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Warning: a Christmas related AIBU, three months until Christmas Day but it's already peeing me off

(43 Posts)
StripedVest Tue 27-Sep-11 19:16:37

DH and I used to go out for Christmas Day to the PILs and my parents, we'd go to one for lunch and the other for dinner/drinks and then swap the following year. When DC1 arrived we decided that year we were staying at home as being out from around 10am to gone 10pm was too long of a day. My parents weren't bothered by this (in a nice way, not a don't care way IYSWIM?) and they still had some of my siblings at home anyway. PILs didn't have any children left at home (DH is an only child) and I felt sorry for them when they commented that they weren't even putting up a tree or having a turkey dinner because there was no point when it's just the two of them so I invited them to ours for Christmas lunch.

Over the last few years this has been repeated, PILs come to ours for lunch and then we visit my parents afterwards and we're home by 5pm at the latest. I'm getting to the point where I want to stop it. It's not that PILs are bad people it's just too much and I end up in a right ratty grot by the time lunch is served that I don't enjoy it.

Every year we say to come round at 12ish, we like to open presents in our PJs and laze around eating breakfast and the DCs are still very young so usually have a nap around 10/11ish. Every year they show up at a random time, last year it was 10 o'clock, the DCs had just gone down for their naps and DH and I were taking a chance to thank each other for our gifts blush, FIL leaning on the doorbell was a bit of passionkiller TBH and woke the DCs who tantrumed and whined for the next few hours. We don't smack them but PILs kept threatening smacked bottoms if it didn't stop. I was bobbing in and out of the kitchen switching things on/off and checking the turkey, every time I did I had one or both PILs under my feet. I know they were trying to help but this was after I politely but firmly said I didn't need help, I know what needs doing and when while I'm cooking and having someone doing their own thing with it just stresses me. I had then tasting things with their fingers and adjusting the seasoning, re-whisking my Yorkshire batter, turning the oven and the rings up/down, and then FIL decided to help me plate up by simply chucking food on top of other food on the plates - I know presentation isn't everything but everything piled on top of everything else in the middle of the plate drowning in gravy isn't appetising. Meanwhile MIL starts doing the dishes, standing directly in my way, and insisting we don't start dinner until she's finished. I bought a nice bottle of wine and was BFing so only planned one glass, I didn't get any as they drank the whole thing like it was pop. FIL then made cracks about breasts when I fed youngest DC after lunch about how they like a good tete au tit after dinner and if he'd known that was on the menu he'd have saved room and that DH must be in a grump that the baby got there first and haha bloody ha. We played Wii because it's something everyone can join in and FIL kept shouting at the DCs when it was their turn "left LEFT!!!! Where you going?! Go left! Oh for God's sake!", etc.

On the positive side of it though the DCs do love to see them, they're keen photographers and they take loads of pictures during the day and then give us a disc of them and a few of the best ones framed, they always bring either the starter or the dessert for the meal, and they play with the DCs and their new toys, plus DH likes having them and likes that they're not alone on Christmas Day and they enjoy themselves too. It just seems to be me who ends up fucked off and stressed annoyed and twitchy. I'm fine with them the rest of the year, they just seem to save their annoying behaviour for Christmas.

I never intended inviting them for Christmas lunch to be an annual thing, it was just supposed to be the one year but it was then presumed they'd be coming the following year and now it's years later and all I want is one year just us and the DCs with no visitors and no going out. They can come next year and every year after, I can take it if I can just have this year for us.

DH isn't at all receptive to the idea and says they'll be gutted, that they love coming here for Christmas and we've set a precedent having them all these years we can't just refuse this year so now I feel like a selfish cow for even mooting the idea. I even tried a compromise, they can come this year and we'll have next year as our year to oirselves, thus giving them over a year to make alternative arrangements. AIBU to put my foot down and insist on a just us Christmas just this once?

Also, before it's suggested, going to theirs as a change and letting them take the burden of cooking dinner, etc isn't an option. They have cats and DC1 is allergic, there's no dining table and only four seats in the front room, and it's too cluttered for the DCs to be able to play safely.

Sorry for the novel but I feel better for unloading it all!

BeyondLimitsOfTheLivingDead Tue 27-Sep-11 19:20:20

YANBU. Its your christmas as well, and you have your own family.
I think your DH needs a kick up the bum!

