Am I being unreasonable about Christmas plans?

(270 Posts)
Grumpyaboutchristmas Sat 01-Oct-16 19:21:36

Genuinely would like views. I've name changed as with all other info from previous posts this could be quite identifying.

My family loves Christmas. We do big celebrations, not flash but lots of family and we love the tree, decorations and the whole day together. Husband's family not so bothered. They aren't that close, we've rarely done Christmas together and there has now been a family fall out with one of the in law siblings so no more big dos.

MIL and FIL in different care homes hundreds of miles away from us (different needs). We wanted them to move near us from years ago (so we could look after them in their old age) but they refused. Now they are in care homes we asked if they would move to care homes nearer to us (or one of the other siblings) so we can help care for them, bring them here for meals, do shopping etc for them, bring the kids to see them and so on. They refused.

I get that it would be quite disorientating to move when they are so old, but their quality of life would be immeasurably better. They have few friends and even fewer visitors. All of us live miles away from them and have family, work and other life commitments which means the weekend round trip to spend time in a hotel with care home visits is pretty unrewarding. They are quite old and also old fashioned and have never been hands on with the kids, and to be honest are anecdotally interested in the children but not so much in real life. The kids bring stuff to do when we are there but there's little interaction. To be fair, that's not anyone's fault, it's just the way it is and always was, even before the in laws had to go into homes.

So this year my family are already planning what to do at Christmas (don't judge us, I know it's early but my sibling and husband work shifts which they need to work around). We arrange to meet either for Christmas or for another date in between to celebrate it. We usually do Christmas day with my family just because we love it and husband's family aren't bothered. This year though, husband has suggested we go to his family. It would mean staying in a hotel near them in Xmas eve, with no tree or decorations (in rooms at least) for Christmas Eve or morning, followed by ferrying his mum to lunch in a restaurant, which would be quite low key and reserved (as it always is), followed by visit to granddad (who can't come out his home any more), followed by back to hotel. We would have to bring presents but somehow hide them from the kids - we don't have the biggest car in the world and it would be tricky to say the least. It just feels so unchristmassy. I don't want to do it but feel awful saying that. I think we make Christmas really special for the kids and i don't think that day sounds special. I'd be happy to do this any day but Christmas Day (and do, willingly, and encourage visits usually).

So AIBU to say we go to my family and not his, but go to his family on 27th once we're back? It might mean that his parents are alone in their care homes on Xmas day. One of his siblings did Christmas Day with them several years in a row (I don't think they brought the family with them though) and I don't think the others would do it at all. It makes me feel terrible to think of the in laws alone, but I also feel, somewhat terribly, that if they had moved to be near us then there wouldn't be this issue (we'd have Xmas morning here, and then bring them here, visit grandad etc). We'd have control and we could make it special for them and for the kids. In a random hotel, with Christmas dinner in a random pub or restaurant, we can't do that. The fact that they refused, in my view somewhat pigheadedly, to move anywhere near any of their children has created a situation where Christmas with young children and them is nigh on impossible to accommodate. We did say that our wings were clipped by the distance and logistics and we can't help or do as much from this distance, and I guess that includes things like Christmas. AIBU?

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Sat 01-Oct-16 19:39:44

Christmas should be whatever makes it the best day for your kids imo.
Adults can appreciate time together but that doesn't have to be actually on the 25th. Hope this is useful!!

Grumpyaboutchristmas Sat 01-Oct-16 19:41:18

That's bloody useful beardeddragon, and kind of my views too. Thank you.

Floridasunset Sat 01-Oct-16 19:45:43

I agree, adults can understand that you need to spend time elsewhere and can celebrate with them on an alternative day. Children are less able to understand depending on their age.
I am sure the care homes will cook a Christmas dinner/decorate and that your in laws will appreciate celebrating with you a few days later.

DeadGood Sat 01-Oct-16 19:45:47

Nope, YANBU. I know you'll get lots of people saying "suck it up". But I have a fairly low tolerance for parents who refuse to compromise at all, then expect the two generations below them to fall in with them.

Do you think they would be upset at spending Christmas alone?

DangerousBeanz Sat 01-Oct-16 19:49:06

Do what is best for ypur children. My mum lived in a care home for a couple of years and the staff there made Christmas really special for the residents. Lots of elderly people are in the same boat as your in laws and so the home went all out. Mum didn't want to come away so we popped in to see her on the morning then she had lunch there with her friends.
I'd go on the 27 th. Have a lovely Christmas and enjoy the interegnum period with the in laws.

Grumpyaboutchristmas Sat 01-Oct-16 19:50:15

Dead good - grandad won't know it's the day even, and grandma has never been very Christmassy, but I'm sure she'll use it as emotional leverage which she is unfortunately apt to do quite often. We have become quite blunt - come here and we'll care for you, but stay hundreds of miles away and we can't - and I think this is the ultimate in blunt which we'll have to communicate. Don't want to upset husband either, he feels a duty I don't, but I don't want that to affect the children's day, when could be with all their cousins having a whale of a time instead.

PinkissimoAndPearls Sat 01-Oct-16 19:57:56

How old are your DC? When was the last time you spent Christmas Day with your DH's parents?

Perhaps your DH is aware that his parents may not have many Christmas's left and as you usually spend it with your family, it is their turn?

I think you are perhaps being a bit U if your DH has always agreed to spend it with your family and his wishes should be respected too? Obviously this depends on the ages of your DC but I don't think it's unreasonable for them to have a Christmas break in a hotel (which could be lovely) and know that they are making their Grandparents happy by spending Christmas Day with them.

