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or should Christmas Day be renamed Control Day

(80 Posts)
ohweeeell Thu 11-Dec-14 08:35:20

Is it just me or does Christmas Day seem to be all about control?

MIL has thrown huge hissy fit because we are not spending the entire day with her, we also have FIL to see and my parents, yet we have been branded "selfish" for not spending the full day with her? Wouldn't that be a bit selfish, to just spend it with 1 of our 4 parents? She has been advised that we will come to see her and the others, its not exactly our idea of a perfect day, squeezing everyone in but don't feel its fair to leave anyone out, they would all like to see DD in particular. My DH is also only off on Christmas Day due to the nature of his work so we don't really have the option to even spread it out over the eve/day/boxing day.

Then, on a work lunch with colleagues, one of my colleagues tells me that she and her parents are going to impose on her brother, his wife & DC on Christmas Day, they haven't been invited, they have told her brother they are coming round. The reason being that if her brother comes to her parents with his wife and the children, one of them will drive and "leave too early", if they go to his "we can stay as long as we like, they have no choice in us being there all night". I get that they want to see their DGC/DNs but is it necessary to set up camp at their house all day and night, why is it not acceptable that they come visit and leave when is convenient if that's what they want to do?

AIBU? does anyone else find this kind of behaviour really controlling or is this just "normal" Christmas madness?

HoraceCope Thu 11-Dec-14 08:41:19

my DM is a great one for this.
she is going away this year. but last year it was We will visit you and come to your house for nibbles and then we will go to mine for lunch. All six of them! And I wasnt prepared for an extra 6 to cater for, plus my house is too small.
I said No.

Infinity8 Thu 11-Dec-14 09:20:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

formerbabe Thu 11-Dec-14 09:22:52

I think it should be renamed

Run Yourself Ragged Day for Ungrateful Fuckers Who Probably Won't Even Thank You For It

Oh dear, sounds stressful! I suggest that next year you all arrange to meet up for a christmas meal in a pub, then back to yours from 2-5pm for presents and mince pies or something. Be very clear on what's happening, and say it's all planned out so it's fair and everyone gets a look in.

OstentatiousBreastfeeder Thu 11-Dec-14 09:28:03

Christmas is the only time of year I thank my lucky stars that my family just don't give a shit. This would be hell.

GreenEyedMonster14 Thu 11-Dec-14 09:30:10

We invited DPs grandparents round for dinner. I am now cooking for 12 because people kept inviting themselves. I've never done christmas dinner before and I'm dreading it.

formerbabe Thu 11-Dec-14 09:32:47

We invited DPs grandparents round for dinner. I am now cooking for 12 because people kept inviting themselves. I've never done christmas dinner before and I'm dreading it

Been there...Buy as much pre-prepared stuff as possible and those throwaway roasting trays is my tip!

YES formerbabe, think you're right there! I love Christmas but god is it expensive, stressful, and full of family melodrama. It's getting easier here now we have a few kids and masses of presents, it's easier just to have Christmas at home and just go visiting Christmas eve/Boxing day. It's a lot of travelling about (and I do resent spending every Christmas day evening packing and ironing) but at least we have our Christmas morning/lunch in peace. Well, as much peace as three excited kids allow! smile

capsium Thu 11-Dec-14 09:34:26

We decided long ago that on Christmas Day we stay put, at home with DC. We have our own traditions.

We see extended family during the holiday period. We don't want to travel on Christmas Day, we want to relax and enjoy being together as a nuclear family.

People can attempt to control each other but the bottom line is we make our own decisions. They can make it difficult but that doesn't mean the best thing is to just bow down to them even when they are being wrong.

There was a bit of 'fall out' when we refused to travel for Christmas Day but people got over it. We enjoy our time better with extended family now, it is more on equal terms.

SaucyJack Thu 11-Dec-14 09:35:15

It's more "passive-aggressive Martyr day" in me mum's case.

I swear she actually feels violated by the expectation to cook sprouts.

