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To not enjoy this Christmas Day arrangement anymore?

39 replies

pleasenomorechocolates · 26/12/2019 18:49

I know I’m probably being unreasonable. I feel like a cow even thinking this but I guess I just needed a bit of a rant.

We travel for 2 hours on Christmas Eve every year to spend 2 nights with MIL in DH’s hometown. We’ve done for around 20 years. I‘ve always enjoyed it and so have the DC as there are no little ones on my side of the family whereas all of DH’s siblings (one of which always hosts Christmas Day) and their kids still live in his hometown so it’s been more fun for our DC. We then go to see my side on the 26th for Christmas number 2.

But now all the kids in the family are 20+, quite a few understandably do Christmas in their own house with their partners and children. So the tradition has sort of ended... but we’re still coming. DS decided not to come this year and spend it with his girlfriend. DD has wanted to spend it with her partner for the last few years but feels too guilty as her very elderly grandma would be gutted. So yesterday for dinner it was me, MIL and DD with SIL, her DH, both of their DC and their partners. My DH couldn’t come as he’s unwell. MIL (understandably - she’s frail) slept most of the day. So really, it felt like me and DD were just tagging along on another family’s Christmas. DD felt a bit miserable watching her cousins and their partners when she wouldn’t be seeing hers, and I just couldn’t help but think we’ve all outgrown this tradition and would much rather be in our own house...

But MIL would be absolutely devastated and she’s very elderly. I want her to spend her last few Christmases happily - she says it’s the highlight of her year. Me and DD just couldn’t help but admit to each other that we both didn’t enjoy yesterday...

Sorry for the long rambling post! Thank you anyone who’s still reading!

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Ponoka7 · 26/12/2019 18:58

Realistically how long has she got to live?

Is it out of the question that your DD's partner couldn't have come?

You should tell your DD that she needn't come next year. You've let your Son off the hook but not your DD. This is what perpetuates that Christmas duties are the remit of the women in the family.

Disfordarkchocolate · 26/12/2019 19:13

Why aren't the rest of her family including her in their plans? Let everyone know next year you won't be coming or will be visiting before Christmas and see who steps up.

CodenameVillanelle · 26/12/2019 19:19

She's got lots of other family including her own offspring nearby, why do you have to be there for Christmas Day too? Are you sure she'd be 'devastated'? It's not as if she'd be on her own.

GooseberryJam · 26/12/2019 19:22

Could she come to you, even if it meant someone fetching her and bringing her back? How old is she?

Starfish28 · 26/12/2019 19:24

It’s really interesting that the men were let off. Felt less obligation to be there. Let your daughter off the hook next year.

pleasenomorechocolates · 26/12/2019 19:28

I would absolutely love for her to come to us but I don’t think she could do the car journey. She is in her 90s and obviously we don’t have much time left with her, which is why I want her to enjoy Christmas. She was crying yesterday because DS and DH were not at dinner but DD cheered her up. She has always been very close with my kids compared to her other grandchildren so perhaps that’s why I feel this obligation. That’s very much my own doing though, I admit, and as you say Codename maybe I’ve convinced myself this is much more of a big deal than it actually is and perhaps she wouldn’t mind that much? She definitely wouldn’t be alone, SIL would never let that happen.

I take on board 100% you say Ponoka - I do not want DD to think she has more of a responsibility to make her family happy than DS does. I would love for her to spend it with her DP - his family have a massive celebration she says and always ask her to be part of it. But she says she wouldn’t want to leave me as ‘at least we’ve got each other to get us through the day!’ DH’s health isn’t good and he’s missed quite a few Christmas dinners so there’s a high chance the same will happen next year. But I want her to know that’s not her problem and not for her to deal with - she should go and enjoy herself without having to worry about what the rest of the family does.

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pleasenomorechocolates · 26/12/2019 19:30

Really it’s just one day of the year and I know none of it matters anyway, I probably need to get some perspective Grin I just hate feeling like DD has spent pretty much every Christmas Day of her life doing something she doesn’t necessarily want to to make everybody else happy... And that it’s probably my fault she thinks that’s normal because it’s exactly what I’ve done!

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BellsAJingleTheRoastedChestnut · 26/12/2019 19:34

Oh tough one. It doesn't sound fun, but then, for two decades she has hosted you all, when it WAS fun and she might not have all that long left. I have been there with my GM too, but we just made sure someone was there to host her. I don't think the whole family has to come every year necessarily, but it would be nice if everyone had a turn, so that she gets to see everyone at christmas at some point. Also, could you make it one night instead of two?

yips · 26/12/2019 19:35

Bless you both. I would definitely encourage your DD to go to her DP's celebration next year, if your MIL would be in good company anyway and sleep through most of the day, there is no need for you to put yourselves out so much!

