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Christmas dinner drama

(269 Posts)
thegreenlight Tue 19-Nov-19 19:36:56

My husband is cooking turkey Christmas dinner this year with all the trimmings. We have invited my parents and my mum said she would bring beef in gravy. I told my husband this and he was quite upset (he only really cooks at Christmas and it is kind of a big deal to him) I very gently suggested to my mum that she not bring anything and she was fine with this initially.

However, when I saw her next she said that my dad (who is in his 70s) wasn’t coming if he couldn’t eat the meat he wanted and that if he was a vegetarian we would have to cater to him and this is no different. I am now stuck in the middle and don’t know who is being more unreasonable.

My husband said that we should cancel them coming to dinner if they won’t eat what he cooks and we should just pop in to see them on Christmas day but I don’t want to drag our DDs (6 and 2) away from their presents.

My parents can be quite narcissistic and controlling and there is a bit of bad blood with my husband and them due to their previous treatment of me but they seem blissfully unaware of this. This has probably coloured DHs reaction. They do do a lot for us (my mum is looking after DD2 2 days a week until September).

I can see where DH is coming from but I don’t put as much importance on Christmas dinner as he does.

Help! I don’t know what to do. Any direct engagement between my parents and DH would cause a massive falling out as he hasn’t had the lifetime’s experience of dealing with them like I have and will just tell it as it is and that would be taken out on me. Advice please!

ithaca26 Sun 22-Dec-19 22:11:49

I've been here and my motto is "rise above" your children's relationship with their grandparents seems to be important to you, this is ONE day out of 365. Make this about keeping the peace and have a variety of meats and live and let live. Who cares whos controlling or winning on this, at the end of the day is just food! it will all be over soon and everyone can get on with life, bellies filled with turkey and gravy, etc!
Life goes on and it's not worth falling out with people over a bit
of meat, we can be principled and stand our grounds of course, but really???? it's just dinner.....

babydog Wed 20-Nov-19 19:22:22

yes, I agree with @toomuchtooold too. I commented earlier in the thread to say your husband was ridiculous. I'm really basing that judgement on my own situation (we all do). my parents are great and no one would dream of denying them some beef.

but when you give the background; I would say to your parents, it's s shame they aren't coming. see them a different day (if at all)

allaboutthequestions Wed 20-Nov-19 17:38:41

@PurpleDaisies lol didn't mean to come across like that. It's Christmas dinner and he's cooking turkey! Also the parents seem rude in general. I meant if you go to a dinner party you can't expect all tastes to be catered for apart from the obvious like veg/vegan/ gluten free/religious etc. Usually when I go to eat at a friends I don't know what I'm having until I get there and even if I'm not a fan I say 'ooo yummy' and eat as much of it as I can to be polite.

Dilkhush Wed 20-Nov-19 13:26:26

Everything toomuchtooold said is spot on.

toomuchtooold Wed 20-Nov-19 12:44:31

I know you weren't (deliberately) drip feeding OP, but equally as soon as I saw your OP I thought, I bet there's a hell of a lot of back story there. And there is. Your dad is an alcoholic not in recovery and your mum used to phone you up and shout abuse at you until your DH told her to stop it. You say that everything was OK until the time they phoned your DH out of his bed to go and collect them - can I ask whether your mother shouting at you on the phone predates that? Because if so, no, everything wasn't fine before, what you mean is it was fine because you weren't put into the situation of having to balance your parents' wants with someone else's - it was just you that was getting badly treated, and that's OK. (It's not OK.)

Lots of people with narcissistic parents start their threads the way you did - with the bare bones of the current dilemma, and then they fill in the details. And people think it's drip feeding but it's not, or at least it's not deliberate. In an effort to be fair to your parents you are trying to get a read on this current situation without people being biased by knowledge of their previous behaviour. And that's a nice impulse, but you know, you are totally entitled to judge their current behaviour in the context of their past actions. They will encourage you to forget their previous bad behaviour ("let bygones be bygones", "don't hold a grudge") but you don't need to. It's perfectly acceptable to say to yourself, look, if they were generally great with you and your DH and they never made much fuss, and then they came with this meat thing, you'd be fine with it, but because it is them, and because (as a PP said) this is the sort of thing they always do - that's not fine.

