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Family Christmas dinner problems.

(38 Posts)
AG29 Sat 14-Dec-19 10:49:53

Every single year I get stressed out about this. Both mine and partners family live close by which I believe makes things harder as we feel obliged to visit both and one day I’d love a Christmas to ourselves.

Each year my mum wants us to go there for dinner as does mil but mil is more understanding we have two families. We’ve alternated years before and even just had our own dinner to save a fuss. We visit both on Christmas Day. It’s only the bloody dinner that causes such a fuss.

We have two children.

Before anyone asks I can’t really host Christmas here. Inviting my mum would mean also 15 other people. Grandparents, siblings, my brothers partner, uncles. I have no room for that. Mil loves to host it herself anyway.

So.. this year mil invited over there. Last year we had our own dinner but I think the year before we had dinner at my mums.. I can’t really remember.

It’s just mil and her partner home this year. Their other children my partners siblings have moved away, travelling, have partners etc. So they would
Love if I’d we went over with DC for dinner. Mil loves to do it.

My mum isn’t happy. She doesn’t seem to understand we have two families. She was a single mum when we were little. Me and my brother didn’t have a dad around and she’s estranged from her now husbands parents so it’s always been ‘her family’. She believes the daughter should spend Christmas Dinner with her mummy yet I’m sure she won’t be happy when my brother wanted to spend Christmas at his girlfriends.

Also. Christmas at mums is stressful. So many people. They’re loud, outspoken, it’s a crazy family and there’s no room for like 19 people. I’d much rather visit them first thing. Plus my brothers partner will be there. I haven’t met her yet and won’t before Christmas. I have major social anxiety meeting new people let alone around the table.

Aibu to think my mum should understand. Mil and her partner have no one locally apart from us whereas my mum has all her family locally and should be grateful.

TreeSwayer Sat 14-Dec-19 11:00:10

I think you need to realise that although you are a daughter you are also a grown woman with a family of your own who can make a decision.

Your reasons for wanting to spend time at your MIL's are completely reasonable. I would also put it to your Mum about your brother forever spending Christmas at his girlfriend/wife's house in future. She hasn't thought it through, she is just using it as a reason to guilt you into going. Don't.

You can see your own Mum on another day. Why is it all about 1 day? As children we would see maternal GP on Christmas Eve, just ourselves on Christmas day, no visitors, no going anywhere except mass (Catholic) and boxing day was spent with paternal GP.

Now Dh and I and our 2 sons travel to both our families on Christmas Day purely because my sister works in a theatre so only has that one day available as it is their busiest time of the year. Given the choice we wouldn't go out! Luckily they live in the same town, unluckily it is an hour away.

Why not make a new tradition of seeing your Mum on X day over the Christmas period? Put yourself and your family first.

bluebeck Sat 14-Dec-19 11:02:16

Oh I could not be dealing with this shit. Just tell everyone you will be spending the day at home from now on, in your pyjamas, with no visitors.

You will see parents/extended family Xmas Eve/Boxing Day.

AG29 Sat 14-Dec-19 11:03:37

You. Both my mum and mil work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day etc do Christmas Day is the only day 😩 one day I will get a Christmas to ourselves. It’s such a busy day, the kids don’t get chance to look at their toys and I wake up Boxing Day feeling like I’ve wasted Christmas Day pleasing everyone before us again!

Drum2018 Sat 14-Dec-19 11:08:51

Go to your in laws if that's what you and your Dh are happy to do. Your mother doesn't get to dictate what you do. She can be pissed off all she wants, you can't control that. You can control your reactions to her. So you've told her you're going to mil. That should be the end of that conversation. If she continues to bring it up just say "it's a shame you're upsetting yourself about it". Don't take responsibility for the way she is feeling about it. You are not causing her tantrum. She's a grown woman who should have more cop on - not your problem if she enjoys being a drama queen.

Cherrysoup Sat 14-Dec-19 11:13:00

Do what you and your dh want to do. Your mum might want you there but her desires do not trump yours.

areyouafraidofthedark Sat 14-Dec-19 11:21:11

I'll never understand the need to visit everyone all in one day. That's it it's only one day!

