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AIBU - Santa coming to MIL's house

(31 Posts)
PlinkPlonkPlunk Sat 24-Dec-16 10:11:31

This is a situation that comes up every year, and every year I forget until it's too late to figure out what to do. So, it's too late again for this year (I think), but I need to figure it out for next year.

Every year, MIL gets all her children and grandchildren Santa stockings to put out at her house. There is a full Christmas Eve ceremony of everyone going to MIL's to lay the stockings out for Santa (I've refused to send my DCs over the past few years, as I would like us to have our own family time on Christmas Eve (we see ILs on Christmas Day, and several times a week) - DH was reluctant at first, but now agrees that it's nice). Then on Christmas morning the GC are told the gifts in them are from Santa, who also came to Nanny's house as well as their own houses.

This was fine when the DCs were smaller (although I could see that I could become an issue, but DH has always refused to deal with anything until it actually IS an issue), but DD will soon be starting to ask why Santa comes to Nanny's house and not her other Gran's house. Also why her cousins only get Santa presents at their house and why doesn't Santa go to their grandparents' houses too. Also, why don't Nanny and Granda buy her presents? I'd like to be able to tell her that the gifts from mil are actually from MIL and that Nanny just likes to pretend they're from Santa, but then what if she tells her cousins? MIL would be furious.

I know it's a small issue, but it feels very unbalanced (my parents aren't getting a look in), and is possibly made worse because I feel that MIL wants to take over Christmas every year anyway (she does DC and GC Santa letters at her house (with a special post box) (yes, even the adult children do a Santa letter), the Christmas Eve thing, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (which we don't go to as we see my parents that day) - everyone is expected to go to everything, and if you don't go, you're interrogated as to why, what you're doing instead etc. We don't go to everything, but she tries to make us feel guilty, and DH is really bad at standing up to her). I'd like us to have Christmas at home some time, but she tries to make us feel that we need her permission and she's not giving it! I'm working on that one, though, in terms of getting DH to see that he didn't have to do what she wants.

So I need some ideas! I've friends in similar positions who haven't done anything and ended up resenting it every year. Do we ask MIL to stop referring to her this as "from Santa"? Or tell our DCs that Nanny likes to pretend, and we them to secrecy? Or what?!

WantToRunAgain Sat 24-Dec-16 10:14:26

My MIL tried to do this by spinning some crazy story to the DC about how Santa had forgotten to leave all their presents at our house and left some at hers too. I told her it wasn't happening and that only stocking pressies come from Santa. I want the DC to understand most of their pressies come from their relations and us so they get a sense of perspective!

PlinkPlonkPlunk Sat 24-Dec-16 10:51:17

I love a crazy rapidly-invented back story!

Yes, I'd like the DCs to understand where their presents come from too. It's made harder by MIL refusing listen to what they would like, and therefore buying random stuff that they're not into, so Santa at our house gets it right, but then at MIL's gets it wrong! Not that the DCs are old enough to think like that yet, thankfully.

We actually weren't crazy about the idea of doing Santa at all initially, but MIL makes such a big deal of it that we feel we have to.

girlelephant Sat 24-Dec-16 10:56:08

I think you need your DH on side first and then get him to tackle your MIL. I'm sure she enjoyed the Santa stuff from when she had children but as your kids are getting older it's causing issues

Ultimately your children and your rules!

WingedSloath Sat 24-Dec-16 10:59:54

My MIL suggested this type of scenario whereby my child would have a Santa stocking at her house. As she was (sadly no longer with us) a very reasonable and lovely woman, I explained it would cause confusion with there being no Santa stocking at my Mum's house.

She totally got it, realised she hadn't thought of that but she still did lovely stockings from her and FIL to my children but they gifts were from them. It always had lovely little items in it which they opened first before moving on to the larger presents under the tree.

Sadly, FIL doesn't do this now and I miss it. But I wanted my children to understand that presents given to them came from either us (we do stockings from FC) or from Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunts etc. That way they thanked the correct person for the gift.

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Sat 24-Dec-16 11:00:09

I don't get grandparents like this. Surely you have your turn at Santa when your own kids are small, then when your children have children you simply collude?

Anyway. Very much agree that only stockings come from the fat man in red. It's not fair on other kids otherwise IMO.

80sMum Sat 24-Dec-16 11:02:21

Oh dear, OP! You have a MIL who can't let go of "the magic" it seems! She's using the grandchildren as replacement children, so she can relive the years when hers were young. She clearly loves Christmas and the whole Santa malarkey.

WannaBe Sat 24-Dec-16 11:03:21

I've never encountered this obsession over who can and cannot do Santa and children being confused anywhere other than mn.

Really, it's not important. In five years time Santa will be long gone, and it's maybe an hour once a year. There really is nothing to address here.

PlinkPlonkPlunk Sat 24-Dec-16 11:30:41

Really, Wanna? When I was young I always knew who had got me each thing, and had to write thank you notes afterwards. I can't imagine NOT knowing who had given me each present.

WantToRunAgain Sat 24-Dec-16 12:00:50

Wanna, I had this conversation with a bunch of friends over coffee only the other day so it's definitely not an "MN thing".

My MIL definitely fits into the category of wanting to relive her parenting through my DC, but only when it suits her of course.

We would also have the same problem if this not happening at my parents house so it would just be weird and confusing.

