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How to explain that I am not coming for Christmas?

(26 Posts)
pandarific Mon 05-Sep-16 19:45:59

Hi all, I am hoping you can help me with this.

I'm in my early 30s and live in another country from my home of origin and since I moved away in 2009 I have gone back 'home' to my mum and dads for Christmas. I have had first a boyfriend and now a partner for 4 of those years, and he has previously come over to join us on the 28th or similar.

Some of you might remember my thread from last Christmas, when I talked about the awful behaviour of my adult sister who lives with my mum over Christmas (http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/2535097-To-hate-my-sister) TL;DR it was horrific, and I never wanted to feel so trapped and miserable ever again.

Last time I saw my sister was for her 30th, when my other half and I went over to celebrate. That was... okay. Me and her didn't have any trouble, but she was pretty awful to my mum and dad, which my partner witnessed - as well as being really shitty on its own, it's so embarrassing. sad

Anyway, my current issue is I don't know quite how to break it to my mum that I'm not going to come over for Xmas this year.

I tried to suggest that I host Christmas this year, which would have had the advantage of me being on my own turf and able to ask my sister to leave if any bad behaviour started, but my mum works in retail, so won't have Christmas off.

I am just worried about hurting her feelings - I know she will eventually get it if I explain why I'm not coming - I just can't put myself through that again, and pay all that money for xmas flights to have a really shit time - but she will be upset. And I think it will feed into her view of me as selfish. She has never explicitly said this of me, but I just worry that that's what she thinks. This is based on me objecting to her driving 200 miles basically every week to check in on an elderly relative with disabilities due to uncontrolled diabetes. I told her this was madness, and pointed out she has
3 brothers, two of whom are in married couples and an extended family much closer - why was she doing all this and then knackering herself and paying massive petrol bills. Which is all rather beside the point, but anyway.

At xmas my partner and I want to spend it together, playing with our kittens and possibly making mince pies. His mum has offered us to come over (it will also be the first time he has not been in the family home for xmas) but I felt that that, rather than it being a 'just us' xmas day would be unfair on my mum and dad, so we were thinking we could go over on Boxing Day.

I, my mum and my dad are going on a sun hol together in October - should I wait until then to tell them?

So, my question is a multi parter - how do I best break it to my mum? In person on the hol? Or if it will colour the holiday how about now and then she'll have had time to get used to the idea before then. And how should I say it? And do partner and I stay solo for xmas day? Or is that nuts?

Sorry for the epic post, I just don't really know what to do for the best.

Minniemagoo Mon 05-Sep-16 19:51:49

Band aid method. Quick and short!
I'd do it early (so she can't complain of having already made plans)
Cheery straight to the point - DP and I have decided we'd like to spend Christmas day at home together, we are sooooo looking forward to it.
Move on quickly in the conversation, have something else to talk about.
Don't apologise for your actions only sympathise with her feelings and move on.
Repeatedly move on.

ImYourMama Mon 05-Sep-16 19:58:33

Tell her straight, this year DP and I want Xmas together, we're staying at home but you're welcome to come over if you have time off work. Travelling every year at Xmas is getting to be too much so we need a proper break this year

pandarific Mon 05-Sep-16 20:07:45

Thank you guys - am I being oversensitive by saying we should stay at our house for Xmas day or do you think it makes a difference?

pandarific Mon 05-Sep-16 20:08:35

Oh, and do I do it now or in October?

m0therofdragons Mon 05-Sep-16 20:16:05

Do it now so they'll be over it in October and you can enjoy the holiday

ImperialBlether Mon 05-Sep-16 20:22:21

If you were married, she wouldn't expect you to spend Christmas apart from your husband, would she? Why should you when you're living together?

It's obvious you want to spend Christmas together. Every couple does. You're not being unreasonable by wanting to spend it in your own home.

And your mum might be confusing 'selfish' with 'martyr' - take no notice.

I'd just say something, "Oh we've decided we're spending Christmas at home. Is there any chance you can get time off?" Remind her when she argues with you that you're 30 years old and you want to be with your partner for Christmas. Presumably she spent Christmas with her husband then?

