turn to host tea. The DCs still got to see everybody and it was a happy day. DH was happy.

Last year, it was someone elses tea turn so we went to my parents for lunch. DH was a right pain. Moaned all morning (inc in front of the kids) about having to fit in with other people's schedules and refused to open gifts to each other on grounds that "there isn't time" despite having plenty of time to watch the kids open theirs, then have breakfast and a cuppa etc. He was polite and friendly to others at the christmas dinner, but hardly said anything to me. Upon getting home he loudly declared "well that's me done for the next 2 years" in essence saying that he had decided we are staying at home this Christmas.

It isn't our turn to do tea again and I'd love to go to my parent's again. Mostly I'm aware that the number of Christmases with them still around is limited. They are fit and well so that is a bit maudling to be fair.

I'm putting off the row discussion.

Boxing day last year my dh slightly giddy on xmas invited the inlaws for this year for xmas because they always go to his sisters, i am seriously hoping they have forgotten. Were having a bit of a cross family get together this weekend and i just know my dad will say in front of everyone what are you doing noyouhavehadawee for xmas and i will want to go and hide. I want to stay at home with nobody to cook for but us. Miserable huh! grin

girlywhirly Tue 16-Oct-12 17:11:34

I think then it's down to what you think you can manage.

BiddyPop Tue 16-Oct-12 16:24:02

Girly, they are not that bad, but tend to forget in the mayhem of celebrations. And as 1 set of cousins live next door (but the kids think they own Granny's house as well), there can be little enough respite unless we physically go out at times. We have had DD's birthday in both Gran's houses in the past, but the year we hosted it ourselves in "neutral territory" was the best one (and the one that my siblings and DH's sister all stayed on afterwards at, so DD went to bed and we all relaxed like grown-ups together). It's more about having a cake to cut on the day with someone around, as the party for friends happens after school is back anyway.

girlywhirly Tue 16-Oct-12 15:26:28

Biddy, are your relatives really understanding DD's need for routine, quiet times etc, or do they see your wish to stay separately as trying to avoid them? I think it's a pity that you will have to spend a shedload to rent somewhere if you do go there. Will they also be aware that if you do have a party for DD's birthday there, someone will have to host at their home if you can't get somewhere else to stay, and would they then prioritise it? I don't think that I ever had relatives at any of my birthday parties, they were just for children, it's not essential for them to attend is it?

BiddyPop Tue 16-Oct-12 13:51:57

Tea, DD will be 7. Because it's Boxing Day, most friends are busy doing family stuff, so we have her friends party on the 1st Saturday back at school. But if we stay up, there are a few neighbours and some of my aunts who often call in.

If we go down, on the other hand, there would be at least 3 smaller cousins (possibly 5 depending if the overseas lot travel), lots of her aunts and uncles and all 4 grandparents. (But if we don't have an independent spot, I am depending on 1 of those Grandmas to host rather than me, and that is tricky for sooo many reasons).

I am going to take some quiet time to myself this week (DH gone back overseas today so I'll have unfettered access to laptop) and see what options there really are. And think carefully about whether I could do it under someone else's roof (and for how long). And then present DH with a fait accompli when he gets back.

TeaOneSugar Mon 15-Oct-12 17:17:12

Thanks for the advice, I'm going to order a turkey big enough for all possibilities and drop it.

I was really annoyed with the comment about having their lunch at home though, I think she's probably trying to guilt me into backing down and going to their house. TBH it's not like she even enjoys cooking, it's all pre prepared stuff from M&S so it's not like she spends time menu planning and preparing.

BiddyPop It sounds like staying at home is the best option, how old is your DD, won't she want some friends around on her birthday?

BiddyPop Mon 15-Oct-12 10:12:29

I am having a nightmare with this. The parents on both sides are pretty much letting us decide (although both would lvoe to see us and I think MIL is quietly putting some guilt on DH). And I would be happy to go down to them - but staying somewhere not under their roofs. Cos both families are INTENSE at Christmas, while DD really needs routine and quiet. And I've had such a bad year that I also need space to retreat to.

The house my parents own between their own house and PILs was empty in Sept (between tenants) but they've since rented it again. So that's not an option.

Holiday houses are rare enough (it's not the tourist side of the couty), so we either pay a fortune for 1 in the grounds of a hotel (but the hotel is closed so pool etc are not usable) or get one privately not directly between both houses and not in great shape (they're 15 miles apart).

Or end up staying with PIL (where at least there are 2 bedrooms for us to use) or my parents (there may be enough room, but there may also be people sleeping on floors depending on how many are home). And dealing with the chaos of both houses 24/7 for however long we stay. And also not having anywhere we can host DD's birthday on Boxing Day (so whichever mother is having us hosts the birthday - and they don't get on so there'd be oneupmanship all over the joint!).

We may yet just decide to stay put in our house (we do it regularly enough) - although we don't have a guest room for visitors after Christmas Day because the au pair has that room (but she will be away until 30th, so I could ask her to let people stay for a couple of days).

