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To wish we could spend Xmas with MY family once in a while?

(160 Posts)
WD41 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:08:56

It's too late to do anything about it this year obviously, but just wondering whether other people would feel the same as me.

My family unit is me, DH and DD(3). We've not been together long - this will be our 5th Christmas. The first year, we spent Christmas day at my parents. I'm close to them, they live nearby & I think we just kind of assumed that from then on, we would alternate years between my parents and DH's.

Unfortunately my FIL passed away the following year. We spent that Christmas with my MIL - it was "her" year anyway but given the circumstances we would have done regardless obviously. If I'm brutally honest I didn't particularly enjoy spending Christmas elsewhere - silly things like the food being different and DD being told to be quiet during the Queen's speech

So, the following year we invited MIL down to spend Christmas with us. We couldn't go to my parents and leave her on her own. DH does have a brother but he's completely useless (think 40 something who still smokes pot) and he likes to spend Christmas in his own house getting stoned - he's not going to visit her and would never host himself. MIL essentially lives with her sister now, but she goes to her own daughter over Xmas.

Going to my parents with my MIL in tow isn't an option either unfortunately. My mum suffers from severe anxiety and although she has nothing against my MIL, she wouldn't be able to cope very well with having a non family member there at Christmas. I completely understand that and would never expect an invite for my MIL. Similarly, my parents (and brother) coming to us wouldn't be an option either. We haven't got the space in our flat to cater for what would be 7 people.

So as it stands, my parents pop round for about an hour on Christmas morning to exchange presents, then they're gone. MIL on the other hand stays with us for 3 nights. I really miss spending the day with them - this will be the third year the same and I don't see how it's ever going to change now.

I'm not a cow and I don't like the thought of MIL being on her own over Xmas. I haven't voiced any of this to DH, but next year do you think it would BU to discuss it with him, and see whether she would be able to spend Xmas with other family (ie her sister or DH's brother)? I have no idea how we would broach it with her without it seeming like she's not wanted, but I would just like the occasional Xmas day with my own family.

ApocalypseThen Tue 18-Nov-14 10:17:54

Do you think it may be possible for everyone to have dinner at a hotel? That way, you'd spend a large portion of the day with your family without leaving MIL behind?

manchestermummy Tue 18-Nov-14 10:19:06

YANBU at all.

I was raised Jewish, and as a result, about six years ago my SIL informed me that I was no longer to see my family at Christmas. Christmas was not celebrated as such (although presents were exchanged) but it was still a family day where no-one worked/went to school and we could all relax. The order was that I must from then on spend every Christmas with my ILs and ILs only.

Caused a small falling out as you can probably imagine.

DH and have been together for nearly 12 years, and in those 11 Christmases we have been to my parents once. DH loved Christmas with the manchesterparents as it was chilled, relaxed, no having to meet demands of millions of relatives (they live 1000s of miles away or are sadly deceased), no forcing down turkey because it's 'tradition', just dad getting slowly drunk and going to bed after the Queen at 3.15 and mum flattening wrapping paper to recycle for next year.

It's not that I particularly feel the need to see my parents (they live locally and I see them frequently, which is also true of MIL but she conveniently forgets that) but I resented being told that because I was married, it was time to say goodbye to my family traditions.

This year, for the second year, we are on our own, just me, DH and our DC. I cannot wait!

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Tue 18-Nov-14 10:21:26

Does MIL have no friends who she might like to go to?

It's very hard I know....the only thing I can suggest is perhaps having a special Christmas Eve with your own parents.

Betsy003 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:26:25

Just tell MIL and DH that you are really looking forward to Christmas together this year and after that you are planing to do alternate xmas's with each family to keep things fair. Then mil will have a whole year to sort out where she's going Xmas 2015

jazzandh Tue 18-Nov-14 10:40:42

I would go for the restaurant option too, or work out a way to host everyone at your flat? Christmas is often a squeeze whatever size you are, but it can be managed with some early planning....

WD41 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:42:29

I don't think a hotel is an option - unnecessary expense and I don't think it's something that people would want to do.

A special Christmas Eve with my parents would be lovely, but MIL arrives on Christmas Eve!

In some ways I think I am BU myself - my parents live 5 mins away and I see them regularly...MIL on the other hand is a couple of hours away and we only see her every few weeks. But seeing my parents regularly isn't the same as being with them on Christmas Day itself, is it? I know my mum would love me, DH and DD to be with them too.

I would love for us to start alternate years again but I just don't know how it would be said to MIL. She might be offended by the fact that there is no invite from my mum, but my mum just isn't a laid back have dozens of people round on christmas day like on Eastenders sort of person.

Betsy003 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:52:13

Does mil know your mum likes quiet and gets overwhelmed? You can mention this first and then say you plan to do alternate xmas's. Mil can visit you for new year instead maybe?

WD41 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:00:56

MIL is aware but I don't know to what extent she fully appreciates it. They are polar opposites really - MIL is very laid back and I'm not sure she knows what it's like to feel anxious and that not wanting her there isn't a personal thing.

WD41 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:02:35

But thanks for the replies, I'm glad it's not an overwhelming response of me BU. Obviously this year is planned but I will chat to DH about it in the new year and see how he wants to approach it with her for next year.

Would your MIL be open to the suggestion of you going to your parents on Christmas Day, then having a second Christmas day on Boxing day, with her?

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Tue 18-Nov-14 11:15:52

You need to reorganise things next year OP. Tell MIL you're looking forward to her coming but would like her to come on Christmas day. Then have the eve as your day with parents. If she's complaining then she's selfish!

LiegeAndLief Tue 18-Nov-14 11:25:24

We have the same problem. MIL is widowed, dh is an only child. MIL stays for 5 days over Christmas every year. I don't get on with her, dh doesn't have much of a relationship with her, even the kids find her pretty irritating and she gets horribly drunk and monologues endlessly.

