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to be in tears over Christmas?

(82 Posts)
FreckledLeopard Thu 12-Sep-13 22:53:24

Backstory: moved from London to Bristol just over a year ago. Just DD and I. No family down here. My father died when I was a teenager and I have no siblings. My mother has vascular dementia but still spends Christmas with us, though it's getting harder year on year.

Most Christmases were spent with my lovely cousin and her family in London. We went there last year and had a great time.

I've wanted to host Christmas and now I have a bit of room to do so. I also didn't want to have to impose on my cousin - they may be doing their own thing or want some peace this year, so instead I invited my uncle, his daughter and her husband and their DD. I am close to my uncle and his DD (a bit older than me) has been on holiday with us in the past and vice versa.

I spoke to my uncle earlier this evening to ask if he'd heard anything from his DD about whether they'd come for Christmas. He's fairly straight talking and told me my plans were "never going to happen" as his DD's husband "doesn't like you".

I was pretty taken aback. I don't know him very well but have spent time with him over the years and always thought he was a nice, interesting guy. I have no idea what I've done to make him dislike me.

I've been in tears on and off all evening. I'm dreading Christmas and have images of it being just me, DD and my mother. I hate not having a large family, hate that my mother is going downhill, can't bear to think of DD being sad and lonely at Christmas with no-one her age around.

I'm gutted that I'm disliked by someone I liked and respected. I sent my cousin a text saying how upset I was that her husband disliked me so much and apologising if I'd offended them in any way. Have heard nothing back but she phoned my uncle and gave him an ear-bashing for telling me.

I'm so desparate. I'm too scared to phone my lovely cousin in London in case they already have plans or only want immediate family. I don't want to be a burden on them. If I can't celebrate Christmas with them then that's pretty much the final straw. I can't go away with DD as my mother has no-one.

I'm crying again and so, so low. Fucking families. sad

BeaLola Mon 16-Sep-13 09:37:20

I think Christmas with just you and your DD could be fab.
Some great suggestions OP from other posters and also some info re Bristol activities -what would your DD Love to do ?

I woud book a couple of things for the weekends leading up to Christmas.... Ice Skating, christmas market, christmas film maybe.

Before DS I took neighbours children out on Christmas Eve for lunch & film for a few years and it was lovely.
Re Drinks for neighbours - go for it - i secnd the poster who said to do it in the week between christmas and new year when less on.

Why not sit down one evening with your DD and draw up a list Each of what you would like to do including christmas lunch . I did this with my DH & DS fr the holidays and it was great fUn - we has things like zoo frm my DS whIlst my DH had fish &chips on the beach one evening for dinner etc etc & it was great fun fitting it all in.

You can do exactly what you would both like when you like :-))

fortyplus Mon 16-Sep-13 07:43:49

invariably blush

fortyplus Mon 16-Sep-13 07:43:19

Before I had children of my own, my Christmas Day was invariable spent with my parents and other older relatives, including my Great Uncle who insisted on bringing his electric organ which he played (badly) throughout the day with my grandmother caterwauling out of tune in the background.

As teenagers we hated it, and my dad used to say that Christmas isn't about one day, it's the whole season that matters.

25th Dec may not happen exactly as you'd hoped but no doubt you and your dd will enjoy many other happy times over the festive season.

Guitargirl Sat 14-Sep-13 08:45:36

Wow - 'straight-talking' is one thing but your uncle was being just plain mean!

If you haven't already spoken with your cousin then why not ask by email/text if you think it's going to upset you? Don't put yourself through that conversation, you're obviously feeling emotional about it at the moment and I don't blame you. At least if your cousin is not able to come then knowing this far in advance gives you time to make lots of plans for your DD/you.

silverten Sat 14-Sep-13 08:38:25

Would it console you a bit to point out that there are probably quite a lot more people who don't much like your uncle than don't like you? (Most of the folk on this thread, far a start!)

Because from what you've said, he makes no effort to consider anyone else's feelings, whilst you genuinely care about what other people think and want them to be happy.

daisychain01 Sat 14-Sep-13 08:07:55

Ps families can be a complete stressy pain at Christmas, esp. When all thrown together and made to feel that "you WILL feel happy!" whether they like it or not.