I'd happily crawl under a rock and have my own little Christmas Dinner alone this year (I could cook a guinea fowl for 1!!) grin - wishful thinking....

girlywhirly Mon 15-Oct-12 09:25:08

I agree, continue with your own plans Tea. Some MILS just like to play the martyr, and some find it genuinely hard to accept that others might actually be as good or better than themselves at cooking, hosting etc.

I would drop the subject altogether unless she raises it herself. I think that the more fuss there is trying to persuade MIL to come, the more she enjoys the attention and draws it out. When all said and done, if she ends up staying at home because she won't accept invitations to yours or BIL and SIL, who will she be able to show off to?

You're right in thinking that some matriarchs feel the loss of being the Christmas hostess, it makes them feel a bit redundant. I think it's good for the younger family members to take over before it gets to be hard work or expected of the parents or PIL year after year. I remember my cousins had to have the conversation with their mum after her hosting Christmas lunch for 45 years plus, because her health was declining and they decided to share it between themselves.

There are loads of options for using leftover turkey to make future meals to freeze. I used to make curry sauce or a red wine chasseur type sauce in advance that you can just stir all the bits of turkey into and then freeze. (A nice minimal effort meal for another time!)

Arithmeticulous Mon 15-Oct-12 07:29:55

Tea you are just doing what she told you to do, planning as if she's playing her sons off against each other not going to be there. You are shrugging your shoulders in the face of her indecisiveness .

TeaOneSugar Mon 15-Oct-12 07:11:32

How are everyone's plans coming along?

I mentioned I was planning to order the turkey to MIL yesterday and she still doesn't know what she's doing.

She said "plan as if we're not coming, if it comes to it we can have ours at home" - this is after she's had two invitations to Chistmas lunch from two of her sons.

I told DH about it and he agreed it was unnecessary and her being over dramatic. Hopefully she'll mention it to DH when I'm not there and he'll be a bit firmer with her.

Anyway, I'm going to order a turkey big enough so if they end up coming so I'm not left in a last minute mess (I can always freeze some if there's loads left over) I'll be having a christmas eve food delivery so I can bump up the veg etc. at the last minute if necessary.

Is there something I'm missing here? should I be more sympathetic? is there some phychological trauma associated with losing long standing christmas hosting duties???

We tend to sort it out straight after Christmas for the Next Year when the horror is still fresh in our minds

theirs

No Deck, my mum has my dad, dd did want a christmas on our own hence I booked somewhere last year but she has been brainwashed persuaded that she must go to theres Christmas Day.

My parents would be heartbroken if we didn't.

DeckSwabber Sun 07-Oct-12 10:21:35

Wiggy it seem reasonable that you arrange things so that you see your SiL.

Agree things can get awkward - it can be hard for people to adjust when children and other families traditions etc have to be taken into consideration.

DeckSwabber Sun 07-Oct-12 10:03:22

Whistling, does your daughter feel the same?

And if you didn't go to your mums would she be on her own?

Wiggy29 Sun 07-Oct-12 08:26:56

Our dilema- last year we spent morning at home (ds7) then had Christmas meal at my parents (with my bro, SIL, aunty and uncle). A lovely time had by all. They only ive five mins down the road so came home on the evening and morning of Boxing day we went to in-laws (who live over an hour away) and stayed over night. BIL was there with wife (they spend xmas morn apart at own parents then she travels up on evening).

This year, oh seems to feel it is right to do the opposite BUT I do not want ds to spend Christmas morning away from home, nor do I want to spend an hour travelling (esp when SIL wanted even be there, she'll be at her parents). Is it unreasonable to just repeat the same thing that happened last year?

I know we could invite pil to ours but just couldn't fit them and BIL/SIL etc all over. The only thing I can think of is just to casually assume we're doing the same thing and see what happens?

I think it gets awkward as families grow!

Me.
I used to live with an abusive man and Christmas was awful. In the years since we left me and dd have also been at my mums.

I would love for just me and dd to have a Christmas together but have not got the nerve to cause the upset that would follow.

I even booked somewhere last year and lost the payment.

TeaOneSugar Sat 06-Oct-12 18:09:54

DH asked his DM today if she'd made a decision, and she's still wavering, I now know they definitely won't be coming on Christmas Eve as she's working that day, so it'll be nice cheeses and nibbles in front of a festive film, just the three of us.

Amazingly DH told her I needed to know because I want to plan the menu, order the right sized turkey etc. so at some point he has been listening to me. I think he probably wants them to come to us, however, as it stands my understanding of the conversation is that she's going reluctantly to BIL/SILs for lunch (where she will refuse to do any of the cooking or washing up as SIL never lifts a finger when she hosts - so lovely atmosphere there) and then coming to us for a light meal/buffet in the evening.

