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I cant understand all these grandparents commandeering what happens on Christmas day...?

(134 Posts)
ssd Sun 08-Nov-15 14:42:17

now I know this is a thread about a thread, well several threads actually

I just cant understand the pressure some grandparents put their grown up children under on Christmas day, expecting them to drag young kids around in the car for hours to visit them

sure, visit if you are nearby, but if not why not let the young family have a nice day with their kids and see them after/before the day, or else drive the distance yourself, stay an hour and drive home, leaving them in peace!!

whats happened to grandparents, are they all selfish buggers these days, or only on MN?

disclaimer: both mine and dh's parents are dead and as much as I'd give my eye teeth for a grandparent here, I know if they were still alive they wouldnt be so selfish!

BondJayneBond Sun 08-Nov-15 14:58:09

We've spent Christmas Day at home since DC1 was born - we decided we'd prefer to have a more relaxed day at home where they get to play with new toys, rather than be dragging them around on Christmas Day. Trips to grandparents etc are scheduled on other days over the Christmas break.

My parents and PILs have always been very understanding about this and have made no attempts to make us feel bad or unreasonable about this.

The thing to remember though, is that people really only post on MN if they have a problem. No-one's going to start a thread saying "We're staying at home with the kids on Christmas Day, us and all the grandparents are happy with this arrangement so everything is totally harmonious". So you hear disproportionately more about the demanding grandparents.

RoseWithoutAThorn Sun 08-Nov-15 15:00:11

I've never known any angst in real life about Grandparents demanding visits on Christmas Day. Mine certainly didn't nor my ILs. None of my friends had issues with this either. I think you're being rather unfair in your OP with a sweeping generalisation of all grandparents being selfish buggars. Don't tar everyone with the same brush!

EatShitDerek Sun 08-Nov-15 15:03:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Enjolrass Sun 08-Nov-15 15:05:22

My parents and pil have never made fuss.
Pil did attempt to get us to drive 2 hours to theirs for lunch and 2 hours back. Dh shut them down straight away and that was the end of that.

Want2bSupermum Sun 08-Nov-15 15:08:58

DH has heard his mother pour on the pity party every year and since DD was born in 2011 we have been back twice. Both times were a nightmare with last years Christmas visit being particularly painful with us staying in an unfurnished apartment that was mid construction. Christmas was on their schedule and the kids were expected to stay up to 10pm to open gifts on Christmas Eve. We live over the water from Manhattan. This year I have organized a month of Christmas fun for the kids and on NyD we go to Turks and Caicos for 8 days.

My MiL, instead of being happy for us has been wailing since August. She had totally unrealistic expectations to begin with and she has another thing coming if she thinks crying is going to help anything. DH has finally caught onto that trick. Also, last year I was left with the DC on my own on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. DH was 'busy' helping his MIL. The selfishness of it just blew my mind. It was all about her and she didn't give two damns about the kids.

After my experience I can fully understand the threads on here about PILs being a PITA.

Stanky Sun 08-Nov-15 15:12:36

I actually seem to be in the minority here, and I wouldn't like to spend Christmas day at home, with just my little family. I think that it would be miserable, because our house is small, cold and dark. I can't cook for toffee, and if the dc only opened their presents from us, then they really wouldn't be kept busy for very long. We live in a rough area, so couldn't go for a nice walk or anything.

We love to go to my dp's house every Christmas eve, and stay the night. Dp's house is much bigger, my mum makes a beautiful dinner, they have a real fire and a dog. We all pitch in making the dinner, and clearing up afterwards. We all contribute towards buying the food and drink.

The dc have plenty to open from extended family, and can go out and play if they want to. We get together with dh's family on Boxing day, and it's like Christmas 2.

I find the build up to Christmas very daunting and stressful. It seems to creep up on me every year, and I never feel quite ready for it. But, I do enjoy it one it's here, and everything's done.

Ragwort Sun 08-Nov-15 15:15:19

As others have said, lots of us have perfectly happy arrangements with our parents and so don't need to post about 'difficult situations'.

