How to approach- Christmas day invite (long)(33 Posts)
We usually have Christmas day at our house which includes:
1. Our family of 6.
2. 4 older relatives
3. Sibling, partner plus their 2 children.
We have a house that (at a very tight squuze) can sit everyone. I am happy to host older relatives as don't want them at home alone (plus they have spent years hosting in the past when I was younger).
Sibling and partner have declared their house not big enough to host (fair point) and so simply don't offer. BUT I don't really want to spend every Christmas hosting for so many.
Part of the issue is that while older relatives help out with dishes, watching our 4 DC while we cook (one even buys the turkey), sibling&partner rock up (often much later/ earlier than time we said) empty handed, ignore their unruly children, get drunk and normally argue, offer no sort of help, overstay their welcome...
What can I say? I don't want huge arguments but I don't want to be worrying about this on December 1st either so want to think of a way to address this before then.
Last year I tried to suggest they might want to have lder relatives at their place instead but refused to make plans ('too early to think about Christmas') until start of December when they declared they'd 'rather just all be together', which meant coming to us again.
Any ideas? Our 4 DC are young and I don't want to miss evert Christmas morning because DH and I are stuck in kitchen catering for so many, especially when they show zero gratitude and make the day significantly more stressful.
Are you saying that you want to invite the older relatives but not your siblings and DC?
This is your sibling - honestly, don't over think it! Just say 'you've been lazy and rude for the last x Christmas days, either pull your fingers out and muck in or stay at home'
Why the pussy footing around?
You could have an assertive discussion with your sibling about their and their family's behaviour in past years.
If everyone is local you could invite everyone on christmas eve or boxing day instead and do something different on christmas day.
Big girl pants on this one
Can completely see your point. Hosting is hard and it does mean a day in the kitchen.
Like you I am happy to hsitvolder relies if they are fairly easy company but siblings and kids is extra hassle and if they are takers it's a no no
Be brand and be honest
Say right now you have been thinking about it and would like to scale back your catering so this year you would like to try and make it a bit easier for yourself and would prefer to catch up with them on Boxing Day and have a walk and pub lunch
That's perfectly reasonable and if they choose to take offence that's up to them. No big row required unless they make one
Say it and then repeat it if the subject comes up again
If they say 'but you are having the older relies' point out you have no choice unless they offer to have them!
I think you are quite right to sort this now - it takes the emotion out of it (mostly!) when it feels like such a long time away.
I completely understand wanting to have the older relatives, but if I were you I'd be looking to break the cycle of expectation. Therefore I'd announce now that you are having a quiet Christmas with just the 6 of you - or, even better, go away. The money saved on hosting so many would help you maybe get a few days away.
I would state that it is too much work for you and you will only be hosting Christmas for the older relatives. Put this is an email and refer to it during the year when needed. Make sure your DH is fully on board so you both repeat the same message.
When they kick off tell them either they host at their house or make their own arrangements. Don't give into guilt, they have their own house, they are adults, you have done your bit for many years and they are spoiling your down time.
Agree with other posts. The least your sibling could have done is to contribute so he/she has blown it imo. Invite the 4 others if it works well.
It looks as if it's not the older relatives that are the problem, it's your sibling and their family.
It's not too early to start setting plans in place for next Christmas if you're resentful over their behaviour at the last one.
Tell your sibling that you're not prepared to slave over the turkey and trimmings while they do nothing, apart from get pissed, argue and let their kids run riot.
You're happy to host, provided they contribute in some way and help out on the day, go easy on the drink, keep their dc under control and let you enjoy the day too, your name isn't Cinderella.
Ahhhh, I feel you are all right but it is tough.
I couldn't say we were going away/just 6 of us as one of older relatives is on DH's side and literally has no other family. I couldn't enjoy christmas at all thinking of him alone.
Part of issue is that my mum (one of old relatives) really wants us all to be together. She said she doesn't really want to go to my brother's (not that he offers anyway) because atmosphere is pretty awful (I think she feels it is somewhat diluted when there are more people around but means we all suffer.
I think Boxing day idea is amazing. It would then be pretty easy to tell them the expectation is that everyone brings a contribution.
I second meeting up with siblings on Boxing Day. They can make their own arrangements for Christmas Day.
I agree with the Boxing Day catch up for your sibling.
If your mum gets upset, can you suggest that she goes to your sibling either for breakfast or for the evening meal? Remind her it's your Christmas too and you should get to spend as much time as possible withypur own family enjoying it. She can still see them but you shouldn't have to if they refuse to have it at their place
You could also say you want the morning on your own with the DCs, seeing them open their presents then everyone comes at say 3. Meal at 5/6.
