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

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 12-Sep-13 22:56:55

Jeez that is awful. Not nice to be told someone does not like you.

But, it would still be possible to have a good Christmas with your dd. you could make it really special for her.

FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 22:58:47

Should add that DD is 12. So unlikely to be tactful or sensitive if she has a crap Christmas.

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 12-Sep-13 22:59:24

Start making a plan now of all the things she loves doing - then you have something to look forward to. She will enjoy being the centre of attention. You are not alone - you have a lovely dd to enjoy and your mum - focus on making it gorgeous for them. Ignore the rest - your uncle sounds mean to tell you such harsh news.

sooperdooper Thu 12-Sep-13 23:00:18

Oh how awful sad

Could you invite your cousin to come to you instead? She might love the idea of a change if she normally hosts?

CaptainSweatPants Thu 12-Sep-13 23:01:19

Christmas is just one day

If you want it at home then take on board the million of suggestions on the Christmas board to make it special for your dd

Some people don't like to travel at Xmas

They want to stay in their own homes

You can't blame them for that

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 12-Sep-13 23:01:28

Good idea sooper

Dilidali Thu 12-Sep-13 23:03:18

Hey, cheer up! It's not all that bad. You're hurt and lonely, but tomorrow you're going to feel better. You can't be liked by everybody, don't take it personally. At least you lnow where you're standing.
Plan something else, just you and your daughter.. Can you go away for a few days? Make it your new year resolution to widen your friends circle....plan something with friends not relatives...? I enjoy quiet christmases, I think of the past year and make plans for the new one, luxurious baths, pyjama day... It'll be fine.

Graceparkhill Thu 12-Sep-13 23:03:44

Could you involve your DD in planning your perfect ( in the circumstances ) Christmas?
I think she is old enough for you to discuss your worries and then you can both plan what you would like to do.
A friend in a similar situation had teenage DCs who chose to get up late,stay in pjs, watch telly and eat Chinese.

Backtobedlam Thu 12-Sep-13 23:04:17

Your uncle shouldn't have told you all that, but at least you know not to include them in future plans! Christmas isn't about being with lots of people, its about being with those that are special to you, and you have your dd and your mum. Why don't you ask dd what she'd like to do (then she can't complain on the day). Maybe go out for dinner somewhere instead if you're worried she'll be bored? Do you have any friends that are eating out and you could book lunch at the same place?

FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 23:05:53

I will invite lovely cousin. But dreading her saying no.

Christmas to me is not about one day. We always had big family Christmases when I was a child - build up on Christmas eve, cooking, the excitement of Christmas Day. Party on Boxing Day.

I so wish I had siblings.

Sorry for the self pity sad

AlpacaPicnic Thu 12-Sep-13 23:07:43

But Captain - there is a world of difference between being politely turned down - 'thank you for the invitation, but we prefer to stay at home over christmas' and 'not gonna visit because we don't like you'

I agree that you have an opportunity to make it special for just the two of you, or three if your mother comes. I'm sure your DD will be happy to chill out with her new christmas stuff and lots of chocolate - I would have loved that at her age, especially if I got some new DVDs or books...

FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 23:08:18

Thank you for suggestions. Can't think of any friends. But will try to come up with a plan.

mykingdomforasleep Thu 12-Sep-13 23:08:21

Definitely invite your cousin. Especially as she hosted you last year, it would be rude not to (I take it they are 2 different cousins and the one you saw last year is not the one whose husband your uncle was talking about).

FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 23:10:33

Yes - two different cousins. I invited lovely cousin last year but her teenage DDs wanted to have Christmas in London.

I love hosting Christmas. Just need some guests!

steppedonlego Thu 12-Sep-13 23:20:40

Definitely do an invite for your lovely cousin. Where abouts in the country are you? Could you afford to go and stay in a hotel over a couple of days? Get Christmas lunch, other people there for a merry atmosphere, and if they have a spa etc treat yourself, DD and DM.

Greenkit Thu 12-Sep-13 23:25:43

I remember one christmas, mum and I (I was about 10 or 11) locked ourselves in for 4 days and had a lovely Christmas together.

Im in Bristol by the way, where abouts are you?

FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 23:30:09

I'm in Bristol. Hotel not really an option - my mother would be too confused to stay anywhere she isn't familiar with.

Don't mean to shoot down all the suggestions. I just want to vent really. Feel so fucking lonely and don't understand what I've done wrong. Christmas is all about happy families and there's a distinct lack of happiness in this family.

