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Can you help me see a way of working this out?

(28 Posts)
marthastew Sun 09-Oct-11 19:38:42

Another family visiting Christmas thread sorry.

MIL is all alone. No other family apart from us. Understandably, DH wants to see her at Christmas as we ususally do. Because MIL is alone, I haven't had Christmas with my family since I got together with DH.

I would really like to see my family on Christmas day this year. I miss them and usually get tearful about not seeing them. I'm feeling more emotional about it this year as we have DC who will be 10 months old. It will be DC's first Christmas.

So the compromise is to stay in MIL's holiday cottage with MIL. We'd go up there a couple of days before Christmas then get up on Christmas morning, open presents and then drive to my parents house three hours away for a late lunch and then stay for a few more days.

Trouble is, its making me really sad that much of DC's first Christmas Day will be spent on the M5/packing and unpacking car/rushing etc. Also, DH is notoriously bad at getting up and being on time. I know we won't get away when planned and I will be grumpy about being behind schedule. I'll get snippy with MIL because I want to be on our way.

My parents could in theory also come and stay at the holiday cottage but I know that they will not want to. MIL is nice and a very generous host but can be quite bossy and is super nosey - she has quite upset my Dad in the past. She has a dog that jumps on everyone, the table, eats off the plates, sleeps in the beds etc which my Dad can't stand. Despite my best efforts, she also insists on doing all the food herself (v v generous host as I said) but she tends to cut corners when it comes to food prep hygiene and has a reputation for giving people food poisoning so I suspect they would rather avoid if poss.

We can't have everyone over to us down here as we live in a shoe box. (Our living room has space for two adults to sit down and no more.) And MIL will not leave dog. Besides, we can't have dog here as we have a house rabbit. (I know, I know.)

My parents will not have MIL to stay at theirs because she would want to bring the dog and they can't stand it.

We can't go to DSis's house as she doesn't want the dog there.

We can't go to a neutral location (like a hotel) as MIL will not leave dog or be too far away from all her other animals.

Am I missing something really obvious here? Is there a way we could all be together/see everyone without any rushing around on Christmas day? Or should I just get over trying to make DC's first Christmas fun and peaceful and face the reality that its all about MIL's fuggin dog.

Deesus Sun 09-Oct-11 19:41:51

Out of interest how long have you and your DH been together?

marthastew Sun 09-Oct-11 19:42:54

Five years almost.

marthastew Sun 09-Oct-11 19:44:21

We mornally have Christmas with MIL, then the day after Boxing Day go to my parents for a few days afterwards.

marthastew Sun 09-Oct-11 19:44:37


WitchesBrewIsMyFriend Sun 09-Oct-11 19:45:57

Is your DH an only child? To make it fair in our house we used to alternate having parents to stay and sometimes we would have everyone at the same time. Now that parents are older and not able to travel to us I havent had Christmas with my parents for about 4 years now.

Maybe you could have Christmas with your family and New Year with your MIL. You have children now and when your baby is older it will probably want to spend christmas at home playing with presents and chilling out.

Deesus Sun 09-Oct-11 19:46:45

Ah I see. I can see why you're upset - it's difficult as she's alone but it's also not fair on you to never see your parents at Christmas. To be fair the 'doing both' solution you've come up with this year doesn't sound too bad (appreciate time travelling, etc on the day will be a bit of a ball ache though).

The only other way is for your parents to have her over and I think she should compromise a bit and put her dog in kennels for a couple of days. Could your DH suggest that to her? He must see it's a bit one sided at the moment...

whostolemyname Sun 09-Oct-11 19:48:12

I think its you parents that need to be flexible to be honest - if they can go to holiday cottage but just don't want to it is them making things awkward.. Would be sad for your mil to be alone Christmas evening.

cjbartlett Sun 09-Oct-11 19:50:31

Dear mil if you are willing to put dog in kennel you are welcome to spend Xmas with us and my family
If not sadly you will be on your own
Love marthastew

honeylamb Sun 09-Oct-11 19:51:31

Seems to me like you are doing all the running around! You have compromised spending Christmas with your family for a number of years now. Most people I know do alternate Christmas and New Year with either set of parents. Though I get why with her being alone you wouldn't want her to be alone at Christmas!

Would MIL not consider putting the dog in kennels for one night or ask a friend to look after it (this is what my parents do so that they and inlaws can spend Christmas at ours together)? If you want to spend Christmas as a family someone other then you needs to compromise as well! Would MIL consider everyone at hers but lunch out somewhere so that it's not to much for her? What does your DH think? Does DH not have any brothers or sisters?

marthastew Sun 09-Oct-11 20:02:48

DH's Dad and brother both died. Its just him.

MIL is elderly and lives 2 hours away from us. We don't have a car so we can't visit her often - it has to be pre-arranged as we have to hire a car and gets quite pricey. All her other family live 12 hr flights away and are elderly too. The dog is her constant companion and best friend and she will not put it in kennels. She's a bit loopy about it. She hires a babysitter for it when she goes out for the evening FGS.

We have nowhere at ours for anyone to stay. Its just our room and DC's room and neither room would fit anyone else - our place is tiny.

BikeRunSki Sun 09-Oct-11 20:06:20

You have my every sympathy. It's an impossible situation. My family is exactly the same, except it's my mum who has the revolting dog.

PILS and DM are 2.5 hours apart (OK, 2 on Christmas Day), and we have often - Travelled to PILS a few days before Christmas (this in itself is a 4 hour drive, we are in Yorks, they are in Gloucestershire) . Done presents and early Christmas lunch. Driven across the West Country at speed. Had late lunch and more presents with DM. Stayed a few more days. Driven back to PILS, spent (v quiet and dull) New Year with them. It gets even more complicated if we try to take in my DB in South Wales or DBIL and family in Worcestershire.

