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Hello all,

I feel like I might get stoned for asking about winter holidays in October but I am willing to take that chance! I like planning before the storm hits :)

I am curious how all of you combined your holidays with your spouse/partner? How about with your new extended family? Of course you and your spouse each have your own traditions and come from different back grounds, how did you mix them together? Any suggestions on how to make the transition smooth or deal with ruffled feathers?

Also, if you have any fun traditions that you started with your spouse, I would love to hear about them!

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Holidays can be a mine field...first and foremost, talk to your spouse/partner about how the two of you see the holidays. Then open a discussion with extended folks. Starting now is a great idea....

DH's family all lives in the same town...my mom lived several hours away so made her own, undemanding holiday tradition, My sister lived an hour away, but we made things work...

DH's family did Christmas Eve...non negotiable...it worked well when we married and though we stopped celebrating with his family when his mom passed we kept the tradition with the kids...and the kids now still insist on coming "home" (my house) for Christmas Eve together. My sister's kids live out of the area so she & her DH join us...8 adults 9 kids....this year we are 10 adults & 12 kids....

On Christmas Day the kids used to go to the other parents so DH & i would spend the day together doing whatever we wanted. Now they spend it with their ILs, all of whom have been very accommodating. The only "thing" DH & I did was spending a few hours with my godparents. I'm the only one who still makes the "family" Christmas cookie so would take them a bag of cookies along with some of DH's prize winning fudge. In the evening godfather would take his bag of cookies & a cup of something to his easy chair and reminisce about his Minnesota childhood on a dairy farm....worth it to me just to be able to spark his memory. In his last years, and after DH passed I saw him Christmas Day at his care facility....we'd spend the afternoon chatting and plotting. My cousins came and went all afternoon...good times.

Our Christmas Eve celebration includes a pot luck dinner as well as a Secret Santa gift exchange....we're all good cooks and like to show off...so we have "theme dinners"....we've done the basics, Mexican, Italian, Chinese and branched out into "Nationality" (xDIL is Scandinavian so brought Norwegian meatballs, SIL is Chinese so brought dim-sum...my sister tapped into our redneck roots with "Louisiana Jailhouse Chili"...(story for another day)...DsD is part Mexican so brought carnitas....Last year we had a luau, this year it's Country French (French onion soup, a crepe bar, fruit & cheese platter, crudite, good bread, mini beef Wellingtons...so far.)

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Wow!  Lots of views, no responses!  I will bite though.

After more than 22 years of marriage I STILL struggle with the holidays.  We live local to both families and until recently were the only ones with a home large enough to host a joint gathering.  For several years we did both families together and made it better by including various friends as well.  It was fun for a while but we got tired of doing it every year and it ceased being fun and became work.  It also became the expectation - no better way to suck all the fun out of it.

Although my family is quite flexible, my ILs are not. They want what they want, how they want it, when they want it, period. When they don't get it they pout.  No thank you!

So we started a new tradition - we have travelled for the last 5-6 Christmases (I lose count!) and last Thanksgiving.  (I was finalizing details for this year's Xmas trip just this morning.)  ILs still pout but it is easy to ignore from thousands of miles away!!

The holiday travel may end after this year and I am already dreading being back to juggling the families.  DH has assured me we will not get sucked into the drama.  We shall see.

Here's hoping someone else has a better approach!

Anonymous poster hash: cbd9a...900

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Yes I do....see my post above....make it a themed pot luck...provide a clean home and the main course. Provide them with the theme and let them choose (coordinated, of course) their contribution...

Say you've chosen prime rib....someone else needs to bring 2-3 appetizers, potatoes,2-3 side veggies, salad and 1-2 desserts and the wine/other drinks. Simplify your clean up with high end disposable plates/cutlery. You'd be meeting their expectations on your terms. 

Or with the theme....a luau...we had fruit boats, fried rice,shrimp skewers, chicken skewers, pulled pork with King Hawaiian rolls, macaroni salad, green salad, mango pudding & coconut tarts. I use my good dishes for this party, but SIL takes charge of facilities management for the cleanup...now having the older kids help by taking out the trash. What doesn't fit in the dishwasher he does by hand, dries & puts away...the older boys put the dining room back in order...sweep up the next day and you can't tell there were 17 people in my house last night.

