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Do you go to Grandma's house on Christmas Day?


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#1 CatholicMom

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 05:19 PM

Am I being unreasonable to not want to pack up the kids to go to Grandma's house on Christmas day? Just wondering how other families do it.

I don't like feeling like Christmas revolves around getting over there, which it does when everyone is waiting for us to get there, and it also takes about 2 hours to get all the kids ready - but wondered how everyone else handles it?

P.S. Another factor is that we are Catholic and Christmas Day is a holy day of obligation so we must go to mass on Christmas day. Not sure if it's OK to go on Christmas eve or not. I'll have to check, but point being... add getting all the kids to mass on Christmas day, and that's even more packing the kids up and rushing around on Christmas day.

#2 Mimm

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:52 PM

We go to Grandma's house on Christmas afternoon, yes. It's pretty relaxed. My MIL lays out finger foods and people show up when they want, eat what they want and leave when they want. When everyone's there, we sit down and open gifts. My inlaws live about 12 minutes away, so we do not find it stressful. If we did, we would come up with an alternative plan. It sounds like you need to move the Grandma's house visit to Christmas Eve. I do not think it is at all unreasonable for you to want a nice relaxing afternoon at home on Christmas.

#3 Mommy22alyns

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:23 PM

We used to go Christmas Eve, and then for a couple of years it was MIL's on CE and traipse to BIL's on Christmas. Like we should pack two younger kids in the car ON Christmas Day, take them away from the toys they just opened... very annoying. I hated it - why should they always get to hold court and WE have to travel for hours?

Anyway, DH's job conveniently precluded us traveling on Christmas Day last year and MIL came to us. This year, it's DH's job and Becca's gymnastics. Score. And I don't have to put up with BIL's kids. Double score.

#4 kokotg

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:43 PM

We used to go to my mom's house Christmas morning and then my grandmother's house Christmas afternoon. A few years ago we switched to everyone (my mom/stepfather and my brother/SIL) coming to our house for awhile Christmas morning for present opening. We do my Dad's side of the family Christmas Eve. FWIW, when I was a kid, we always went to my grandparents' on Christmas, mid afternoon.

#5 Lisa in SC

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:43 PM

IMO, you're most definitely not being unreasonable. Dh's family has always celebrated on Christmas Eve, but mine celebrated on both. When our first child was born, we let everyone know we'd visit both sides on Christmas Eve. Anyone and everyone would be welcome at our home on Christmas Day, but we were going to stay home. We felt the same way you do. Surprisingly, everyone was fine with our decision, and that's how it's been ever since. Of course, now that we live 600+ miles from any family, it's a non-issue, but it would be the same if we lived "back home."

#6 mandymom

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:48 PM

We go to my inlaws on Christmas day, have Christmas with my dh's first wife's (deceased) family on Christmas evening, and then drive 4 hours to my family the next day.

When I was growing up we would go to my grandparents' house on Christmas morning and then get in the car and drive 6 hours to my other grandparents' house for celebration Christmas evening.

I can't imagine Christmas Day without grandparents, but that's the way I grew up.

#7 Margaret in CO

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:51 PM

Thank heavens, no. We always used the excuse that "we can't ask the neighbors to feed the herd". Yeah, we could have. We chose not to. Oh wait, the inlaws lived next door! I wouldn't have minded seeing my dad, but the passes are usually pretty bad. As to the inlaws, they'd come traipsing over and complain the whole time. We just got too busy with church. So glad we're not doing that any more...

#8 kokotg

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:52 PM

We used to go to my mom's house Christmas morning and then my grandmother's house Christmas afternoon. A few years ago we switched to everyone (my mom/stepfather and my brother/SIL) coming to our house for awhile Christmas morning for present opening. We do my Dad's side of the family Christmas Eve. FWIW, when I was a kid, we always went to my grandparents' on Christmas, mid afternoon.

#9 Margaret in CO

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:52 PM

Thank heavens, no. We always used the excuse that "we can't ask the neighbors to feed the herd". Yeah, we could have. We chose not to. Oh wait, the inlaws lived next door! I wouldn't have minded seeing my dad, but the passes are usually pretty bad. As to the inlaws, they'd come traipsing over and complain the whole time. We just got too busy with church. So glad we're not doing that any more...

#10 Hypatia.

