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and also don't have anyone over by choice, how well was that received among your family and friends? I made the mistake of going out today to Target, and the crazed armosphere just rubbed me the wrong way. Historically, we have spent 12+ hours on Christmas Eve with my husband's family, then my family comes over on Christmas Day. I was talking to my SIL today and suggested moving my family's Christmas Day to Sunday (two days after Christmas.) It's up to my parents, as they would be alone on the real Christmas Day and I don't want to do that to them if they'd be lonely. Although we have always had Easter a week early and it's never bothered them to be home on the real Easter. I just have a feeling we will receive a lot of flack from my husband's side of the family for not wanting to see anyone.

 

I enjoy seeing people around the holidays, but as I age I realize we need to make holidays what we want them to be, not what other people want them to be. My kids are always tired and cranky on Christmas Day (from Christmas Eve) and we rush through opening presents and they can't open anything or play with anything as people are coming over. I just think that being home alone on Christmas, just us, would give my kids (and myself) a breather from the craziness. We could play with stuff at our leisure, watch Christmas movies, just have a nice time together. We would still celebrate with our families, just not that day. How many people do this?

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II realize we need to make holidays what we want them to be, not what other people want them to be. My kids are always tired and cranky on Christmas Day (from Christmas Eve) and we rush through opening presents and they can't open anything or play with anything as people are coming over. I just think that being home alone on Christmas, just us, would give my kids (and myself) a breather from the craziness. We could play with stuff at our leisure, watch Christmas movies, just have a nice time together. We would still celebrate with our families, just not that day. How many people do this?

 

 

We do Christmas by ourselves. I just announced a few years ago, "We are going to have Christmas by ourselves." My mom was very supportive. I think my brothers and their wives sighed in relief as well. We all do Christmas Eve together at my mom's house with traditional New Mexican foods (tamales, beans, rice, chile). Then, we do Christmas Day at home, by ourselves. I make muffins for breakfast. The kids sometimes take all day to open their presents because they want to play with each thing before opening anything else. Sometimes I make a big dinner, sometimes not. I highly recommend it! It's all very leisurely and fun. That's what Christmas is supposed to be about, right?

 

We have, in previous years, celebrated Christmas on the wrong day because of traveling difficulties of various family members. It was always just as festive and fun, no matter what day.

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I understand about wanting to have Christmas to yourself. We finally had to say that we would be at home Christmas day (everyone lived a couple hours away). We told family that we would be happy to schedule a day/time to get together before or after Christmas, but Christmas day is at home. We decided to do that when it got too hard to travel with all the "Santa" gifts and deal with different peoples ideas of Christmas morning. It was also tough on us because my birthday is 12/23 and dd's is 12/24. We were never able to enjoy our birthdays, especially when traveling hours in the car! This year we live near dh's brother's family and a cousin's family, so we will get together with them later in the day for a meal, but Christmas morning we will be at home.

 

Don't be afraid to take a stand. They will get over it. Your dc will one day cherish the Christmas traditions you create with your family.

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We follow the Traditional liturgical calendar that says that Christmas begins on Dec. 25 and ends on Jan. 13. The modern Catholic calendar says that the season ends on the Baptism of Our Lord, so either way you have a Christmas season. We put our tree up close to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we go to Mass and have the rest of the day to ourselves. We open presents (that are from various people to the kids) over the 12 days of Christmas until Epiphany. Our children get their presents from us on Epiphany. It really cuts down on the insanity to spread everything out. We have various people over for Christmas dinners (yes, I do several over the season. We do not go to Christmas parties over Advent because it is a time of preparation and it is a time of penance because purple vestments are used. (One exception is the Nutcracker because it is only done before Christmas.). Everyone goes to confession during Advent, we fast, and we collect alms for the Christmas. We take the tree down when the season ends after Jan. 13. Our families think we are insane because we don't go to the family Christmas party on Christmas Eve, but it works well for us and the kids understand that Christmas is not about presents. When family members say we do Christmas on the wrong day, we just tell them that Christmas is an entire season after Dec. 25, not before.

Edited by LMA
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We sort of do this. We get together with DH's family a few days before Christmas. Then, on Christmas eve, we go to church, just us, and then come home to a nice dinner. On Christmas day, no one comes over until evening for a simple dinner. We have all day to ourselves to relax and enjoy things.

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Go for it.