DM is not alone, but can't stand her partner's family and refuses to do Christmas with them. The rest of mine and DH's siblings can't or don't do Christmas with their parents due to either living abroad, or visiting their PILS abroad.

DS is 3, he has spent every Christmas period on the road. To me, Christmas means driving about 1000 miles, a lot of hanging around and v unsettled child.

DC2 is due any minute. I have put my foot down. We are staying home. People are welcome to visit but not to stay. There is a hotel up to road and B&B in next village. No dogs.

I am 40 FFS!

LydiaWickham Sun 09-Oct-11 20:10:01

Well, could you suggest hiring somewhere for all of you for baby's first Christmas? then it's not your MIL as host.

Or, invite your MIL to your parents, and see if anyone will have the dog for her for the few days, esp if it's in exchange for her giving her holiday home to them for free...

marthastew Sun 09-Oct-11 20:10:02

I will speak to my Mum about having her and raise the kennel question.

honeylamb Sun 09-Oct-11 20:11:22

In that case I would suggest your parents either staying with her or renting somewhere nearby and eating Christmas Dinner out.

Your original plan sounds fine, but I would stress to you DH that he needs to get up on time (though I imagine your baby will be up early enough anyway) so you can leave ontime, it's the least he can do if it means seeing your family at Christmas for the first time in 5 years! This won't work though as you baby gets older, they really will not appreciate spending that much time in a car then!

I know it's hard my parents and sister lived abroad for 5 years so all Christmases were with inlaws, I missed them terribly!

zipzap Sun 09-Oct-11 20:12:40

Are there any dog friendly b&b's near you or your parents that are reasonable that your mil would stay at and be able to take the dog to?

ENormaSnob Sun 09-Oct-11 20:17:54

So every one elses christmas has to revolve around mils dog?

I feel really sorry for your parents.

marthastew Sun 09-Oct-11 20:19:00

Lydia, I like your thinking about the dog/holiday swap.

Listzilla Sun 09-Oct-11 20:52:30

I see two options: find a dog friendly hotel or something, so that everyone can go and no-one will get food poisoning. Or have two Christmasses. It sounds strange, I know, but my family have had as many as three some years when sick or senile relatives were involved. Have the real Christmas day with your MIL and the mutt, so she won't be alone, then have another one with your own family, with no stressful travelling (speaking from experience, you really don't want to go there). Your DC is too young to know any better and everyone will be happy - ish.

TeeBee Mon 10-Oct-11 10:15:03

Oh, I can't abide travelling with kids on Christmas day, its not fair. Can you go to your parents on Xmas Eve with DC. Then DH could spend time with his mum xmas day then drive up to your parents when he has finished faffing around had his quality time with her? He has to play fair so that both sets of parents are visited equally, or just stay at home and see no-one.

girlywhirly Mon 10-Oct-11 12:22:55

What will you all do if the weather is too bad to drive? MIL will have to face up to the possibility and plan for that, if you can't go to hers. You have to hire a car as well. This year you will have babies to consider.

I'd stay at home tbh. Do as Listzilla says and move the celebrations to another time, the babies won't care, but I reckon they will care about the disruption and pick up on your stress, trying to do right by everyone. I know you want to have Christmas with your parents this year, and if there was any way of doing it so as not to upset MIL you'd have done it by now. I think this is the year MIL should compromise. Are there any pensioners lunch clubs that do a meal on Christmas day that she could attend for lunch? Or any friends who could have her over for a couple of hours, leaving the dog at home?

LovingChristmas Mon 10-Oct-11 12:27:10

Good Luck with this, because whatever you decide will mean it will be expected for years.

I would get details of local hotels or B&B's or look up some excellent kennels (and visit them) and provide a full list to MIL as an alternative, If MIL won't budge then I'm sorry I would tell my DH to go himself, as you have offered several viable solutions and she is making it so she is unable to come, not that you do not wish to see her, and then go to your parents for Lunch!!

Whilst pointing out that every year you've had to miss out on your parents!

Fizzylemonade Mon 10-Oct-11 12:37:52

Christmas to me isn't about one day, it's about that time of year.

As children we did this-

Christmas Eve - see maternal Grandmother
Christmas Day - see no-one, just see people at church, no visitors to house
Boxing Day - see paternal Grandmother

I think now that you have a child of your own you should spread the joy. Whichever way works best but see either your parents or MIL before Christmas and then the other ones after Christmas.

I say this as a person who has spent the last 15 years travelling on Christmas Day, but I am lucky that my Dad and my PIL (who are lovely) live 20 minutes apart.

We have a bit of Christmas morning at home, travel 1 hour (it used to be 2 1/2 hours before we moved 7 years ago) to my sister's house, see all my family there and have Christmas lunch, then to PIL's house for buffet food, then travel home at night. My two sisters also see their husband's/partner's families in the afternoon.

As someone whose Mum died in 2010, put your bloody foot down and see your family at Christmas. I was always lucky that I did and still do. Sod compromising with dog kennels and people feeling uncomfortable, don't mix the families if they don't really get on. No one wants a miserable Christmas.

Fizzylemonade Mon 10-Oct-11 12:40:07

Sorry, what I meant was don't stay until Christmas Eve with MIL, spend some time on your own with your own little family of 3 so you get a break from seeing other people.

marthastew Wed 12-Oct-11 15:47:56

An extra bedroom or two and room for another sofa would solve the whole humbugging thing and we could have everyone here. Bah.

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