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to insist we spend every Christmas and new year with my family?

(137 Posts)
froken Fri 27-Sep-13 17:53:19

I moved to Sweden to live with my dp 3 years ago.we now have a baby ds. We have spent every Christmas in the UK ( apart from last year as ds was less than a week old)

We are thinking about booking flights back to the UK in the next couple of days ( hence early Christmas aibu) dp suggested we go to the UK this year and stay in Sweden next year.

I have always Saud that I want to go to the UK every Christmas as we are in Sweden for all the other celebrations ( birthdays, Easter, midsummer etc) dp has now decided it isn't fair and we shouldalternate.

I feel like culturally ds will grow up feeling Swedish with a dash of britishness so it is important that he is in the UK for a big celebration each year. It also fits in well with time off work, dp only needs to take a couple of days of holiday but ends up with 2 weeks of holiday so it makes it a worthwhile trip.

Lastly they eat pickled fish and potatoes with fish and smoked fish and vodka and it just doesn't feel like Christmas.

Aibu to expect us to spend every Christmas with my family? I have offered dp the option of moving to the UK and spending every Christmas in Sweden, he wasn't keen on that idea.

justanuthermanicmumsday Mon 30-Sep-13 19:42:06

I know how you feel but I only commute between Scotland and midlands. lol it's a long drive!

I celebrate Eid but we have 2 eids so usually the second Eid we drive down to England. The first one we're so tired after fasting a month we just spend it alone with our children.

So I understand how you feel a bit but you are being a bit unreasonable.its the biggest celebration in the year for your partner too think how he feels all those Xmases (wrong spelling) spent in The uk away from his family

Alternate sounds good, and it's an excuse to invite your family over to celebrate abroad?

As for food why not have the fish and roast turkey too best of both cultures?

MistressDeeCee Mon 30-Sep-13 19:28:39

I think sometimes you just have to adapt. Your DH is Swedish and you live in Sweden. You would have had input in choice as to where to live. Whilst its very nice for you to spend every christmas with your parents, you have your own little family unit now that comes 1st - you, your DH, & DC. Youre not living with mummy & daddy anymore. Life moves on. I cant see why visiting your parents at christmas takes priority over being with DH's parents at christmas, to be honest. Its a very special once a year occasion; that being the case divide that special occasion between both families. Let your DC experience both christmases. Sweden isnt that far away some of your family members can travel to Sweden to be with you, if they want to.

CHJR Mon 30-Sep-13 18:06:58

Sorry, but YABU. Not just about not wanting to give DH any Christmases (and Swedish Christmas is great as many others here have said!) but also YABU about claiming you can't have other holidays with your family. You've already said you spend a good period of the summer at home. Until DC is in school you can spend any holiday in the UK, and even thereafter you can perfectly easily come over for most holidays. You can get flights on Norwegian for £49 if you book in advance! If DH claims it's too expensive THAT'S where you can start laying on the guilt trip.

Beware this nonsense of alternating by rules, BTW. We live in a multinational family but there are lots of times when you have to be flexible. Some years you may wish to have a nice quiet Christmas with just DH and the DC (perhaps more than one, and older, by then). Some years it is just too much of a pain to lug presents back and forth and back and forth. Some years you may all wish to go to, I dunno, Morocco for a completely different holiday. Some years, even though you'd been in one country the previous year, you want be there a second year in a row because THIS year DB or DS will also be there with his/her DC (your DC's cousins), or Granny is getting on and probably won't be around for another. Don't encourage your families to assume you're always going to be with them by rule.

We tend to decide quite early where Christmas will be any given year, based on all sorts of issues, and then make sure to cover the other DP's justifiable need to see their family other times that year. And yes, we do still (after 20+ years of marriage) disagree, quite often, and quite often each favour going to our own family, and sometimes feel sad. So far, so very normal. But I think you are being a bit selfish if you think it can all be UK Christmases.

Finally, YABVVVU in denying that the 11+ is child abuse. After all these countries we've seen, even my British DH agrees the exam system in this country IS unfair, hard on the children, and really really DUMB. You need to recognise sometimes other countries ARE better. grin

BillyBanter Mon 30-Sep-13 17:56:03

Not an attitude we're used to hearing as citizens of Great Britain! This is what it must feel like for many people who come to the UK. sad

I can much better understand your attitude in that case. Twats.

froken Mon 30-Sep-13 17:46:31

I think the split of opinions is interesting. I am glad that some people can see my logic but I will also bare in mind those who think I am being unreasonable.

was speaking with dp about it this afternoon. He actually prefers UK Christmases in terms of food and father Christmas traditions. He feels he should stay in Sweden occasionally because his family would like to see us but his family are very very unreasonable in many ways so I don't think their feelings should be taken into account ( general feeling from dp's family is that immigrants to Sweden should leave behind their own cultures and traditions and try as hard as possible to become Swedish. They have said about ds "at least he looks fully Swedish" sad

So our compromise is to stay in Sweden when the bank holiday days fall on a weekend, so about once every 5 years.

