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 .

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

DontmindifIdo Wed 21-Nov-12 09:56:27

Can I make a suggestion for your invitation next year, could you add onto it "but of course if the travelling at that time of year with a young family doesn't work for you, perhaps I could come to you?" (and if they don't have guest rooms, offer to book a Travelodge/the equivilant near your overseas DS)

A lot of older parents (espcially if they haven't had the sort of job where they were expected to work Christmas eve and the week between Christmas and New Year and/or always lived close to their own parents/PILs) don't seem to get the stress involved with "coming home" for Christmas - and throw in to that having to sit on a motorway traffic jam with small DCs, or even worst, the joy that is an airport in the snow, it starts to look a lot less fun, but more of an 'ordeal'. If you took away that element of it, you might find they would be happy to spend Christmas with you.

CaptainDennyisDead Wed 21-Nov-12 09:45:51

Glad to hear there doesn't seem to be a specific reason as then it can be fixed. smile. It was me who suggested the email. It can be lovely in tone and the reason why I suggested including the DILs is that you could appeal to their sense of fairness/ pull on their heartstrings.

I thought something like:

We would love to see you all at Christmas but understand that all your families feel the same. Is there anyway we could organise it that we see one of you each year to celebrate together?
Love Mum

The reason I suggested a rota as it's not unusual to have a this year you/ next year them. In fact, it's very common with my friends and balancing between their own parents and their in-laws.

storynanny Wed 21-Nov-12 09:06:05

Captain, no unusual events led to this, just very independent boys living elsewhere with busy fulfilling lives. We are divorced parents, but living nearby amicably, no tension about where to visit, we just all get together when they visit us. My ex h is disappointed for me, think its slightly different for mums though. Loathe to write email as one poster suggests, don't want to be the cause of any unpleasantness. Think this is something I will just have to cope with this year and as suggested, make an early specific invitation for next year.

LucilleBluth Wed 21-Nov-12 07:24:51

A son is a son until he takes a wife is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard.
If your sons partner is so controlling that he can't see his mum at Christmas then that's just wrong, imagine the situation reversed, OP you deserve to have at least one of your sons make an effort to see you at Christmas, what does your DH say, I can imagine mine giving our sons a lesson in what's right if I were in your situation.

maddening Wed 21-Nov-12 07:21:49

I would have thought having a gc would change the Xmas dynamic - e.g. they might feel more obliged to alternate Xmas visits.

CaptainDennyisDead Wed 21-Nov-12 07:03:13

If you are completely blameless in the turn of events. Write an email, copying in your sons' partners asking for a rota to be set up?

CaptainDennyisDead Wed 21-Nov-12 07:01:22

WHy do you think the situation has evolved to where it has today and can you fix it?

My mother feels the same but, to be honest, she was so horrid when I was growing up and so selfish during her divorce and starting her new life that I feel that she has reaped what she sowed. She is a damaged person and seems to have no recollection of the past. However, for the grandchildren, we do make an effort so, bizarrely this year and last year she and her husband have come to us. This is because I see how much our children love them and I'm a little weak.

kiwigirl42 Wed 21-Nov-12 03:27:49

My Dad died on Xmas day at 1 pm 6 yrs ago so we always have a toast to him before the turkey gets carved. It is a bittersweet day though

skyatnight Wed 21-Nov-12 01:22:51

If that is what is happening, I think it is selfish and inconsiderate of your daughter-in-laws and in-laws, and your sons who should be thinking about you at Christmas. It is only fair that people take it in turns. Out of your three sons, surely one could make you a priority each year? Or, if you have the space, each third year, invite all 3 sons and partners. That way, your three sons can also enjoy spending a christmas together, like old times. I would stick up for yourself and, yes, guilt-trip them if necessary.

Loveweekends10 Wed 21-Nov-12 01:04:39

I think they should spend some time with you. It's a bit thoughtless of them not to. Be assertive and say for next year that is what you want to happen.

whois Wed 21-Nov-12 00:01:32

Defo properly invite them next year:

I would absolutely LOVE to have you all at home next year for a change. Would lovely to have DS1 and gf and DS2 and gf all together for a family Christmas. So so so looking forward to seeing you all.

The GFs have probably told your sons where they are going for Xmas. Only fair to share a bit!

FromEsme Tue 20-Nov-12 22:53:20

Christmas is sad for me too. My parents have decided to go to my brother's for the second year in a row - I don't get on with him and although I'm invited, I won't go. There's no spare room and I don't get on well enough with my family to have nowhere to retreat to.

I will be spending it with my partner's family - our relationship is floundering a bit, so it will be strange.

PropertyNightmare Tue 20-Nov-12 22:49:24

Well, I can totally understand why it must hurt but on the other hand you would not want to force people to come to yours for Christmas as that would only make for an unhappy time for all concerned. To soeak up snd complain would be a lose/lose situation. I think it is just one of those things that you just need to accept, really. Hopefully in future years things might change.
Try to focus on having a lovely Christmas day eith the people that you will be spending it with.

storynanny Tue 20-Nov-12 22:19:19

Thank you buddy and other postersxxxxx

HappySeven Tue 20-Nov-12 21:24:25

Ps I second what buddy says!!

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