AIBU to be so sad and disappointed for my DC?(28 Posts)
When I was growing up it was the norm for there to be my DM, DF, DB , aunt, uncle, DGF, DGM all at our house or their house on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year day to celebrate ! It was a great time together and very happy! I was incredibly fortunate to have what I would describe as a perfect childhood! With the death of all my family I now find myself in the situation that it will only be me, DH and our 2 DC. SIL and her DD always go to her ex's MIL for Christmas . I am just so sad and disappointed that we have no other extended family to enjoy the day with! To me it's just not normal for it to be just us!
But to them if will be normal. I can understand you being sad, but they won't know any different. Just concentrate on making it as special as you can with who you have. You're all extremely lucky to have that. Some people wake up on Christmas morning alone.
Our Christmases were almost always mum, dad and me and siblings. My mums family are Jews so didn't celebrate (she broke away from the religion) and my dads family lived far away. It was normal for us and we loved it. Your DC won't know any different and I'm sure you'll have a perfect day
I only ever had my parents and siblings and I can assure you that I had the most magical Christmases ever!
It's up to you to create the backdrop for the magic.
I can understand why you are feeling a bit sad . In saying that Christmas will be what you make it for your kids. If they pick up on you being unhappy and disappointed then they will come to see it as a time to be sad and disappointed. However, if you decide to make it a memorable and special day for them then surely that's what matters.
If you really do feel that more is merrier you could connect with a local charity and invite a lonely elderly person to your home for Christmas lunch. Or you and the kids (depending on their age obvs) could volunteer at a local soup kitchen/ old folks home.
If that's not your bag, do you have close friends that you could invite?
Otherwise just relax and have fun. Do old-fashioned quality-time stuff - board-games, charades, walks after lunch and plaster a big smile on your face. Fake it til you make it ;-)
It has always just been me and my dc, we have made our own traditions, and have lots of fun without having to worry about anyone else. We can be totally selfish, I wouldn't have it any other way. Your dc know no different so this christmas is their 'childhood norm' and they will love it.
Invite SIL and DD and ex MIL and gang?? Or friends with kids?
Make your own extended family.
I can see why feel nostalgic about those times in your childhood, but as others have said, you DC will have a good time with you and your DH and won't spend the whole time complaining that there should be more people in the house.
I was brought up with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins as well as two siblings. It hasn't been that way for my DSs as they don't have many relatives and we live too far away to see much of the few they have. We made sure their childhood was filled with friends and activities - and they look back fondly on those memories.
If you are really missing the "full house" experience, think of some friends or other relatives to invite.
Or read the dozens of posts from now until Christmas from posters wishing they didn't have to spend the holidays with family they don't like - and thank your lucky stars!
We often go away for Xmas to some extended family. I like this as, like you OP, it's what my childhood Xmases were like.
However, I asked my DCs what they would like and they said an Xmas at home with just us (myself, DH and the two DCs). So done't feel sad!
I agree with PP who suggested that you invite your SIL, niece and her ex MIL to Christmas at yours!
Or do you have other family or friends you could invite?
Or have a quieter day with the four of you on the actual Christmas day - which can be blissful by the way... do the day the way the four of you want it without having to pander or compromise with anyone else... spend the day in your pyjamas in front of the TV if you wish or plan a day out, a walk somewhere meaningful for the four of you, etc...
Then have a house party on boxing day [or another day soon after Christmas]. Invite SIL, niece, friends, other relatives. Get in some bubbly and hors d'oeuvres, do a traditional roast or salmon. Make it really festive and special, a new tradition for your family.
Your children won't miss Christmases like you used to although I totally understand why you do... I am sorry to hear you have lost all your immediate family, it sounds very difficult.
But you can still make Christmas lovely and special for the family you have around you now. Perhaps you could start a family tradition of lighting candles at the table for your DParents, DB and DGPs so they are remembered in spirit if not in body? Or you may have your own way of remembering them but I guess what I am trying to say, perhaps rather clumsily, is that you can have a wonderful Christmas in the 'here and now' without having to forget the magical Christmases of your childhood
I think a great many people hanker after the Christmases of their childhood, viewed through rose-tinted spectacles, of course! My Christmases too were filled with family, but now we're down to just dh and me and the dcs.
I do feel a bit sad that dh just won't give up trying to involve his dbs in some way, but the sils cleave to their families and don't want to make time for us. We had one db + family one year when they were prevented by the weather from travelling to sil's family. We never received a return invitation - any at time of the year; in fact we haven't been to their house (5 miles away) for about ten years. I feel badly for the dcs about this, but there you go.