 

Say nicely, "We are going to reserve Christmas Day to stay home this year. We'll be glad to see you on whatever other day works for you." It's a good year to try it, with Christmas being on a Friday. Life is too short to be frazzled, no matter what other people think. Just be nice about it, but firm. If they don't like it, it's their problem, not yours.

 

I wasted way too many years catering to other people's holiday expectations. It wasn't worth it.

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Well, moving across country helps :D My mother threw a huge hissy fit when I refused to spend Christmas Eve - Christmas Day at her place any more. I held my ground, and that was that.

 

Can I ask what the 12 hours at the in-laws involve? Is there anyway to shorten the day, so you could have the kids in bed at a fairly decent hour? Since the in-laws get Christmas Eve, I don't see how its any of their concern if you see anyone or not Christmas Day.

 

You mention a SIL. Why doesn't your brother host your parents one day, you the Sunday? Or simply exchange years...your brother one year, you the next, rather than you hosting every year?

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We moved our family Christmas get-together years ago when our children were little and it was met with enthusiasm because our siblings and their spouses all had children, too, and getting them to leave all their new presents and drive somewhere else was a real pain!

 

We always have ours on the weekend before or the weekend after Christmas (depending on what day of the week it falls on). There are 4 siblings, so we rotate homes (I'll be hosting the family get-together next Christmas).

 

This year, we'll be having the get-together on Saturday, the 26th. So we'll be home on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

 

Only my mother-in-law is still living and whoever is hosting the Christmas party (this year, it's my 2nd sister-in-law) will have Grammy at their house for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. She lives in another state and she doesn't drive very far, due to her age. So my SIL will drive out on Wednesday and pick her up and take her to her house. Then someone will drive her home, probably on Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes she'll stay longer (through New Years') which isn't a bad deal, as she's a great babysitter for those who want to go out on New Year's Eve!

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We've been having Christmas at our home, by ourselves since my oldest's second christmas. I'm so glad that we put our foot down way back then and it has been SOOOOOOOOOOO nice. The first year I just said--we've decided to enjoy Christmas day at our home. They didn't like it but as someone else said---it was their problem not mine. My kids have always known only Christmas at our home and have so enjoyed being able to open gifts slowly or quickly, playing with items to their heart content without the need to run off to someone else's home.

 

Carole

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Well, moving across country helps :D My mother threw a huge hissy fit when I refused to spend Christmas Eve - Christmas Day at her place any more. I held my ground, and that was that.

 

Can I ask what the 12 hours at the in-laws involve? Is there anyway to shorten the day, so you could have the kids in bed at a fairly decent hour? Since the in-laws get Christmas Eve, I don't see how its any of their concern if you see anyone or not Christmas Day.

 

You mention a SIL. Why doesn't your brother host your parents one day, you the Sunday? Or simply exchange years...your brother one year, you the next, rather than you hosting every year?

 

 

The excessive time we spend at my ILs is because there are two people's houses involved. See, we start out at my MIL's house around noon, where we exchange presents and have appetizers. Then, around 4:00 we move to my husband's Grandma's house two doors down. There, we exchange more presents and eat more appetizers, then have dinner and dessert. They then play GAMES. Now, I'm not against games. They can be lots of fun. But I come from a family that eats, exchanges presents, the whole shebang, in less than four hours. And they drive 1.5 hours each way. For some reason, my ILs really like it go to on and on. But, this year will be slightly different as my husband has to work Christmas Day. It's part of his set (four on and four off) and no one is going to want to trade days with him. He leaves at 5:00 am and comes home at 6:00 pm. So, we will probably leave my IL's early so my kids can get home and open presents. It's still pretty rushed and they get slammed with presents.

 

My parents told my brother and I a few years ago that they would no longer be having holidays and it was up to us. So, I took Christmas, my brother takes Thanksgiving, and we're supposed to switch off taking Easter but I always end up having it.

 

I'm waiting to hear back from my parents regarding what they think of the idea. They have no other family other than my brother and his family, and me and my family.

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We sort of do this. I host my brother, his girlfriend, my dad and his sister on Christmas Eve/ Christmas morning. Then they go off to do whatever they are going to do. It's all relaxed with no pressure and much better than dragging the kids here and there. For now, I'm the best cook in the family and the only one with kids. When my brother has kids, we'll have to reassess. We might see my extended family on Christmas afternoon/night, if it is convenient. If it isn't, I play the "the kids will be tired and miserable by then" card. No one can argue with that without sounding unreasonable. :D A two year old really doesn't benefit from being in the vicinity of shrieking aunts at the end of a long day, and we don't benefit from listening to an overtired toddler shriek.

