to be in tears over Christmas?

(82 Posts)
FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 22:53:24

Backstory: moved from London to Bristol just over a year ago. Just DD and I. No family down here. My father died when I was a teenager and I have no siblings. My mother has vascular dementia but still spends Christmas with us, though it's getting harder year on year.

Most Christmases were spent with my lovely cousin and her family in London. We went there last year and had a great time.

I've wanted to host Christmas and now I have a bit of room to do so. I also didn't want to have to impose on my cousin - they may be doing their own thing or want some peace this year, so instead I invited my uncle, his daughter and her husband and their DD. I am close to my uncle and his DD (a bit older than me) has been on holiday with us in the past and vice versa.

I spoke to my uncle earlier this evening to ask if he'd heard anything from his DD about whether they'd come for Christmas. He's fairly straight talking and told me my plans were "never going to happen" as his DD's husband "doesn't like you".

I was pretty taken aback. I don't know him very well but have spent time with him over the years and always thought he was a nice, interesting guy. I have no idea what I've done to make him dislike me.

I've been in tears on and off all evening. I'm dreading Christmas and have images of it being just me, DD and my mother. I hate not having a large family, hate that my mother is going downhill, can't bear to think of DD being sad and lonely at Christmas with no-one her age around.

I'm gutted that I'm disliked by someone I liked and respected. I sent my cousin a text saying how upset I was that her husband disliked me so much and apologising if I'd offended them in any way. Have heard nothing back but she phoned my uncle and gave him an ear-bashing for telling me.

I'm so desparate. I'm too scared to phone my lovely cousin in London in case they already have plans or only want immediate family. I don't want to be a burden on them. If I can't celebrate Christmas with them then that's pretty much the final straw. I can't go away with DD as my mother has no-one.

I'm crying again and so, so low. Fucking families. sad

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Fri 13-Sep-13 00:02:31

I would also consider contacting your lovely cousin and asking whether you could come for just after Christmas and say something in that about how you don't want to impose but it would be nice to come up just after the main event. That leaves it for her to say either 'well, come for the 25th if you want, it's open house..' or to agree with the post-25th invitation - and then in that case you can make plans yourself for the lead-up and the day, and still catch up with family afterwards.

You're very kind to want to host and to worry about others so much. Keep all the positive people in your life and don't fret about the others. You will find yourself in a better place that way in the long run. Hope you get to feel a bit better about this soon.

YeahWhat Fri 13-Sep-13 00:12:27

That was a very mean and stupid thing of your Uncle to say. Why would he do that? confused
If your Uncle is that stupid and insensitive then he could have well got things a little wrong. It could easily be that his DD's DH finds you a little boring or a wee bit irritating rather than actively 'disliking' you. IYSWIM

I think sending the text wasn't the best plan but its done now. I can, sort of, understand why they didnt respond as there is no 'right' way to respond. Either they lie and pretend they all think you are wonderful or they tell the truth. It's not freat either way. sad

You should try not to assume your DD will be sad with a small Christmas, as long as you have a few thing to do she may be fine. Perhaps you could arrange to do something for her and her friends shortly before or after xmas.

I hope everything works out and that you feel better soon. I have a very tactless dad who has told me some unpleasant things from time to time. He sounds like your Uncle sad sad. He doesn't mean to upset me but he does.

internationallove985 Fri 13-Sep-13 00:12:29

Hi Freckeledleopard. Despite all that jargon that many people come out with. I don't care who likes me . take me the way I am. I don't care what you think, well take it from me we all care what people think, and who likes us and being told you're not liked for no particular reason hurts. I know I've had it happen to me.
I know this is clique to say to Christmas will be like most things what you make it. Just concentrate on your D.D and your D.M.. That's all you can do.
And Please do not ever call yourself a failure. Do you realise all you're achieving here. You're a single mum, which as a single mum myself I know is no mean feat but I'm also very proud to have raised such a well mannered independent D.D. I think I've done very well and I'll not let anyone tell me any different. And in addition to being a single mum you're also looking after your. D.M. You're amazing and never forget that. xxx

BakeOLiteGirl Fri 13-Sep-13 00:27:01

I'm in Bristol too. I'm single with two under sevens. It must be harder with an older child because it's not like you can just drop in at toddler groups. There's loads happens in the city to get involved in. But the whole Christmas season is a bit of a bugger for making people feel isolated.

whois Fri 13-Sep-13 00:33:36

Wow that is a really horrible thing to be told by your uncle. He should have phrased that better! That's defo a white lie situation.

Invite your lovel cousin, if she already has plans then no biggie. You and DD can still have a lovely Christmas together. You don't need lots of poeople to have a fun Christmas, honest.

StuntGirl Fri 13-Sep-13 00:35:16

Your uncle is a twat for saying what he did. I'm sorry for you that he upset you with his insensitive bullshit.

