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To think Christmas is one of the loneliest times of the year

(38 Posts)
UnbelievablyChocolatey Tue 20-Dec-16 04:40:13

One of my MILs neighbours is a nail client of mine. She is an older lady, and one the sweetest, softly spoken people I've ever met.

During her nail session today I was chatting away, and asked her what her Christmas plans are. I was a bit wary of asking, as she's mentioned before that her two daughters don't visit much, and she spoke with quite a bit of sadness in her voice when talking about them. She then told me that she was on her own for Christmas as they won't be visiting.

I simply said 'oh that's a shame' but inside wanted to call the daughters a few harsh names. She also has one granddaughter, who she won't be seeing either.

Now I appreciate I don't know the dynamics of this family, but it disgusts me to think this woman will be sat on her own Christmas Day. After speaking to MIL, she's had a chat with one of the other 'lonely neighbours' and they're going to spend the day together, which is something at least.

This lovely lady tipped me an extra tenner AND bought me a Christmas present. So sad that no one can be 'bothered' with her at Christmas sad

Dozer Tue 20-Dec-16 04:47:13

agree that it can be v lonely.

Yes it's sad, and it's good that your MIL has done something nice.

There are charity posters about this issue.

I think, however, your being U to judge the woman's family: you don't know the facts.

RubyRoseViolet Tue 20-Dec-16 04:56:55

It can be very lonely. I run a weekend drop in and am always very moved by the amount of people there who have no one. However, I also have an abusive mother in law who is charming to literally everyone apart from my wife who she has verbally/emotionally abused since she was a little girl. She now has dementia and we care for her and do our very best to make sure she is comfortable and happy because, despite the way she has behaved my wife does not want her to be alone or to suffer. STILL we feel judged by nurses, Carers etc if we are not at her beck and call every 5mins. Frankly she is a very lucky lady to have such care.

sashh Tue 20-Dec-16 06:13:28

My grandmother (mum's mum) always had Xmas alone, but she liked it that way. She would do 'open house' on Xmas eve and then spend the day reading.

She had numerous places to go but didn't want to.

TheDowagerCuntess Tue 20-Dec-16 06:21:27

Oh God, that's just heart-breaking. sad

karigan Tue 20-Dec-16 06:32:52

As others have said be wary of judging unless you know all the facts. It could be terribly sad if she is indeed a lovely old lady whose family can't be bothered with her.

However, you are describing my family set up; two daughters, one granddaughter, but my situation includes my mother being an alchoholic who gets drunk at every 'celebration' (and every 5pm) and then starts screaming and railing at people. So she wont be spending Christmas in the same house as my child, she wrecked all of my childhood Christmases, she's not going to do that to my daughter.
Last Christmas we tried to include her was 3 years ago and we had a sit down conversation prior to her staying about how she was welcome but alcohol wasn't, and she smuggled some in and got drunk in the bathroom prior to throwing a glass at me.
I am aware that many people will think my sister and I are horrible unfeeling bitches as my mother does an incredible woe is me story to lots of other people in her life, just be careful of judging people as it's not always what it seems.

Cupcakegirl13 Tue 20-Dec-16 06:36:44

My mother in law had been invited to stay at both our home and my sister in laws for Christmas and has catergorcially refused either saying she wants to be alone. I can't understand it but have to respect her decision.

snapcrap Tue 20-Dec-16 06:39:33

karigan I'm so sorry. And for the record, when I hear stories like this I always think 'I wonder what the real back story is' so there is no way I'd assume you and your sister were 'unfeeling bitches'. There are a lot of us with difficult or damaging family members thanks

chitofftheshovel Tue 20-Dec-16 06:43:35

I love spending Christmas alone, but then I'm not a Christmas person. I don't feel lonely at all, but it does annoy me a bit when people project loneliness on to me, "oh, you're going to be all alone for Christmas, oh how awful, yada yada yada". For me it's just another day.

Heathen4Hire Tue 20-Dec-16 06:48:34

The cleaner at work is from Bulgaria and is contracted as "self employed" to get around all kinds of employment law (angry but I digress). Anyway, all his housemates are also from Bulgaria but can go home to see their families. He can't because if he doesn't go to work the day after he doesn't get paid. Christmas Day is Sunday, his day off anyway. He said it's likely he will be on his own. I have invited him to our family Christmas but I don't think he has taken the offer seriously. I will be thinking of him if he doesn't come though. No one should be alone on Christmas Day.