 

Dh's sister and parents want him to do the traditional Christmas thing at their place, but I won't drag the kids half way across the state in the middle of summer so dh and I can have a boring as anything time and MIL can do her best to undermine our parenting. We offered to meet them for a picnic half way on Boxing Day, but last year they chose to throw a tantrum instead. If a tantrum is more important than seeing their son and grandchildren, they can have their tantrum. The conversation hasn't come up yet, so I don't know if we are picnicking on Boxing Day or if they are still sulking from last year. I suppose I'll find out before the day.

 

To pull a quote from Heather in NC's ethnicity change thread, "they don't paint my dunny door!"

 

Rosie

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I also forgot to mention that no matter how much time we spend with the ILs, they want more. We had our Thanksgiving with my ILs last Saturday. Their whole family was there. Yesterday, my MIL made another Thanksgiving feast at her house and invited the same people over again. What, exactly, is the point of having a pre-Thanksgiving dinner if they're all going to get together again on the actual day? I've dealt with this insanity for 17 years and it's really starting to get on my nerves. The ILs are offended that we don't invite them to our house on Christmas Day, but I feel we've spent plenty of time with them on Christmas Eve. They don't get it. They also live much closer to us than my family, so they see my kids way more than my family does. They still want more.

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Honestly, I'd tell them that you have to leave immediately after supper as their son needs to sleep, as he has to be up at 5am. And then do it.

 

I have to be truthful and say that I must be incredibly antisocial. The idea of 12 hrs spent with any of my or Wolf's family makes me shudder. I've had my BIL, MIL, SIL each spend weekends with us, and I haven't spent 12 hrs in constant contact with them over a weekend, let alone in a single day! I'd go completely nuts. And I like my BIL and SIL...well, I did until recent email cropped up from my BIL :glare:

 

Time to make YOUR family your priority...and that's the folks that live under the same roof as you. Do what's best for your kids, and the rest can like it or lump it.

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and also don't have anyone over by choice, how well was that received among your family and friends?

 

The in-laws had a rough time..they wanted us to be there every moment on Dec 24 & 25, but did not have the inclination to provide for our family's needs. Several nasty things were said and done and I just took my kids home (sometimes for the attacks by their cousins, sometimes the lying about dinner time leaving my preschooler with nothing to eat for hours, etc etc), leaving dh to enjoy the dysfunction. After a few years, dh had enough and left with us at a pre-arranged time. We now enjoy real food at our house, we have time to set up our presents under the tree, leave Santa his snack, read Christmas Stories to our children, and enjoy our day. We still do visit FIL&MIL on Christmas Day, but we don't show up at 7 a.m. and we don't stay until the wee hours of the a.m. One of their greatest concerns was their gift giving protocol...it is as dysfunctional as the rest of their holiday, but they chilled after we assured them that we would make sure their precious gifts would be there to open even if we weren't. This worked out very well for me, as I now don't have to explain the dollar store vs. very expensive gift choices. My feeling is that the years the children are young are short, and I'm not about to let the grandparents steal my stable homelife and enjoyable holiday from me.

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We didn't start doing that until we moved over 2000 miles away!

 

But, I can honestly say, I wish I would have done it sooner. I love our Christmases home alone with our family. I cherish that day. If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have worried so much about reactions from our family, I would have just done it.

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with dh's family on New Year's Eve.

 

My mom hosts her children & grandchildren & great-grandchildren the weekend before Christmas. We don't exchange gifts, but we play games and eat a big meal together.

 

On New Year's Eve, we go to dh's parents' house, as do his siblings and their kids -- big family, lots of fun. We all bring goodies and we munch on them throughout the evening, while we open our gifts to one another. (We draw names, but there are still LOTS of presents to be opened because there are so many of us.) We usually finish up the gift exchange just before midnight, and then we watch the ball drop on television while we toast the new year with cups of sparkling cider.

Edited by ereks mom
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As someone who has mostly never had family in town to spend holidays with, I'm having a hard time imagining not wanting to spend time with family if given the opportunity.