So maybe having the freedom to get out and doing a few things with DD will be a great alternative.

daisychain01 Sat 14-Sep-13 08:04:29

Freckled, how about Westonbirt Arboretum, they do wonderful Christmas events all through Dec. Your DD12 would think it was magical!


teacherandguideleader Sat 14-Sep-13 05:26:47

No advice to add but just wanted to say that Christmas was always just me and mum and I loved them, I never felt I was missing out. Start your own traditions - mum always used to buy me a new board game and a new lim - we'd spend the afternoon playing the game and he evening watching the film. Also, I'd have funky new Christmas PJs to climb into after a morning bubble bath. It was fabulous.

raisah Sat 14-Sep-13 04:41:30

raisah Sat 14-Sep-13 04:41:04

I am sorry that your uncle made you feel upset and it was stupid of your cousin not to respond to your text. But on the plus side, you can choose to spend Christmas exactly how you want & not spend time with rude people. If you still want to see your lovely cousin over Christmas, then call her & invite her to see the sights of Bristol. If she can't come but does invite you then as another poster said make a mini break out of it.

. Hotels are expensive so consider staying at univerity of London student halls which are centrally located but much cheaper. If you start to plan ahead, where ever you decide to spend Xmas, you can get good deals to see shows etc and save a bit of money.

As you used to live in London, can you meet up with old friends & family? You are in a good position to make your own traditions and meet & forge relations with new people. Don't let awful comments pull you down.

ratbagcatbag Sat 14-Sep-13 04:24:06

A popular tradition on Xmas thread is cinema on Christmas Eve, not very full and quite relaxing after hustle and bustle of Christmas.
Love the idea of neighbours round, some of our best Christmases were after dss had gone back to mums, the couple next door would come round ad we'd play board games.
Now dss stays Xmas day night we turn lights off, put tree lights on, watch whatever film we've had bought or bought dss snuggled in pjs and scoffing chocs. Bliss.

homeagain Sat 14-Sep-13 04:09:05

So nice of you to remember your uncle's good points. I'd be seething. Can't stand it when people congratulate themselves on being straight/ aka hurtful. And such people often get it completely wrong. Maybe your cousin is really embarrassed about it all, and doesn't know how to reply. When I was 12 I adored really quiet Christmases with lots of fun baking, walks, Christmas markets etc. hope you feel better. It was a rotten thing to say, and I bet it has been really exaggerated xx

MyBaby1day Sat 14-Sep-13 03:53:01


MyBaby1day Sat 14-Sep-13 03:52:42

Oh so sorry to hear that OP. How sad this guy said that, maybe he has issue and it's not personal. Families can be a pain yes!. I'm an only child too and am with my Mum, I have a surrogate Brother type lad in my life now (only got him recently) but he'll be abroad for Christmas and I was a bit mad last year as someone I know spread it how we'de be on our own and I'de be sat with my PUPPET!! grin, I laugh but it's actually quite sad how some people are left. But we'll be on our own for it, you'de be welcome to share it with us (as long as you don't mind the puppet)! grin.

Itstartshere Fri 13-Sep-13 18:39:14

Freckled I really feel for you, I know what you mean. I'm going to be alone this Christmas - had such a disastrous family Christmas last year I've vowed not to put myself through that again. It's ok for me as I'm single so I can do it a bit differently to how you will have to do it with your DD and your mum, but just wanted to say I hope it goes ok. I do firmly believe you can make it special just by putting your thinking hat on. The crazy thing is there are so many lonely people out there at Christmas who would love to meet up with you I'm sure and have fun, even if you're not family. Just not sure how you meet them in the first place.

Have you looked into your local CitySocialising for making some friends. They might have an event up over Christmas for people not in relationships as just one thing to do.

LittleBallOfFur Fri 13-Sep-13 18:17:42

Ooh and winter walks at westonbirt arboretum, candlelight walks at Berkeley castle...

LittleBallOfFur Fri 13-Sep-13 18:14:48

There are loads of places in Bristol for lovely lunches (river cottage canteen for one - or a bit further out of the city there's the ethicurean walled garden which hosts some events I believe). Plus panto/theatre, iceskating, there's loads to enjoy smile

Graceparkhill Fri 13-Sep-13 17:54:51

Are there any activities planned at the sheltered housing complex? Could you and DD go there for part of the day?