UnbelievablyChocolatey Tue 20-Dec-16 10:04:40

Oh yes I completely agree, I have no idea what the situation is. Families are strange things aren't they! I know that she's Scottish and her daughters don't really live nearby (we're in Yorkshire) so I just wonder if it's mostly to do with the distance. And I understand some people probably like being on their own at Christmas. I just felt so sorry for this lady

UnbelievablyChocolatey Tue 20-Dec-16 10:06:33

Sorry to hear that karigan, your mother clearly doesn't deserve you!

cherrycrumblecustard Tue 20-Dec-16 10:09:32

You just don't know.

Yes, it can be a lonely time but to be honest it might be better if people stopped with the whole 'what are your plans for Christmas!'

Rachel0Greep Tue 20-Dec-16 10:13:22

Yes, it can be a lonely time, for many reasons.

As a slight aside - I think the portrayal of Christmas on tv (not the soaps where it's usually miserable grin), but on movies etc makes some people feel that unless their Christmas is all joy and laughter and beautifully wrapped presents, it's a failure.

There are many reasons why someone might end up alone on Christmas Day. There are some people who would quite happily spend Christmas Day alone.
I worked with a guy who did. He had numerous invitations from family, but was quite happy to be alone for the day.

It's often said here on MN, when someone had described appalling behaviour by a family member or whoever ' oh but you can't leave them alone, it's Christmas'. As if that solves everything.

Anyway, as you have said OP, you did what you could to help, and you aren't judging, which is important. Who knows what circumstances may have led to this, and how her family may feel.

UnbelievablyChocolatey Tue 20-Dec-16 10:14:30

Cherry I only asked her as she'd been asking me what my plans were, what I'd bought DS etc so I thought it was only polite. Like I said I was a bit wary of asking in case it upset her

LunaLoveg00d Tue 20-Dec-16 10:15:50

Yes it would be much easier for people to manage if it were ONE DAY (or possibly extended to two, with Boxing Day) rather than being something which is built up for months and marketed as this #amazing #wonderful "family time" where everyone has to be fun and jolly with their nearest and dearest.

Families come in all different shapes and sizes and all have different dynamics.

cherrycrumblecustard Tue 20-Dec-16 10:55:39

If I live to be old I really hope my children don't feel they have to have me on Christmas Day if doing so would cause huge inconvenience.

RubyRoseViolet Tue 20-Dec-16 11:35:43

I feel exactly the same cherry.

FrogFairy Tue 20-Dec-16 11:45:40

Yes it is sad to be alone for Christmas Day, but for many the other 364 days of the year are just as lonely.

Weedsnseeds1 Tue 20-Dec-16 11:49:42

karigan , are we sisters?

UnbelievablyChocolatey Tue 20-Dec-16 11:59:43

You're very right frog

karigan Thu 22-Dec-16 08:36:57

Could be weeds, do you live on the South coast?

Luttrell Thu 22-Dec-16 09:17:25

Tricky one, definitely two sides to every story. For example, my mum won't 'let' us have our own Christmas in our own home - I've been married 15 years! Every year since I moved out she's asked me nicely to come home for Christmas, and I did, but when I started to suggest hosting dinner, she refused to come, and had a massive tantrum at the idea that my husband and children might like to do Christmas in our own home. Obviously the idea is to invite my parents to my house, but she won't have Christmas away from her home - and yet yells at me for trying to have one in mine. In the end, we go to hers each year for an easy life.

HOWEVER. What she TELLS people is that she hosts every year and her 'horrible' children never invite her and never offer to host. She claims to 'hate' being a 'slave' every year and 'wishes' I would host Christmas.

Finally she slipped up at ranted those words at me and I pointed out the facts - that I offer to host every bloody year, that she always refuses, and that next year she'd get her bloody wish and we wouldn't come. She backed down, apologised, begged us to come... all the rest of it.

I know she's still telling anyone else who'll listen that I'm a horrible selfish daughter who is too lazy to host, and that she'll be slaving away alone again (she won't let anyone in the kitchen to help and yells at us to get out if we try) and how sad it all is she is treated this way. In reality, if I so much as suggest that my children have Christmas dinner in their own home, she goes ballistic.

Don't worry, we're changing it up next year, fallout be damned. I'm not afraid of her any more.

Weedsnseeds1 Thu 22-Dec-16 09:26:21

Ahhh, in that case we aren't sisterskarigan we just have remarkably similar mother's.

Indrid Thu 22-Dec-16 10:43:00

My mother will be alone at Xmas. She bloody deserves to be, very abusive and neglectful. But she can pull the wool over a strangers eyes any day.

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