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Ah, if only it was so easy!  Alas that approach didn't work either.

My favorite "potluck" story related to my inlaws was Christmas several years ago.  It was potluck but of course had to be planned at only a certain time around their schedule because of somewhere else they had to/wanted to be on Christmas morning (not a family event).

We hosted the potluck.  MIL agreed to bring ham.  By "bring ham" apparently she mean to stop by on her way to the other event and drop off the still refrigerated and wrapped ham in a grocery bag.  Which meant that if I wanted to serve it (it was planned in the menu so not much choice) I had to make oven space and find an empty roasting pan - not easy on a major holiday, cook and then slice the ham.

I don't consider that helpful - in fact it is more work.

At least if it had been a Honeybaked ham I could have just served it as is, but no, that would have been too easy!

I have many other examples of how difficult they have made it.  Unfortunately, it isn't always simple to solve the issues.

Anonymous poster hash: cbd9a...900

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Call her out at assignment time...."MIL, please make sure your contribution is ready to serve, there won't be time/space for you to prepare anything here"

That may cause the entire event to implode, but maybe that isn't such a bad thing, huh?

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Holidays have evolved for us over the years.  The first few years of our marriage, we tried to spend time at both my parents and IL's homes on Thanksgiving or Christmas, which was a lot of running around.  Then we started alternating holidays but saving Christmas morning at our home for just us (me, DH and our kids).  On my IL's side, any holiday always included MIL's sister and her two kids, which made it a miserable gathering as my male cousin IL was a rude, bloviating gas bag that dominated the dinner table conversation; my aunt IL was a nasty woman who liked to throw barbs my way and give me the stink eye much to the amusement of my MIL; and I just did not enjoy the company of any of DH's IL/extended IL family.   Not one.  So, I would eat dinner super quick then leave the table and watch movies with my kids-  who were equally as annoyed with these gathering - until we could get the heck out of there. 

I did not want this to be my kids' memory of the holidays, so about 5 years ago I stopped spending time with my extended IL's on the holidays.  Now, we (DH and the kids) hit the road on Thanksgiving and visit my ODD in her college town and go out to dinner on Thanksgiving.  For Christmas, now that my MIL is a shut in due to her prolonged terminal illness, DH and the kids will visit her and FIL on Christmas morning then we will head out to visit my parents in the afternoon.  I would love to begin a new tradition of going away for Christmas but we have tabled it for now as DH doesn't want to leave his parents alone at Christmas, and I wanted to be there for my parents at Christmas following the passing of my ODB. 

I highly recommend a holiday get away as a fun alternative tradition especially if there is a lot of negativity or difficult people associated with these gatherings that you just don't want to deal with anymore.

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When we were first married, his parents were alive but my parents had passed, but I still had siblings.  We did tend to spend Thanksgiving and Easter with the IL's and then of course she wanted Christmas.  We would usually go to his sisters and then my family.  However, when we had our first child (adopted and was 18 months that 1st Christmas), I started a new tradition and that was stay home at my child's home and let her play.  Family was all local and I was ok with hosting.  That lasted many years before everyone just became so demanding and ungrateful that I just stopped.  Both of my IL's have passed now and my children are older teens and we just do our family now.  Christmas Eve afternoon we decorate the tree and relax and do the same thing Christmas Day.  Sometimes it's all day in PJ's, food, naps, games, etc.  We do tend to do Christmasy stuff leading up to the holidays and visiting with friends between Christmas and New Years.

So you may be able to split time between the families and visit with them in their homes and if you have children, you may want your traditions to happen in your own home.  IL's had their Christmas(es) the way they decided and you can decide for yourself also.  

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BSW - we also would go away every other year at Christmas.  Drive to a sun and fun place and see M & M, rent a house, have the pool, etc.  and just all around have a great holiday away from everything.  

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6 hours ago, INCOGNITO said:

Ah, if only it was so easy!  Alas that approach didn't work either.