Again amazingly, when she mentioned about us going to BIL/SILs DH stood firm and said we wouldn't be going we are definitely eating at home this year.

This is the basis I'm working from, her last chance will come in two weeks time when I order the turkey.

She mentioned a few times about not wanting to upset/offend anyone, so I again made it clear that we really won't be offended, we don't mind either way, but we just want to know.

I'm not going to mention it again until the turkey deadline.

girlywhirly Sat 06-Oct-12 15:25:51

2kidsintow and TeaOneSugar, any better idea of how you will resolve your dilemmas?

girlywhirly Sat 06-Oct-12 15:21:39

Well DeckSwabber, looks like it's lunch at yours and Dmum will probably have to stay with SIL and B assuming they will have her and she won't be bullied by them.

I think that hostilities and rivalries are much worse at Christmas, so consider staying at home if SIL and B are going to your mums, and see her separately, and also SIL and kids on another day around Christmas, so that B can bugger off to a footy match or something and you won't have to see him. It also gets around the 'who makes the best Christmas lunch' competition.

QuickLookBusy Sat 06-Oct-12 10:11:02

I think your DH behaved like a twit last year, however I think this year you should do what he wants to do. It's only fair after all it is his Christmas too.

We just tell everyone we are at home and everyone is welcome to come for lunch. We have 11 coming this year and I getting quite excited about it already.

DeckSwabber Sat 06-Oct-12 10:00:18

Thanks for replying Gumby and Girlywhirly.

My mum can be with us for a few hours so I can do the meal, but I think it would be risky for her to stay the night.

I don't really want to be by myself (I suffer from depression and am very wobbly at the moment) but I find my family stressful. If I am with my family the best thing for me would be for me to cook the lunch because it would keep me busy and motivate me to get the house looking nice. I'll be honest and say I will enjoy cooking and being thanked for a lovely meal - I don't get many 'strokes' or opportunities to shine. We moved a couple of years ago and its the first time I have space to entertain so it makes sense. And its nice for my boys to see family.

But I don't think my SiL or brother would want me to host - her because she is very competitive, him because he knows how much I loathe him at the moment (which is fair enough - I can see that!). He is selfish, self-absorbed and a bully*. I am the only person in my family that stands up to him - everyone else colludes with it. He bullied my mother very badly last year and she is desperate to pretend it didn't happen. However, I do want to see my SiL and my nephews, who will love being with my boys.

I feel I'm being selfish making Christmas with the family conditional on me being the host, but my mums house is too small and I really, really don't want to go to my brothers.

I suppose the thing is to bite the bullet, get in first by inviting everyone for lunch, then its up to them. If they say no I can go to my friend.

*I'll give you a very mild example. Some years ago I suggested to him that we both took my mum out to lunch on her birthday. He agreed, a date was set and it was all arranged. Then a few days before I was at a different family do and my mum's husband told me by chance that my brother wasn't coming to the lunch because he had had a better offer. This left me to pick up the whole shebang - and I was very poor at the time (luckily mum's generous husband stepped in). Brother didn't say anything about it to me at all. At the time I thought it was a misunderstanding but there is a pattern of this kind of thing. He just does what he wants and never mind anyone else.

girlywhirly Fri 05-Oct-12 22:55:10

If your mum stayed at your brothers and had Christmas lunch there, could she take some anti-histamines and come to you for tea? Would she be prepared to travel down without someone having to fetch her?

Why wouldn't it be special just you and the boys, and they can do whatever they would normally do.

Gumby Fri 05-Oct-12 14:33:23

Go to friends & take your mum if she's on her own

DeckSwabber Fri 05-Oct-12 14:26:55

Thank you for this thread. I am dreading Christmas.

Fell out with my only sibling (brother, married with two young ones) quite badly this year so really don't want to spend time with him, but can't neglect my mother (now 80 and widowed 2 years). Would like to see nephews & Sil, though. I am SP with 3 teens. Every alternate year the boys go to their Dad and I volunteer with a charity - something that massively upsets my family for some reason. This year they are with me.

Options are:

- go to stay with elderly mum, but not much fun for my teens as there is nothing for them to do. And I can't really stop her inviting brother. I could just about get through this but there isn't enough room. She has already said she will book my family into a hotel and that will be our Christmas present hmm.

- invite her here, but then she would have to stay with my brother (who lives quite close) because she is allergic to my cats. Too far to go and get her/drive her home in one day. This would be ok if they all eat here - I can be busy and I like the cooking and stuff. Can avoid brother. However, the chances are my SiL will insist on having the main meal at hers - and I really don't want to go there. I know this sounds incredibly petty but we have had Christmas lunch there several times in the past, and I particularly don't want to accept his hospitaility because of the events that led to the row. However if I put my foot down I know there will be another awful row.

- go to friends. I have been invited. But can't really go if my mum will end up on her own.

- have lunch just me and my boys. But I think it would be hard to make that feel special for my boys or me.

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