PlinkPlonkPlunk Sat 24-Dec-16 13:02:22

I very much agree that MIL hasn't let go of "the magic". She wants to keep on doing everything the way she always has done. DH kind of sees there's an issue, but doesn't want to be the one to rock the boat by making changes. He has a vague plan of telling the DCs that Nanny likes to pretend to be Santa, but then swearing them to secrecy when it comes to their cousins. I think there's no way they'll understand this and go along with it, and in any case I'm not a massive one for having "secrets" (DH was very much brought up with "Now don't tell Mummy this" and "Don't tell Daddy that" etc, which has led to what I think is a rather toxic family dynamic).

Bauble16 Sat 24-Dec-16 13:12:22

Hmm. Yes she's stepping on your toes, she wants to be the centre of creating Christmas magic doesn't she! She's taking over a lot and it would annoy me. I'm very laid back aswell hmmm

liquidrevolution Sat 24-Dec-16 16:53:30

Its funny there was an aibu similar to this during the week where most people were saying that the op shouldnt complain as its extra presents.fconfused

I commented that it was confusing for children and got shot down. fhmm

The stocking should be where the child is on christmas morning imho.

Bobsmum02 Sat 24-Dec-16 20:07:33

Sorry but I'm with wanna on this one. My children get Santa presents at our house and my DM's. They've never questioned it.

They also still thank people who give them gifts!

Millimat Sat 24-Dec-16 21:34:29

My children get presents from FC here and at both grandparents house. I always did too.

zippyswife Sat 24-Dec-16 21:38:36

I have a MIL who does this. We point blank told her that she would ruin Christmas for the dcs this year as they are bright and onto the santa thing. I think she's taken it on board. We will see tomorrow. hmm

soontobemrsmckeown Sat 24-Dec-16 22:10:43

My dd was saying all presents were from santa last year so we explained at 3 that the gifts at grandparents were from the grandparents but the elfs look after them for them and bring them on Xmas eve as she was puzzled about where they were coming from. She's stuck with it this year and it's dead magical. She understand that gifts of others are of others and sends thank you so for them.

Onthedowns Sat 24-Dec-16 23:04:33

I have this! Unfortunately my DH doesn't quite get the point that Santa doesn't visit other houses and leave stockings for the children, it's confusing here too as my DCs gets presents from my parents as presents ,but MIL insists on the stockings coming from Santa to her house!

Chelazla Sat 24-Dec-16 23:04:55

My children don't ask too many questions but they get presents at mine, my mums, dh mums and dh auntie's (no kids herself) I pretty much leave it to everyone to do as they wish. They are all hugely invested in kids- look after them whilst we're at work, see them lots ect. My kids just know Santa has been and are thrilled. You are lucky in a sense to have a mil who obviously loves her family very much!

Lukasmummy Sun 25-Dec-16 15:04:15

Personally, I would be tempted to lie and say grandparent used to be one of Santa's elves but then she grew up like Wendy in Peter Pan so Santa brings presents to her house too, because they were friends. But then I told my kids this year that the elves had a nasty form of elf flu that stripped their magic, so he had to call Mummies and Daddies and Amazon to help so Christmas could still happen. In previous years, I've also told them all parents get a gift of magic when a child is born, all parents are eligible to be temporary elves, when you stop believing in Santa you only get socks and pants for Christmas and probably lots of other stuff I have forgotten.

ChocolateStarBiscuits Sun 25-Dec-16 21:59:23

Yes, I was also ripped to shreds on that thread!

We do one big present from FC and the rest is from the gift giver - I put in a lot of hard work and money and want the kudos wink and they need to learn that people bought them things and do thank you cards etc

as it happens MIL also did stockings but she didn't claim for them to be from anyone other than her...

I think the real problem here is not her doing stockings but the complete and utter over involved style of relationship where she dictates what happens for your family. You are your own separate unit and should be allowed to act as such!

Cornishclio Sun 25-Dec-16 22:10:59

I have a 15 month old GD and cannot imagine doing this. Santa comes to the child's home, she doesn't live with your MIL. Your OH would need to be on board though to say anything as it is his mum.

I would not do Xmas day every year with her. You have parents too. My DD and son in law alternate and do one year with us and one with my son in laws parents. Why can't you do the same and one year do Xmas day and the next Boxing Day? Then she would not be able to do her stocking thing and you can just tell your DC nanny puts their gifts in a stocking and it is from nanny not santa if they ask. It is a dangerous precedent to set that you go to same grandparents every year. At some point you may also want it at home and invite parents over again alternately.

DinosaursRoar Mon 26-Dec-16 08:19:11

I would nip this in the bud for next year - say you are doing Christmas Day with your parents (do they always come second to her magic?) and so won't come over Christmas Eve as you don't want to do the stockings at MILs as dc won't be there Christmas morning. Oh and when it comes to it "DD has already done her santa letter, thank you Granny, no point writing it again."

Just say no, she can only have the power to control your Christmas if you go along with it, just don't.

TwoLeftSocks Mon 26-Dec-16 09:26:19

I was also going to suggest you alternate where you spend Christmas Eve / Day. And maybe swing it round and say now you've got kids and are doing their stockings, maybe you can do one for your MIL and other GPs too.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Mon 26-Dec-16 10:07:33

Mine will say FC left presents at hers and I shall say loud and clear NO, he only comes to our house -but then there are no other small dc who will get affected by this.

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