Mil and christmas traditions

(99 Posts)
Dylanlovesbaez Sun 03-Nov-13 10:06:35

I'm sure I'm going to sound totally unreasonable and ungrateful but there's a ridiculous amount of back story that would take days to explain.
Basically mil has told us she's not buying dd any presents, she's just giving us money as she's too busy and she doesn't know what dd has already got. Fair enough, sad for her not to have pleasure of choosing her presents but her choice.
I've been talking for ages about getting dd a special advent calendar with drawers, she will be 19 months this christmas so wanted to start it this year. I told her this and also made a joke about getting dd christmas knickers because I get new ones every year! Anyway, mil texts me yesterday to see what we had been up to, I told her I was looking online for the calendar I wanted and that me and dp were deciding which one to get.
She replies telling me oh I've already got little lady one and it's got pockets, I'm posting it next week.
Aibu to be mightily pissed off? Not only had I already said I was doing it but she's had her turn to make her christmas traditions with her children and she didn't bother. She never bothers with us or dd. she never asks how she is and I just feel she's done this to upset me. Also got raging pregnancy hormones so bit more sensitive.

SarahBumBarer Sun 03-Nov-13 12:49:28

Abi - we only put something in the drawer for the following day the night before DC have gone to bed. Sometimes it is a sweet/chocolate or sometimes it is an event like going to choose the tree, having tea with Santa, meet the reindeer etc. We tell the DC that in the run up to Christmas the Elves come by at night to see if they are being good and to leave little surprises.

Nanny0gg Sun 03-Nov-13 14:38:13

And I hate to tell some of you with young DCs, but they'll probably be advent calendars at school too...

More than one is fine!

ZombieMojaveWonderer Sun 03-Nov-13 14:47:41

Let her send it and just leave it in a cupboard and use the one that you want. I don't see why you have to make a big deal of it to be honest.

2 advent calendars isn't the end of the world, but being in a similar situation myself, it is possibly the thin end of the wedge. DD2 got the same tea trolley for her birthday from both grandparents, DD3 got duplicate garage and cars, DD1 received 2 watches, etc, etc. It happens every year angry What is wrong with some people? The funniest one was when Mil bought the same gift for DD2 that she bought the previous year for another DC! When i am being charitable I wonder if she's losing the plot and only remembers certain parts of the conversation. Most of the time I think "bitch!"

SpockSmashesScissors Sun 03-Nov-13 15:14:28

Just don't use it then. DH doesn't need to phone her up and tell her off for buying a present confused

Does DH ever phone up to check how his mum is? Or does she always have to phone herself.

Twoandtwomakeschaos Sun 03-Nov-13 15:19:20

Just re-gift the calendar, if you don't want the aggro of standing up to her, and don't tell her about other stuff you intend to buy.

mrsjay Sun 03-Nov-13 15:23:09

maybe the advent calender planted the idea into her head maybe she is really rubbish at buying gifts and likes ideas, you need to unclecn a wee bit it is only an advent calender your dd can have 2 for 1 year and next year you can just put out one your dd wont know or care really, my MIl always used to buy the dds advent calenders <shrug> and maybe you could drop hints about gifts as well then she wont send money, oh and i think your mil wont be sad about chosing gifts if she has no idea what to get throw her some ideas

FrightNightcirCurse Sun 03-Nov-13 15:27:04

Maybe save it for the baby and get the one you want this time.
Or say your husband had ordered one and give it to someone else.
Or use it as a decoration but not as a calendar

mrsjay Sun 03-Nov-13 15:29:20

Or use it as a decoration but not as a calendar

^ ^ we have one we haul out every year I always forgot to fill it after a few years it happens to us all so I just use it as a christmas decoration, mil got it made and it is lovely

mrsjay Sun 03-Nov-13 15:33:09

Op what are you going to do with the gift if and when it arrives please dont be angsty about this the childrens granny is going to in their lives a long time yet and this is just something you need to let wash over you IME my Mil was the proverbial dragon I had to let her get on with it she did mellow and we got on great

BettyBotter Sun 03-Nov-13 15:45:38

Advent calendar, coffee machine - sounds like she genuinely doesn't know what you'd like. Then when you mention planning to buy something, she thinks ' Oooh they want a coffee machine/ advent calendar. I could get them that .'