My favorite "potluck" story related to my inlaws was Christmas several years ago.  It was potluck but of course had to be planned at only a certain time around their schedule because of somewhere else they had to/wanted to be on Christmas morning (not a family event).

We hosted the potluck.  MIL agreed to bring ham.  By "bring ham" apparently she mean to stop by on her way to the other event and drop off the still refrigerated and wrapped ham in a grocery bag.  Which meant that if I wanted to serve it (it was planned in the menu so not much choice) I had to make oven space and find an empty roasting pan - not easy on a major holiday, cook and then slice the ham.

I don't consider that helpful - in fact it is more work.

At least if it had been a Honeybaked ham I could have just served it as is, but no, that would have been too easy!

I have many other examples of how difficult they have made it.  Unfortunately, it isn't always simple to solve the issues.

Anonymous poster hash: cbd9a...900

Something alone these lines happened to me a couple of years ago.  One family lives farther away and has to travel, so we usually say to bring vegies, or salad.  Not a lot of prep work, could even buy a tray already set up.

On the way home from church, they had to stop at the store (separate cars) because they hadn't brought the food with them.  Not a problem.  The rest of us went on home to start getting things ready.  When said family member came in, the bag of groceries got put on the counter and off they went to do something else.  I left it there for a bit, until it got in my way.  I then picked it up and sat it on the table, plastic bag and all.........   About 5 minutes before we planned to eat, she realized that the veggies and salad weren't on the table as they should be.  :)

 

 

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We've only had one holiday w/MIL. That Easter that happened to fall just after our wedding. It was...unpleasant. I didn't even know MIL was coming for Easter dinner, last I'd heard she was spending it w/her siblings (they're all of the same religion, we aren't organized religion people).

I found out just before Wolf left to pick her up that she was coming. Wolf had requested that I do his favourite, mozzarella meatloaf, and potato cheese balls. Due to health issues I was having at the time, my Dr had me on a restrictive diet. No dairy or wheat (I think there was something else, but it was a long time ago now). So, I picked up a small dinner ham for myself (with an eye to lunches after), and assorted veggies to round things out. Ham was tradition for me growing up, but *I* didn't know that ham is a bad thing in MIL's religion (no, not Jewish or Muslim). 

So, there I was, married a week or two, dealing with health issues, and had my MIL glaring at me all during dinner. Her glare got worse when Wolf ate some of my ham.

Awesome.

(That's not why we've only had the one holiday, though. We're long distance from everyone, and she always refused to travel if snow was a possibility)

 

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Greetings, IrishBridetoBe! Good to see you! :)

Holidays were never a problem for us, fortunately, except for Mother's Day, as I've explained before. Also, as w/ BSW, they evolved over the years. When we were first married, for example, we did T'giving w/ my  FOO and went to my ILs' on the Saturday or Sunday afterwards.. This was b/c MIL, who was still working, wanted TG to relax, preferring to have us over on the weekend. After she retired, we began alternating, spending TG w/ my FOO one year and DH's the next.

For another example, at first, we divided up Christmas by seeing my ILs on Christmas Eve and going to DM's on Christmas Day. Everybody seemed satisfied w/ this arrangement. But once we had ODD, DH and I decided we would rather she have Christmas in her own home. We told our parents and SisIL and invited them all to join us, which they did. Fortunately, this, too, was accepted easily. Maybe DM and my PILs remembered how they felt w/ young children. Or perhaps they were ready to pass the torch. IDK.

Nowadays, our DDs and SIL have "taken over," w/ ODD and SIL generally having us all for TG and Xmas Eve, and YDD having us all for Easter dinner. YDD also has DH and me at her house on Xmas Day (ODD & SIL go to his FOO then). We let go when our DDs indicated that they were ready to step up, so once again, the transitions were made rather seamlessly, I'm happy to say. We don't even have the MDay issue that we had w/ DM and MIL.

As most of you know, my DM and MIL could both be difficult. But not about most holidays, thankfully. :)

Edited by RoseRed135

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Incognito, if you're not traveling after this year, could you perhaps just plan a "staycation," visiting local sites? Or "get away" to a local hotel. Maybe then, you could still say you're "not available" for any holidays and not have to worry about "juggling families."... Food for thought...