Please do speak to lovely cousin and see if she's willing to come over. If not I'm sure you and your daughter can have a lovely Christmas together regardless.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Fri 13-Sep-13 05:28:58

-*Christmas is all about happy families and there's a distinct lack of happiness in this family*

The happy family at Christmas is perpetuated by the retail industry.

Most families just sit about with too much to eat and drink too much crap they don't want and bicker listlessly.

Enjoy your DD and DM, whatever day it is. That's all that will matter in the ling run. Don't waste precious time on people who don't cherish you. There are some really gorgeous suggestions here.

monkeybuts Fri 13-Sep-13 06:36:43

Im in bristol too.

Theres a tonne of stuff that goes on around xmas- do you drive?

you've been given some good advice x

DragonsAreReal Fri 13-Sep-13 06:45:39

Involve her with planning your own Christmas, there is loads to do in Bristol over the festive period.

Ice skating at cribbs, pantos, the zoo normally does something, bath do this amazing roller skating disco and that's just off the top of my head.

You don't even need Christmas dinner, do a yours and dds favourite foods all together meal, in front of dirty dancing or similar cheese.

waltzingmathilda Fri 13-Sep-13 06:48:55

Lets take personalities out of this for a moment. If the post was being written from the opposite angle of "OMG, I rally hate my cousins partner and I really do not want to visit over Christmas" there would be a whole tranche of posters telling the poster to not go.

We go through life and we take irrational dislikes to people so I think it's fair to assume people take an irrational dislike to us too?

It might be that the OP is too loud, too quiet, too chatty, stays up too late, goes to bed early - for whatever reason it is hard work having house guests. I do think if the cousins husband has been attentive and the Op has never had the faintest whiff that he dislikes her, he's done his job as host remarkably well.

The uncle however, under the guise of plain speaking, is both hurtful and rude, and he's put his daughter in an impossible position for any future family gatherings, be that Christmas, birthdays or even funerals. There will be an atmosphere.

The Op should not have dashed off a text to her cousin - pick up the bloody phone and discuss things like adults.

Im afraid OP, like many people, you build Christmas up in your mind to some amazing experience. It isn't, it is another day with a glorified roast dinner and the best cutlery. Believe me it wont be the whole country making merriment and only you alone with your DD. IF nothing else, use this experience to become self supporting, people won't always be there to prop up your emotions. That is the sad reality of it.

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 13-Sep-13 06:52:33

Yes and OP. If you do invite your cousin and she says no just remember she is saying no to the request, not no to you.

Sometimes people just have other plans - so if she does say no try not to make it a personal rejection.

Retroformica Fri 13-Sep-13 06:55:49

Invite some friends instead.

Euphemia Fri 13-Sep-13 07:09:10

I think you need to create some new traditions of your own.

You're never going to have the Christmases of your youth. I get that - my mum is from a huge family, so Christmases were big parties of aunties, uncles, cousins, grannies, grandads, great-aunties, etc. I have vegan DB and SIL who refuse to go to anyone's house at Christmas as they can't stand the smell of meat. Dad's an only child. Mum's DB and DSis have fallen out. Grandparents are all dead.

So it's me, DH and DD (11) for Christmas. We've made it our own, made it really special for DD. I'm dead jealous of my mum's cousins with their big families and huge fun parties, but DD knows nothing of this.

Find ways to make it really different and fun for your DD. smile

alpinemeadow Fri 13-Sep-13 07:10:46

You poor thing of course you're upset - most of us would be left reeling by being told bluntly that someone we think we get on with doesn't like us. Loads of sympathy to you! But there's always someone who doesn't take to us, so i wouldn't take it too much to heart (and as others have said, that may not be exactly what was said by cousin's dh anyway). You sound very nice to me!
There seem from this thread to be some fantastic things going on in Bristol - so if you don't go to other cousin, i'd throw yourself into those things - if you've had a great christmassy lead up that can buoy you up for the day. If you make a virtue of your lovely christmas day with just the three of you, your dd may look back on it as 'do you remember that great christmas with just the three of us when we played (insert very silly game) and did karaoke and watched the sound of music and ate hotel chocolat truffles and had lamb in herb crust for lunch? ' it could go down in history as one of your top christmases ever. Hope this isn't too pollyannaish, and i know it puts a big onus on you to be cheerful - but in itself, a small christmas is not intrinsically bad, although tv, advertising, etc may all create the impression that you have to be with at least a dozen people.

NotDavidTennant Fri 13-Sep-13 07:41:45

Best Christmas I had when I was around your DDs age was one year when we didn't do the family Christmas as usual but just stayed home on our own - me, DM and DSis. No travelling at the busiest time of year, no sleeping in a strange bed, no having to be on best behaviour around older relatives ... pure bliss!

