To get sad at Christmas

(60 Posts)
storynanny Tue 20-Nov-12 16:17:54

AIBU to be sad at Christmas because in recent years my young adult sons have spent the holiday with their partners parents? I'm not a possessive parent honestly, none of my sons still live at home, one is abroad, 2 several hours away, just feeling a bit redundant to say the least. Don't want to cause friction though by making a fuss about .

PhilipLarkinwasright Wed 21-Nov-12 11:13:24

Since I've been on MN the most recurring theme is "AIBU not to go to my parents for Christmas." So many people are subject to this unfair expectation.

My parents made it clear I was expected to go to their's each year. Even when I met DH (who has no parents) and we had DC, it was still expected every year in a quiet but insistant "we don't want to make a fuss but will be upset if you dont" type of way.

After many years of sacrificing our own happiness to avoid their emotional blackmail, DH and I now loathe Christmas. We don't see it as our holiday as we've never been able to make it our own in our own home. I'm nearly 50 now and both parents still going strong.

The best Christmas gift for our DC will be to have no obligation at all to do Christmas anything other than where and how they wish to. It'll be lovely if the DC join (2 are this year, eldest isn't) but if they don't we'll enjoy doing all those things we've never been able to do e.g. coffee in bed with a sherry chaser, and will enjoy the fact that our fab kids are out there being happy and having their own lovely lives.

Jingleflobba Wed 21-Nov-12 11:18:37

Second the whole "a son's a son" thing being rubbish too. My DH is of of 3 sons, we always see his parents on Christmas Day and even though we live locally to both sets of parents would make the effort to see them if we lived further afield.
Thing is, when you get your own family new traditions are set up and it could be hard for them to change things as now they are in the routine of seeing OH's family over Christmas.
I think the change needs to come from you, especially as there are Grandchildren involved. Try to make firm plans asap for next year, be at bit firm about wanting to see everyone over Christmas.

auntmargaret Wed 21-Nov-12 11:25:23

OP, I feel for you but I do think you need to make it clear to your sons that you would like to spend Christmas together one year. I agree its probably too late for this year, plans will have been made, but maybe speak to them in early new year, and arrange for next year? You haven't said anything derogatory about your son's partners but for those posters who have, please consider it may not be their doing. My DP is one of two sons, his parents live 3 hours from us. In my family, we lost my DM as children but still have DF, mine are only grandchildren on my side, would be a very poor Christmas for my family without them. So we tend to spend Christmas with my family and go to DP's parents for Boxing Day or New Year. But I have asked him if he wants to invite them to us for Christmas and he says no. I don't know why. It's also me who tries to arrange visits during the year, and I meet them halfway for lunch without DP. He does love his parents and talks to them every day, but seems to have no desire to spend Christmas with them.

cbeebiesatemybrain Wed 21-Nov-12 11:30:08

It's obviously too late to arrange to spend this christmas together but get in there early with a nice invitation for next year! I find this thread really sad because my mum never invites me for christmas, she likes to spend the day with her dh and friends. I thought things would change when I had children but no - I've tried dropping hints and inviting myself but shes not interested sad

DontmindifIdo Wed 21-Nov-12 11:33:30

Philip I never understand why people do this, why can't anyone stand up to their parents and say "actually, you can come to us, but we don't want to travel this year"? Or "not this year, we'll see you next" - it just seems to be one extreme or the other.

OP - really, get your request in early and be flexible! Think about the overseas DS, could you ask if you could come over on Christmas eve, leave on 26th or 27th? (assuming he's close enough for this to be practical) or say you'll stay a week but intend to book a hotel.

BuddyTheChristmasElf Wed 21-Nov-12 11:37:05

also, bit sexist and all, but how about saying it direct to the DILs rather than through to sons IYKWIM

its just the once, the OP isn't demanding every year

fedupofnamechanging Wed 21-Nov-12 11:47:14

Another thing is that your son's partner's siblings might be spending Christmas with their ILs, so your son's partners may feel under pressure to go to their mum and dad's.

DumSpiroSpero Wed 21-Nov-12 11:52:23

YANBU - one of the bloody Christmas supermarket ads reduced me a pile of snivelling snottiness last week - all that tripe doesn't help.

I sometimes wonder if anyone really gets the Christmas they would like. As an only child, when I married one of three boys I had fantasies of hosting Christmas dinner with all my newly acquired 'siblings' and their families and both sets of parents.

The reality was that after DD was born Christmas became a battleground for Granny Wars. MIL is very matriarchal and expected everything to revolve around her, my mum and dad only have me and DD so wanted (quite understandably to a degree, I think) to be the priority. We spent a few Christmas days literally driving up and down the country to accommodate the fact that we had to see the in-laws and they were going to be at DH's brother's who doesn't live locally...etc...etc...etc

Now we don't see anyone on Christmas Day itself. I'm sure lots of people would like it to just be their little 'unit' but it's been about 4 years now and I'm getting sick of it. Although I didn't have siblings we usually had both my nans, my unmarried uncle, my aunt & uncle and cousin who's the same age as me for Christmas and it was lovely. DD gets a taste of the bigger family 'do' at the in-laws but it's not the same.

In your case I'd suggest that when your son's ask you how your Christmas was, you get in then and there, with something along the lines of 'It was very relaxing, but it would have been nice to have seen you and your DP - how about you come to me next year?" Would you be able to invite the DP's parents as well as that might help smooth things along, although I realise this would probably be tricky for most people but it's worth considering.

LettyAshton Wed 21-Nov-12 12:27:31

Oh, yes, the Christmas adverts featuring the big multi-generational family round the table. I always think that there are going to be a lot of empty houses if everyone is at someone else's. Not everyone can be a happy hassled hostess.

OP, I would definitely put in an advance booking. Not a booking, as such, but more of a suggestion for meeting up next year. And I'd try to make sure it gets through to both your sons and their wives/partners, so the boys can't wimp out and pretend they forgot (if they have domineering other halves) and the women can't "lose" or forget to mention the invitation in order to maintain the status quo of going to their parents.

Jusfloatingby Wed 21-Nov-12 12:32:45

YANBU. They could work it out between them that one of them goes to you each year. What happens when they have children? Will you never get to spend Christmas day with your grandchildren?
I think you should make it clear you would like if they came to you next year. Your DILs can hardly complain, surely?

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