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:01 PM

No, we stay home and enjoy the day in our jammies with cocoa and movies in front of the fire after opening gifts. All my childhood memories of Christmas are going from house to house to visit different relatives on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I don't have memories of ever waking up in my own bed and enjoying it at home, I felt like our little family wasn't important. That's something I stand firm on as an adult, I want to enjoy holidays at home.

#11 redsquirrel

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:25 PM

Nope. We see DH's family on Christmas Eve. They live 90 mins away and there is an older brother who hosts a shindig. We spend Christmas day at home. We leave for my mom's house on the day after Christmas. That is a 6 hour drive, so we set out first thing in the morning. Then we spend a few days with her and are home for New Years eve.

I like the kids to be in their own home on Christmas day. It is our time to build our own family traditions.

#12 jujsky

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:24 AM

We did the first 3 years we were parents, I think, and then stopped. My mom lives 2 hours away, and it wasn't really her house, but my grandparents' house. We'd also stop by my uncle's house (dad's side of the family). It got to be too much. We'd wake up, rush to open presents, drive 2 hours, and try to fit in time with all this family. There was pressure from my dad's side of the family to stay longer when I had to visit my mom's family, and pressure from my mom's side when I had to visit my dad's side. Prior to kids, Christmas Eve was with my dad's side, Christmas day with my mom's side. We'd have Christmas at my mom's house after that, and then we'd have to drive the 2 hours back because we had dogs at home. I was stressed out, there was a ton of pressure, and it wasn't fun. We decided to stay home. My mom was fine with it. We stopped going up on Christmas day. My mom would come down a day or two after Christmas and we'd have a family Christmas here. A few years later after my grandfather passed, we started having a family Christmas party the weekend before or after Christmas with my extended family, which works out a lot better.

Staying home was one of the best decisions we ever made. My mom was fine with it, as I said, but many of my other family members were not. I had to do what was best for my little family. My mom and favorite aunt were always stressed out during the holidays, and that's what I remember. I didn't want my kids to have that same negative memory associated with the holiday. Now Christmas is one of the best days of the year. We get up when we want, have a big breakfast, open presents, watch movies, and hang out. There's no place to go, nothing to do. It's wonderful.

#13 Danestress

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:37 AM

From a kids perspective, going to grandma's house and seeing all the aunts and uncles and cousins might be the best possible Christmas. I have friends who loved that scene growing up.

As a mom, I would resent it too.

I am also struggling with my mixed desires to please myself and to please others, so this is also on my own mind,

I would consider a few things. How much does your husband enjoy these gatherings and how willing is he too deal with an unhappy mom? If he really doesn't care about the gatherings and really hates laying down the law with his mom, then that is important info.

How much do his siblings really care?

How often do you see all the members of his family? Oh, and where is your own family on Christmas day?

The good news is that you can attend services the night before and it meets you obligation.



#14 dangermom

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:19 AM

Yes, we do. It's pretty relaxed. And my parents live 2 miles away so it's easy. My brother comes with his family and they stay with the grandparents (though they might not this year--it's no biggie if they stay home but so far they have preferred it. My SIL is Korean and her family is not in the US at all, so there's no conflict there, and she basically gets the day off if she comes so she's pretty happy with it).

In the very early AM my kids get up and play with their present from Santa (Santa does not bother to wrap presents). My folks and my brother's family show up around 8, we have breakfasty foods, and then we open presents. Brother's kids have of course also had their main gifts from Santa already. At some point we all head over to the grandparents' house and open more presents there; usually my other brother and his wife show up somewhere around then too. We hang out at grandparents for the rest of the day, though I often head back home to make rolls. We have dinner and relax there, and go home around bedtime.

We go to church if it's on Sunday, so we did last year, but otherwise our church does not do a Christmas service on the day.

#15 SKL

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:29 AM

Yes, we go, but not in the morning. Usually I get us out the door around midday and the whole extended family can be found in my parents' home sometime in the afternoon/evening. There the kids will find gifts from grandparents/aunts/uncles. To me, it's an enjoyable tradition (though rather hectic given the size of our extended family). Being a single mom, I would miss having adult family to share the holiday with.

#16 Heidi @ Mt Hope

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:36 AM

Yes, every year. But I am very attached to my family and I could not imagine Christmas without them. My parents live just down the road (out in the country). Both of my sisters live close by. We have *lovely* Christmas celebrations all together.