If I were you I'd engineer a conversation about it where your mother reiterates that your father just won't come and then I'd be like "oh well that's a shame if you won't be coming but I'll see you both in the New Year" and then get the phone down before she has time to backtrack. But then I am a mardy cow and I went NC with my mother 4 years ago without the slightest twinge of regret so...

Rainbunny Wed 20-Nov-19 12:18:57

I understand how your DH feels here, he will be making an effort to make a large meal for everyone and your DF is basically sending the message that his food won't be good enough and he'll only eat what he wants. It's rude because it isn't based upon dietary requirements, it's just your DF refusing to compromise on a single meal out of all the meals he will eat in his life.

That said, I'd tell your DH that it's one of those situations when he can be right or he can be happy and just go along with it. It's your DF's loss and he'll look completely petty and fussy doing it too. Just let him get on with it and enjoy your dinner. I'd make a point of praising how delicious the food is throughout the dinner and if your stick-in-the-mud DF asks for some turkey I'd probably say sorry no, can't spare any extra grin

The best way to deal with narcissist people is to not give them the reaction they crave.

PurpleDaisies Wed 20-Nov-19 12:18:52

@allaboutthequestions you don’t sound a very good host. Who wants their guests to eat food they don’t like?

Does your “suck it up” attitude extend to vegetarians and vegans? What about religious people who don’t want t eat pork?

Herocomplex Wed 20-Nov-19 12:17:01

As someone who grew up in a dysfunctional family the phone call about ‘dish of beef in gravy’ would have had me on high alert for other things I was about to get wrong.

allaboutthequestions Wed 20-Nov-19 12:06:59

If you get invited to a dinner you eat what you're given even if you don't like it! Fair enough if you are allergic or something but just because you 'prefer other meat' is down right rude imo! They come and eat what they are given or they graciously turn down the invite politely if they really dislike it that much. Have your husbands back, it sounds like he's had yours in the past.

NoSauce Wed 20-Nov-19 12:00:36

Wow a family break up just for a bit of beef anf gravy! It would be different if your OH was being asked to cook 2 roasts. Suck it up

Ffs read the bloody thread.

MzHz Wed 20-Nov-19 11:58:32

If the beef was greeted with a ‘how delicious, so important that people have what they like’ they’d find something else to make a point about.

I suspect you’re right on this point @Herocomplex

MzHz Wed 20-Nov-19 11:56:59

I say this as the partner of a man who was horribly treated by his parents, awful neglect. i live with the fallout from this on a daily basis.

If I invited her for Christmas or Sunday lunch etc and she said she’d bring something else for herself I’d take that as an insult and her son would too - especially as once she cooked something (she knew) he and his dc couldn’t eat. they went hungry. I was absolutely livid!

i get very cross and upset when people hurt the people I love.

Confusedbeetle Wed 20-Nov-19 11:50:17

Wow a family break up just for a bit of beef anf gravy! It would be different if your OH was being asked to cook 2 roasts. Suck it up

MzHz Wed 20-Nov-19 11:45:40


I think from your comments about not wanting to upset your parents, insisting on them doing childcare when dh is dead against it, wanting the dc to have a good relationship with them, when clearly you had an awful upbringing that you dear OP are well and truly in deepest darkest FOG


They’ve done a massive number on you, your dh knows this and has invited them because he has to, and this awful old man is snubbing him by bringing his own food, as if your h food isn’t good enough

Maybe he’s a misogynist too, thinks that a man shouldn’t be cooking etc etc

I’m willing to bet that there is way more to this than what you’ve said

Your h is there FOR YOU, he loathes them because of how you were treated and I dare say because he has to live with the resultant insecurities and sore spots that you have as a result.

I think the childcare arrangement needs changing, you need to allow dh to protect his loved ones (you and the dc)

lotsofstripes Wed 20-Nov-19 11:26:55

Sorry have only skimmed the thread so if I’ve missed an update ...