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Holidays have been a discussion in my house this week, so the timing on this is perfect!  For TG, DH and I used to do both, my parents host at our lake house (about an hour away from where both of our parents live in neighboring towns), and his maternal GP host for his family on TG.  We used to go to lake house, rush through eating and take off immediately to get back to do TG with ILs.  The day following TG, we would always be back with ILs and MIL would host FIL side of the family, but also include her parents as well.  Once we moved away, 3 yrs ago, we decided not to do this anymore.  Since we saw all of DH family day after thanksgiving, we stuck with my family for day of.  We have an odd tradition in our own nuclear family to go to lake house day before TG and enjoy the area and stay the night as to not make the trip in the morning, and stop at local sports bar with kids (game room) on TG evening.  Not the norm, but its our fun little tradition that weve grown to love.  

For Christmas, we have always tried to accommodate EVERYONE every year, and it has been exhausting.  We literally have stops at both parents houses, both GPs on DH side, and a stop at my uncles for my dad's side (divorced parents - this is more about fun at the end of the rush, with my siblings and cousins and all of our kids).  ILs seem to always be disappointed with what time we have available for all of their stops, and its frustrating, because they are the ones with the plethora of events/times and if we went to all, we would literally be with ILS from 3 on xmas eve until 9 or 10, and then back on xmas day around 10 or so.  Last year, we stayed home for xmas eve and woke up super early on xmas day (6 am) so we could make the drive back and get time with everyone. 

This year, we decided early we did not want to do that, especially with xmas falling on Monday, and DH still tight on his leave for his new job (great job, odd leave policy for first 6 months).  We started the conversation around labor day, telling both parents we would be up the weekend before and heading back home later on xmas eve for our own traditions and time as a nuclear family.  My parents agreed, said Saturday night would work better, and we had our plans set.  My ILs were told at the same time, and as of early this week had not communicated this to their families like DH had asked.  When DH PGM sent me a message asking about gift ideas for LOs, I asked her if she had heard about any plans yet.  MIL vaguely told them we wouldn't be around for xmas and would have to find other time, but made no attempt to plan.  DH PGM told me her work schedule and when she was available so I sent SIL a message and asked her what would work for them.  All decided Friday would work for FIL side of family, shared with MIL and she was in agreement.  Original plan was to celebrate with MIL side on xmas eve, as usual, however she then decided that her parents needed to be there for FIL side celebration as well to celebrate together instead of separately.  This worked out great for us, one less stop to make on xmas eve before we make the drive back home.  MIL was not happy, she sent a message telling us that she would still be going to her parents on xmas eve to see the rest of the fam (includes her nieces and their kids).  I'm willing to bet she thinks we need to do that as well, but with so many different places, my priority is the kids seeing their GPS, and Aunt/Uncles, and they will see all of them, plus some extra family.  We think its a win, but DH is waiting for pressure texts to start from mom in regards to going over again on xmas eve (he is adamant that we are not doing that).  I think her expectation that we double time for her parents is unfair to us and everyone else involved when weve done a good job of making sure to include everyone on both sides, I don't understand why she thinks her parents need to be present for large gathering of both sides, but still get one on one time with us separately, its a conflicting message. 

Anyway, that turned into more of my story than advice, but the moral of the story is that you can try to please people and as hard as you try, someone is likely always going to feel disappointed.  Make sure whatever your plans, you take into consideration what you and your nuclear family want.  Start some of your own traditions, and don't run yourself ragged making everyone else happy, while forgetting about yourself. 

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We always celebrated the winter holidays with our parents and my family. I don't really consider Thanksgiving a big deal or much care about Turkey. Once our parents were gone we started doing Thanksgiving at home with our kids/grands or not bothering and just skiing with my family and our family compared to eating at our moms' homes/the club. ETA: Last year my brother and his wife hosted, that was lovely.
 
After our parents passed, quick 18 hour CE/Christmas at home/Church and on to skiing vs marathons in our moms' homes.
 
We have the usual traditions of gifts/food for impoverished folks, Christmas tableware, cooking, baking, decorating the house, weekly advent nights - wreath at Church and home, tree, CE Mass - Church on Christmas, and very minimal gifts of jammies and books.
 
