Forum: Adults / Married Life

Xmas plans and family - help please!
By modernlady
On Wed Dec 17, 2014 06:23 PM
Edited by modernlady (96413) on 2014-12-17 18:24:05

I'm really needing some advice, and I can't really pole my friends on social media on the subject, so here goes.

DH and I can't come to agreements on Xmas plans. My family lives maybe 45mins away, his family 3.5hrs (sometimes longer, depending on traffic and weather.)

We usually spend Xmas eve with my family. Just a few hours for dinner and such. Then Xmas day morning we used to drive to his parents' and do the extended family Xmas gathering with his mom's side (aunts, uncles, cousins), then his dad's side (aunts, etc again) then finally back to his parents' for Xmas with them and his sister's family. It is an exhausting marathon, and has made me dread Xmas when I used to love it.

Now that our boys are 4yrs old, I feel it's important to have Xmas with our nuclear family. I want my kids to open their toys, have fun playing with them, relax, maybe bake cookies together, etc. I'd rather we have a Xmas together and not spend the whole day in the car and running around to 3 different houses and getting completely stressed.

DH doesn't see it this way. He wants to see his aunts and uncles, and do all of that stuff.

I get that, but I feel OUR family needs to come first. I feel like I/we don't get a Christmas, and that we are just running around to everyone else's celebrations.

He grew up with all this family - both sides - all in the same town. That's not how our life is now. We live in a different state from all of them. If they all lived here I'd be more willing to do that. But the way it is now - it's just too much.

I know several people who do Xmas with extended family on days other than the 25th. And God knows I don't see my aunts/uncles/cousins on Xmas ever.

Now my MIL will be an absolute nightmare about this. So that's something, too. She always has to have her way. It honestly seems like she still sees them (DH and my SIL) as her children - which they still are, of course, but we also have nuclear families of our own! I'm willing to go up their in the evening of the 25th when it's MIL's year to host the extended family at their house, but otherwise I feel we should not go until the 26th. I just wish they'd start to put that extended family gathering AFTER Christmas, anyhow!! Most of the cousins are married and have their own families now, and they all don't come every year Bc of it!

So please, any advice is welcome. Or even just tell me how you handle holidays and family/extended family!!


3 Replies to Xmas plans and family - help please!

re: Xmas plans and family - help please!
By CaffeinePremium member
On Wed Dec 17, 2014 08:28 PM
You need to start your own family traditions, and your DH needs to put his children's needs ahead of his own wants. How do the kids feel about being hauled about to these different houses? How do they cope in the car for an 8 hour round trip? Do they get to open presents and play with their own stuff, or are they left watching other kids having fun? How cranky are they when you finally get them home?

Your children will grow up resenting never being able to play with their own toys because on Christmas day they have to pick up and go to X relative (watching cousins or distant relatives opening and playing with toys but unable to play with their own in case they got broken or stolen), Boxing day is Y relative and so on. My fiance grew up with that model as Christmas, and hated it. It was almost a week after Christmas before he got to play with his Christmas presents! (I grew up spending Christmas morning at home, then the afternoon at my grandmother's house.)

It's really too late to do anything this year, but for next Christmas, could you start planning super early, and invite both sets of parents to YOUR house for Christmas Day? Play up the "it's not fair on the kids" aspect - because it's not - and offer to host so they can see their grandparents and play with their toys.

With N's family, we used to have a rotating roster of who hosted Christmas each year. One year it'd be MiL, then BiL, then us, then SiL, and so on, so (a) the burden wasn't placed one one family all the time, and (b) so everyone traveled equally (*note: we do all live within an hour of each other). We are no longer going to be doing that, however, due to a family rift - some members cannot be in the same room as each other any more. Instead N and I are going to see them the day after Christmas, and spend Christmas Day at my parents house. When my son gets older, I will take over the role of hosting from my mum and keep the entire day at my house, and anyone who wants to come is welcome.
re: Xmas plans and family - help please!
By slice
On Thu Dec 18, 2014 07:53 AM
Edited by slice (109495) on 2014-12-18 07:54:52
modernlady wrote:

Most of the cousins are married and have their own families now, and they all don't come every year Bc of it!

If this is what the other family members do, why would your MIL be so opposed to doing "Christmas" on a day other than the 25th? As long as I can remember (and I'm one of the oldest of my cousins) my extended family has done a big Christmas either before or after the actual day. There's really no reason this compromise shouldn't work since it gives everyone what they want - you get to start a Christmas tradition with you own unit, your husband and MIL get to have a gathering with everyone involved.

I'd be really curious to hear how MIL would have an issue with this arrangement. It's not as if the 25th even coincides any where near the season in which Christ would've been born (for those of Christian faith who believe in such). So what's so special about the 25th that the whole day has to be orchestrated around HER wishes.

Edit: Oops, just realized this was on the "Married Life" forum and not "Holidays" or another general forum. Disclaimer: I am not and have never been married, lol.
re: Xmas plans and family - help please!
By sjerosemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Dec 18, 2014 09:10 AM
It sounds like it really upsets you that the current situation isn't taking into consideration your nuclear family, which is really important to you. It also sounds like your husband doesn't fully understand just how important this is to you. I know it's hard, but you might just need to have a specific sit-down, face-to-face conversation about this and really emphasize the how important it is for to you to have nuclear family bonding time on Christmas. Make sure he understands that this really means a lot to you. It's ok to want to see extended family, but the emotional needs of his immediate family - his wife and children - need to come first, and from what you've told us, they're clearly not being met. Sometimes it simply comes down to logistics - it's not logistically reasonable to meet up with extended family every year and still have a meaningful Christmas with the immediate family.

You and your husband need to be a unified team on this, and he needs to be willing to stand up for you if his mother starts to get huffy about adjusting Christmas plans. If he's not willing to go to bat for you on what you two decide is best for your family, then you have a bit more to talk about together than just Christmas plans.


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