My dm does that. It gets to the stage that I can't mention anything near Christmas in case she rushes out to buy it first. because she's trying to be kind. smile

NoThanksIAmBusy Sun 03-Nov-13 15:46:57

My mum just presented my 2 with chocolate advent calendars when I have repeatedly told her we have a fabric one and that I already have all the bits to go in it. V annoying particularly as they haven't shut up about the choc ones - why hand them over in fecking October?!!

I have told the kids they can start them next week and have then in the run up to advent, when they finish them it will be time to start the official advent.

In the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal but just a little frustrating not to be listened to. Maybe your mil will calm down a bit when dd gets a bit older?

mrsjay Sun 03-Nov-13 15:47:07

My mum will do this too although the dds are older now I go with her to chose but we had duplicate things over the years she says aww I thought it would get it to save you money,

TSSDNCOP Sun 03-Nov-13 15:52:58

You realise in creating all your Christmas traditions, it is likely that in 20 years time your DIL will be going all angry?

Play the game, tell her stuff you want her to get, not stuff you're already planning to get.

And you'll work out in about 60 odd days from now filling your own sodding advent calendar is a PITA and will be ordering a Playmobil sorting office next year grin

DontmindifIdo Sun 03-Nov-13 16:26:54

Agree that just tell her stuff you aren't actually going to get but would quite like. See what happens...

Re the calander, just stick it in a drawer and use the one you want. Yes, you might prefer it, but you are annoyed now and see it as being used to get one up on you, so don't, it'll annoy you every christmas.

alternatively, text back "oh no, just seen this message, we've just ordered the wooden one! Do you want to return yours or send it anyway? I'm sure it'll make a nice decoration." If others are right and she's not actually ordered it yet, then it'll stop her without you saying "I don't want it."

She sounds like a lot of people who "talk like good grandparents but aren't", there's a lot of them about, you have to remember that when they say they'd like to see more of your DCs, they are only saying that because they feel they are supposed to say it, don't presume it means they actually do want to see them more often or are actually interested. You can get yourself wound up trying to accomodate them or taking their comments that they don't see the DGC enough as a criticism of how hospitable you've been, but once you accept they are just saying it because they feel they should not because they mean it, you can relax, nod and smile and make sympathetic noises without thinking this is actually a problem you need to fix.

DontmindifIdo Sun 03-Nov-13 16:31:02

oh and re how you manage putting things in the pockets, Father Christmas' elves visit each night and put one in. It has the advantage of meaning for us we can put in mini-oat bars for our non-chocolate eating DS, or mini-gingerbread men. (goodies do some small gingerbread men.)

You do, however, find that mid-December, you'll have a couple of mornings when you've forgotten and one of you is stalling your DC upstairs while the other runs downstairs and fills the draw/pocket...

Dylanlovesbaez Sun 03-Nov-13 16:34:37

Thanks so much for responses, you are a very reasonable lot!
I've given her loads of ideas for Christmas and birthday last year and give her ideas throughout the year but don't want to dictate.
Me and dp do phone her, I also text her quite often with photos, videos etc, if it wasn't for this she would have no idea about dd. when dp phones she often doesn't answer despite us knowing she has her phone glued to her at all times. Dontmindifido, I like that reply to the message
It won't make her angry and cause any upset. I really do let most things go but felt this was a deliberate attempt to piss me off. Dont want to phone her just to moan so will use that reply. Thanks again, less wound up about it all now!

NoThanksIAmBusy Sun 03-Nov-13 16:43:48

I think this might be the most civilised AIBU I have ever seen grin

HolgerDanske Sun 03-Nov-13 18:47:34

I think it will be nice for your daughter to have two calendars. And all you need to do now is wait to see which one MIL got her, then make sure you get an even better one wink

One could be an activity calendar (possibly the one your MIL is sending as it has pockets and you could roll up a slip of paper for each day), and the other a gift calendar with little trinkets.