This week we decided we are doing something different than either of us have ever done for Thanksgiving and Christmas - extensive traveling, skiing places we've not been - before we age out. We are really looking forward to our planned escape from family chaos. Our kids may or may not do what's always been done in our home (ODD and her 3 kids live with us, but our home is available to all of them) - no idea. We'll tell them our plans after they have a chance to make theirs without feeling pressure from us. 
 
AEJ0818, your ILs are unreasonable, don't give in to stupid.
Edited by JanelleK
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Ours have evolved over the years as well. They were also complicated by the fact that I worked shift work, and sometimes required to work on the actual holiday.  So the first thing we always looked at was what is my schedule. And my family is in the same city we live in, where both of my ILs live further away, which adds another level of complication. So if I was working some of the holiday, travelling was out of the question. 

I had the same holiday pattern for years - nothing really on Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner at my MGPs, and Boxing Day dinner with my dad's side of the family.  It changed slightly after we moved in together and got married (we gave up time with my DF's FOO to spend with MIL), but it really changed after ODS was born. We had an agreement that our kids would go to bed in their own beds Christmas Eve to wake up to presents under their own tree. My mom spent a few Christmas mornings with us, she lived nearby and just came over when the kids got up. After both of my MGPs passed, we started hosting dinner at our house.  My DB's family alternates having dinner with us and having dinner with SIL's family.  When we started staying home, we invited MIL but she refused to come. After her SO passed, she did spend two Christmases with us, but now has a new partner and spent last Christmas with him. Our Boxing Day dinner with DF's FOO is now huge, and that is our big holiday dinner.  Last year DB spent the dinner with SIL's family, although he did come over to visit beforehand with Nephew. So it was actually just the four of us having dinner last year Christmas day. 

We just had our Thanksgiving (we're Canadian). DB's family came over on Monday, SIL's family has their dinner Saturday. My DF and SM, along with my step-niece came over as well. We invited FIL, which basically means MIL can't be invited, but he turned it down for that weekend. He's coming this weekend and we're going to have a mini Thanksgiving with him. 

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AEJ0818, sending virtual hugs your way! +1 what Janelle said!

NewMama, I actually told Norse we should celebrate Christmas with his family on Boxing Day since they are second/third generation Canadians - save ourselves the headache! ;)(we haven't actually ever spent a Christmas together because of his family's go-go-go plans Eve to Day but we are working on solidifying plans for when we are married - it will be *so very* much fun to fill them all in on it -_- A couple years ago, Norse's Dad hinted that we needed to work out holiday plans like his sister and her then-fiance-now-hubby had (i.e. I needed to start coming around to their house at Christmas) and when Norse informed them he wanted to attend Christmas Eve service with me it did not go well - Norse got so anxious about the whole situation he ended up making himself sick and ended up not being able to come :()

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1 hour ago, IrishBrideToBe said:

AEJ0818, sending virtual hugs your way! +1 what Janelle said!

NewMama, I actually told Norse we should celebrate Christmas with his family on Boxing Day since they are second/third generation Canadians - save ourselves the headache! ;)(we haven't actually ever spent a Christmas together because of his family's go-go-go plans Eve to Day but we are working on solidifying plans for when we are married - it will be *so very* much fun to fill them all in on it -_- A couple years ago, Norse's Dad hinted that we needed to work out holiday plans like his sister and her then-fiance-now-hubby had (i.e. I needed to start coming around to their house at Christmas) and when Norse informed them he wanted to attend Christmas Eve service with me it did not go well - Norse got so anxious about the whole situation he ended up making himself sick and ended up not being able to come :()

Whoa!

If I recall correctly, you and Norse have been together about 8 years. Are we to understand that in all that time you;ve never found a way to celebrate Christmas w/ each other? I'm sorry, but that sounds like the tip of a very deep iceberg to me.

But I'm even more concerned about this:

...and when Norse informed them he wanted to attend Christmas Eve service with me it did not go well - Norse got so anxious about the whole situation he ended up making himself sick and ended up not being able to come :()

His FOO seem to have a (way too) powerful hold on him. And an unhealthy one, too, if you ask me (hey, it made him physically ill, apparently, in this instance). Has he considered counseling? Have the 2 of you considered couple counseling?