I feel like such a failure. All my friends are married and having babies and I'm divorced and lonely.

TidyDancer Thu 12-Sep-13 23:33:43

Wow that was cruel of your uncle and even worse (obviously) of your cousin. And she doesn't have the courtesy to reply to you!

I'm sorry you feel bad, it's horrible when people treat you poorly.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Thu 12-Sep-13 23:38:38

Christmas (and families, come to that) are whatever you make them. If yours is letting you down (or some of them are) then it's time to look for others to spend your festive time with. Who have you met in Bristol? there may be people you know right there who have no-one to spend it with. Or you could start a tradition of your own, not on the day itself but maybe Xmas Eve drinks for the neighbours? Get-together for your DD's local friends on the 27th (when everyone's got cabin fever and will be keen to send their DC somewhere for the day)?

Or, how about volunteering at a local homeless shelter? They are always looking for people for Christmas Eve/Day. Not what you envisioned, I know, but it could be a bonding experience for you and your DD as well as a count-your-blessings thing...

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Thu 12-Sep-13 23:40:04

Oh, and not only is the husband of whoever who doesn't like you a dick, so is your uncle for telling you that so rudely. However nice the guy may have seemed, he obviously isn't. Forget them and make room for better people in your life.

FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 23:51:11

I know. I am fortunate compared to lots of people. Christmas Eve drinks for neighbours sounds like a good idea smile

HesterShaw Thu 12-Sep-13 23:55:21

You sound very lovely. Just that xxxx I'm sorry you're upset. Christmas is nothing but a massive ball-ache. I hate it.

Dubjackeen Thu 12-Sep-13 23:56:13

You haven't done anything wrong, stop beating yourself up. I think it was nasty of your uncle to say that, I don't care how plain spoken he may be. There are very few people (if any) that would be able to deal with such an unkind, and possibly untrue statement, without letting it get to them. Hold your head high, you have a lovely daughter, and you sound so lovely and caring towards your mum. I don't really have any words of wisdom to offer, but please do remember that. flowers

Another one here who thinks you have the makings of an excellent Christmas if you put some thought and planning into it. Bristol has so much going on - think about things like visiting the Bath Christmas Market, booking a pantomime, going to a carol concert - things like that. If you start doing your homework/legwork now, you'll find there's masses going on. Lots of places have things like swims or fun runs on Boxing Day - how about you and your DD entering one?

Our Christmas is usually me, DH and our four dogs but we love it - over the Christmas period we see family, have friends for lunch and enjoy chilling out/enjoying each other. We also enjoy things like going out to look at Christmas lights, adn I often go to see the Nutcracker on Christmas Eve.

If you visit the Christmas area of the website you will be amazed and humbled by the fantastic ideas, creativity and love shown by some of the posters - often on a very tight budget.

I agree about starting your own traditions - pop a note in with neighbours' cards inviting them for drinks/nibbles on Boxing Day or Christmas Eve. Would DD like to host an event over the holidays for her friends?

It's also a time when there are people who are really alone. Ask at your local college/university if there are overseas students who will be by themselves who might like to spend a traditional Christmas day with you? Or your local Age UK branch if there are lonely pensioners near by who might really benefit from a hot meal and some cheerful company? If you like animals, how about volunteering at a local shelter, or even taking them a little parcel of dog/cat food?

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.

YeahWhat Fri 13-Sep-13 10:07:24

Really good post by waltzing so true about what she says about the DH.

WilsonFrickett Fri 13-Sep-13 10:07:34

If someone invited my DS over for, say, an afternoon a couple of days before Christmas so I could do the food shopping and a bit of wrapping I would kiss their feet.

If someone invited us all round from, say, 6 - 8 on Christmas Eve for drinks and nibbles, with a bit of carols from Kings on in the background, I'd love that.

And if I was 12, getting to plan my own Christmas doing exactly what I wanted, with no thought for tradition or Queen's speeches, I'd think I'd died and gone to heaven.

You will have a lovely Christmas. Your uncle was incredibly rude though!

FreckledLeopard Fri 13-Sep-13 10:13:31

My uncle doesn't have dementia.  He is an alcoholic.  He essentially took the decision, when his marriage broke down about twenty years ago, to extricate himself from any kind of societal convention or social norm.  To that end, he says what he thinks, doesn't beat about the bush, doesn't bow to any kind of convention.  He, is, however, a very helpful, practical and giving person.  He's coming this weekend to help me sort through a loft worth of my parents' stuff I had to clear out, and to help fit a cat flap.  Which is why this whole situation arose.