AnnieOnnieMouse Mon 05-Sep-16 20:23:31

Do it now, so your mum has time to get over her disappointment, rather than let it upset her holiday. Just let her know simply, clearly and gently, as soon as you can.
My ds lives 200 miles away, and although he almost always comes here at some point around Christmas, I have no feeling of entitlement that he comes. I love it when he does come, especially if his partner can come too.
Not saying as soon as you know is very hurtful, tho, so do let her know asap, before she starts making plans.
Once you are not going to your mums, where you do go is entirely a separate decision.
We said similar about 30 years ago.

ImperialBlether Mon 05-Sep-16 20:23:41

So just re-read and your dad will be there anyway? It won't just be your mum and your sister.

Say, "You like spending Christmas with Dad, don't you? That's what I want to do with my partner."

Evergreen17 Mon 05-Sep-16 20:27:44

Do it soon. I had this. Every year I would have to spend money I didnt have to fly back home because it is such a Family tradition.
One year I just couldnt afford it anymore and I said. It wasnt that bad. Now I sometimes go, others I can't
I am pregnant now and I think I will just spend them with DH or if he wants to go to see his family I will go to my friend's house

xexxsy Mon 05-Sep-16 20:45:29

Christmas is just so overrated and fraught with issues.

Ditch the guilt, enjoy your life, be yourself and do what you would like to do.

When you do your own thing once, it will never more be an issue. I know (wink).

You can visit your parents anytime you like. They know that.

App1esandOranges Mon 05-Sep-16 20:49:42

If it were me I'd be honest and explain that due to your sisters behaviour you'd rather have a stress free Christmas at home however mum and dad are welcome to join.

Wallywobbles Mon 05-Sep-16 21:01:30

I would say that you aren't coming over for Christmas. Don't make it a discussion or an apology. If she asks for more info say. Last year was the last time due to sisters behavior. We work hard to pay for the trip over, and I will not be made to feel like that again.

If she pushes just say that it's not up for discussion. You want to have a happy relaxed Christmas with your partner. And while they (but not sis) are welcome to join you, you appreciate that's unlikely.

Send her an email/text preferably if you communicate that way.

Just do it. You know it's okay not to pay to have a shit time. You are an adult and you'll probably be having Christmas at home every year if you have kids.

pandarific Mon 05-Sep-16 21:17:42

Thank you, that's very helpful. I'll try to talk to her tonight. X

Joysmum Mon 05-Sep-16 21:37:58

Personally I'd turn any negative remarks she makes about why they can't come into a comment that you knew they'd understand as that's how you and you OH feel about always traveling away from your home and you're glad they can relate to those feelings grin

tribpot Mon 05-Sep-16 21:57:16

What happened with the car after the end of your last thread? My guess is the intervention failed and your sister drove the car uninsured and you effectively colluded in her behaviour to spare your mum? (I hope I'm wrong but if not, the key thing here is not to repeat the behaviour now).

I think your sister's going to do her nut when she finds out you're not coming home for Christmas. By the time your holiday comes around, your mum will be a nervous wreck because of the strain she's under and you will be under massive pressure to agree to come home to keep the peace.

So I think you're going to have to be prepared not only to say to your mum your sister's behaviour makes it impossible for you to visit at Christmas (and I have to agree, overall do it sooner rather than later) but that you will not be emotionally blackmailed during the holiday, in fact the entire topic will be forbidden for the duration, or you're not going. And mean it.

You're completely right to stick to the resolution you made last Christmas and not go back. I would have Xmas Day at home just the two of you, just because it's one less stick to beat you with later.

Your sister's behaviour is not the mildly annoying stuff of all families, it is unacceptable. If your mum wants to tolerate it (how on earth does she live with it?) she can do. But you're entitled to make other choices.

pandarific Mon 05-Sep-16 22:34:15

Hi tribpot, thank you for commenting, I'm glad you remembered the scale of the fuckery over xmas - makes me feel less mad!

