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Christmas AIBU

(92 Posts)
mauvaisereputation Wed 16-Oct-19 12:50:34

This year will be my DH's and my first Christmas after having our lovely baby. In previous years we've done Christmas separately - I've gone to my parents, he has gone to his (a bit unusual but it's worked well for us!). This year, we obviously both want to be together with our daughter. So in order to avoid choosing between our families, we have decided to offer to host it at our house.

My family are delighted with this. The issue is my DMiL is clearly very unhappy with the situation, and it's stressing me out.

DMiL is a lovely person and we both make an effort to get on well with each other, despite some differences of opinion in some areas. She is a SAHM/homemaker with a wealthy husband (DFiL) and a lovely big house in the countryside with dogs and land surrounding it etc and she makes a big deal about how busy and exhausting and dangerous London is whenever she visits. My DH and I both work (though DH is on paternity leave at the moment) and have a non-fancy but perfectly nice small house in an area of London that we think is lovely but is definitely a far cry from the ILs' country shire.

When we said to DPiLs that my family were coming over for Christmas and they were welcome to join too, her first reaction was "YOU CAN'T!" and then seeing my hmm face started raising objections like our dining table isn't big enough (we have another we can put on the end and there's plenty of space), our kitchen and oven aren't big enough to prepare a Christmas dinner (not true), it will be too much work with the baby, etc.

TBH I was planning on getting quite a bit of food in pre-prepared (canapes etc) and my mum and dad and my DSis and her boyfriend have already said they are happy to contribute dishes, so it had occurred to me that my and DH might not want to prepare the entire meal from scratch on Xmas morning. But we are perfectly capable of putting together a nice meal and have had guests over for Sunday lunch on other occasions without major incident.

Since mentioning it, the ILs haven't confirmed whether they will be coming (not an issue in itself as obviously there's plenty of time) but my MiL keeps calling my DH to say stuff like either we need to get my parents (who live nearby) to cook the turkey and bring it over or we should not do turkey etc.

I'm now realising that every time they come over to see our baby (they didn't visit us before we had the baby), she brings lunch for everyone, despite assurances that she doesn't need to. I thought it was a nice gesture but now I think it's because she doesn't want to eat our food! (She is a bit phobic about food and every meal involves exclamations about how much there is to eat and how unhealthy it is, but that's another story).

I am just feeling quite grumpy about the whole thing and wish I could uninvite the PILs (obviously I won't). I have suggested that they don't come and instead we go to them on Boxing day but tbh now I don't even want to do that, as I just don't like the feeling that they think they are providing us with a "proper" Christmas (though again, I won't pull out of the offer).

AIBU to think that it's not actually that shocking that DH and I would want to do Christmas as a family, even if I'm not really the home-maker type or an accomplished cook, and even if the alternative on offer is the ILs hosting at their posh and fancy house. I never thought I'd be one of those people with MiL rivalry. I'm usually hugely unbothered about what people think of my home-making skills. Really want to feel zen about this and don't want it to overshadow Xmas.

Windydaysuponus Wed 16-Oct-19 12:54:40

Do not relent op.
She is too used to being Lady of the Manor imo.
Your Christmas sounds lovely!
My kitchen is tiny - we add an extra table and I cater for 12 from scratch no problem..
Suggest she brings a packed lunch if she wants!!

PotteringAlong Wed 16-Oct-19 12:55:21

You’ve invited her. She can come or not come. I’d leave it for now and then tie her down to an answer in a few weeks.

But no, YANBU at all

Trewser Wed 16-Oct-19 12:58:42

Why on earth wouldn't you want to go to hers?! It sounds amazing and she'll clearly do all the work!

Crystal87 Wed 16-Oct-19 13:01:46

They need to realise that their son is an adult man, father of a child and that you are all your own family. Don't back down on this or you'll be setting yourself up for this for years to come. If they don't want to come, just do Christmas without them. But don't give in and go to them.

Pandaintheporridge Wed 16-Oct-19 13:02:19

Well because all her family wouldn't be there?

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Wed 16-Oct-19 13:02:58

On DH side there's a reluctance on part of parents and DH uncles, to shift location of Christmas down a generation. So you have the "kids" (all in their 30s) expected to go "home" for it. Including spouses and grandkids, the extended family is now too many people, but no one will let it change. DHs sibs and cousins are all leaving children late, so it means I'm expected to take the kids to a house with 20 grown ups they don't know well (DH aunts/uncles/cousins) instead of seeing their own cousins (on my side admittedly).

MsPavlichenko Wed 16-Oct-19 13:04:48


Because they want to stay at home with their new baby and share the joy with both their families. Start new traditions.

Trewser Wed 16-Oct-19 13:05:55

Well its worth a thought! I certainly wouldnt be martyring myself in a tiny kitchen cooking for 12 with a small baby.

CrazyOldBagLady Wed 16-Oct-19 13:06:26

I wouldn't take it personally. She probably has a bit of a control freak thing going on with food/cooking/hosting/Christmas and it's more about her inability to let go and let someone else do things their way. Tell her she is more than welcome but you understand if she doesn't make it.

Pilot12 Wed 16-Oct-19 13:10:25

If she doesn't want to have Christmas dinner at your house, they could visit in the morning, afternoon or evening instead. There are ways of visiting without eating if she doesn't like your food!