#17 mommylawyer

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:54 AM

My parents recently moved - they were over an hour away, now they are less than 5 minutes away. They have always come to my house because it's just the two of them, I'm an only child, and I have 4 kids of my own.

This year DH wants Santa to bring toys to my parents' house, but I've said no - the kids wouldn't be able to wake up and run downstairs!


#18 mazakaal

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:03 AM

As someone who lives 3000 miles from Grandma, I say go. I wish we could spend Christmas with family. I have fond memories of Christmases when I was a kid spent with my dad's sister, her husband, and his grown children (one with kids, one without). We alternated where we went, one year our house, one year my aunt's, one year one cousin, one year the other. Unless your family is disfunctional and you'd rather avoid being around them altogether, go. I was brought up Catholic too, and yes, you can go to mass on Christmas Eve. When we were young we'd go to an evening mass, and when we were teens we went to midnight mass. We'd get up early, open presents, have breakfast, enjoy a leisurely morning, and leave around noon, getting to family within 30-90 minutes depending on where we were going. The one thing that I'd expect the in-laws to be flexible about is letting you get there at your leisure and not insisting you arrive in the morning. The adult children should be able to contain their enthusiasm until the afternoon if grandma wants everyone opening gifts together. How does the other sibling with kids feel about it?

#19 Researcher

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:19 AM

No, we always have it at our home. I'm lucky that my MIL agreed that children should wake up in the own home on Christmas morning. So, she's always come to us to watch the kids unwrap their loot.

#20 Mama Geek

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:45 AM

Dh would much rather be with his parents, sister, bil, and niece than stay home on Christmas Day. Last year we were home which is close to his parents and we opened gifts at our house in the morning and went to his parents in the afternoon. This year we will be 12 hours away and it will be the 3 of us.

I much prefer the 3 of us, partly because I have major issues with his mom but partly I like being a homebody and don't like big crowds and I do think Christmas should be a time for our small family to be relaxed and enjoy it.

Dh grew up with a hugh family lots of aunts, uncles and cousins although only 1 sibling who all lived really close to each other. I have a very small family and that is probably why we much prefer different things.

#21 fairfarmhand

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:56 AM

No, we stay home and enjoy the day in our jammies with cocoa and movies in front of the fire after opening gifts. All my childhood memories of Christmas are going from house to house to visit different relatives on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I don't have memories of ever waking up in my own bed and enjoying it at home, I felt like our little family wasn't important. That's something I stand firm on as an adult, I want to enjoy holidays at home.


us too. We tried driving around on Christmas the first couple years and then said "ENOUGH!" We do "Christmas" a few days before or after with the in-laws and have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home. Would your dh be okay with that?

(I hated the "Hurry up, Kid open your presents. No you can't play with them. We have to get to Grandma's house." that happnened when we traveled)

#22 Heigh Ho

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:46 AM

We went to the gps for the first 12 years. It became a nightmare quickly, and I realized that narcissim was involved, so I set some boundaries. The invitation is always for a 5 pm for Christmas Eve dinner. Turns out it never happens until 8 pm until the favorite child arrives, and it's not dinner, its reheated frozen appetizer things from Sam's Club and bags of chips etc.. There is eating and drinking of alcohol until Midnight Mass, then a return for the opening of the gps presents. All are to leave then (app 2 am) and be back at 8 am for the opening of their presents, then the consuming of leftovers, a lasagna that's been sitting out since the 23rd, and our choice of Mrs. Smith's selections.

I put major boundaries on it....we have supper at 5 at our house, then visit the extended family gathering from 6 to 8. Anyone that wants to visit with us should arrive within that time frame. I then depart with children, we light our fireplace, set out cookies & milk, listen to music, read our favorite Christmas stories, and the children are asleep by 9:30 pm. Dh at times stayed to chat , at times came home with us. If anyone from my family was visiting, they'd come home with me and help me with last minute gift preparations. Two years ago we switched to inviting the relatives to the childrens' concerts the week before, and skipped on the Christmas Eve festivities in favor of having some of the childrens' friends over for the afternoon and a nice evening at home for us. Last year we went skiing. On Christmas Day we have a traditional holiday meal based on my heritage at 1 pm at our home, then about 5 pm go over to the gps for gift opening and time with gps. If there are any obvious drunks or the dogs brought by the childless get into a fight, we depart in under an hour. Last year we walked in to find the entire crew having a pajama party....it was not pretty, nor was it appropriate for teens to view, much less participate in. We left quickly, mentioning to the gps that we'd visit for pie later in the week.