But I would say the question here is: is your DH kicking off because a) his dinner is really important to him and he wants everyone to eat it or because b) this is just yet another example of your parents’ controlling behaviour? If it’s A, I’d tell him to just let this slide and let them bring the beef for the sake of a nice day. If it’s B, I think he’s well within his rights to be finally putting his foot down

Herocomplex Wed 20-Nov-19 11:24:40

The trouble is what the OP is saying is that this small insignificant action is reminding her that her parents treat her badly.

The parents know the DH is cooking. They know he’s previously called them out and then backed down. They know exactly what they’re doing. If the beef was greeted with a ‘how delicious, so important that people have what they like’ they’d find something else to make a point about.

NoSauce Wed 20-Nov-19 11:23:14

Can’t you see that the H has had enough, saraclara? Years of his in-laws behaving like arses, being self centred and controlling, his wife allowing them to look after his children when he doesn’t want them to and all of the other antics that have happened, is enough to make anyone say fuck it.

Why should he put with even more shit just because it’s Christmas? Sounds like the OP and her family would have a much more pleasant time without them there anyway.

Their behaviour needs stopping and there’s no better time to make a stance than at Christmas.

saraclara Wed 20-Nov-19 10:56:43

Those saying let them being the beef ffs etc, have you rtft or not?
"Every post"
If this was a MIL doing this to a woman people would be losing their shit
"Not me."

*"I do all the cooking at my house at Christmas and if someone brought a dish, I'd be gracious and it would appear on the table with everything else."

Yep. All of that. As I've already said, the rest of the info is another thread altogether. But the bringing of a bit of meat that the OP's father would prefer is absolutely nothing to get worked up about in itself.

If MN would behave differently if this was a woman cooking dinner - and the inlaws asked for this - well that's Mumsnet all over. No surprise there.

onanothertrain Wed 20-Nov-19 10:50:28

I'm shocked at the number of posters who think the DH is being unreasonable. If this was a woman having an issue with her in laws the responses would be very different.
You need to back your husband on this, it's not about a bit of beef as I'm sure you know. He has a DW problem.

DelphiniumBlue Wed 20-Nov-19 10:25:45

DH is being very precious. It's Christmas, why shouldn't your dad have beef if he wants it? We do beef and turkey as some of us prefer it, my mum brings it and it's so not an issue. Will dad eat both?

CJsGoldfish Wed 20-Nov-19 10:21:42

Those saying let them being the beef ffs etc, have you rtft or not?
Every post.
If this was a MIL doing this to a woman people would be losing their shit
Not me.

I do all the cooking at my house at Christmas and if someone brought a dish, I'd be gracious and it would appear on the table with everything else. The more food the better.
I get that there are other issues at play but why pick this hill? Let everything else go and then make sure it's a shit Christmas because someone wants beef instead of turkey?

Comefromaway Wed 20-Nov-19 10:14:18

It wouldn't bother me. My mum is a fussy eater and doesn't like turkey or chicken so if she were to bring a few slices of roast beef for herself that would be fine. She also doesn't eat gravy made with bisto like we do so often she will bring her own gravy.

I don't like lamb so if I go to their house and they are having lamb I might take a chicken portion.

LannisterLion1 Wed 20-Nov-19 10:01:19

I can't believe that when your dh had your back, stood up to his wife bring verbally abused, you forced him to apologise and back down. He has a big dw problem.

This is the straw that broke the camels back, your parents controlling and you bending over immediately. In a normal family dynamic with reasonable parents, your dp would look the rigid and controlling one but in this dynamic your parents and you are controlling. He stands up for you and you screw him over by making him apologise. You need to pick a side here. Either play the dutiful scraping daughter who will probably lose her dh if he's sensible or stand up the woman who takes no shit and doesn't force her family to bow down.

NoSauce Wed 20-Nov-19 09:56:15

If this was a MIL doing this to a woman people would be losing their shit

Yes they would. Are they not because it’s a man who doesn’t want to conform or because it’s the OPs own parents causing trouble? Probably the former.

Pilot12 Wed 20-Nov-19 09:10:46

Buy a small beef joint and have your husband cook that as well as the turkey, then everyone has a choice of two meats (my MIL always cooks two meats) and everyone eats your husbands delicious meal. If they still insist on bringing their own then it's a control/trying to cause trouble issue in which case I would uninvited them (but be prepared to lose your childcare).

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