From now on, make sure you never, EVER tell your MIL what you're planning on getting! Have a decoy gift ready to mention for each occasion so she can go and get that and you will have the chance to get your own gift without her interference.

ems1910 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:33:48

My MIL used to ask what we were getting for our son and then go out and buy the same thing. When my ex used to ask why she would say she didn't remember and one year even bought the item (a small rocking horse) to our house and put it in his room unpackaged so we couldn't return it :/

When the ex went away on his submarine one year she asked me what I was sending him in his parcel one month, then she sent him exactly the same items. She had asked me if I was framing the photos I sent of our son and I said no (he couldn't store frames in his limited space and had nowhere to put them up), he said her 20 or so photos of ds all arrived in frames which he had to leave at port :/ At the time I went mad, called her all sorts of names to my friends, cried and generally went a little bit overboard. Now I just laugh about it with him. I am still not sure why she was like that.

My son always has 2 or 3 calendars as my mum and aunt buy him one each and no amount of telling them will stop it. I don't mind (I just tell him sharing is a lovely thing to do ;))

FestiveEdition Sun 03-Nov-13 19:48:09

OP, I would just not respond at all. Don't rise to the bait.
When it arrives in the post..... put it in a drawer.
Leave it there.
Say nothing.
Choose the calendar you and DP would like, and start using it on Dec 1st.
If MIL visits in December, and comments that she can;pt see it, then simply say you are really sorry but the two of you decided to use the one you had chosen, this year!

Cool. Calm. Non-aggressive, but totally non-compliant.
If you take this approach consistently....with everything she doubles up on.....then she will stop eventually.
You just have to get into the headset that its her money she is wasting whenever she does this, because she is dim enough to repeat YOUR purchase. She is not beating you to anything ...she is spending money to fill a unused drawer (or supply the local charity shop)
Which shouldn't need to annoy you at all smile

Thisvehicleisreversing Sun 03-Nov-13 19:56:22

My MIL winds me up with stuff like this too.

She openly loathes Christmas and spends it in bed with egg and chips yet has to be the one to buy the DC's their advent calendars. She knows I love Christmas and all the little traditions and every time I tell her she doesn't have to get them she ignores what I've said and turns up with them. She bought this year's 2 weeks ago to make sure she beat me.

When DS1 was little she did the wh

Thisvehicleisreversing Sun 03-Nov-13 20:03:52

Oops fat fingers.

She did the whole 'what are you buying him? We'll buy the same to play with at our house' thing.

We saved up ages to buy him his first little tricycle yet she had to go one better angry

Every past year PIL have spent a fortune on the DC's (mostly crap but kids have loved it) yet this year we asked if they'd help share the cost of an expensive present Ds2 has asked for as we can't afford it on our own. They've told us that this year they're cutting back on christmas spending so don't want to do that. Fair enough but I can guarantee that they'll spend just as much as normal and the only reason they've said no is because they don't want to 'share the glory' of a present.

Grrrrr

Floggingmolly Sun 03-Nov-13 20:06:49

He doesn't need to "stand up to her" about the treachery of her having bought her grandaughter a bloody Advent calendar hmm
If you tell your MIL you're going to get something and she replies she's got it already, could this not be the simple truth rather than a deliberate campaign to undermine you??

nothavingagreatday Mon 04-Nov-13 01:50:03

When I have jaded thoughts about my MIL I ask myself who would I want to look after my kids if both me and DH died. The answer is her because at the end of the day when she has done my head in by nit picking how I change a nappy, buying a million advent calendars, buying enough pyjamas to kit out a whole school and feeding them with chocolate cake, she is their granny and I know that my MIL would throw herself under a bus for my children.

With that in mind I often remind myself to cut her massive amounts of slack. Sometimes I feel bad because I ask her not to buy them stuff and she looks a bit hurt. I actually ask her not to because she spends 20-30 quid on something they want and they play with it for 2 minutes then go back to the stick they found in the garden which creates hours of fun. She is wasting her money and she is not loaded. I say to my MIL, don't buy them things, do something with them, take them out. Kids won't remember what you bought them, but they will "remember the times we used to go fishing with Grandad, go to the museum with Granny, play Monopoly with them".

Honestly, your MIL is not a narcissist, you don't need to go no contact, you don't need to be mean to her. It's just an advent calendar.

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