Fortunately my parents are able to stay in a hotel within walking distance and we can fit everyone in the house for meals etc, so we do it that way. Really wish we could have a Christmas without MIL, but realistically I can't see any way out of it.

HolgerDanske Tue 18-Nov-14 11:26:47

Perhaps you could shift things around a bit in years to come.

Christmas Eve on your own. Christmas Day with your family. Boxing Day your MIL comes to stay for however long suits you.

This would seem to make the most sense, to me.

Or, alternatively, Christmas Eve with your family, MIL arrives that evening. Christmas Day as normal.

Perhaps it's because I grew up in Denmark where the 24th is the big day and now live here where it's the 25th, but for years I've viewed Christmas as a festive period rather than being hung up on the specific day - I'm generally happy to be flexible about which day to do the 'big thing' on and I would happily shift it when the girls were little and I was separated/divorced, in order to accommodate what was best for everyone. I have celebrated Christmas Day on the 24th or the 25th quite happily and in some cases one after the other, which is extra fun and festive fsmile

Thebodynowchillingsothere Tue 18-Nov-14 11:33:02

Jesus Christ alive I loved my mil to bits and my own parents but to have them
Stay for 5 days wouldn't have ended well. liege have a wine

WD41 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:37:19

I would prefer her not to arrive on Christmas Eve if I'm perfectly honest. It happens to be my birthday so I do see my parents at some point, but again that is cut short as MIL arrives late afternoon. Then I am stuck catering dinner for her on my birthday. (yes DH could do it before anybody says! but I do tend to do all the cooking which generally I don't mind)

I would LOVE for her to arrive on Boxing Day but I don't know where that would leave her on the 25th. I really wish that DH's brother was more normal and did his bit.

SpringBreaker Tue 18-Nov-14 11:37:57

I appreciate that your mother has anxiety problems, but she is the one who is being unreasonable. Your MIL is a family member, she is as equal a grandparent to your child as your mother is. She is your husbands mother too. Your mum describing her as a non family member is a little harsh and I think your mum is the one causing the problems and being selfish.

WD41 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:39:27

In fact I think the solution here is for DH to speak to his brother. Make him aware that I am effectively missing out on seeing my own family year after year now, and could he arrange to see MIL next year.

mix56 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:41:34

I think you should talk to her about it this Xmas, & explain that "to be fair" you will be going to your mums next year, "as she has asked you to !" embellish if you feel you need to, she wants to see the joy on kids faces, she is getting older & would like them to remember Xmas with that granny too.
All truths
& say naturally she must come to yours on boxing day !

WD41 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:43:19

I appreciate that your mother has anxiety problems, but she is the one who is being unreasonable. Your MIL is a family member, she is as equal a grandparent to your child as your mother is. She is your husbands mother too. Your mum describing her as a non family member is a little harsh and I think your mum is the one causing the problems and being selfish.

My mum suffers from extreme anxiety - lots of panic attacks, there has been a bout of agrophobia (sp) etc. She doesn't socialise with anybody. Ultimately my MIL isn't her own family member - she is somebody she has met a handful of times over the past 5 years. I am saying she is a non family member, my mum hasn't actually said that. She would find having my MIL there quite a strain and I am sensitive to that, I don't think she's selfish at all.

HolgerDanske Tue 18-Nov-14 11:50:30

It sounds as if you've done enough and maybe it's time to make a routine that works for everyone, including you.

I think perhaps you will need to talk to your DH and ask him to speak to his mum.

It's only a day. Being at her own home for Christmas Day is not the end of the world if she will be coming to see you on Boxing Day for a proper Christmas visit. That would seem the natural solution. Yes she might find it hard to get used to at first but she'll soon adjust.

This may sound a bit cold, but her feelings aren't your responsibility, and she is an adult who can organise her own Christmas Day. My mum lives a long way away from us, and always has, and for various practical reasons, she is not keen to leave her home for any length of time in the winter, so despite my inviting her to spend Christmas with us, she usually decides to spend it at home - and either dsis and her dh go and stay, or mum spends the day on her own or with local friends.

If I were in her shoes, and you said you were going to your parents on Christmas day, but would love to see her on Boxing day, for a celebration then, I would be entirely fine with that. I could lay in some luxury treats to have on Christmas Day - smoked salmon, lobster, nice nibbles and chocolates, a bottle of champagne - and spend the day pampering myself, doing exactly what wanted to, and enjoying the Christmas TV. I'd ring my nearest and dearest for a chat, have a good time on my own, and look forward to having a Christmas celebration with you all, on Boxing Day.

HolgerDanske Tue 18-Nov-14 11:55:27

I also wouldn't wait till next year, if I'm honest. I would mention it now that this is your plan for this year, to give her time to get used to it.

I would be prepared for lots of anguish and tears and so on and so forth.

I would ignore and get back to her in a few days time to let her know all the lovely things you have planned for her visit.

riverboat1 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:57:30

You are stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is really harsh to leave someone alone at Xmas, but when that means sacrificing what you yourself would prefer every Christmas for the foreseeable future, that is harsh too.

I have a similar situation inside my own family. So far we have always planned things around the person who would otherwise be alone, but it does mean lots of other family members miss out on their preferred Xmases, and the travel aspect is challenging too. I sympathise.

HolgerDanske Tue 18-Nov-14 11:58:03

I might, if I could afford it, order or make up a Christmas hamper for her and have it delivered in the run-up to Christmas so she has some special foods and treats for the day. Plus maybe an extra little gift to open, and a handmade bauble or gift from her granddaughter.

I really wouldn't say it's too late for this year. But I'd mention it now.

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