I don't think oldies, except your DM, would mind much. I am getting older and quite like a quieter Xmas. There is so much going on on the day you don't really get the chance to chat or catch up with the visiting family anyway imv.
If I were you I'd find a pub or restaurant that was open on Christmas Day and everyone can meet there for a catered meal and be stress free. You and your sibling can go halves on paying for older relatives if they can't pay themselves.
"Just letting you know early, dear brother, we need to change the way we do Christmas. Children older, taking more space, spending all day in the kitchen not suiting us... so early warning, you will need to do your own thing "
"Kids are older now, we're thinking of moving Xmas dinner to the evening so that we get the mornkng with the kids. You are welcome at 4pm, and this year can you bring the pudding and cheese?"
Invite the older relies for whenever you like.
Definitely plan what work theyre going to do. So say l would do main course ye bring starter and dessert. And maybe make a plan around wash up. Say l think dm is too old now for washing up so how about l set up and ye do clearing . They need to be told straight out as obvously clueless.
Yeah be assertive. Tell them what you want and don't feel obligated. The second you do will be a weight off your shoulders.
I think the trouble with saying bring cheese and a pudding etc., (who turns up to a.full Christmas dinner empty handed anyway) is that they can turn up with a single lump of cheddar and supermarket basics triffle and feel even more justified at arriving late/early, doing nothing and letting the children run riot.
Tell them now, you are dialing back Christmas due to expense, work and stress of it all etc. Suggest it's their time to host, when they say their place is too small. Say we'll have the old ones (as it's too much to ask them to change) and we will all go for a pub lunch on boxing day so we can have some time over Christmas together.
I agree you will need to tell them a few times and don't let them fob you off with 'its too early' you can laugh that off with 'that's because you haven't had to host X amount of people'. If they get huffy you may need to pull out the bug guns and say We spend X amount of time cooking, shopping and cash and I need a break this year.
Good luck OP. Keep us posted
If it is a very tight squeeze to fit everyone in anyway - you could talk about how all 6 children involved are getting bigger, and it would be nice for you to enjoy some time with your own DCs on Christmas Day before they grow too big, and how they all need more space to play etc.
Offer to have another gathering when it is just DSis and her family, right around Christmas just not Christmas Day itself.
But let her know that it is not working for you and that you need to make changes. You want to be fair to everyone - perhaps the older relatives are also needing more space and some more calm in the day than having all 6 DCs charging around? (Not saying that your 4 do - but it may be easier to present it as a whole group thing).
And yes, talking early is important because you know just how much work goes into hosting Christmas. There is a heck of a lot of work involved, especially when not everyone brings something to help or does something to help. So you need to plan well ahead of time. You've thought about this long an hard, and over a few years it has become obvious that it is no longer working as an event.
You are not asking her to host you, and not demanding that she host older relatives (although that might be nice too). But you are setting limits on what you are capable of and willing to do. Physical limits of your house as families grow up, and your own time, energy and money limits as well.
But do lay out a plan for a family event together - your family and DSis family - as part of the season. Whether that is in your house, her house or elsewhere (could you all go to the Panto together perhaps? Or another family orientated event locally?).
And you know that because she is your DSis, that she will understand you are looking out for everyone's best interests.
OP - what logistics are involved in this? How far apart do people live?
If everyone is fairly local I agree with the suggestion of either doing something on Xmas Eve/Boxing day instead or - if you really feel you want to do something with everyone on Xmas Day (and I can understand that as I too have completely lone relatives I would hate to see on their own on Xmas Day) then say you're having the day on your own and everyone is welcome in the evening for a buffet.
It's a really good idea to get this out there now before you end up agreeing again out of expectation.
I had a follow on having seen your DM wanted your DB and yourself all together - and that it was DB not DSis. But it wouldn't send off my laptop - I will try and recover it later but in case it seems a weird follow up depending on other advices received today....
Checks diary - "MAY!"
Is secretly jealous of anyone who has a life where they are evening thinking about Christmas seven months in advance. Anyway, back to my busy life with lots of things happening in the next few weeks that I need to worry about before something in December
Hello DB - I know it's only May but been discussing Christmas with DH and we've decided this year we need to change things up a bit, so wanted to suggest the family get-together on Boxing Day this year, maybe a buffet or pub lunch? It's hard work hosting so I want to spend Christmas Day mostly with the kids this year and nut do the whole huge bird roast!"
But not so busy that you can't stop and make a pissy comment, eh Pardon?
If you can't face not doing it on Christmas Day, the evening buffet suggestion sounds good. Stuff made ahead, stuff that all gets chucked in the oven at 180 for 20 minutes, stuff brought by others.
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