In a way I don't know if I should cancel him coming or not.  It seems petty to do so and I know he didn't set out to hurt me.  He just is immune to thinking before he speaks, and also doesn't understand why anyone would care if they weren't liked. 

Am taking on board all suggestions.  I told DD that Christmas might be a quiet one.  Maybe I will see if there is anywhere near Bristol that does awesome Christmas lunches - really nice quality, organic etc, with amazing service.  That might be nice.  Or I could see if friends might be around or something. 

Thanks again to everyone that's posted.

diddl Fri 13-Sep-13 10:21:53

Why does a big Christmas mean so much to you?

I'm all for quiet tbh!

I love just the four of us!

PaulSmenis Fri 13-Sep-13 10:28:27

Sorry that your uncle handled the whole thing so badly. Wow! That was either spectacularly tactless or just plain spiteful. There are some good suggestions from other posters here.

DeWe Fri 13-Sep-13 10:50:26

Your uncle was nasty to say that, but be aware that the reality may not be exactly that.

Perhaps it was more of "we'd don't really want the kind of Christmas Freckled wants." I can think of people for whom I would really not want to spend Christmas with because their idea of a good Christmas day does not fit in with mine.

"doesn't like you" may well = "doesn't feel he has much in common with".
Not an out and out dislike, more a "don't feel we're good friends".

I don't like big Christmases. Dh's family think it's the only way to do Christmas. "oh no, it's a small Christmas we're only going to be 20 for lunch" hmm So I do have to suppress an inner groan when I find we're being pressurised into one of their really big ones (it's okay the years when it's not over big)

FastWindow Fri 13-Sep-13 10:51:50

If you're anywhere near Westbury on trym the high church does a lovely midnight mass on Xmas eve. My mum took us once and we've always remembered it, it was so convivial. If your DM is up to it of course.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 13-Sep-13 10:58:37

OP think of it not as a quiet Christmas but as a laid back Christmas, an exclusive Christmas, an intimate Christmas, a cosy Christmas, a family Christmas because that is what you are a family. you and DD and your dm plan a Christmas that is selfish in a good way.

Actually i am starting to feel quite jealous grin

If there are things you don't like but always have because it is Christmas you don't have to. want to eat dinner in your pj s fine. want to have nothing but ice cream a chocolate fountain and ten crackers each, well why not.

Kewcumber Fri 13-Sep-13 11:18:37

It's no good posters saying to OP "why do you want a big Christmas, I hate big Christmases", what you like isn't relevant! She would like a big family Christmas and isn't going to get one (it seems at the moment) on top of the hurt that someone she previously thought she got on OK with seems to actually dislike her.

September is quite early to be planning Christmas unless you are bringing relatives from far and near so just let things calm down a bit and give yourself a chance to think about what Xmas you and DD might prefer.

If it would be to visit relatives then go to your cousin in London and explain very calmly that you had intended to invite everyone to yours for Christmas but that won;t be happening now and that maybe you could meet up with them at some point that day instead. Consider splashing out on a Hotel in London from Christmas Eve and Christmas night (if you can leave your mum - she may well be perfectly happy with visits Xmas Eve morning and boxing day afternoon if her dementia is bad). Then have lunch or tea with your cousin on Christmas day and you won;t feel you're imposing on her. If you can afford it CHristmas in central london with a teenage DD could be very exciting for a change.

Or start making links now with local friends/acquaintances, they don;t need to be a big deal - meeting two or three different groups over a couple of days, lunch at home watching a film and a nice tea out on boxing day might be very nice.

I have had a couple of disasterous Christmases - once stuck in Kazakhstan (where they don't celebrate) with baby DS and my mum due to visa cock ups. Wasn't how I imagined DS's first Christmas. Now my definition of a good Christmas is one which nothing remarkable happens!

ilovechips Fri 13-Sep-13 11:32:22

Your uncle was awful to say that. Your cousin is equally mean to not respond to you!

Just wanted to say, you said you wished you had siblings - please don't think that everyone with siblings somehow enjoys a huge extended family Christmas! I get on very well with my brother, but have spent Christmas with him twice since he left home to get married (30 years ago) - just because we have our own families now really! And my sister and I don't get on that well now so Christmas with her would just be stressful.