FreckledLeopard Fri 13-Sep-13 13:16:20

My mother is in sheltered accommodation. There is no way I could leave her alone for Christmasm She is forgetful and gets confused sometimes but is ok to come to mine or another of our relatives.

It's definitely not the case that my uncle, his DD and her family want a quiet Christmas. They will in all likelihood stay with another of my relatives (my mum's other brother) who won't speak to my mother or I (a whole other story which I won't bore you with)

I will speak to lovely cousin later today and try not to cry down the phone. Am so stupidly tearful at the moment when it comes to family (or lack of).

sherbetpips Fri 13-Sep-13 12:37:10

I would make a big plan of it. Is there a pub near you that does Christmas Carvery?
Night before off to midnight mass with your daughter (lots of people and that big christmas feeling).
Christmas morning having a lovely late breakfast together (whatever her favourite thing is and yours) and opening presents. Make sure one of her presents is a lovely dress or outfit. If you're neighbours are okay you could invite them round for bucks fizz and a mince pie but not worth it if you don't know them.
Then both of you get ready in your posh outfits all dressed up and off out to the pub (again lots of people, noise and christmas feeling).
Back home for snuggles and favourite xmas movies. If your mum cant cope with going out then still do all the dress up but maybe out for a nice walk to break up the day. Hope it all turns out okay x

SunshineMMum Fri 13-Sep-13 12:32:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StanleyLambchop Fri 13-Sep-13 12:21:52

Is your Mum living with you, or is she in a care home? Would she be coming to yours for Christmas? My DM has dementia so I understand it is hard to cater for Christmas when you have a family member with this problem. Is that what is tying you to have to entertain at home, or could you go to your family in London? YANBU to be hurt, but I think that you have to make the best Christmas you can with the people you know will be there. Bristol has many hotels/restaurants I am sure you will find something to your taste if that is what you want to do.

ilovechips Fri 13-Sep-13 11:32:22

Your uncle was awful to say that. Your cousin is equally mean to not respond to you!

Just wanted to say, you said you wished you had siblings - please don't think that everyone with siblings somehow enjoys a huge extended family Christmas! I get on very well with my brother, but have spent Christmas with him twice since he left home to get married (30 years ago) - just because we have our own families now really! And my sister and I don't get on that well now so Christmas with her would just be stressful.

I guess what I'm saying is don't think that you are alone in not having big Christmases. I hope you can arrange something that you all enjoy!

Kewcumber Fri 13-Sep-13 11:18:37

It's no good posters saying to OP "why do you want a big Christmas, I hate big Christmases", what you like isn't relevant! She would like a big family Christmas and isn't going to get one (it seems at the moment) on top of the hurt that someone she previously thought she got on OK with seems to actually dislike her.

September is quite early to be planning Christmas unless you are bringing relatives from far and near so just let things calm down a bit and give yourself a chance to think about what Xmas you and DD might prefer.

If it would be to visit relatives then go to your cousin in London and explain very calmly that you had intended to invite everyone to yours for Christmas but that won;t be happening now and that maybe you could meet up with them at some point that day instead. Consider splashing out on a Hotel in London from Christmas Eve and Christmas night (if you can leave your mum - she may well be perfectly happy with visits Xmas Eve morning and boxing day afternoon if her dementia is bad). Then have lunch or tea with your cousin on Christmas day and you won;t feel you're imposing on her. If you can afford it CHristmas in central london with a teenage DD could be very exciting for a change.

Or start making links now with local friends/acquaintances, they don;t need to be a big deal - meeting two or three different groups over a couple of days, lunch at home watching a film and a nice tea out on boxing day might be very nice.

I have had a couple of disasterous Christmases - once stuck in Kazakhstan (where they don't celebrate) with baby DS and my mum due to visa cock ups. Wasn't how I imagined DS's first Christmas. Now my definition of a good Christmas is one which nothing remarkable happens!

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 13-Sep-13 10:58:37

OP think of it not as a quiet Christmas but as a laid back Christmas, an exclusive Christmas, an intimate Christmas, a cosy Christmas, a family Christmas because that is what you are a family. you and DD and your dm plan a Christmas that is selfish in a good way.

Actually i am starting to feel quite jealous grin

If there are things you don't like but always have because it is Christmas you don't have to. want to eat dinner in your pj s fine. want to have nothing but ice cream a chocolate fountain and ten crackers each, well why not.

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