Selfsettling3 · 26/12/2019 19:36

Can you see her for two days at the start of December to spread bout the time she spends with people and blame it on Christmas traffic?

CruCru · 26/12/2019 19:38

I'm in two minds about this. Part of me thinks that, as your MIL is so elderly, it wouldn't be the end of the world if you carried on for a few more years.

Having said that, you've said that your husband is unwell and misses quite a few Christmases. From the ages you've given, I'm going to assume that you are in your 50s and your husband is in his 60s. Have you never spent Christmas in your own house? If so then I'd give yourself permission to do that next year. Give your inlaws lots of notice (several months).

OceanSunFish · 26/12/2019 19:38

You sound lovely but I would definitely encourage DD to have a year off next year.

Floralnomad · 26/12/2019 19:40

Is your dh ill at home or ill at his mothers ? If he’s at home then I think that’s a good enough reason to knock the current arrangement on the head . Next year give your MIL the option of coming to yours or having Christmas a few days before or after at hers so that you get to spend it with your actual family . You and your dd sound like you’ve been more than lovely over the years .

Wimpeyspread · 26/12/2019 19:40

My MIL is elderly and doesn’t travel - I, my children and their partners go up to hers a few days before Christmas, and do the whole Christmas Day, presents, Christmas dinner etc with her in her house (my daughter cooks). We then go home before public transport shuts down, and have our own Christmas with partners, siblings or whatever. That way everyone is happy. She goes to her son for lunch on Christmas Day. Maybe you could try something similar?

JKScot4 · 26/12/2019 19:40

I’m sure she can survive sitting in a car for 2hr drive, unless she’s genuinely frail/housebound I think that’s being OTT.
She was crying? I’m sorry but it sounds like she’s so used to getting her own way she can’t handle everyone not dancing to attention. Too often elderly seems to be wrongly equalling innocent & sweet; not always the case, people don’t become nice just because they’re old.

bigchris · 26/12/2019 19:43

So you left your dh on his own when MIL had other family to be with her?

PrettyPurpleFeather · 26/12/2019 19:43

Could you start a new tradition of visiting for a New Year's meal instead of Christmas Dinner next year if MIL is still around? Also, your son should visit his grandmother as soon as your dh is well enough to travel. That will be a late Christmas present for your mil which I'm sure she'll love.

cptartapp · 26/12/2019 19:44

My DD's wants would trump those of my MIL. Age is irrelevant. Your'e not obliged to do anything and if your MIL was a decent person she'd understand things change instead of turning on the waterworks. That smacks of manipulation. If that's the only thing she's 'devastated'at at ninety then she's led a very charmed life.

pleasenomorechocolates · 26/12/2019 19:45

DH was with us at his MIL’s but was unable to come to SIL’s for dinner. I hate to be one of those ‘it’s too outing to say’ people Grin but basically he is seriously unwell long-term and this can be seriously exacerbated by food which is why he has skipped the meal some years.

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pleasenomorechocolates · 26/12/2019 19:47

Thank you to all the lovely comments too. I really appreciate it Flowers

CruCru you are right about the ages and about the situation in general. Half of me thinks oh my gosh shut up and suck it up, there will only be a few more years of this. But equally we haven’t spent Christmas in our home since having DC and I would love to - DD and DS’s partners both live nearby so we could arrange something where we could all see each other...

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pleasenomorechocolates · 26/12/2019 19:49

I very much like the idea of starting a new Christmas tradition and having the dinner and presents etc on another day. That way, DS and DD and probably their partners would all be able to come and MIL would be able to see everyone.

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Loveislandaddict · 26/12/2019 19:50

Could you do two Christmasses - one with mil, and one another day with your family,


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trilbydoll · 26/12/2019 19:54

2 hours isn't that long, you could go on Christmas morning and easily be there for lunch. Or come home after lunch.

You've done it for 20 years, noone reasonable would have a problem with you staying at home one year with dc and their partners.

SleepWarrior · 26/12/2019 19:56

As you say, MIL probably just loves having everyone special to her under one roof for a big celebration. I bet she'd be happy with another day, especially if it meant every single person actually being there rather than the odd person not making it.

Start planning next year and get everyone involved to commit to the 26th or 27th, and make it super special.

pleasenomorechocolates · 26/12/2019 20:01

Also BellsAJingleTheRoastedChestnut it does really help to think of it that way. You’re right - she did host us for 20+ years and many of them were wonderful Smile

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