I'm happy to report that I did so what I thought was the right thing to do, both to protect my mum and my sister - I got my uncle (my mums brother, one of the few people she WILL listen to) on the phone and told him... not everything, but an edited version of events, and my concerns for my mum and my sister if they were caught, or if an accident happened. He and my mums other brother put a stop to it, and my sister didn't take the car, thank god.

My dad told me off as my mum told him what happened as soon as she stated getting frantic phone calls. That hurt, but I explained why I did what I did, and things are fine with us.

I feel guilty still about it but I think it was the right thing to do and my only option to stop something really bad potentially happening.

I am also worried my sister will go batshit and abuse my mum about Christmas too. sad I think I am resigned to the fact that there's nothing I can do about it though.

VenusRising Mon 05-Sep-16 22:40:35

Pictures of your kittens please!

How could you leave kittens at Christmastime??

I agree matter of fact I'd best, "we'll not be coming for xmas, we have other plans this year. See you in October."

pandarific Mon 05-Sep-16 22:41:45

How my mum lives with it - honestly my sister is Jekyll and Hyde. When the crazy half is not operating - it only appears under stress usually - she is lovely - she's a fantastic artist, can be very affectionate, funny and nice. She's good with children and likes singer songwriters. She can also be a screaming nightmare, and unfortunately they come in the same body. sad

I get upset about it, but I can't do much apart from try to help, while minimising my own exposure. I think about it a lot, and feel guilty about it a lot.

Maybe things would have been different if we had had a less screwed up upbringing.

App1esandOranges Mon 05-Sep-16 23:02:12

You aren't responsible for your mum she chooses to put up with your sister and how she behaves. Don't feel guilty both your parents and sister are adults and are responsible for themselves. The way they react to your news is about them not you. Do not be manipulated into giving in or feeling like crap because you have made a decision that makes you happy.

user1470771898 Mon 05-Sep-16 23:10:33

Mum of grown up daughter here. Please just tell her straight asap. She might be a tad upset for a day or two, but it will give your mum plenty of time to sort something out. And she'll be over it by the time you go on holiday.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 06-Sep-16 00:07:34

Your dad told you off! Fucker.

Definitely don't go. Spending Christmas in your own home when you are 30 and have a partner is completely normal even when you have lovely family.

I too think they will all put massive pressure on you to come.

I hope you see all of that as the bullying it is.

I hope each little drip of emotional blackmail hardens your resolve as it shows up how totally dysfunctional they are and how they don't care about you, only about their own bizarre games.

TroubleinDaFamily Tue 06-Sep-16 00:15:49

I vaguely remember your thread last year, and I remember reading between the lines and figuring out where you were from from your parents behaviour.

Children coming home, is for that generation and some strange reason a f*king status symbol.

So don't do it, we struggled home in the snow of 2010, I walked in the door said Happy Christmas, delighted to be here but this is the last time. Well you can imagine the reaction.

I pointed out that I had being paying a mortgage for 20 years and I could count on one hand the amount of times I had had a Christmas at home.

Going home this year, but it is my choice and if it doesn't suit me, I won't be doing it again. SIMPLES.

pandarific Tue 06-Sep-16 08:49:33

I did it - my mum was so lovely about it, totally understands and even said 'you have to live your life'. She said she is not doing a big Xmas this year and will probably go to visit older relatives, as she is also sick of my sisters behaviour then.

I asked her whether I should text my sister to tell her I'm not coming and why, because I was worried that my sister would blame her for me not coming back, and my mum said that she's getting that anyway already. sad

She has asked my sister to move out, but she can't yet as she needs a permanent job. Jobs in my country are scarce on the ground, and I know it's not for want of looking, my sister is desperate to work. Sounds like she's in quite a depressive period, and I have been getting texts from her at weird hours.

Nothing to be done about it anyway I suppose - there's nothing I can do for her other than what I've said a million times.

Thanks for your help all, your advice was really helpful.

Thinkingblonde Tue 06-Sep-16 11:00:32

You've probably done your mum a huge favour here. Given her the opportunity to do what she wants and a break from your sister.

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