I guess what I'm saying is don't think that you are alone in not having big Christmases. I hope you can arrange something that you all enjoy!

StanleyLambchop Fri 13-Sep-13 12:21:52

Is your Mum living with you, or is she in a care home? Would she be coming to yours for Christmas? My DM has dementia so I understand it is hard to cater for Christmas when you have a family member with this problem. Is that what is tying you to have to entertain at home, or could you go to your family in London? YANBU to be hurt, but I think that you have to make the best Christmas you can with the people you know will be there. Bristol has many hotels/restaurants I am sure you will find something to your taste if that is what you want to do.

SunshineMMum Fri 13-Sep-13 12:32:17

I wonder if the Uncle has been horribly blunt in letting you know that they'd rather have some Christmases without visitors? I think it would be great to host your own Christmas and then visit them at a time which isn't so fraught and full of different expectations.

sherbetpips Fri 13-Sep-13 12:37:10

I would make a big plan of it. Is there a pub near you that does Christmas Carvery?
Night before off to midnight mass with your daughter (lots of people and that big christmas feeling).
Christmas morning having a lovely late breakfast together (whatever her favourite thing is and yours) and opening presents. Make sure one of her presents is a lovely dress or outfit. If you're neighbours are okay you could invite them round for bucks fizz and a mince pie but not worth it if you don't know them.
Then both of you get ready in your posh outfits all dressed up and off out to the pub (again lots of people, noise and christmas feeling).
Back home for snuggles and favourite xmas movies. If your mum cant cope with going out then still do all the dress up but maybe out for a nice walk to break up the day. Hope it all turns out okay x

FreckledLeopard Fri 13-Sep-13 13:16:20

My mother is in sheltered accommodation. There is no way I could leave her alone for Christmasm She is forgetful and gets confused sometimes but is ok to come to mine or another of our relatives.

It's definitely not the case that my uncle, his DD and her family want a quiet Christmas. They will in all likelihood stay with another of my relatives (my mum's other brother) who won't speak to my mother or I (a whole other story which I won't bore you with)

I will speak to lovely cousin later today and try not to cry down the phone. Am so stupidly tearful at the moment when it comes to family (or lack of).

Graceparkhill Fri 13-Sep-13 17:54:51

Are there any activities planned at the sheltered housing complex? Could you and DD go there for part of the day?

There are loads of places in Bristol for lovely lunches (river cottage canteen for one - or a bit further out of the city there's the ethicurean walled garden which hosts some events I believe). Plus panto/theatre, iceskating, there's loads to enjoy smile

Ooh and winter walks at westonbirt arboretum, candlelight walks at Berkeley castle...

Itstartshere Fri 13-Sep-13 18:39:14

Freckled I really feel for you, I know what you mean. I'm going to be alone this Christmas - had such a disastrous family Christmas last year I've vowed not to put myself through that again. It's ok for me as I'm single so I can do it a bit differently to how you will have to do it with your DD and your mum, but just wanted to say I hope it goes ok. I do firmly believe you can make it special just by putting your thinking hat on. The crazy thing is there are so many lonely people out there at Christmas who would love to meet up with you I'm sure and have fun, even if you're not family. Just not sure how you meet them in the first place.

Have you looked into your local CitySocialising for making some friends. They might have an event up over Christmas for people not in relationships as just one thing to do.

MyBaby1day Sat 14-Sep-13 03:52:42

Oh so sorry to hear that OP. How sad this guy said that, maybe he has issue and it's not personal. Families can be a pain yes!. I'm an only child too and am with my Mum, I have a surrogate Brother type lad in my life now (only got him recently) but he'll be abroad for Christmas and I was a bit mad last year as someone I know spread it how we'de be on our own and I'de be sat with my PUPPET!! grin, I laugh but it's actually quite sad how some people are left. But we'll be on our own for it, you'de be welcome to share it with us (as long as you don't mind the puppet)! grin.