My advice is to do what works for you. Both of your heritages are important and should be represented.

#23 Ellie

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:26 AM

I cannot imagine *not* vising the grandparents on Christmas day, but I wouldn't do it early in the morning. That's not reasonable. Afternoon, when the dc have opened their presents and hung out with them and whatnot, is reasonable. I would not want my children miss such a special day with grandparents and aunts and uncles if it were at all possible for them to go.

If your parish has a vigil Mass on Christmas Eve, yes, you can do that instead of Christmas Day.

#24 ktgrok

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:36 AM

We all get together (my mom and dad, my sister and her family) Christmas morning. EARLY Christmas morning. Think 7am. So consider yourself lucky, lol. We do rotate whose house it is though. This year we are doing it a bit differently, after a melt down last year (4 days at my parents, early wakening, late bedtimes etc with a kid with Aspergers). So this year we will get up early (6:30-7:00) and do stockings with our own family, and MAYBE all the presents from us here. We've never done that, I've never opened Christmas morning without my mom there (in 36 years, I really am blessed!), but I think my kids need less chaos for opening, maybe. Then we will go to Grandma's 1 hour away and open presents for and from them, my sister, etc. Then have a nice brunch before my son goes to his Father's house. I can't imagine not seeing them at all, if they are in driving distance. But we are pretty close.

What's funny is I did not grow up that way. We spent a few years traveling on Christmas, but then my parents stopped, and the grandparents never came to us. So this is not family tradition. But, my kids adore their Grandparents, and I love my parents so much, and my DH loves them so much, that i just can't imagine Christmas without them.

#25 2_girls_mommy

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

My mother says she always remembers being at grandma's with all of the cousins on Christmas. Every Christmas growing up I remember having Christmas Eve and morning at home then dressing up in our new clothes and packing up my favorite new toys and driving 3 hrs to Grandma's house. We would have one meal with one Grandma and another with the other Grandma (luckily they lived in the same town. We had moved...) So it is normal to me.

My kids usually pack up and drive somewhere on Christmas now too. We usually do dh's aunt. His mother has passed and she is as close to a mom for him and a grandma to my kids on that side of the family as you can get. We do my family a week or two before Christmas.

I was the opposite. I wanted Christmas Eve at home (though occasionally I do end up visiting my step mom on that day..) We like to go to church on Christmas Eve, drive around and look at lights, watch a movie and set out cookies for Santa. Dh and I have to then stay up late and wait for the kiddos to go to sleep before we can fill the stockings. Then we do gifts in the morning, eat breakfast and then drive the hour and a half to his aunts and eat there and visit with relatives. this has worked out well for us. The relatives actually do their big deal on Christmas Eve, but we have just had to opt out. It was always so late by the time we drove home and we were so wiped out, not to mention we didn't get to go to church.

If the families lived a little closer, I think we would easily do Christmas Eve or day, and it wouldn't be any ordeal. Visiting family (and the stress that goes with it) is what it is all about to me. My kids have wonderful memories of spending the holidays with all of this family.

#26 contessa20

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:46 PM

We made a decision after DS's first Christmas that we would go NOWHERE on Christmas day. That first year we packed up the night before and all woke up in DH's parent's house. I just don't like the idea of my child not being in his own home for Christmas. After that we chose to host Christmas at our house instead. My inlaws and my brother and his son usually come and that's all. My parents and step-siblings have been invited for years and years but they've only ever shown up once. Now that my dad and step-mom have a shiny new grandchild, the chances are slim that we will ever see or hear from them on another holiday, especially Christmas.

Anyway, my in-laws drive up (1.5 hrs.) Christmas morning around 10am. We do our gifts as a family before they arrive and then my husband makes a big breakfast for everyone when his parents get here. My brother shows up for dinner around 3pm. Everyone typically stays until around 6 or 7ish.

We are able to easily manage this because DS is my in-laws' only grandchild. DS also goes home with them Christmas night and stays for a week.

#27 contessa20

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:48 PM

:cursing:

:::double post:::

#28 Julie Smith

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:07 PM

We do.