MereDintofPandiculation Sat 14-Dec-19 11:24:32

You can't expect your mum to understand - all these people are family, and she is quite unable to see them as in any way threatening. So stop worrying about her being happy about your decision, just decide what you're going to to do and then tell her.

Next year, don't leave it till December. Decide in October how you're going to spend Christmas and stick to it.

crimsonlake Sat 14-Dec-19 11:27:18

You have answered the dilema yourself ' my children hardly have time to look at their toy's'
Christmas is all about your children and pleasing them and making memories. Stay home.

wellthatwasthat Sat 14-Dec-19 11:32:39

She might be your mum but she isn't your boss.

You are a fully-functioning adult with a family of your own. You do not have to do anything you don't want to, and you are entitled to spend Christmas however (and with whoever) you wish.

81Byerley Sat 14-Dec-19 11:40:07

The best thing I ever did was telling our families that we wanted to start our own traditions. My children didn't want to be rushed through present opening then dragged out of the house away from their new toys, and I didn't want the stress. My Mum lived 200 miles away, so that wasn't a problem. Mother in law said "Would you like to come here on Boxing Day instead?" We can exchange presents then". We agreed, and so started a lovely tradition with year on year as my husband's siblings married and had kids, and with some close friends and family of my in laws joining in, our family day got bigger, and became its own tradition.
A couple of years later, my mum said she wished that she could see the children open the presents she bought them, and so started our next tradition. We started taking it in turns, together with my brother, to host Christmas at our houses, the weekend a week or so before Christmas. We'd arrive Friday evening, ready for Christmas Eve on Saturday and Christmas day on the Sunday. My nieces and nephews, now in their 40s, still remember those Saturdays when after a boozy lunch all the adults except teetotal me had a snooze, and I helped them with Christmas crafts, helping them make decorations such as peg doll angels and hanging snowflakes. Sunday was Christmas day, with a big roast dinner (not turkey) silly games, chocolates, nuts, etc.. It was great....and who doesn't love three Christmases?

Witchend Sat 14-Dec-19 11:45:09

I can understand your dilemma if they both work Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Could you do one Christmas Day one New Years Day, or start a new tradition where you do a "Christmas Day" the weekend before with one then the weekend after with the other. (or whatever day they have off)

Or do what we do if we visit family (further away) for Christmas.
We have our own Christmas Day later. The first time we did that, we made a special visit to a Father Christmas and asked him if he'd mind coming when we were back rather than Christmas Day. He (lovely chap) wrote it down very carefully, sprinkled some "magic" over it and told us to ring a bell so his elves heard it and would know to come.
So now they get most of their presents on the day after we come home. They have stockings in the morning, then we have lunch, or go out for lunch, and do family presents in the afternoon. It's really nice.

lisag1969 Sat 14-Dec-19 11:48:40

Just be honest will your mum say sorry mum will pop in but we are not staying for dinner. You have loads of people coming MIL has nobody so we are going there this year. As last year you were at home and the year before we were at yours. I'm sorry if this is upsetting for you but you need to understand we have 2 families and we have to alternate. If she tries to make a fuss just say I'm not going to get into this. This is how it is going to be and that's it.

ACouchOfOnesOwn Sat 14-Dec-19 11:56:08

I don't see why your mum should be grateful. Her family have a tradition of visiting at Christmas. Your MIL seems to be fine with family not visiting (since all her DCs are going to be elsewhere) so I do find it a tad ironic that you're going to the person who doesn't care about family being with her for Christmas whilst snubbing the one who does.
You're choosing MIL's because it will be more fun. That's fine but don't make up all the excuses to try to justify it. Own your decision. You're entitled not to go. Your DM is entitled to feel upset.

cantkeepawayforever Sat 14-Dec-19 12:02:29

You don't say how old your children are?

Ask them what THEY would like to do at Christmas and do that. Unless the day works for them, it is a failure - and 'no, the children would prefer to stay at home / go to MIL's this year' is a perfectly reasonable statement.

We have never visited for Christmas. In fact we never visit before Christmas. From Boxing day onwards is fair game, but until then? No. People are welcome to come to us, but we never visit. That's the way our children like it, so that's what we do.

