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MIL (sorry another one) refusing to give presents on Christmas Day

(92 Posts)
vvviola Wed 24-Dec-14 00:50:38

Relationship with MIL is slightly fraught - she's controlling and can't accept DH is an adult. DH has limited patience for her and I try my best but resent her trying to overrule me in my own home. Added complication: we are emigrating in January back to where I'm from.

DH was on the phone to her this morning. We drive 2 hours to her house after breakfast on Christmas morning. Kids get minimal time to play with their toys, although we do try to bring some.

MIL has now decided that she will not be giving her presents (which incidentally I had to buy on her behalf because I suggested that a shopping trolley was not an appropriate carry on bag for a 3 yo) until Boxing Day. She will not move on the issue. She will also not move on the structure of the day (arrive at hers, hang around for 2 hours, go to her sisters for dinner, return home at 3 "for a nap", go back to her sisters at 7 for "party games and dessert", none of which is suitable for 3yo and 7yo and is, frankly bedtime for them).

AIBU to think it's extremely unfair to expect 2 young children to drive for 2 hours on Christmas morning and then be told they won't get Christmas presents until the following day? Especially when the rest of the day is really not child friendly.

The whole thing makes me feel like they are an inconvenience to the way she wants her day, and makes me wonder why we go at all.

I mean, if it was your last Christmas with your grandchildren for a few years, wouldn't you want make as many lovely memories as you could??

LapsedPacifist Wed 24-Dec-14 00:56:44

Oh dear! That sounds grim. How old is she?

HeartShapedBox Wed 24-Dec-14 01:03:51

just don't go.

even if you weren't emigrating, even if she wasn't withholding the kids xmas presents, all the back and forth sounds like a major pita.

vvviola Wed 24-Dec-14 01:05:27

Mid-60s. Still works full time, has a very active social life. She's not an "elderly" grandparent.

It really looks like Christmas is going to last 2 hours for me this year, between the times when the kids wake up and when we get in the car.

Chippednailvarnish Wed 24-Dec-14 01:07:50

Then don't go. She can't make you.

Opopanax Wed 24-Dec-14 01:08:50

Just say, either we have to sort this so the timings are suitable for small children or we can't come. Having said that, we have had many Christmas days or evenings where DD who is now 8 has stayed up really late and it has been fine. Nobody has to get up in the morning, right?

Isabeller Wed 24-Dec-14 01:11:42

If some disaster overcame you so you were delayed and had to meet her at her sister's would that improve the day for your family?

What would happen if your car wouldn't start (because someone had hidden the key...)?

odyssey2001 Wed 24-Dec-14 01:17:33

Christmas is about children not adults. Give her one last chance to change her plans and if she does not relent, stay at home and let the children enjoy Christmas day.

GraysAnalogy Wed 24-Dec-14 01:18:32

I wouldn't go. Not sure why she's not coming to you anyway

Hairylegs47 Wed 24-Dec-14 01:23:54

I'm afraid Norovirus would explode in my home if this where me. Looks like a 2 hour journey is out if the question. Tell her you'll see how the dc are 'later on' to decide if they can make the journey on Boxing Day.

Some folk have no concept that it's not all about them! Don't stress about it, just put your foot down, it's your family, she's just an extra.

Ohfourfoxache Wed 24-Dec-14 01:34:53

Yes, norovirus can be such an inconvenience grin

It's a shame it's so contagious - you couldn't possibly travel if one of you was unwell grin

WhereHas1999DissappearedToo Wed 24-Dec-14 01:41:02


That sounds like a dreadful Christmas. Honestly don't go, enjoy a nice relaxing Xmas with your DH and DC.

Notso Wed 24-Dec-14 02:02:37

The no present until Boxing Day wouldn't bother me. We often split the present opening over a couple of days. There's several at PILs that won't be opened until the 28th this year.

The backwards and forwards would annoy me though. Couldn't you just go to hers on Boxing Day?

CheerfulYank Wed 24-Dec-14 02:15:50

I don't think having the presents the next day is a huge deal but the party games and dessert, etc, are a bit much for DC!