I'm happy with that!

As an aside I will share British culture with ds but he will be so surrounded by Swedish culture I doubt it will be more than a small part of his life.

alisonm2013 Mon 30-Sep-13 16:37:29

YABU. You say if you lived in the UK you'd be happy to do Christmas in Sweden every year, but I don't think I really believe you. You want to have your cake and eat it too, and sadly you're going to have to compromise. As long as you go back to the UK for a good long break once a year that overlaps a British tradition that's important to you, why does it always have to be Christmas? Besides, traveling at that time of year is a soul-crushing experience, especially with a baby or toddler.

Ragwort Mon 30-Sep-13 15:36:05

I think you need to start hosting Christmas yourself, I think it can be a bit odd to think that you need to go home to your 'family' - you have your own family now and need to start your own traditions rather than clinging on to the old ones. This is such an age old problem and I do feel that people need to 'grow up' a bit about Christmas. We have made sure we never get into a rut about Christmas - we do all sorts of different things, visiting different family, hosting family and/or friends, volunteering at a Christmas shelter, going abroad. I am positively looking forward to spending more 'grown up Christmasses' when DS leaves home and I hope I never become the sort of parent that expects my adult child to 'come home' for Christmas. (NB: my parents are in their 80s and are more than happy to do their own thing as well grin).

AnyoneForBeer Mon 30-Sep-13 15:21:18

Gosh, YNBU at all. You, I presume you have sacraficed your home life ecc to live with your DH in Sweden. It seems a small compromise on his part that just once a year it's guaranteed that you go home.
I live in Italy. I hadn't lived at "home" for more than almost 10 years before coming here. But I made sure that a compromise was made in the very early days that Christmas was we go home.
My MIL doesn't like it, and has complained, but tough titty!! We're here this year because I'll be heavely wasn't planned (but very much wanted). From next year we'll be going back to the agreement.

NynaevesSister Mon 30-Sep-13 15:17:03


No one else not every your DH really gets what it means to emigrate to another country. You are giving up a lot for him especially the little things like the constant familiarity if your home country. What you want to give your children is one thing, one part of their lives where they can feel truly British in the same way that they are going to feel truly Swedish. By spending every Xmas in the UK you can achieve this in a very simple and easy way.

Really talk this through with your partner. In years to come your family in the UK is going to age and you won't be able to be there for the older ones in the same way you would have if you were in the UK. Talk through it all now how you are going to handle those changes down the line. Having this one established tradition will help there too.

BetsyBidwell Mon 30-Sep-13 15:11:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ladymariner Mon 30-Sep-13 15:08:55

YABU. And very unfair on your dh and his family. Sorry.

dontsvetmuchforafatgirl Mon 30-Sep-13 13:53:23


I live in Finland in exactly the same situation.
I feel your pain.
I also did every Xmas back home until kids.
Now I alternate painful though it is.

BUT REMEMBER Xmas is 24 Dec up North ( Same in Sweden I thinK)
So do what I do. Every other year do your duties, eat your herring etc on Christmas Eve, and then hot foot it out the country on Xmas or Boxing Day.
You will not believe how cheap flights are on Xmas day.
So many airlines fly now, plenty of non Christians and those who can wait.

Welshwabbit Mon 30-Sep-13 13:30:42

My parents live a long way away whereas my husband's are relatively close by. We see them frequently, and my parents less so. My husband's parents already had a cycle which means they only have Christmas at their house once every three years (other years it is at one of my MIL's siblings' houses) - so generally, we go to them when they have Christmas at home and otherwise we go to my parents. The every third year thing seems to work well for us although our son is only 18 months old so we've only had 1 Christmas with him so far! We always see the other side of the family straight after Christmas anyway. FWIW I don't think you're being unreasonable, but I can see your partner's point of view too. Good luck!

MaxPepsi Mon 30-Sep-13 12:51:53

My parents NDN is Austrian. With her own daughter and stepchildren.

She has lived her for 40+ years but still misses Austria dreadfully, especially after her husband died.

When we were growing up, they didn't have the money to visit her homeland that often. All of her kids and grandchildren have Austrian traditions. The main one being they celebrate on Xmas eve not Xmas day.

Some of their food 'traditions' have even filtered through to the English neighbours! And we absolutely loved going to their house when we were kids as it was mixture of both.

So what I'm trying to say, is integrate your own traditions into everyday life for him and include everyone else so that they become new tradtions.