I do think though that sometimes young couples allow themselves to be 'manipulated' into situations without really thinking it through, once you get your first home (whether with a partner or not) you really need to start making your own arrangements to host Christmas rather than continue to be sucked into whatever your parents have arranged over the years.

I am old enough to be a grandparent but can't imagine putting pressure on my DS and future DIL/grandchildren to visit me at Christmas, quite honestly I will be looking forward to a few Christmasses on my own with DH, or volunteering, or just going away rather than have to continue with 'family celebrations' which are beginning to bore me rigid. Not everyone wants to be around young children at Christmas grin.

2ndSopranosRule Sun 08-Nov-15 15:23:33

We get angst from MIL every single year from around August. It's completely killed my enjoyment of Christmas. We can't even offer to have her to ours as she says cooking Christmas dinner is a "mother's duty" and therfore she's the only one who can cook it. So therefore as a mother myself I can't?!

One year we had the audacity to go to my parents for Christmas lunch. SIL hurled abuse down the phone at dh stating that now I had married into the family I had no right to chose my family over hers. That was the first and only year of 12 years of being together that we went to my parents at Christmas.

What's completely ludicrous is that MIL is just 10 miles away and sees our dc most weeks. Sometimes several times a week. Even worse, SIL has always been 'allowed' to do whatever she likes at Christmas. So if that was spending the entire day in bed with her new boyfriend, bravo SIL, have a fab day!

TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 08-Nov-15 15:24:40

When I am a grandparent I am planning to rotate around my four DC's homes every Christmas, and be waited on hand and foot.

Or maybe I'll just go to the one who puts on the best dogrin

The DC's on the other hand are insisting that will always all come here with partners and kids in towhmm. Bugger that, I've earned a bit of a rest I think.

Thymeout Sun 08-Nov-15 15:26:19

Stanky - yes, I agree. When I was a child, we used to travel, on public transport, right across London for Xmas day with gps. It was great, meeting up with cousins, aunties and uncles. It was a real party atmosphere.

The one year we stayed at home was miserable by comparison. So boring, just my parents and I. It felt like just an ordinary Sunday.

I don't think it's odd, gps inviting others to visit them. They tend to be the hub of the family wheel, until the time comes when they can no longer host and it shifts to the next generation.

I think it's important to make an effort with other members of the family. It adds so much to dcs' life to feel they are part of something bigger.

cleaty Sun 08-Nov-15 15:26:32

No angst here either. Although both my parents are still alive, I would never leave a parent alone on Christmas Day, unless there was a massive backstory.

cleaty Sun 08-Nov-15 15:32:23

TinklyLittleLaugh - Yes when we suggested going to my parents at Christmas, they invited themselves to ours instead. I had been looking forward to the idea of someone else cooking for a change.

kickassangel Sun 08-Nov-15 15:36:20

Until we moved to the US, we had a very relaxed arrangement which was any/all combination of visiting or being visited by parents, or even just being home alone. We also did early or late Christmas, and flying to Ireland for big extended family Christmas.

Unfortunately, MIL then started on about how she wasn't getting her share of Christmases, and that it didn't count if it wasn't Christmas day itself, at her house. I then realized that we'd left my parents alone more often than DH's, and also spent thousands going to Ireland over the years, and she still wasn't happy.

So, last time we were in the UK for Christmas we were in N Ireland, MIL was there and we didn't see my family until New Year. Next time we go back for Christmas, it will be the turn of my family. I know that MIL will get tearful and unhappy, but I'm not prepared to ignore my parents because of her tantrums. When DH was a kid she NEVER ONCE went back to Ireland to visit her parents for Christmas, so it's not like we're breaking a family tradition.

miaowroar Sun 08-Nov-15 15:38:33

For the first few years after the children were born we travelled from the south to the north to stay with parents and in-laws - I got sick of the packing - kids, pets and presents - and sick of the motorway.