I would feel bad to leave them both alone on Christmas Day particularly as they are also living apart from each other. I think I would do it, and perhaps have your own Christmas Dinner when you get back - the DC might well love another meal with crackers and nice food even if it was the 27th/28th.

witsender Sat 01-Oct-16 20:05:32

I actually think you are being a little unreasonable. They may not do Christmas your way, but they are still family and deserve to be included in plans. I assume you normally do.your family? Then whilst I agree it doesn't sound as fun, I think it is only right that his family get a look in too. It sounds like they may not be around for ever after all, and I think it is important that kids learn that sometimes families work differently, and they need to work with that.

Catzpyjamas Sat 01-Oct-16 20:09:48

YANBU. However, I can see why your DH would want to spend Christmas with his DPs, especially given the circumstances.
What about a house near them rather than a hotel (airbnb?) then you could decorate, have Christmas dinner and still visit Grandad?

Sleepybunny Sat 01-Oct-16 20:09:52

I would leave a surprise hamper with some lovely goodies in it for it. Maybe one of the care staff could surprise her on Christmas Day.
She'll have a nice day at the care home with Christmas dinner and you can see her on 26/27th.

If you feel bad about that, could you spend Christmas morning with the kids, then leave them with your family and cousins and drive over to MIL?

I wouldn't bother to be honest, kids come first. Would she have done it for her MIL? Or did she make xmas special for DH growing up?

Grumpyaboutchristmas Sat 01-Oct-16 20:10:07

Witsender and pinkessimo - I think you make good points. I think I'm most fucked off that they refuse to move near anyone who can help and then expect everyone to accommodate that remoteness. Being in a care home with a family home nearby at Christmas is completely different to a hotel. That sounds unreasonable but it's how I feel.

And it wouldn't be a Christmassy boutique hotel. I can't imagine Christmas in a travelodge would be pleasant since staying in a travelodge is unpleasant at the best of times.

Kids are 5 and 6.

rogueantimatter Sat 01-Oct-16 20:10:37

I agree with Pinkissimo

You can have a lovely relaxed time. If you wrap the children's presents you won't need to hide them.

Could you go to your family on 27th?

I know Christmas is a family time but it shouldn't give people a licence to be selfish. That sounds harsher than I mean it to but I can't think of a nicer way to put it. DH has a much bigger family than mine and we almost always used to go there for Christmas - tbh I resented it. Perhaps that's colouring my judgment.

RB68 Sat 01-Oct-16 20:11:02

OK I can see both sides with this - but yes its not much fun for kids. If you are going to do it then look into having a holiday home over the period - might be more homely they often put trees and so on up so more festive. I do think its easier if kids are older presents tend to be smaller so easier to pack up without too much chance of spotting/spoiling idea of Father Christmas etc, but you could also plan a day out to a local attraction that maybe has something Christmassy on - Theatre or similar but it will need booking now

Grumpyaboutchristmas Sat 01-Oct-16 20:12:25

Sleepy bunny - it's something we thought about but they are hours from us and also hours from our other Christmas destinations. Pretty inconvenient really, it's all or nothing unfortunately.

Cats - that's a bloody good idea, much as I hate to say it. I'll definitely investigate that. But how do I get presents there with no room in car and children with eagle eyes in the car?

Like the hamper idea too. That's a good one.

MoreCoffeeNow Sat 01-Oct-16 20:12:29

I think you are being U. Your DH wants to spend Christmas with his mother. Usually you spend it with your family. I think it's his turn.

Grumpyaboutchristmas Sat 01-Oct-16 20:13:34

Re not needing to hide if wrappe, my kids are still very much FC believers. I would hate to put that into doubt before it naturally dissolves.

BurnTheBlackSuit Sat 01-Oct-16 20:13:37

How about a holiday cottage near them? They often decorate them ready for Chrismtas guests, so it would feel Christmassy and special. Then you get a special Christmas morning with presents and a tree and get to see your DHs parents too.

You could get one with a lovely real fire too. Lovely!

rogueantimatter Sat 01-Oct-16 20:13:39

Wrap the presents.

RB68 Sat 01-Oct-16 20:13:43

just a thought but could you have mostly smaller pressies and "entertainment things" for kids as pressies and the bigger ones at home? I would manage this by packing the car, then while one parent gets kids in the other runs back in puts presents out under tree etc for return, and then comes out to the car to set off - there might be an issue of "inviting" a burglary but also you could ask local friends to pop in on your due back day and do the same if that is a concern

brasty Sat 01-Oct-16 20:13:58

I think you do what you want. But don't blame adults for not wanting to move care homes. Moving care homes is so stressful for many older people that it kills them. Don't underestimate how traumatic it could be for them.

rogueantimatter Sat 01-Oct-16 20:15:07

Aagh - x-posted. Sorry.

FC knows you're going away for Xmas so he delivered them early?

Inertia Sat 01-Oct-16 20:15:26

Yanbu. You need to prioritise the day for the children. You could visit PIL before Christmas and spend a day celebrating, but it is unreasonable to expect small children to be ferried around the country and stay in a hotel with very little open over Christmas.

JeSuisUnChocoholic Sat 01-Oct-16 20:16:19

As PPs have said, Christmas is for the children; they don't understand "Christmas is going to be a day late today" or "they'll be no Christmas tree this year", but adults do.

BurnTheBlackSuit Sat 01-Oct-16 20:17:29

Could you hire a roof box for your car and put the presents in there?

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