My parents live 90 minutes away. This year, like every year we go up the day before Christmas (or sometimes the day of) and stay for a day or two.

My Mom gets big into Christmas. I don't.

We sometimes do stuff with my inlaws. But I don't think that will keep happening. My MIL is deceased. My husband's sister is remarried. So she has to think of her kids. Her kids family. Her new husband. His 4 adult kids from his previous 2 marriages. ... We no longer bother seeing them in December. We saw them last week and wouldn't likely see them till end of January.

Chirstmas at my parents works out for my brother. My Mom has a big house. So my brother shows up for a late afternoon. We open lots of presents. Then all of my brother's inlaws show up for a big Christmas dinner.

#29 lamppost

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:14 PM

We do Christmas Eve at Gma's, but Christmas morning is for our family only. I usually have the in-laws over in the early afternoon and we have Christmas dinner. We have gone over to their house in the past on Christmas Day but I prefer to stay put.

#30 CatholicMom

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:49 AM

No, we stay home and enjoy the day in our jammies with cocoa and movies in front of the fire after opening gifts. All my childhood memories of Christmas are going from house to house to visit different relatives on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I don't have memories of ever waking up in my own bed and enjoying it at home, I felt like our little family wasn't important. That's something I stand firm on as an adult, I want to enjoy holidays at home.


That's exactly how I feel. :closedeyes: We aren't running around THAT much, thank goodness (last year we went to mass & grandma's house on Christmas day, though, and that was stressful for sure). But I feel rushed and I don't like it.

#31 Impish

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:58 AM

so, here's the ?

What would happen if you stepped back and put dh in charge of getting everyone ready? So he really understood what's involved?

#32 Mama Geek

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:58 AM

Just wanted to give an update. Dh came home last night and said they are talking about shutting down for a week over Christmas, so we may end up with a 13-14 hour drive each way to spend Christmas at home and with his family after all. I don't know when we will know for sure.

We just got back from almost a week at home, dd and I are sick and I was sick the whole trip. I don't look forward to the possibility of doing it again in a few weeks. :glare:

#33 CatholicMom

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:05 AM

so, here's the ?

What would happen if you stepped back and put dh in charge of getting everyone ready? So he really understood what's involved?


HA! Dh would 1) say, heck no, that's too rushed. I'm not doing it... or 2) he'd put the kids in the car with sticky candy cane hands, chocolate faces, ratty hair and PJ's. I'm literally not sure which. OK, he would probably attempt to wash their hands and throw them in the car but their fingers would still be sticking together. :laugh:

#34 bobbeym

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:10 AM

DH's family convenes on Christmas Eve but since they're not in the picture anymore (their choosing, which we gladly did not argue over) we have that night to ourselves now. We all gather at my parents' house sometime early afternoon Christmas Day. It used to be a little bit of a hassle once we moved across town and my parents still expected us over there mid-morning, but we had to tell them no. It'd be after lunch because I wasn't rushing, and by then the boys were ready to take a break from new toys in anticipation of getting more new toys.

#35 Ellie

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:26 AM

I'd have given a lot to have had family in town for Christmas.

For the first 12 years of familyhood, we alternated: One year we'd open Christmas presents in the morning and hang out for awhile, and in the afternoon we'd drive over to mil's for dinner and opening presents, no earlier than 2, the other year she'd come over to our house in the afternoon for Christmas dinner and opening presents. Also, for the first three years, my mother lived in town, and we'd alternate Christmas Eve with her, Christmas Day with mil, and then switch the next year.

My mother moved to the Seattle area--two-day drive through inclement weather. We never did Christmas with her again. :-(

Happily, we didn't have divorced grandparents-four households to contend with. Under those circumstances, I'd probably feel much stronger about just staying home, for crying out loud.

My daughers both live on the West coast. I don't expect them to be here with us for Christmas (or Thanksgiving). One daughter lives in a small town with lots of her dh's family members; they have ginormous holiday get-togethers, so she's making up for lost time. :-) The other daughter lives about 6 hours from her in-laws; sometimes they make the trip, but it's Seattle to Bend, OR, so the weather doesn't always cooperate. I decided long ago that I would never expect my children to choose between parents' homes for holidays; instead, I try to get them for their birthdays, which are in May. Better weather, no other conflicts. Sometimes that works out, sometimes not. :-)

#36 chepyl

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:26 AM

We always went to my grandparents's house Christmas Day. We would open presents, leave by noon and be there by 4or5 pm.