StrandedBear Tue 27-Sep-11 19:24:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Groovee Tue 27-Sep-11 19:26:48

We've had a few christmases where grandparents visit in the morning and we're on our own from then on. It works great. But MIL would never come to ours until we had dd.

mumtoaprincess Tue 27-Sep-11 19:27:24

Cook your turkey on Christmas Eve and have your meal then for yourselves. Then invite the PIL around for a cold turkey buffet late Christmas Day. It's already prepared so no interference and you are halfway there into breaking a tradition.

aldiwhore Tue 27-Sep-11 19:28:42

You need to lay down some ground rules BEFORE it becomes a habit... now its a habit, you need to tell them VERY EARLY that you have a change of plans this year, which will give them time to do something else.

We spend every Christmas with my FIL, but I forgive him that 'intrusion' as he has Alzheimers and is virtually ignored at our BIL's home... he's no bother.

My Mum and Dad are very fidgety if they are not controlling organising everything, and my mum constantly compares my dinner to her dinner (mine's better hahah!!) or not settling and savouring the moment by saying 'what's next', 'what's next' every five minutes.... sooooo, we go to theirs at New Year, Christmas is OURS. We have two Christmases.... some things bug the hell out of me, like the two visits from Father Christmas, and the random changes in our Christmas story.. but it works well.

We will never ever run about on Christmas Day. Christmas Day, with kids, is for staying in the house (wherever that maybe, it doesn't have to be OUR house) and enjoying the feast and festivities... maybe a walk at noon or early evening (we never eat Christmas 'lunch' until 3-4pm... there's enough food in Xmas dinner to last a day!) and we will not compromise.

My childhood memories of Christmas Day was not travelling distances, it was one of home.

JambalayaCodfishPie Tue 27-Sep-11 19:28:53

Could you make something up so that they cant be there until dinner is about to be served? Say you're visiting other family member or something, and will be back for x time?

It seems that there are a lot of positives in this situation, that you might not want to lose.

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 27-Sep-11 19:29:23

Too long for me, sorry, but hope you get the Christmas you want.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 27-Sep-11 19:31:36

I think you are entitled to have what you want sometimes.

Your dh is being selfish and also unfair to your parents. When is it their turn to spend Christmas with you and the dc. Time to get tough and say to the in laws that you are having a different Christmas this year. And they are not alone - they have each other!

DontGoCurly Tue 27-Sep-11 19:33:58

Yanbu. Go to the Canaries and eat burgers on the beach!

I'd have throttled them stone dead by now.

CMOTdibbler Tue 27-Sep-11 19:55:17

I'd invite them round for tea - tell them you will be out for a walk, and not ready to welcome them until 4.30, then they get time with dcs etc, but you get a peaceful day

iklboo Tue 27-Sep-11 20:10:27

Chez iklboo locks down on Xmas day - and DH loves it that way. We go to his dad's on 23rd (or they come to us). My folks come for a bit of a buffet Xmas Eve and we go to MIL's on Boxing Day. Bliss & harmony all round. We phone everyone Xmas day to thank for present etc.

weeklyshop Tue 27-Sep-11 20:20:26

We always have our main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. We invite guests for this and then spend Christmas Day on our own with our children opening presents etc.

rovercat Tue 27-Sep-11 20:55:22

Put your foot down firmly now! I offered to 'do' Christmas Day for my parents and my DM's sister the first Christmas we had our own house and 30 years later I'm still bloody doing it. I'm an only one so can understand how both you and your DH feel but I really, really wish I had taken a stand years ago as now my Dad is now longer here nor my DM's sister then I now get my DM from Christmas eve till at least Boxing Day and longer if she can get away with it. Drives me insane so ignore the sulking and establish the sort of Christmas you would like and don't end up as I have!

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 28-Sep-11 12:01:56

I think inviting them later on Christmas Day is a good compromise. Put food out in advance so you're not preparing and being interfered with. And agree with CMOTdibbler; tell them firmly that you have other plans for the early part of the day but will be ready to welcome them in when YOU want to. Disconnect the doorbell if necessary. smile

potoftea Wed 28-Sep-11 12:23:39

I think you have to sort this now, before one of them dies. (Sorry if that sounds harsh)

But seriously then you will never, ever, be able to say no to the one left behind. As another poster pointed out, they aren't alone, they are very lucky to have each other.

If you really can't refuse them the whole day, I think you should wean them off your family a bit this year.
I'd try saying dinner is at 4pm this year, and that you are going to your parents for a few hours first. So call about 3.30pm please!

kelly2000 Wed 28-Sep-11 12:24:13

So they threaten to hit your children, and your fil make smutty comments about your breasts, and no-one says anything to them. I can think of nothing worse than sitting at dinner with my FIL implying to everyone he would like to suck my breasts, and he bets my husband does. If FIL makes smutty remarks, quite clearly ask him what he means when he says he would have saved room if he knew breastmilk was on the menu - make him squirm.