Concordial Thu 11-Dec-14 09:37:43

Emigrate to Australia. We did and it saves an awful lot of drama.
Mind you, you're pushing it now on the 11th December. Aim for next year.

KittyandTeal Thu 11-Dec-14 09:50:07

Gosh this makes me glad of my family and pil (although they drive me batty sometimes they are nice people)

My DH is working over Xmas. We're doing Xmas with them 2 weekends before actual Xmas day. My parents on Xmas day where DH will be fed early so he can leave for work.

There have been no complaints and pil glad we've managed to see them over the Christmas period.

MaliceInWonderland78 Thu 11-Dec-14 09:58:54

My in-laws are like this. We agreed that we'd alternate between my parents and my wife's parents. Ideally, I'd like to do every 3rd year (so we had a year on our own). It was my parents' "turn" last year. My in-laws were due to come to us on on Boxing Day. The sneaky no-good shitbags arrived unnanounced on Christmas Day afternoon admitedly after dinner

We go away for my birthday every year (just a couple of nights in a spa hotel - kids and all) When my wife, who was still pissed off with them arriving a full 15 hours earlier than agreed, said that we might go away for Christmas next year (which after all was 'their' year) my in-laws actually threatened suicide. Not seriously, but with enough desperation to make everyone really uncomfortable. We end up accomodating them, becasue it's easier. I'm sick of it. They don't like one another and shouldn't be together. Being miserable at ours makes it tolerable for them - and really miserable for the rest of us!!!!!

BlackeyedSantaStuckUpAChimney Thu 11-Dec-14 10:02:57

I think we should all have an "I am spartacus santa moment...

I was very grateful for my parents not putting the pressure on to visit. mil on the other hand... ds's first christmas party was, let's say difficult to arrange. ex whined all the way round asda as he was supposed to be helping shop but just wanted to escape early and go to his mums for lunch while I looked after 2 yr old and 6m old and prepared all the food for the party at my mum's.

manchestermummy Thu 11-Dec-14 10:14:29


How about Demand to come for lunch then not eat because you had a massive cooked breakfast 30 minutes ago Day.

Or You are not allowed to see your own family now that you are married Day.

Ohfourfoxache Thu 11-Dec-14 10:14:32

It's a whole season of control.

My name is mud this year because we're not spending a full day with pils. Seeing both families on Christmas day.

Never mind that I'll be 30 weeks pregnant on Christmas day, vomit when I move (travelling by car is a nightmare), have ridiculous heartburn, can barely make it out of bed most days and even attending appointments mean a day of recovery. We are only seeing people on Christmas day - nothing else is or will be planned hmm

VodkaJelly Thu 11-Dec-14 10:16:02

I always used to bow down to the pressure of going to my parents for christmas day as they wanted to see the grand kids, even though we had to drive and I couldnt drink didnt matter.

Anyway my brother and his wife and kids were always there for Christmas so it meant 6 young kids in the house. My brother used to stay over for a week so by Christmas Day my dad was at boiling point.

The final straw came about 12 years ago when yet again my dad was yelling at the kids on Christmas Day, I saw my 4 year old son sat at the table sobbing into his dinner as my dad had screamed him (he hadnt done anything bad just being an excited toddler)

From that day onwards we have stayed at home, I refuse to go anywhere. My now nearly adult kids love being at home, it is so stress free. Dinner is served when its ready, we watch what we want on the tv, and slob around in PJ's.

Nobody will EVER guilt trip me into giving this little slice of heaven up. EVER

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Thu 11-Dec-14 10:27:28

We please no one but ourselves and it is fab fgrin

Our children are the most important thing about christmas so we make sure they have a stress free day in their own home eating chocolate and playing with their presents

It seems so unfair that the ones who cause the most drama and guilt get their own way while the ones who try to be kind and considerate end up stressed out and miserable. If someone's going to end up unhappy with arrangements why does it have to be you?!