 

 

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On 10/21/2017 at 8:47 PM, RoseRed135 said:

Whoa!

If I recall correctly, you and Norse have been together about 8 years. Are we to understand that in all that time you;ve never found a way to celebrate Christmas w/ each other? I'm sorry, but that sounds like the tip of a very deep iceberg to me.

But I'm even more concerned about this:

...and when Norse informed them he wanted to attend Christmas Eve service with me it did not go well - Norse got so anxious about the whole situation he ended up making himself sick and ended up not being able to come :()

His FOO seem to have a (way too) powerful hold on him. And an unhealthy one, too, if you ask me (hey, it made him physically ill, apparently, in this instance). Has he considered counseling? Have the 2 of you considered couple counseling?

 

 

I did bite the bullet one year and attend his church's Christmas Eve service because Christmas Eve is very special to me and I wanted to see him. It was uncomfortable; his church is a whole other post. But other than that, no. I'm alright with that because we aren't married yet but as we move that way I am wanting to start easing everyone into the coming change. 

I have been trying to get him to go since high school, for himself first and then later for us, and he is starting to warm to the idea but he is uncomfortable with the idea of sharing intimate things with a stranger. We will for sure be doing some with our Pastor before walking down the aisle though. Baby steps :) He is doing so much better throwing off their "control" over him though, this incident was three years ago now, and I think that is to do with him learning he has to live with the consequences of his choices and that people pleasing never ends in your favor and is, ultimately, unhealthy.

Edited by IrishBrideToBe

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When I got married and had kids, my family little family did not get a moment's peace on holidays, especially Christmas.  It started with our house, then my parent's house, then my xmil's house, ending at xfil's.  We had fun at each place, but it was way, way too much. After a few years of this, I said no. I started having Christmas at home and if anyone wanted to see us they were more than welcome to come to where we were. I heard a few grumbles but I did not care. I couldn't care and keep my sanity.  I had the youngest kids and the most kids (3 at the time) and I was done.  It was time to start our own celebrations and traditions.  There have been a few bumps in the road since  the family dynamics have changed. But, I still don't leave home that day :)

Once the girls are grown up I'm sure it will change again. But I'm flexible!

 

 

Edited by Oranges
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I hate the holidays! My husband and I agree on almost everything, but the holidays are a bone of severe contention. We live in Florida, have 2 kids and 2 grandchildren (almost 4, and 3 weeks.) My family lives in Germany and we have spent every and all holiday with my in-laws for the past 16 years. My MIL and FIL live in a tiny house in Orlando, and most meals are taken either scattered throughout the house and yard, or on a piece of plywood table in the carport. My husband has a brother (alone) and a sister, married with 2 adult daughters and one grandchild of 3. 

Every holiday we cram in the house and yard (porch and carport) and sit in groups, without any togetherness. Christmas is the worst as everybody buys for EVERYBODY (instead of doing a lottery, or buying only for the children, as my kids and I have suggested numerous times), and between the tree, the presents and the number of people (sometimes aunts and uncles show up) it is so hot and tight in the living room, I can't wait for it to be over. This is no longer enjoyable at any level...except for my MIL.

My MIL used to be fabulous and is used to being adored by all. She is also a martyr, who secretly hates doing all this, but can not give one inch. My husband, his sister and brother are reliving their childhood every holiday, meanwhile I was not able to create even ONE holiday tradition of my own. My husband has no idea how much I struggle with that, and how anxious the holidays make me (every holiday, even Easter, Independence Day, Memorial Day, New Years Day, etc.). My husband actually shuts down any conversation I try to have with him, gets angry and walk away. I don't know what to do...

In 2016 I claimed Mothers Day for my daughter and myself, as she is also a mother. We wanted to have a pool party at my house and drink Margaritas! My husband thought until the very last minute that I was joking, as I certainly did not NOT want to go to his mom's house for Mother's Day. I did not...and I'm still hearing about it. He went to spend the day with the usual holiday crowd (his branch of the family), and our kids and I had a fun afternoon at my house. 