I think you need to be more open-minded about the potential for a low key Christmas.

fortyplus Fri 13-Sep-13 07:54:23

I used to work in sales and once went on a course where we were told that on average one in 19 people just won't like you. No reason at all. Your cousin's husband is your 1 in 19 - don't fret about it!

I think there's a lot more to your problem than that. You crave friends and family yet you have uprooted yourself from London to Bristol. Why was that? 12 is a tough age to be taken miles away from your established friendship group.

You sound a bit depressed. Most people I know don't start planning Christmas till about the end of November.

I also think Christmas Eve might be a dodgy day to invite the neighbours round - so many will want to be out and about with friends. You don't want to issue a casual invitation and then end up alone with dd when no one turns up. Definitely a good idea to invite them, but maybe in that dull week between Christmas and New Year?

FreckledLeopard Fri 13-Sep-13 08:06:04

I had little choice but to uproot as it was work related.

Thank you all for the advice - it really is appreciated.

CiderBomb Fri 13-Sep-13 09:09:56

Sometimes OP, for whatever reason, people just don't like us. It's not nice, especially when you haven't done anything wrong but maybe your just not his kind of person? I hate that term of expression myself, but I hear others using it all the time as a justification for not getting on or not liking certain people.

Or maybe he's just a bit of an arse? I don't blame you for being upset, I think I would be a swell.

Ledkr Fri 13-Sep-13 09:18:50

Id ring cousin in London and explain everything but day several times that you understand totally if she can't have you.
If not then you will have to make the best of it.
I've had a few Xmas on my own with kids and I quite liked it.
It's just one day as others have said.
Bit of nice food and crap tv.
As for dd why not tell her what you've told us and ask her to come up with a solution.

yomellamoHelly Fri 13-Sep-13 09:22:09

Second all the suggestions of planning to do lots of fun stuff. Why not have a Christmas Party at your house at the start of the holidays? Invite 5-6 of your dd's friends over, decorate gingerbread houses, do some party games if that's what they're into, invite the parents too. Never know some more things may come from that (wouldn't hurt to drop it into conversation that you're about all holiday). Maybe arrange in advance having friends round for a sleepover or "play"? Can you invite the neighbours round for booze and mince-pies with the excuse of getting to know them better?

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 13-Sep-13 09:32:15

Op i agree with other posters who say that we put too much pressure on ourselves over what is just one day. i think Christmas often stands in for lost child hood and maybe more so for you having lost your dad.

But getting DD to be the centre of Christmas is a good idea because other than the religious aspect, Christmas is actually about children. and you have your child with you so you can both make this fantastic for each other. she will remember a fantastic Christmas as you remember yours from your childhood but the adults mostly remember their diets, the hard work and the stress. so spend Christmas with the person who really appreciates it.

I look back on all the stressful Christmas days when my ex caused a strop i cooked all day, we had guests who did always behave/ get on. and then i think of last Christmas. me and the dcs. scampi and chips for lunch. nice walk. snuggling in front on the telly. much better.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 13-Sep-13 09:34:42

yomella brilliant ideas. think I will do some of that in the run up or the boring days between Christmas and New year. quite happy to chill on the day but i should make more effort with my neighbours etc.

LadyBigtoes Fri 13-Sep-13 09:37:00

1 in 19 is low! I think of that as being roughly the proportion of people that I do like - so I couldn't complain if only 1 in 19 like me. 18 out of 19 should be good enough for anyone.

However your uncle was not helpful and I can see why you're hurt. It's bloody Christmas that is to blame though - the huge expectations and the mythical image of a big happy family Xmas that most people cannot have. Get enough family members together and in most families there will be people who don't get on or people wo exploit people's sense of family duty to indulge their unreasonable behaviour.

Op I do think working on a Xmas plan that doesn't depend on any of these people would help you feel stronger. You could do that some years and be with your nice cousin other years.

Could you focus on your mum and find a way to make it special for her?

lottieandmia Fri 13-Sep-13 09:59:13

I think it was very wrong of your uncle to say what he did to you as it was obviously only going to cause you hurt and pain. Poor you - I'm sorry you feel sad. I don't have any siblings either and I often wish I had because my children don't have any cousins that they see often.

SeaSickSal Fri 13-Sep-13 10:00:57

Do you think the Uncle could be in the early stages of dementia also? Just sounds like a really odd thing to say. If not he said that to be deliberately hurtful. It wasn't straight talking, it was plain nasty and says more about him than your cousin's husband

To be honest I doubt that it is as bad as you think it is. I would ring your cousin and try to speak to her. I think if you do you will find out that it has been blown out of all proportion. I bet her husband has just once or twice been a bit annoyed or irritated and her Dad has blown it all out of proportion.

Clear the air between you, it's her Dad you should be angry with not her or her husband. If he really couldn't stand you then you would have picked up on it at least a little bit.

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