MistressDeeCee Mon 30-Sep-13 12:30:13

definetely the right idea hellsbellsmelons. OP I do understand you may want to stick to your traditions and you probably have a really nice time with your family in the UK at Christmas. But if it means every christmas & NY your DP doesnt get to spend the festive season with his parents,/ DS doesnt ever spend with his paternal grandparents then yes, YABU. Its too onesided and also, its not just about you and your UK heritage.

hellsbellsmelons Mon 30-Sep-13 11:42:55

2013 - Xmas in the UK - NY in Sweden
2014 - Xmas in Sweden - YT in UK
That's the fair to do it realy.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 30-Sep-13 10:09:50

YABU, if only for this:
'He won't have a school uniform. We sing Swedish kids songs at playgroup. He will be interested in the moomins and pippi longstocking. He calls me mamma not mummy, he will probably be more interested in ice hockey than football.'

Are any of these things bad? hmm I grew up in the UK and loved (still love) the Moomins and Pippi. They are published and enjoyed all over the world. I didn't have a school uniform either. I'd imagine lots of British kids don't. Does it matter what he calls you? What's wrong with Swedish kids' songs? What's wrong with ice hockey?

Just alternate Christmases. Isn't that the obviously fair way?

And can't you read him/give him British books as well as Swedish ones? Can't you sing British songs with him, if you want to? You could make him pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and explain what it means in the UK. You could tell him all about Bonfire Night and toffee apples and fireworks (maybe one year, or some years, you could have a trip to the UK that coincides with one of these holidays).

He could potentially have an extremely, enviably rich dual-heritage upbringing, being part of two different but equally wonderful cultures. I think that's the best thing you could give him.

schilke Mon 30-Sep-13 10:08:39

I might agree with them about the 11+!

I think you need to stay in your own house a few times and create your own traditions - so a mix of Swedish & British. Even British couples have different family traditions which can be difficult to change. For most people Christmas is full of memories and I think it's hard to change. We always stay in our own house and have my parents one year his the next.

The biggest one was that we used to open presents after lunch, taking it in turns to open so everyone saw what you were opening. Dh's family rip everything open at 8am in a mad frenzy shock We decided mad frenzy after lunch, so a bit of both traditions!

Can you not come back to the UK for Easter or for the odd birthday instead of Christmas?

lillajag Mon 30-Sep-13 09:59:24


What if it was the other way around? You living in the UK and have to go to Sweden every Christmas?

I know how you feel, I'm a Swede in London and Christmas here isn't the same! I miss 'proper' food like ham, meatballs and salmon (not a big fan of herring!). But my DP and I have come up with a solution that suits us for the Christmases we have to spend in the UK; we celebrate a Swedish style Christmas on the 24th with Swedish friends and as much Swedish food we can find here (thanks Ocado!) and on the 25th we celebrate an English Christmas smile

If I could choose, I'd only do one Christmas a year, maybe when we have children we'll take the best of both traditions (or actually three as DP isn't British) and celebrate on one day only smile

Tasmania Mon 30-Sep-13 00:29:14


I'm in the UK with British DH. My family is in another country. We do alternate (sometimes, we do spend 2 years here though), which I believe is fair.

Ironically, SIL and her DH (both British) are changing their plans to spend Xmas with his family only. They are even planning to move quite close to his family (they are currently in neutral territory). I don't think the news has sunk into PILs mind yet...

IAmNotAMindReader Sun 29-Sep-13 23:59:06

YABU you do need to alternate Christmas.

FoxyRoxy Sun 29-Sep-13 22:29:16

My parents are not British, my dh and I live in Spain with our dc's. our Christmases are a mixed bag of traditions that we make our own. You don't have to be in the uk to have a "British" Christmas. We do Scandinavian Christmas on the 24th, I make meatballs and other scandi food and the kids are allowed to open a gift, Christmas Day I do turkey and all the trimmings, and on the 6th Jan we celebrate the 3 Kings in Spanish style. Yanbu to want to celebrate Christmas your way but neither is your dh.

Rhythmisadancer Sun 29-Sep-13 22:15:28

Yanbu at all. You live there all year, and your DH should accommodate one Christmas wish a year. Happy bloomin' Christmas

MrsSparkles Sun 29-Sep-13 08:09:46

Hmmm I think YABU. We usually alternate Christmases (DH is from South Africa) - his Christmases don't feel right to me (hot, cold meat and salad), but I've learned to appreciate them for what they are and enjoy them anyway (but like you it's still not Christmas!).

He's stayed in the UK for me, so I think it would be horribly wrong to deprive him totally, but equally I'd be furious if he wanted to go every year, because then I don't get to experience my traditions - even though we're here the rest of the year.

Hope you can find a solution you're both happy with smile

ouryve Sat 28-Sep-13 23:34:17

Alternate Christmas and NY, but alternate other celebrations, too. My ex refused to spend Christmas with my family (apparently, they didn't do it properly) and it really put a rift between us. It's unfair to always keep your partner from his family at Christmas.

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