MyBaby1day Sat 14-Sep-13 03:53:01


homeagain Sat 14-Sep-13 04:09:05

So nice of you to remember your uncle's good points. I'd be seething. Can't stand it when people congratulate themselves on being straight/ aka hurtful. And such people often get it completely wrong. Maybe your cousin is really embarrassed about it all, and doesn't know how to reply. When I was 12 I adored really quiet Christmases with lots of fun baking, walks, Christmas markets etc. hope you feel better. It was a rotten thing to say, and I bet it has been really exaggerated xx

ratbagcatbag Sat 14-Sep-13 04:24:06

A popular tradition on Xmas thread is cinema on Christmas Eve, not very full and quite relaxing after hustle and bustle of Christmas.
Love the idea of neighbours round, some of our best Christmases were after dss had gone back to mums, the couple next door would come round ad we'd play board games.
Now dss stays Xmas day night we turn lights off, put tree lights on, watch whatever film we've had bought or bought dss snuggled in pjs and scoffing chocs. Bliss.

raisah Sat 14-Sep-13 04:41:04

I am sorry that your uncle made you feel upset and it was stupid of your cousin not to respond to your text. But on the plus side, you can choose to spend Christmas exactly how you want & not spend time with rude people. If you still want to see your lovely cousin over Christmas, then call her & invite her to see the sights of Bristol. If she can't come but does invite you then as another poster said make a mini break out of it.

. Hotels are expensive so consider staying at univerity of London student halls which are centrally located but much cheaper. If you start to plan ahead, where ever you decide to spend Xmas, you can get good deals to see shows etc and save a bit of money.

As you used to live in London, can you meet up with old friends & family? You are in a good position to make your own traditions and meet & forge relations with new people. Don't let awful comments pull you down.

raisah Sat 14-Sep-13 04:41:30
teacherandguideleader Sat 14-Sep-13 05:26:47

No advice to add but just wanted to say that Christmas was always just me and mum and I loved them, I never felt I was missing out. Start your own traditions - mum always used to buy me a new board game and a new lim - we'd spend the afternoon playing the game and he evening watching the film. Also, I'd have funky new Christmas PJs to climb into after a morning bubble bath. It was fabulous.

daisychain01 Sat 14-Sep-13 08:04:29

Freckled, how about Westonbirt Arboretum, they do wonderful Christmas events all through Dec. Your DD12 would think it was magical!


daisychain01 Sat 14-Sep-13 08:07:55

Ps families can be a complete stressy pain at Christmas, esp. When all thrown together and made to feel that "you WILL feel happy!" whether they like it or not.

So maybe having the freedom to get out and doing a few things with DD will be a great alternative.

silverten Sat 14-Sep-13 08:38:25

Would it console you a bit to point out that there are probably quite a lot more people who don't much like your uncle than don't like you? (Most of the folk on this thread, far a start!)

Because from what you've said, he makes no effort to consider anyone else's feelings, whilst you genuinely care about what other people think and want them to be happy.

Guitargirl Sat 14-Sep-13 08:45:36

Wow - 'straight-talking' is one thing but your uncle was being just plain mean!

If you haven't already spoken with your cousin then why not ask by email/text if you think it's going to upset you? Don't put yourself through that conversation, you're obviously feeling emotional about it at the moment and I don't blame you. At least if your cousin is not able to come then knowing this far in advance gives you time to make lots of plans for your DD/you.

fortyplus Mon 16-Sep-13 07:43:19

Before I had children of my own, my Christmas Day was invariable spent with my parents and other older relatives, including my Great Uncle who insisted on bringing his electric organ which he played (badly) throughout the day with my grandmother caterwauling out of tune in the background.

As teenagers we hated it, and my dad used to say that Christmas isn't about one day, it's the whole season that matters.

25th Dec may not happen exactly as you'd hoped but no doubt you and your dd will enjoy many other happy times over the festive season.

fortyplus Mon 16-Sep-13 07:43:49

invariably blush

BeaLola Mon 16-Sep-13 09:37:20

I think Christmas with just you and your DD could be fab.
Some great suggestions OP from other posters and also some info re Bristol activities -what would your DD Love to do ?

I woud book a couple of things for the weekends leading up to Christmas.... Ice Skating, christmas market, christmas film maybe.

Before DS I took neighbours children out on Christmas Eve for lunch & film for a few years and it was lovely.
Re Drinks for neighbours - go for it - i secnd the poster who said to do it in the week between christmas and new year when less on.

Why not sit down one evening with your DD and draw up a list Each of what you would like to do including christmas lunch . I did this with my DH & DS fr the holidays and it was great fUn - we has things like zoo frm my DS whIlst my DH had fish &chips on the beach one evening for dinner etc etc & it was great fun fitting it all in.

You can do exactly what you would both like when you like :-))

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