Idontseeanysontarans Thu 11-Dec-14 10:31:50

The best decision we ever made was to stay at home and tell everyone we're having an open house after 4pm on the day. Honestly, the first time we did it the whole day was bliss smile
Previously we'd see my very relaxed parents on Christmas Eve then feel hugely pressured into going to PIL's for a very tense lunch and into the evening. The year it stopped was the year DD1 was a newborn and MIL yelled at DS for something he didn't do (FIL lost something, she blamed DS and had the whole house in a uproar looking for it and shouting. Nobody apologised to him. He was 5.) I ended up sat on the stairs comforting DS and telling DH (who had been out in the barn) we were going home. I didn't speak to certain members of the family for weeks. Never again.
I make a buffet and people come and go as they please, but on our terms, we're all done and in our pj's for around 9pm.

LoonvanBoon Thu 11-Dec-14 10:50:20

YANBU, but we do what capsium says & stay put. If people are going to be offended anyway, you may as well do what you want.

We had year after year of wrangling with ILs (my mum's dead & dad spends Christmas with partner's family), who expected us to travel over 200 miles to stay with them even after we had children.

We did it once when our sons were little as it was clear it meant a lot to MIL. We made it very clear that year that we intended to stay in our own home in future, & that PIL were welcome to join us.

The future plans bit was somehow ignored & every year we had the same guilt-tripping, with increasingly ridiculous reasons for why we should go there (they have a better chimney than us - traditional inglenook fireplace - so Father Christmas would be able to make a better entrance confused ). This was apparently much more important than the fact that there were four of us (& two pets to book into a cattery), whereas there were just two of them, who could travel much more easily & lightly.

We stuck to our guns, though, knowing that we only wanted what my PIL & my own parents had had - family Christmasses in our own home. If we were being selfish, then they had been too. My MIL didn't even have her PIL to stay over Christmas.

Funnily enough my PIL decided after a couple of years of spending Christmas here with us, that they couldn't be arsed to travel either, & they now choose to do other things. I do think, looking back, the pressure they used to put on us was less to do with wanting to be with family, & more to do with wanting to be in their own home, in control of everything.

It's all fine now, though. The expectations are clear, no problems, & we're seeing PIL after Christmas.

Marcelinewhyareyousomean Thu 11-Dec-14 14:01:26

it could also be called give your DC toys and don't give them a chance yo play with them.

Or we don't see you all year but we want you to travel to us cos we can't be arsed coming to you.

I know there will be people coming along calling us selfish feckers; what they wouldn't give for one more Christmas with.... xyz. my family is dysfunctional and I can't pretend and have a Disney Christmas for selfish arseholes. 'Make an effort, it's only one day' can feck off and get in the bin.

KatieKatie1980 Thu 11-Dec-14 14:13:49

I've had mine arranged for me since 2005. Best year was 2007 when I took control and went to NYC. Bliss!

I haven't actually seen my folks on Christmas day since..2004. From 2005 till now, always had to be at PIL's. So fed up.

Grew a pair and said no more. Santa comes to our house. That's obviously the extremely shortened version lol. But I hear you! Roll on Dec 27th fgrin

Bulbasaur Thu 11-Dec-14 14:37:40

Our Christmases have always been relaxing.

Christmas day is for us. Christmas eve and days after Christmas is for visiting family and celebrating with them.

We had to put our foot down a few years ago because parents and PIL's were pulling us in every direction and basically bickering over who got us on the actual day. Treated them like toddlers, if you're fighting over something it gets taken away. Now none of them get us on actual Christmas day.

Best thing we ever did for ourselves.

kickassangel Thu 11-Dec-14 14:58:19

Another one who thinks that emigrating is the best answer.

When we lived in the UK both sets of parents said they were OK with a fairly informal taking turns/doesn't matter if it's our house or yours type thing, it transpired that MIL had a whole 'counting' system whereby Christmas with us at our house didn't count, Christmas with her entire extended family, including flights to Northern Ireland, didn't count either. Only Christmas at her house counted as being 'her' Christmas.

Now we're thousands of miles away, and may go back for Christmas once every 5 years or so, but I bet MIL is going to want to have us at her house and make the flight to NI. Well, I haven't spent Christmas with my parents for a decade, so I guess she'll have to live with disappointment.

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