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AIBU - Christmas Eve 'Surprise'

(247 Posts)
sns12 Tue 03-Dec-19 13:10:07

I need some wisdom.

I live in a foreign country, and have not seem DM or DF for over a year.

DH thought it'd be a nice idea to book a 'surprise' Christmas trip to see my parents. The only flights which were affordable/fitted around work arrive in the UK at 4pm on the 24th. It'll take an additional 3 hours to navigate public transport to my parents house.

So here is my dilemma - the surprise element is nice, but my mum thinks it will just be her and my dad, so won't be prepared with food provisions or organisation. I couldn't care less what I eat on the 25th, but am worried the surprise will backfire and lead to stress.

So my question is: AIBU just to turn-up on the 24th without telling them to make this a Christmas surprise? Or do you think it's better to be more cautious and tell them before?

Opinions appreciated.

BuntyCollocks Tue 03-Dec-19 13:11:34

Can you sort a Tesco click and collect to get at 8 ish on Christmas Eve so there will be plenty of food? If so, you could do that and keep the surprise

penberrh Tue 03-Dec-19 13:12:31

Can you book Christmas lunch at a restaurant/pub or get a supermarket delivery late in the 2;th?

Even do, I think it’s kinder to let your folks know of the surprise in advance - is prefer to know in their position.

AuntieMarys Tue 03-Dec-19 13:12:49

Sounds great in theory but not in practice. Will trains be running when you arrive? What if flight is delayed? Your parents haven't got food in.

Nikster11 Tue 03-Dec-19 13:12:53

Aww I'm sure they'll be chuffed, but personally I would probably give them a heads up.

But then I am one of those people that likes to know if someone is coming to the house.

Think it might cause stress if they don't have enough food etc.


penberrh Tue 03-Dec-19 13:13:11

Bloody hell, sorry about all the ruddy typos!

MiniEggAddiction Tue 03-Dec-19 13:13:24

I would definitely tell them. I think the surprise element is a bit selfish (wanting to swoop in with a grand gesture). I know my parents would want to be able to look forward to the visit, get things ready etc.

Limpshade Tue 03-Dec-19 13:13:41

Ooh, I don't know. This is the kind of thing that my mum would half love and would half send her into a flap (I also live abroad from the UK). Can you give them a video call from your local airport before you board? As in, Guess where I am?! Then it's still kind of last-minute but not so much that they couldn't get to the shops if they needed to (and have time to get excited about your arrival)!

IWantADifferentName Tue 03-Dec-19 13:14:02

Does your Mum like surprises? If so, do a Christmas shop for her and order the food you will need either for delivery on Christmas Eve after you arrive or a few days earlier because you just wanted to do that as present for her.

If she doesn’t like surprises, tell her in advance - possibly as you are boarding the plane so she can pick you up?

I have said she, but of course that applies to your father as well. Or perhaps tell one but not the other?

TeenPlusTwenties Tue 03-Dec-19 13:14:12

For DH's Mum that would have been water off a ducks back, and she would have coped no problem.
For my parents it would throw my Mum into a complete anxious panic.

You need to know your audience. Perhaps your parents would like to enjoy the anticipation? Surprises are overrated imo.

PotteringAlong Tue 03-Dec-19 13:14:22

Tell them.

legalseagull Tue 03-Dec-19 13:15:26

Tell them. They'll be thrilled now. You can get the surprise factor now when you tell them. Then they get to look forward to it all of December as well. I agree the surprise is more for your enjoyment than theirs

Ylvamoon Tue 03-Dec-19 13:16:03

Have you got any friends or relatives nearby? Maybe discuss it with them & they could help sort something out... as for the 24th, is it possible to arrange a Takeaway? Say as an early present you treat your parents to Christmas Eve food... you order & pay for it..delivered by yourself!

TheLovleyChebbyMcGee Tue 03-Dec-19 13:17:32

Can you drop by a supermarket on your way? Depends on opening times I guess, or perhaps ruin the surprise for your dad so he can ensure enough food is bought, the house is ready etc.

IreneWinters Tue 03-Dec-19 13:19:39

You’d be a bit put out if you arrived on Christmas Eve to a completely empty house because your parents had decided at the last minute to book themselves into a nice hotel over Christmas!

sweeneytoddsrazor Tue 03-Dec-19 13:20:45

Whilst I would undoubtedly be happy to see my kids turning up unannounced at 7pm on Xmas Eve and planning to stay for a few days is a big ask. What if they accept an invitation between now and then? What if they decide to go out Xmas eve and aren't there when you arrive?

VenusOfWillendorf Tue 03-Dec-19 13:21:07

I also live abroad, and have in the past done the surprise visit home thing (though never at Christmas!) - but I did tell my sister, who collected me from the airport and then we did a big shop on the way, as my parents live quite rurally and I knew my mother would worry about food supplies almost as soon as she saw me.
Is there anyone back home you can rope in? Siblings that could store a Tesco delivery for you, or other relatives that might be joining them for Christmas anyway?
I think it's a nice idea - but a tough one to pull off late on Christmas Eve without some food-planning. That said - only you can know how much that would stress out our parents. Good luck and safe travels!

AtLeastThreeDrinks Tue 03-Dec-19 13:22:42

Can you tell them over FaceTime to still see their reaction?

If I were them I'd like to be able to look forward to it (and make up a bed etc!). My parents would hate not having any food in for us, and you'll be a bit stuck late Christmas Eve. Booking a restaurant is a lovely idea if you can afford it, otherwise yes to the Christmas Eve delivery and let your parents know.

Also, any chance they'd come and get you if they know about the surprise?! Public transport on Christmas Eve is likely to be hellish.

annabell22 Tue 03-Dec-19 13:24:09

Definitely tell them.

Can you not hire a car to save the public transport nightmare?

DDiva Tue 03-Dec-19 13:24:20

That sounds bonkers to me.

I'm guessing your mum and dad would probably prefer to have notice s8i they can plan lots of nice things for you and make it really special. Only you really know if a suprise would be fun and spontaneous or just send them into panic. You would need to arrange a food delivery at the very least and I think youd struggle to get a slot on Christmas eve now.

sns12 Tue 03-Dec-19 13:24:28

No, my parents now live away from where I grew up. I do have a DS but we are not on speaking terms - complicated dynamics.

I am thinking maybe I should say something based on these replies. I have never surprised my mum, so I don't know for sure how she'd react, but I know she does like to be super organised and have everything planned out well in advance, so I don't want for it to backfire.

MrsJonesAndMe Tue 03-Dec-19 13:24:33

It sounds like such a great surprise, but in reality having 2 (even much loved) guests turn up with no notice at the busiest time of year and shops shut would make me sit down and cry!

unless you can sort the logistics of more food or book somewhere to go and cook whatever your mum has in on Boxing day instead. Alternatively, tell her on the Sunday before, so she has a few days. It would still be very special for them.

CandiceSucksCandy Tue 03-Dec-19 13:24:36

Somebody arriving for Christmas unexpectedly is not nice.
I would hate it, I wouldn't have had an chance to set up the sleeping arrangements or food or gifts.
Why didn't he arrange it with your parents and keep the surprise for you at the airport?

riotlady Tue 03-Dec-19 13:25:03

Depends on your parents personalities, I think. I personally would hate it!

LividLaughLove Tue 03-Dec-19 13:25:30

God, tell them.

Nothing worse than surprises that cause logistical nightmares.

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