Now, we go to my grandparents the Saturday after Christmas. As a family, we all spend the night at my parent's house and do Christmas morning there. We eat lunch and then go to dinner with DH's siblings. This is less stressful for is than getting up and drivig anywhere. We do Christmas in our pjs :) I would not give up the time my kids get with grandparents and great grandparents. They only see one set of grandparents (fil lives in the Philippines) and my maternal grandparents are the only living great grandparents they have. Yes, it can be stressful at times, but usually, it is a fun and relaxing day.

It is what you make it. If you dread it, of your family does not get along and is stressful to be around; don't go. My parents and sister want a relaxing day too. DH's submits are all laid back, too. They all do the in law thinkin the morning, so we just hang out and eat all evening.

#37 Danestress

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:37 AM

I just don't get why I have to fight to stay home on Christmas Day. As a mom of 5, life is hectic, every day there is a lot of work to be done to care for the kids. I feel like it's one day a year I deserve to stay home and enjoy my family.


I fully sympathize. Again, though, part of this depends on what your husband and children want. There are seven in your household. Even more than I want what I want for myself, I want what my kids want. If they love Christmas with their aunt, uncles, etc, it would be an obvious choice for me.

It sounds like you spend a lot of time with in laws, and I could see you guilt free just saying "no" unless your husband or kids express unhappiness with that. If you choose that, enjoy our day, because you deserve it!

Id you go, though, I would consider being very clear and in writing with a group email to all the in-laws that you will be there at X time (late afternoon) and do not want to open gifts together. If they still insist on it, then the waiting is on them.

Finally I want to say that for me, December 26th is the new "most wonderful day of the year." Everyone eats left overs, no one visits, I lay around on the sofa by the fire drinking tea and reading. That is our really good immediate family day. Dh always takes that day off. I often resent the days leading up to Christmas. I work like dog to keep everyone happy. It helps to remember that the 26th is my day off.

#38 justamouse

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

Yes, every year. But I am very attached to my family and I could not imagine Christmas without them. My parents live just down the road (out in the country). Both of my sisters live close by. We have *lovely* Christmas celebrations all together.


:iagree:

One day I am going to be the gramma and I want my kids to come here, so everyone's not all split up. Start as you want to go on.

Right now, though, everyone comes here because mom is working and it's hard for her to put it all on so I do it. They're about 15 minutes away, so it's all good.

I grew up going to my grandma's house or my aunt and uncles house with tons of cousins and lots of food and I've tried quiet holidays. I hate them. Yes, it's work, but it's loving work.

Your kids are younger, and it's harder, and if he wants to go, he has to help get the laundry done, kids ready, stuff packed. You don't want to leave it to the last minute, you need to plan, schedule, and attack it together.

My kids are older now, and they help MUCH more but those traditions are very important. It helps them know the family, it keeps them close, it builds relationships, it makes wonderful memories.

#39 soonermomma

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:20 AM

We do Christmas Eve at my parent's house with my parents, my sister and her family, my mom's parents, and my dad's mom. We have all kinds of food, and open presents from my parent and grandparents. On Christmas morning my husband's parents come over really early in the morning. (DH is an only child) I make a breakfast casserole the night before and pop it in the oven when we get up. The kids get up to see what santa brought and then we eat breakfast. After breakfast we open gifts. Last year I broke tradition and decided it was more important to be able to play with the kids so we fixed italian food rather than spending all day in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. I have not decided what we are going to have for lunch this year, but it will be something easy, not the traditional Christmas dinner.

#40 DusksAngel

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:22 AM

Before my in-laws moved (and we had kids), we rotated who had Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, and Christmas evening. We ruled out Christmas afternoon as we just weren't that hungry that soon and someone got their feeling hurt because of this.

Now we kind of play it by ear depending on where everyone is that year, although DH's family gets Thanksgiving and my family has Christmas. (BIL/SIL are military, so they years they've been stateside we either went to their home or they came down here, MIL joined us at either, and FIL as well when he comes home from teaching in China). The next few years BIL/SIL will be overseas, so we'll see what MIL wants to do.