I think you can have a nice christmas with just your own family. We don't spend it with relatives because they are mostly awful (some are NC), or in some cases not willing to travel (and neither are we), and I am sure my DC have a nice time. We see friends, we do all the traditions, we blob out in our pjs. Some years we've had friends round for Christmas dinner, though not staying over.
I do know what you mean because I can imagine a big happy family Christmas and it being lovely. It would just have to not be my family!
But I don't think your DC will be sad, if you make it fun and exciting for them. Mine absolutely love things like putting up the tree and making decorations, getting the mince pie and carrot ready for Santa, doing Christmas baking etc.
I can understand why you will feel sad, but I'm sure that you'll create magical Christmases for your own children (without the worries and stresses that having PILs and parents and other family for Xmas can bring!).
What about having friends round one year to ring the changes?
This is us this year.
I always had lovely childhood Christmases surrounded by family, and our DSs have grown up with it too. In their younger years it was at my mum's house or more recently at ours with everyone here.
In the last 12 months everything's changed. My mum died, DH's nan, who we were all very close to died, both my brothers moved away, and DH has decided to go NC with his dad and his mum hates Christmas so shuts herself away.
It'll just be us four at home this year. The only chance I'll get to see my brothers is on Boxing Day which I'm having to work so it'll be a snatched hello at some point.
I usually adore Christmas but I'm not looking forward to it this year.
It's sad when traditions have to change.
You just have to accept that things change over time. Every year you hear people moaning about all the relatives they have to put up with at Christmas and who don't enjoy it at all - the opposite of your situation now.
Make the most of your immediate family and cherish the memories because some people have never had what you had. Make new traditions and memories just the four of you. It i snot awful it is just different and what you make of its
How old are your DC? Unless they are old enough to have seen the change and remember Christmases with relatives they won't be sad and disappointed unless you show that you are and let that colour their mood. Nuclear family Christmases are normal for a lot of people these days - and tbh a lot of people secretly wish they could just have Christmas with their DC and OH rather than have to do the whole big extended family thing with associated travel and cost and above all compromise, tension, fall outs, family politics and dramas...
Just let yourself enjoy what you have and the kids will too - or as others say if you really feel you need the big gathering there are ways to manufacture it by "thinking outside the box" and inviting different people - friends or more loosely defined/ more distant family members.
Make your own new traditions, and think positive, you're with those you care the most about.
My 2 DC and I will be stuck in a family room at a Premier Inn for Christmas (long story), and I'm not letting myself feel bad about that. There will be stockings, but probably not a Christmas lunch!
A few years ago we spent Christmas at a youth hostel, and still have fond memories of the Hagrid-like including big beard man who was spending Christmas on his own there and spent the whole time wearing a dressing gown and eating cabbage soup. Also the other lone man who stole our Christmas dinner chestnuts. Happy times.
I understand how you feel. It is the same in our family, although DF still comes round for Christmas dinner but doesn't stay long. If I have to work Christmas day or Boxing day ( I work one of them every year) then it is just DH on his own with the kids. I do feel very jealous of paople who get to spend Christmas day with lots of extended family, but then again I hear so many people complaining about having to do just that and wishing it could be just their immediate family.
I agree that it's important not to let your dcs see your regrets, or they'll think they're getting a substandard Christmas and there are better ones out there.
One thing I'm very grateful for is that I don't have to travel anywhere at Christmas (apart from visiting the pil in care home - great). On about 28th Dec you see the motorways packed with cars all heading off on the big family swap. And lots of grandmas sitting in the back seat being shipped off home. And many tightwad gps in Waitrose buying reduced Christmas stuff because they aren't hosting till after Christmas and wait to get a half-price box of Turkish Delight to bestow upon dil.
We have small Christmases and big Christmases.
Dh always had big Christmases so he tends to think they're a must. However I've found that actually the children and me all prefer just our little crowd. I've agreed to go to his db this year and the children have all quietly come to me and said "couldn't we just have us."
Yabu. Your dcs have both parents who love them but you're "sad and disappointed" because it's just the four of you. You have no idea how stressful the big family Xmas you had as a child might have been for the adults. Be grateful for the family you have, some people have proper terrible festive periods.
There are people who have absolutely no one at Christmas and are all alone, so YABU to moan about being just you, DH & DC.
Blimey op wait until nearer Christmas and read the threads.
You have no idea how many people would kill for a Christmas with just their partner and kids.
But you still have family of four at home, which is more than many people have!
Besides, most people on here spend their whole time moaning about how they resent having to spend Christmas with extended family, they probably envy you your little group of four!
Christmas for us was always parents and us three. Even now I actively avoid spending it with extended family. I like the peace and quiet/closeness of very immediate family only.
Some people are homeless and completely alone at Christmas. In that sense, YABU in not seeing the wood from the trees.
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