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Spending Xmas with really unenthusiastic parents... HELP!

(11 Posts)
fuzzpig Mon 09-Sep-13 10:17:09

Basically we made the decision to be Just Us after DD's first Xmas in 2007 because it was miserable. My parents are (were?) the king and queen of apathy, and it is what made Xmas rubbish and uncomfortable for me as a child (a symptom of much bigger issues really but they are too long to write about here) so it just brought horrible feelings back. I was never brave enough to tell them why we wanted Xmas on our own (they were happy with it though).

Due to a change in circumstances, my parents will be spending Xmas day with us from now on. I am pleased, because I feel things have changed for the better to some extent. Mum in particular is much happier... the reason in brief being that my parents have separated and now live separately, in no small part due to the apathy issue with my dad. They get on brilliantly though and still see each other a lot, no plans to actually divorce, so no problem having them both.

However I'm still a bit nervous because I don't want to end up feeling like we are celebrating around them rather than with them, if that makes sense. Basically, I would love them to participate. I think this is more likely now, and I will have a quiet word perhaps with my mum about the kind of things we want to do and would they be willing to join in so we can all enjoy it together.

Otherwise it's just a long meal and afterwards they will sit on the sofa ignoring the DCs, dad will have the tv up loud, mum will be on her phone etc hmm and I will just feel like what's the point. Whether I or the DCs ask them to join in with something the answer is usually no. It will just be like any other visit.

I'm not painting a good picture of them am I, either that or I sound like an ungrateful brat. They are good people and love us very much, just frustrating and I end up feeling very claustrophobic when we are all squished into our tiny living room. I don't know how to make this better, but I think I deserve a nice family Xmas for once. Sometimes I feel like my family is so messed up that I am destined to never have a nice FUN Xmas (melodramatic much? blush).

They will not be staying over BTW, they are about an hour's drive away. So probably arrive mid morning, hopefully staying a while after the DCs (4/6) are in bed so we can play some grown up games.

Any ideas please? If you have similar circumstances, what do you do about it? (sorry for waffle)

Unexpected Mon 09-Sep-13 11:20:41

Do you feel able to suggest to them that now you have children you have made your own traditions and hope that will wish to join in with them on the day? It could just be that you take a walk after lunch and that you don't turn the TV on until the children have gone to bed? As your parents have separated, could you make the point nicely that just as their lives have moved on and changed so has yours and that these are the kinds of things you like to do now?

fuzzpig Mon 09-Sep-13 11:25:56

I like the sound of a walk - have never done this on the day but I could manage a short one, we have lots of woodland about. Maybe after lunch to stop the slump?

I think I could talk to my mum and say there are some things we want to do, my dad is a closed book though iyswim.

I will ask them both if they have any suggestions for the day too.

marriednotdead Mon 09-Sep-13 11:42:06

I know it's hard but your house, your rules, your Christmas!

If your dad is unwilling to participate in anything, then why is he coming? He can be miserable in his own home.

It's scary but there's an expression that comes to mind.
If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got and you'll feel how you always felt.

You are an adult now and have the chance to make your future Christmases positive for all the right reasons, and to give your DCs some wonderful memories. Give your parents this chance to have the Christmas the way you want it, but if it falls short of what you truly want, then next year they don't come.

I'm realising now, more than ever, that we only have one life and that our own happiness matters as much as everyone else's.

DaddyPigsMistress Mon 09-Sep-13 12:24:47

My sister is just like that with the tv.
I take it out the room when we have the family over as she will just sit there wacthing it really loud and ignore everything.

I would talk to them about things you will be doing on Christmas, walks,games ect. I would ever so politely make it clear its join in or dont come.

We had many miserable family dos with my gran who is a right misrable fucker till one year i snapped and said be nice or fuck off. She sulked for months and missed a few family things but after it was clear no one was going to relent she started to come again and while i cant she she is a changed woman she no longer sits in the corner bellowing insults at everyone. She is polite to the kids now as she knows where my line in the sand is.

buzzgirly Wed 11-Sep-13 08:05:40

fuzz you could be describing my FIL! Every Christmas i have spent with ils he sits on his back side watching tv all day - he doesn't even turn it off during dinner. MIL, bless her, makes such an effort but nobody ever appreciates it.

This year they are coming to us, and the tv will stay off. I am going to have a few "jobs" for FIL to do like building up some toys, taking dcs for a walk round the block to burn off some energy. And then silly games for evening which we can all play.

fuzzpig Wed 11-Sep-13 08:41:41

Thanks all, I'm (sort of) glad I'm not alone in this!

I'm seeing my mum for lunch tomorrow so I'll bring up the subject of xmas and see how it goes.

BeaLola Wed 11-Sep-13 14:56:10

Do you do all presents in am ?

We do stocking am and then big presents after lunch. Just wondering if Santa could leave for your DC something special to make which your Mum and Dad could help them with or a daft game that the 4 of them could play together ?

fuzzpig Wed 11-Sep-13 15:19:08

Ooh that's a good thought. We've started a tradition of getting a family board game each Xmas (now my youngest is able to play).

We do stockings first thing and any main Santa presents that are downstairs (will be playmobil this year). If my parents are coming we will probably leave everything else til they arrive mid morning (we haven't actually discussed timings yet but what I think will happen is that they have breakfast at mum's flat and then drive up).

Presents will include a couple of jigsaws - one a very fancy arty one - so that might be good for a group effort!

fuzzpig Wed 11-Sep-13 15:20:21

I like the idea of having something specifically for the four of them to do - while DH and I do dinner maybe (although my parents do sometimes help with that sort of thing - would probably be more but our kitchen is flipping TINY)

BeaLola Wed 11-Sep-13 17:03:36

If playmobile I can recommend the knights castle for taking agggggggges to put together.

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