For Christmas, we tried making it to my mom's (who lives 2 min away) for breakfast or lunch, but it just didn't work for us or my brother's family. If we tried breakfast we had kids not wanting to go because they'd just opened their gifts. If we tried lunch we had kids who had just had breakfast an hour or two before and weren't hungry. Finally we moved it to Christmas night and it's been a big hit. My husband can stay at the house with our kids til everyone's up from naps. I go over earlier and get everything started. We eat around 6 or so, then open gifts. By the time the kids play for awhile, it's time to head home and to bed.

#41 justamouse

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:39 AM

I cannot imagine *not* vising the grandparents on Christmas day, but I wouldn't do it early in the morning. That's not reasonable. Afternoon, when the dc have opened their presents and hung out with them and whatnot, is reasonable. I would not want my children miss such a special day with grandparents and aunts and uncles if it were at all possible for them to go.

If your parish has a vigil Mass on Christmas Eve, yes, you can do that instead of Christmas Day.

:iagree:

#42 CatholicMom

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:28 PM

Not sure what our plan is yet.

#43 Rivka

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:05 PM

You seem to be coming at this from the perspective of what the "right" or "natural" way to do it is, and I don't think that really works. You feel that their way is stressful and silly. They don't get why you're holding up the celebration. Both sides think the other side is being inconsiderate by wanting to celebrate Christmas the "wrong" way. But really, every family has their own set of preferences and their own traditions, and none are inherently better than the others. You can't prove, by polling people here, that your way should prevail - any more than they can prove that Christmas will be ruined if everyone splits up.

So instead of framing it as "I should be able to stay home..." or "it doesn't make any sense to do it their way..." it makes more sense to frame it as "I want to stay home" and "I don't want to do it their way." It's all preferences. Similarly, they don't really get to say "Everyone should be together..." and "It's not fair to ask the singles to wait..." when the more accurate statement would be "I want everyone to be together" and "the singles don't want to wait." This may sound like linguistic hair-splitting, but I really think it helps ratchet down the emotional upset if you can reframe it all as conflicting preferences, not as violations of the proper order of things.

We do Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in our own house. We go to our own UU church on Christmas Eve for the early family service and then stay for a potluck dinner for which our family invariably supplies a ham. The kids hang up their stockings, go to bed, and wake to find that Santa has visited. We hang out in the morning playing with our new presents and then pack up and drive to my parents' house (4.5 hours) in time to arrive for dinner. We stay there for a few days to see my siblings and the kids' cousins, and make sure to come home in time to have a day or two at home doing nothing before we have to go back to work.

But that's just our way. It's not the right way. (It's the right way for us, though, so nothing in the world would induce me to travel on Christmas Eve or something.)

#44 Farrar

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:34 PM

What Rivka said. I'm sure there are many right ways to do it.

We don't have the option to house hop on Christmas because everyone is too far away. We either all pack up before Christmas Eve and go there for a few days or we stay home and people come to us. But that's just how it works for us - I'm sure others wouldn't like that or having to decide every year.

#45 CatholicMom

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:24 PM

Thanks for the thoughts.

#46 WoolySocks

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:36 PM

We typically go to DH's parents on Christmas day. That said, this is all a balancing act. Sometimes my family is around. We've gotten into the tradition of doing our Christmas at home on Christmas eve day MORNING. Then we have that full day to relax with our gifts and have our lazy day at home. Last year was horrible. We had to go to DH's parents AND my parents to keep everyone happy.

You also have to consider the traditions and wishes of the other families involved. To me, if we get our day at home to open gifts, I'm fine. It's less important which day it actually happens. And it took me a few years to come around to that. I can only control me and my emotions and not the overly firey opinions of my relatives.

#47 QueenCath

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:25 PM

From a kids perspective, going to grandma's house and seeing all the aunts and uncles and cousins might be the best possible Christmas. I have friends who loved that scene growing up.


I have fond memories of going to my one set of grandparents on Christmas Eve, after church, and then to my other set on Christmas day. Set one would show up there too. All my cousins were there. I hate that we live a 12 hour drive from everyone, making it rare for my children to have the experience. My parents usually come here a day or two after Christmas, when we can't get there.

#48 amy g.

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:57 PM

I have the only children in my immediate family, so everyone comes here, and the children get to stay home.

When my children have families of their own, they will always be welcomed here, but I will encourage them to stay home for Christmas.


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