I am rambling, I know, but I'm at my wits end. How long do I have to wait to be able to cook a darn turkey at my house for our children and grandchildren? How long before I can have a Christmas Eve at my house? My daughter tried to bring up to my sister-in-law a month ago, that she would like to invite everyone to her house for Christmas Eve, as she has the only baby in the family, and has enough room to accommodate everyone being together and not strewn about the property. She was told, in writing, that that would never happen! 

Like I said, I hate the holidays! 

Edited by Oma1966

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Welcome. And thank you for sharing...sounds like a trying experience at best...

As for me, I'm not much of a holiday elf either...just not my nature. DHs family OWNED Christmas Eve...up until his mother passed in 2000, we'd been married 16 years by then...however, we took turns hosting (4 households). DH & I were a blended family, so we did Christmas Eve with his family and the kids went to  the other parent for Christmas Day (his DD, my DD/DS) and we'd spend the day doing whatever we wanted, always involving a few hours with my godparents. As the kids established their own homes, Christmas Eve (we took turns hosting among ourselves for several years until the kids decided among themselves that it will always ever be at my house) is at my house and Christmas Day is with their ILs...Now that I'm alone, I have choices for Christmas Day. 

All that said, your Mother's Day event could be very telling. You had a relaxed, great time. I'm sorry your DH (maybe a "DuH" in this situation?) can't see beyond what his FOO demands. "No" is a complete sentence. Like anything else in life, you have to weigh the risks & benefits of any decision. Perhaps you & kids/gks could have Christmas Eve at home then grin & bear Christmas Day at his mother's. DH already knows you'll follow through on your plan. Taking a stand on gifts is doable as well "We (you & DH if he agrees) are just doing gifts for the kids this year"...don't ask permission or apologize, just follow through. Or do a single gift for each family (movie tickets, gift card to a restaurant, etc, rather than "stuff")

I used to go late to the Christmas Eve parties...I'd send DH & the kids ahead (we all live in the same town)...then take an hour for myself to finish getting ready. The dinners were pot luck, so I'd send my contributions with DH. The years it was in my home, everything was ready, including me, on time, so nothing for anyone to complain about...except DH's oldest sister...as soon as DH would get to the party she was on the phone asking me where I was and what time I'd get there...I was always on time for the meal, did my share of the clean up...I'm an ambivert...that's an introvert who can cope...but when I'm done I'm done, so coming later makes it easier for me to stay longer at the end. These people could work your last nerve on a good day.

Good luck and keep us posted....you've hit the right place to share your experiences & concerns. 

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1 hour ago, Oma1966 said:

I hate the holidays! My husband and I agree on almost everything, but the holidays are a bone of severe contention. We live in Florida, have 2 kids and 2 grandchildren (almost 4, and 3 weeks.) My family lives in Germany and we have spent every and all holiday with my in-laws for the past 16 years. My MIL and FIL live in a tiny house in Orlando, and most meals are taken either scattered throughout the house and yard, or on a piece of plywood table in the carport. My husband has a brother (alone) and a sister, married with 2 adult daughters and one grandchild of 3. 

Every holiday we cram in the house and yard (porch and carport) and sit in groups, without any togetherness. Christmas is the worst as everybody buys for EVERYBODY (instead of doing a lottery, or buying only for the children, as my kids and I have suggested numerous times), and between the tree, the presents and the number of people (sometimes aunts and uncles show up) it is so hot and tight in the living room, I can't wait for it to be over. This is no longer enjoyable at any level...except for my MIL.

My MIL used to be fabulous and is used to being adored by all. She is also a martyr, who secretly hates doing all this, but can not give one inch. My husband, his sister and brother are reliving their childhood every holiday, meanwhile I was not able to create even ONE holiday tradition of my own. My husband has no idea how much I struggle with that, and how anxious the holidays make me (every holiday, even Easter, Independence Day, Memorial Day, New Years Day, etc.). My husband actually shuts down any conversation I try to have with him, gets angry and walk away. I don't know what to do...