You DH is being selfish by insisting chirstmas time is about his parents and no-one else. So put your foot down, and make plans that do not revolve around them for a change. Have you pointe dout to your husband that they behaviour upsets you, especially his father's comments about your breasts?It sounds like you just let them walk all over you and you never say anything (what do you say when they threaten to smack the children, and yell at them)-by the way why are you cooking and not DH?

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 28-Sep-11 12:40:39

Oh yes, forgot to comment on FIL's frankly filthy comments and the way they try to discipline your children. I know confrontation is hard, but you really must pull them up on these points, and without it descending into arguments. I agree with kelly2000 that you need to put FIL on the spot about his breastfeeding comments. And say quietly but firmly to them that you discipline your children, not them, and it will confuse the children to get mixed messages, so please would they refrain from commenting.

And yes, your DH must have noticed that the day stresses you out but doesn't seem to care much. I'd almost be tempted to invite them as usual and then bugger off to the pub and leave him to cook, fend off the PILs and keep an eye on the children. He might well see your point of view a bit better.

BeyondLimitsOfTheLivingDead Wed 28-Sep-11 13:15:57

would have got some BM out of the freezer and served it up in a cup for him like A Big Boy

stripeywoollenhat Wed 28-Sep-11 13:27:53

see, this is why i fucking hate christmas. yanbu at all, but i bet you'll still wind up having them, including your disgusting creep of a FIL (sorry to be blunt, but the bf comments are just shocking).

(context for my general negativity on the subject: dp's mum comes every christmas for at least four days. she's an elderly widow living in another country, dp's an only, it's not really negotiable, but it's really not fun, either).

acatcalledfelix Wed 28-Sep-11 13:31:50

I feel your pain a teeny tiny bit in that I don't think I'll ever have the Christmas I want. This year we'll have DS and a two month old, and I love love love the idea of spending xmas day just me, DH and the children. But, DH is such a family-focused chap that he wouldn't dream of not seeing his mum and brothers on xmas day. No room here, so that means we will always have to go over there, and because of the distance, means we'll probably always have to stay there too. My mum was quite a distance until recently so we got away with (sorry, sounds terrible!) seeing her the week before so no pressure over the xmas hols, but now she is close too, and I'm an only child. So, I can;t see how I could not spend xmas day with her either. I like my family, both sides of it, but just ONE YEAR I would like it to be just us.
Will never happen!
OP not sure what to suggest, it's a horrible minefield. But as others have said, they have each other, they are NOT alone. My DM has spent a few xmas days alone (though often went to her sisters) and she said it didn't bother her at all, she could just watch TV and sleep! (Like I said, doable for us when she was 6 hours away, not really justifiable now she's 30 mins away grin)

LydiaWickham Wed 28-Sep-11 13:37:15

Can you go to your parents for lunch this year? That way it's broken the tradition, but not in a "we just don't want to see you" sort of way, you can sell it to your PILs that your parents were getting upset that they never see you and you thought it was about time they had a turn... offer to come over to PILs on boxing day, or have them at yours. (boxing day lunch being a buffet you can just order everything ready done and focus on playing with the DCs, don't be tempted to do a second round of Christmas dinner).

If your DH thinks that's unfair, ask him why he thinks your parents are less important to the DCs than his.

diddl Wed 28-Sep-11 13:39:34

OP-it all sounds awful.

And your FIL-bloody hell!

And the fact that they can´t be bothered to put up a tree or cook a Christmas dinner-guilt trip much?

Did they have ILs at theirs every year?

Honeydragon Wed 28-Sep-11 13:40:01

We shut down here too. Anyone can visit from 11am - 2.00pm, either dh or I will be cooking and Mulled wine will be available. But once ds was old enough to appreciate Xmas we stopped.

MiL god bless her still tries to get us to go to them and chuck our turkey in the bin till the last minute, but each year we point out that for Dh Xmas day is the only real day he gets with the dc's without the phone ringing, or people needing him, and thankfully they agree.

kelly2000 Wed 28-Sep-11 13:49:26

Cannot you not just say to your DH that the Christmas he wants and gets every year is not the one you want. Ask him why you are not allowed to have Christmas the way you want, yet he gets what he wants every single year. He is not that family focused if he is happy for you to have a miserable Christmas each and every year.

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