My MIL and I have a huge falling out every Christmas because we both want to host Christmas Day. I always say that now that we have children Christmas Day is at our house, she can come or not come, it's up to her. She always chooses not to come and hosts Christmas at her house for other family members. We both have a nice day and both get to cook the dinner! We have her New Years Day instead.

mauvaisereputation Wed 16-Oct-19 13:10:59

Thanks all. I just needed a rant haha. I think it's right that I shouldn't take it personally and she is just adjusting to the new generation meaning her home is not the centre anymore.

@Trewser - tbh I think that this is why we have never properly hosted them even though I've been with my DH for years -- she's always offered to have us over, and we can just go to their house and flop and she insists on doing everything. And most of the time I don't feel like I have anything to prove so I am quite happy to go along with this plan! But on this occasion I do think it's quite important that me and DH start laying down Xmas traditions of our own.

@Crystal87 - yes I think you're right - we need to set a precedent this year.

Alsohuman Wed 16-Oct-19 13:12:04

If I was Mil I wouldn’t want to go either but that’s because our daughter-in-law’s mother is a social hand grenade and I struggle to be in the same room for more than ten minutes.

Jennifer2r Wed 16-Oct-19 13:12:18

It's great that you asserted what you want and you're sticking to it.

ou can't control her behaviour. You can only control your reaction to it. Don't let yourself get in a tiz about it, it doesn't matter. If she starts twittering about turkey and side dishes just non commital 'mm hmm' 'yep' etcm

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Wed 16-Oct-19 13:16:23


You are inspiring me. Maybe next year i need to just bite the big one and explain to DH & MIL that we will be having our family Christmas at home (because yes, we and the kids are a family, even without 20 other extended family)

Whattheother2catsprefer Wed 16-Oct-19 13:16:35

My mother-in-law has a lovely house with lots of space and makes a lovely Christmas dinner.... but I'll be buggered if I'm having every Christmas there until she shuffles of this mortal coil.
Making Christmas dinner is not martyring yourself if you want to do it (it's only a big roast dinner) and who says the OP has a "tiny kitchen"?
I did turn and turn about with DPs and the the In laws until we had kids but now nothing will get me out of my own home on Christmas day! They are welcome to come to ours or we will see them Boxing Day/ Christmas Eve or whatever.

Zaphodsotherhead Wed 16-Oct-19 13:17:14

Do not relent.

In my younger years, my DH and I used to be hauling our kids all round the county on Christmas day - lunch with the inlaws, then over to my parents for Christmas Tea - one year my kids didn't get to open their presents until Boxing day, because we were't at home!

We moved 350 miles away, and it was the saving of our Christmas, since nobody expected us to drive all the way down (and nobody had the space to put us up).

You NEED to start making your own family traditions and Christmas for the sake of your little one. It might seem easy to relocate when you've only got one tiny one, but a few years down the line and you might be like me, driving five small children all over the place with them barely having time to open their stockings at home!

TeenPlusTwenties Wed 16-Oct-19 13:25:44

Before we married DH and I one year cooked a whole Christmas dinner for 8+ in the tiny kitchen in his house where you could stand in the middle outstretch your arms and more or less touch all 4 walls.

You need to stand firm OP otherwise it will be even harder in later years.

Jollitwiglet Wed 16-Oct-19 13:26:07

If she keeps making comments about it just point out to her that she is free to decline the offer if she so wishes, then she won't have to stress about it all

DreamingofSunshine Wed 16-Oct-19 13:26:24

@Trewser the OP sounds happy to do it so not exactly a martyr!

I'd let your DH speak to her and let you both know if they are coming by a certain date, offering reassurance that you can celebrate another day in the festive period if they decline.

Biker47 Wed 16-Oct-19 13:27:57

She'll turn up with a cooked turkey, guaranteed.

ReanimatedSGB Wed 16-Oct-19 13:37:34

I suspect your MIL has food issues. This may be a phobia, an eating disorder, or some sort of digestive problem that means she needs to avoid certain things. And she's embarrassed or ashamed about it, so she doesn't want anyone to know, but has to maintain control over food. If it's always her cooking then she can add/subtract key ingredients if necessary, and/or be assured of the food hygience meeting her standards (not saying you are a sloppy cook or housekeeper but if someone has a germ/food-poisoning phobia no one else's standards are high enough).

I know some bullies people would advocate 'confronting' her and insisting she explains herself, but I don't think that's a good idea. She, like anyone else, has a right to privacy. But if you're aware this is the issue, you can arrange events how you want them while giving her an 'out'.

mumofbun Wed 16-Oct-19 13:44:17

People are funny about Christmas. You've told her what you're doing and invited her, just let her do what she's going to do (which is probably not come).

Two years ago it was me and DHs first Christmas in our own house so we wanted to have it together (have been together for over a decade and that's the only xmas dinner we've had together). We invited both sides and the ILs all came (including BIL and whole family), my family didn't. They came in the morning for some breakfast and then did their own thing. I just had to accept that for them, Christmas was something they wanted to do their own way as they had for the previous 30+ years. I grew up not living near any family though so we always just stayed home and spent it the 4 of us and i don't think they want to change that.

I'm pregnant now so next year we should be a family of 3. Not sure what will happen then!

mauvaisereputation Wed 16-Oct-19 13:47:37

@reanimated - yes, she definitely has hang-ups about food, so perhaps it is literally the meal that is the problem.

Drum2018 Wed 16-Oct-19 13:52:12

Stick to your guns. Continue with your plans to have Christmas at home and have your parents there. I'm sure you will have enough to feed another 2 mouths if PIL decide to join you. Meanwhile just don't engage in any further conversation with MIL about it. If she brings it up keep telling her you have it sorted, there's no need for her to think about it and she and fil are welcome, but you understand if they prefer to stay in their own house.

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