Then we moved more locally and I thought it would be easier - but not much. We were still expected to visit BOTH sets of parents on Christmas Day - with over-tired children - getting back home late and exhausted in order to take our turn to cater for everyone on Boxing Day.

It was only when my SIL and BIL moved back from abroad that things changed. My BIL stated that he would not be moving from his house on Christmas Day - he didn't mind people visiting him if they wanted, but he would stay put. The PILs were aghast. Then I bravely (for me) I piped up and agreed with him, pointing out that it would be nice to enjoy a drink on Christmas Day instead of the constant packing up the car and driving etc etc. To be fair to them, they saw my point - the Christmas travelling was something they had never had to do and they just hadn't realised.

Now that the kids are grown, I don't have grandchildren and it doesn't look as though I ever will, but oddly enough I am SO looking forward to having a Christmas to myself - eating what I want and watching what I want on TV - bliss! Wonder if it will ever happen?

ssd Sun 08-Nov-15 15:38:49

thanks thymeout, you've made me feel like shit cos all my family and dh's are dead and its only us on xmas day

kickassangel Sun 08-Nov-15 15:40:47

Oh, and if it were possible to see both sets of parents in one day, we would do that, but it's not possible and never has been, so we have to make choices.

MerdeAlor Sun 08-Nov-15 15:42:00

Terrible time here with PIL every xmas. Lots of passive aggressive comments, undermining and attempts at controlling us.
They don't ever get their way but it doesn't stop them trying and then resenting us afterwards for saying no.

I love being in my own home at xmas and won't negotiate on it, perhaps if the ILs actually celebrated, decorating the house, had a tree and got in a festive mood rather than serving up a roast chicken with a 3 for £10 bottle of plonk I'd reconsider. As it is it's miserable at theirs and if they don't want to come to ours then meh, that's their decision.

kickassangel Sun 08-Nov-15 15:45:52

ssd - we're thousands of miles from any family. I long for all the bustle and noise of Christmas but DD and DH relish a quiet little family day. They talk about it for weeks before - they want presents, (well DD does), a big meal (which everyone helps with) and hours and hours of sitting around, playing with new things, watching a movie, sleeping off the turkey.

It's their great joy and DD's favorite day of the year. She loves our extended family, and enjoys a noisy family Christmas, but her first choice is a quiet day at home.

I think that as adults we often long for what we enjoyed as kids - for DH and DD it's that quiet home day. If your kids are happy with your family, then they really are happy.

clam Sun 08-Nov-15 15:48:37

Want2bSupermum "and she has another thing coming if she thinks crying is going to help anything."

shock shock shock Have you not SEEN this thread wink

Bunbaker Sun 08-Nov-15 15:56:10

OH's and my family live hundreds of miles apart, with us roughly in the middle. When we got married we told both families that we would alternate Christmas between them and then stay in our own house once we started a family.

This is exactly what we did. I hope when DD is older that she doesn't feel guilt tripped into spending Christmas with us.

TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 08-Nov-15 15:57:01

Bonkers. So many people go bonkers at Christmas. Draw your line in the sand people. Do not be sucked into the madness.

We stay at home. If parents or siblings want to join us then they are most welcome.

Dumdedumdedum Sun 08-Nov-15 16:02:50

Clam was just about to say the same - it really jumps out in that phrase that thing is obviously wrong grin
Sorry to digress, OP.

Octopus37 Sun 08-Nov-15 16:03:24

TBH would be delighted if my Dad actually wanted to see us at Christmas, he hasn't see our kids at Christmas once, would be happy for him to stay but it will never be. However, I totally agree with what everyone says about the madness and Grandparents being selfish etc. Maybe ducking out of all of this is one of the advantages of the kids having one defective Grandparent.

FattyNinjaOwl Sun 08-Nov-15 16:04:07

I go to my mums most Christmases one year I went to a friends and everyone was fine with that. Another year I had my brothers and my dad at mine. Everyone fine with that. But other than that I go to my mums. She cooks, I talk at her, the DCs have presents there (Santa goes to nans house too!) And we all pig out in front of the TV. Can't beat it grin

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