PrettyPurpleFeather Sat 14-Dec-19 12:03:52

Next Christmas book a holiday away over the festive Christmas period. A nice cottage in the Lakes or a lodge at Centre Parcs/Bluestone. Job done. Don't share your Christmas/Easter plans with your mother.

You could compromise with your mum and say you'll have Easter Sunday lunch at hers to shut her up.

didofido Sat 14-Dec-19 12:06:25

When my kids were small we used to spend Christmas with one set of parents and New Year with the other, alternating the next year etc. 'D'H was always a PITA at my parents.

Now both sets of parents, and DH, are no more, I have to chose carefully which of my children I visit....

Stephminx Sat 14-Dec-19 12:07:56

My DH family are about an hour away - not that much really in the grand scheme of things - and are all separated but we pick a weekend in December and just everyone together all once.

It means we can have Xmas on our own and see local family if we want.

Why do you have to see anyone on Xmas eve/day/Boxing Day. Just make it festive (although we don’t go full lunch on that day) and it’s like having two Xmas.

Just go what your little family want to do.

converseandjeans Sat 14-Dec-19 12:09:00

Lucky you - we have spent many Christmas days with just us and then when DC were tiny just us as DC all day. Nobody to visit. We have family who we have not had any fall outs with but PIL chose to spend with DHs sister and my parents chose to spend with my brother and his children. Only now we have lost my Dad do we have my Mum prepared to come to us. Try to be grateful you have a large family who want you there!!

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 14-Dec-19 12:18:14

Your mum needs to understand that you have more than one priority and she has so many other people there that in fact it would be better for all concerned if you went to your MIL's, who will have hardly anyone.

She sounds like she's desperately trying to prove something, your mum - but you and your DH should do what works best for YOU, not your mum.

LovePoppy Sat 14-Dec-19 12:19:04

To me, it’s not about “who will have less people” and more about where you want to spend the day.

I’m stuck in rotation hell (mum, dad, mil) and mil always forgets that we have two families on my side.

Write down where you spend meals so you can back up arguments with facts (you shouldn’t have to, but it’s easier)

Good luck.

LovePoppy Sat 14-Dec-19 12:22:17

Her family have a tradition of visiting at Christmas. Your MIL seems to be fine with family not visiting (since all her DCs are going to be elsewhere) so I do find it a tad ironic that you're going to the person who doesn't care about family being with her for Christmas whilst snubbing the one who does

Yes, let’s not go where we want because MIL doesn’t care because she isn’t throwing a tantrum to get what she wants.

Are you for real?

OneDay10 Sat 14-Dec-19 12:26:53

We don't do the dragging my DC around to suit others.
Your dm is selfishly placing expectations on you, and in turn you are doing the same to your own dc. Why are you dragging them around when you would prefer not to.
let them know that this year you will be staying at home and giving your DC a Christmas that you as a family want.

MummytoCSJH Sat 14-Dec-19 12:32:57

@converseandjeans there's always one grin how is that helpful to the OP at all? If you're served food you didn't order/don't like do you eat it anyway because there are children starving somewhere? It's not a race to the bottom and you don't have to be grateful for anything that stresses you out or makes you unhappy!

OP go to MIL, be firm with your Mum and offer next year at hers. You can still go round for an hour, she'll just have to deal with it

HelpIcantfindaname Sat 14-Dec-19 12:36:43

I used to spend Chridtmas day running round visiting while also hosting Xmas dinner here. I felt I spent most of the day in the car or the kitchen. Even when my 4th child came along, 20 years after the last one, I still ran around to try & see everyone on Xmas day. It was exhausting. I always liked Boxing day better....a day to have the leftovers for lunch & to play with DD & her toys.
But then her dad left us, she always spends Xmas day with me but goes to his on Boxing day for a few days. So Xmas day had to change. I still cook dinner for DD11, DS31, my parents, my boyfriend & his son.
But I dont see my other DDS & grandchildren, we now visit them on Xmas Eve. Then we have a family day later in the week, when my sister & her family arrive to stay.
It doesnt all have to fit into one day, especially not just to please other people.

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