AimlesslyPurposeful Wed 24-Dec-14 02:23:24

Could you go on Boxing Day instead of Christmas Day?

All the backwards and forwards to her Dsis house seems silly, especially with young children in tow. Have Christmas Day at home so that the DCs can play with their new things and then they have more presents at DGMs house to look forward to the next day.

vvviola Wed 24-Dec-14 02:31:52

Unfortunately not going is just not an option. DH feels enormously guilty about leaving so is reluctant to challenge her on anything - and the few small things he does challenge her on cause such tears and drama it really isn't worth it.

If we were staying longer I'd be insisting on her coming to us at least every second year.

It's just miserable. DH is bending over backwards to accommodate her, but nothing is ever enough. I'm miserable because I love Christmas and this won't be at all festive and I'll end up being the bad guy wanting to take kids home/not let them do things etc.

cookiefiend Wed 24-Dec-14 02:35:48

Could you just take some of their new toys they get from you to play with? Since it is Christmas it is only fair. I would get them paints, glue and glitter. and delight in the damage they cause

echt Wed 24-Dec-14 02:40:18

Is she punishing you/DH for emigrating? Got say if you've perceived his guilt and her histrionics, then she will have done so too, no doubt. There'll be more when you've left.

Trollsworth Wed 24-Dec-14 02:42:27

You poor thing, norovirus is so sudden.

Archduke Wed 24-Dec-14 02:55:14

I think as you are emigrating and therefore - as you say - will not have Christmas with her for many years then you need to go with good grace and make the best of it. After all you are doing a kind and generous thing for your mil (and fil?) and dh. And you will never have to do this again.

IMO children can stay up late - it's fine, I wouldn't stress about it. I would . . .

Get up - open stockings

Have a lovely time over nice Christmas breakfast with children and dh.

Open a few presents at home

Drive 2 hrs

Take some presents with you - smile sweetly at mil and say you thought you'd save some to open at her house. Give her something lovely and fill in 2 hours that way (or arrive late awful xmas traffic) and you'll only have an hour.

Go to the Aunt's house, get shitfaced have a lovely lunch.

Come home for coffee, Quality St and the Queen. Kids can play with toys/do xmas jigsaw/play cards with granny.

Back to the Aunt's keep drinking. Let the kids stay up late - it will be fine. Home and tucked up by 10.

Sounds alright to me.

TBF you may have to grit your teeth sometimes but you'll be having your Christmas with YOUR family for years to come right?

Archduke Wed 24-Dec-14 03:19:16

Also with the pressies on Boxing day thing - well, you may find granny does change her mind on the day but it is ok to drag things out. Really the kids will be fine - in fact they will have a lovely boxing day.

You can laugh about it on the plane - hahahha isn't granny funny no presents til boxing day etc etc

I have eccentric relatives and we always just got on with it as kids - it's only as an adult that I can see certain things were tricky for my mum and dad, as kids we just thought granny and granddad were just being, well, just granny and granddad really.

No one had rows - there were probably some hmm in the car on the way home from my parents but as kids we loved them.

ElizabethHoover Wed 24-Dec-14 03:22:18

Why can't they have presents?

Bulbasaur Wed 24-Dec-14 03:23:19

It's a power trip to show she's in charge. I wouldn't rush out of the house or anything like that.

Let her know that if she's not going to accommodate the kids, you'll be staying at home longer so they can enjoy their Christmas at home longer. It's their holiday too, it's not just hers. So don't make them have a miserable Christmas just because MIL is stamping her feet around. Her right to throw a tantrum doesn't trump their right to a good holiday.

Just think, after this, "Oh darn, we're too far away and can't afford tickets" for the foreseeable future. grin

AnonyMust Wed 24-Dec-14 03:35:10

Are you staying over or could you not just leave after 'nap' when she goes to aunt's. If staying there, say you'll be pitting them to bed.

vvviola Wed 24-Dec-14 03:43:46

We're staying 2 nights with her (in a tiny 2 bedroom bungalow with only one kitchen/living/dining space) and then another week borrowing her sisters house (which is a whole other tale of control).

As to why no presents on Christmas Day - who knows. We aren't being told. It has just been decided.

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