Is it really that stressful bringing two families together?(21 Posts)
As this is the first year with our PFB, I thought it might be a nice idea to invite both sets of grandparents plus our siblings to our house for Xmas, but everyone I've asked so far, including DP seems to think it will be a stressful nightmare.
Our house isn't massive, but I'm the kind of person who doesn't mind if we're all on top of each other for a day or two and it's a bit stressful, as long as we're surrounded by family, as I feel Christmas is all about family. Previous years DP and I have always spent apart with our family's, so this is the first year we will actually be together on the day, so is the first time we've had to think about this.
But both DP and parents seem to have constant excuses as to why they don't want to do it.
I can't force them.. I'm going to have to accept that they don't see Xmas like I do aren't I?
Has anyone else tried this, is it really that bad?
Personally, I can see why the idea isn't going down well.
Families plan their xmases differently from what they eat, to what time they eat, how they manage presents and any other family traditions. It could be stressful for both families if they feel they can't relax.
Remember that the only thing that connects two families who may not otherwise have anything in common is your relationship with OH and now the grandchild.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
If they don't normally socialise anyway since you got together, I can see why they might find it a bit uncomfortable staying together. Coming for Christmas day or even part of the day would be better.
Have the ILS met each other before? Could you have them all meet up for lunch somewhere to see if you all get on before having them to stay? It would be in their interests to make the effort to get on for the sake of the DGC, otherwise they could risk not seeing any of you on Christmas day in years to come.
My son started a new tradition two years ago when he and his partner moved in to their house. They invite both sets of parents, all the siblings, step siblings, half siblings etc and for the past two years nearly everyone has joined in. You have to make some compromises with traditions, but it's lovely to see them starting their own ones and we've had a great time. I'd say go for it!
I do this all the time for my own cultural celebrations and it works really well. I can see the point where everyone celebrates differently but if you are invited as a guest then you follow the hosts traditions for the day. It is no different to being invited to dinner at a friends, you turn up with a gift and you accept graciously whatever your hosts cook.
It is a good idea because both you and your dp will see your respective families on the day and not miss out if you hosted alternative years.
It gives you an opportunity to develop your own customs. If people are really against it then you could always have dinner at a hotel or restaurant and then go home at the end of the afternoon to your own homes. That would be a compromise, you still see both of your families but there is a time limit enforced.
This Xmas DH and I (plus small baby) will be with my parents and three siblings. Eight adults, nine children, together for a week. We did something similar last year and survived. You do have to bite your lip a bit but it is lovely to all be together. We had a cooking rota.
I would like a family that would do this. But mine and DHs family do everything to avoid this type of gathering. And v awkward people getting in huffs for no reason will just spoil your Christmas.
I'm facing this prospect this year and it's going to be awful
MIL is a very moody, aggressive character and despite being extremely rude to my mum every time she sees her (think it's jealousy because me, DH and my parents are very close) we are going to have to invite her for Xmas dinner otherwise she'll be alone.
However I must say if we both had nice families I think it would be lovely actually!
Maybe they just like doing Christmas their own way. I wouldn't want to go to someone else's on the day, not even my children's houses.
If you were just inviting people around for the day then I'd say go for it but you seem to want everyone to stay in a house that is too small to fit everyone in comfortably? Is that right, I'm guessing a couple with a small child doesn't have lots of bedrooms for the whole extended family and you said I'm the kind of person who doesn't mind if we're all on top of each other for a day or two and it's a bit stressful.
Personally I'd hate that, I like having my privacy and don't want to have to negotiate using the bathroom with 11 other people. Which is why we aren't going to the ILs for Christmas but spending it at home.
Are they all expected to stay in your house. I need my own space so I would find that very stressful.
Each family has different traditions - you only have to read some of the posts on here to see that - so trying to combine the two and keep everyone happy might be a nightmare. Do both sets of PiL get on? My mum and my FiL can pass themselves with each other, they don't not get on, but they don't have enough in common to spend a lot of time together.
I think it sounds nice but I guess they migh want to do their own thing. I watched a repeat of the Gavin n Stacey Xmas special last night so I'm imagining it to be like that
Thanks for the replies I appreciate it.
I didn't mention that one set of parents live 3h drive away so popping around on the day isn't an option for them. Others live only 1h away which is more doable, but still not great.
I agree with people who said although familys have their own traditions, it would be up to us as hosts to create new traditions for both families to get involved with.
We've been together for a decade, so parents know each other reasonable well.
Thinking about it, my side if the family is quite "loud" and extrovert and DPs is much quieter and more reserved, which is perhaps why there is this resistance to the idea...
Ah well I can't force them. I just think it feels a bit lonely to spend Xmas day in small disparate groups of 2 or 3 when we could all be together... But there's nowt so queer as folk!
I think alternating, spending one Christmas with your family and the next with DH's, is more usual, or splitting the day for those who all live close.
It is a really nice idea, and with some families it could work, but to be honest I think the majority of people would be reluctant.
I'm with you op. My happiest childhood memories are of family Christmases with both sets of gps and cousins (dad an only child so easier). 14 of us playing games going for walks meals, carols etc. Just amazing fun. Fortunate in that one family had lovely neighbours who went away so we had 2 houses so not too squashed. More the merrier. Am hosting 13 this year can't wait and neither can the dc.
Personally I'd say that having both sets of parents is definitely an improvement on one lot only - the easygoing ones dilute the hard work pair
Fortunately this year we only have the easy ones!
It must be said that DH was very, very dubious when I first suggested it, but since his solution is usually to try to avoid seeing his parents at all under any circumstances, which isn't really a great answer at Christmas time, he gave in and was moderately persuaded.
Should also say that as a child, we often spent Christmas with both sets of GPs, but they got along well and in fact family gatherings often included lots of relatives from both sides (all living nearby though so staying over not an issue).
I don't think there's anything odd at all in getting both sets of families together. DH and I used to alternate, which then turned into us seeing his parents at lunch for Turkey then going to the pub and for a curry with my extended family.
When we had DCs and a bigger house we started everyone coming here. Had 13 adults last year and it was great, but everyone is reasonable and happy to compromise their traditions to spend time together.
As a child we always went to my aunts house and she invited my grandparents too (her sisters MIL) so I suppose the more the merrier is our Christmas tradition!
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