In 2016 I claimed Mothers Day for my daughter and myself, as she is also a mother. We wanted to have a pool party at my house and drink Margaritas! My husband thought until the very last minute that I was joking, as I certainly did not NOT want to go to his mom's house for Mother's Day. I did not...and I'm still hearing about it. He went to spend the day with the usual holiday crowd (his branch of the family), and our kids and I had a fun afternoon at my house. 

I am rambling, I know, but I'm at my wits end. How long do I have to wait to be able to cook a darn turkey at my house for our children and grandchildren? How long before I can have a Christmas Eve at my house? My daughter tried to bring up to my sister-in-law a month ago, that she would like to invite everyone to her house for Christmas Eve, as she has the only baby in the family, and has enough room to accommodate everyone being together and not strewn about the property. She was told, in writing, that that would never happen! 

Like I said, I hate the holidays! 

And the problem is, I think you may have missed your chance, b/c now w/your children being grown, chances are, they're not going to go along w/your husband's tradition any longer (evidenced by your dd wanting to have folks to her place) and they'll spin off and do their own thing.

I would support your dd in doing what makes her happy. At least she'd get the holiday she wants, rather than have two generations be miserable on the holidays.

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2 hours ago, Oma1966 said:

I hate the holidays! My husband and I agree on almost everything, but the holidays are a bone of severe contention. We live in Florida, have 2 kids and 2 grandchildren (almost 4, and 3 weeks.) My family lives in Germany and we have spent every and all holiday with my in-laws for the past 16 years. My MIL and FIL live in a tiny house in Orlando, and most meals are taken either scattered throughout the house and yard, or on a piece of plywood table in the carport. My husband has a brother (alone) and a sister, married with 2 adult daughters and one grandchild of 3. 

Every holiday we cram in the house and yard (porch and carport) and sit in groups, without any togetherness. Christmas is the worst as everybody buys for EVERYBODY (instead of doing a lottery, or buying only for the children, as my kids and I have suggested numerous times), and between the tree, the presents and the number of people (sometimes aunts and uncles show up) it is so hot and tight in the living room, I can't wait for it to be over. This is no longer enjoyable at any level...except for my MIL.

My MIL used to be fabulous and is used to being adored by all. She is also a martyr, who secretly hates doing all this, but can not give one inch. My husband, his sister and brother are reliving their childhood every holiday, meanwhile I was not able to create even ONE holiday tradition of my own. My husband has no idea how much I struggle with that, and how anxious the holidays make me (every holiday, even Easter, Independence Day, Memorial Day, New Years Day, etc.). My husband actually shuts down any conversation I try to have with him, gets angry and walk away. I don't know what to do...

In 2016 I claimed Mothers Day for my daughter and myself, as she is also a mother. We wanted to have a pool party at my house and drink Margaritas! My husband thought until the very last minute that I was joking, as I certainly did not NOT want to go to his mom's house for Mother's Day. I did not...and I'm still hearing about it. He went to spend the day with the usual holiday crowd (his branch of the family), and our kids and I had a fun afternoon at my house. 

I am rambling, I know, but I'm at my wits end. How long do I have to wait to be able to cook a darn turkey at my house for our children and grandchildren? How long before I can have a Christmas Eve at my house? My daughter tried to bring up to my sister-in-law a month ago, that she would like to invite everyone to her house for Christmas Eve, as she has the only baby in the family, and has enough room to accommodate everyone being together and not strewn about the property. She was told, in writing, that that would never happen! 

Like I said, I hate the holidays! 

Welcome  Oma! Glad you came in to talk w/ us!

Sorry holidays are so frustrating for you! But glad you decided to share your feelings w/ us b/c, trust me, there are many others who have had similar experiences/feelings.

Have to go now - be back later. But just want to add that I hope DD sticks to her guns and celebrates Christmas Eve at her home. Even if not one is there but her family and perhaps you and your other AC (adult children) and their families. Unfortunately, sometimes changing a family pattern is hard, but DD may be the one to do it.

If so, future generations may thank her... and you for being supportive of her...

Edited by RoseRed135
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Thank you all so much for the warm welcome. It felt good just to write everything down and vent. It seems so trivial, yet it is such a large source of frustration. 

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