 

Can't there be a compromise? 12+ hours with anyone is way too much; couldn't you just do dinner or something? And couldn't you, on Christmas day, open presents at home and schlep around for awhile, visiting folks later for dessert, if not for a meal? I guess you might get flack for that, too, but still...Most holidays, it's just been the four of us (well, back before we were empty nesters and lived in the middle instead of on the coast). I've sure missed the family get-togethers.

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Wow, all I can think of... is how crushed I'd be with just my husband and me at Christmas... and my children with just their families during the holidays. I just get sad ... thinking about it. I think that this is part of the sadness about America and how we see our families..... just our nuclear one is important... "Do what's best for YOU; that's what's important." Bummer.....

Carrie

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Wow, all I can think of... is how crushed I'd be with just my husband and me at Christmas... and my children with just their families during the holidays. I just get sad ... thinking about it. I think that this is part of the sadness about America and how we see our families..... just our nuclear one is important... "Do what's best for YOU; that's what's important." Bummer.....

Carrie

 

Many of us do spend part of the holidays with our extended family. Many have referred to those times even in this thread. In our family,

we spend Christmas Eve with my ILs and all of dh's family. I call my own family (who live far away) on the holidays.

 

But what is important on Christmas Day? For me, it is spending time thinking about the real meaning of Christmas. We have invited others to join us for our Christmas day celebration and have some memorable times - with neighbors and friends. Why not family? Because they will not sit quietly and let us read aloud the Christmas story. They will complain loudly that we don't have the television on. We've tried and we don't invite them anymore to share that special time with us.

 

Many of the other people who have put their foot down and have started to have family Christmas' have done so because boundaries were crossed so often by family members that it was a nightmare.

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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When I was little we had to do Christmas Eve with my mom's family then rush over to spend the night with my grandma (dad's family). We had Christmas morning with my Dad and Grandma then at noon my mom would pick us up. We then drove for an hour to spend Christmas evening with my Step dad's family. I HATED IT and hated what Christmas had become. I did not get to spend anytime with anyone for long and felt pulled in different directions.

 

So when I had kids I told everyone that we would be having Christmas at ONE place and if you wanted to come join us feel free. If we have to travel out of state to the IL's then we are there a week. If we are home we are home.

 

We can always go visit people a week before or after in order to not overstimulate me or the kids.

 

Usually though everyone just comes over to my house and I make sure we all have a great time. :) We even have had broken families or needy from church join us to Celebrate the day.

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This year will be the first year we haven't been "just us" for Christmas. We might have family or friends over for Christmas dinner, but Christmas Eve/morning are ours. No one has said anything weird. It's always been about family. We're only doing something different this year because our company is closing for a week at Christmas and it's the only time we ever could go travel for Christmas. Normally we don't even get Christmas Eve off.

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Many of us do spend part of the holidays with our extended family. Many have referred to those times even in this thread. In our family, w We spend Christmas Eve with my ILs and all of dh's family. I call my own family (who live far away) on the holidays.

 

But what is important on Christmas Day? For me, it is spending time thinking about the real meaning of Christmas. We have invited others to join us for our Christmas day celebration and have some memorable times - with neighbors and friends. Why not family? Because they will not sit quietly and let us read aloud the Christmas story. They will complain loudly that we don't have the television on. We've tried and we don't invite them anymore to share that special time with us.

 

Well, Christmas Day is special to me... to spend with extended family... because I love to spend time all together. I didn't have g-parents to visit while younger... and my children wouldn't know what to do if we didn't.

 

Of course, as you pointed out, you have invited others to your house... and they'd prefer the tv. In that way, it's really their choice to not come, and they're not at their house wishing they could be celebrating with you.

 

Of course, at my parent's house... my dad is reading through the Christmas Story:-) So... as long as everyone is happy with the choices they're making...

 

Carrie:D

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Wow, all I can think of... is how crushed I'd be with just my husband and me at Christmas... and my children with just their families during the holidays. I just get sad ... thinking about it. I think that this is part of the sadness about America and how we see our families..... just our nuclear one is important... "Do what's best for YOU; that's what's important." Bummer.....

Carrie

 

Well, I'm hoping that I will be more considerate of my grown children, especially when they have little ones of their own. And I hope I'll be the one to offer to go to their house, so that I can participate in the traditions they decide to include and watch their little ones open their presents at their OWN HOUSE.

 

And if my grown children would rather have Christmas Day to establish their own traditions, we will set a different day for our extended family celebration.

 

My parents catered to extended family for years, and when we found ourselves on our own, we had NO traditions at all. And they didn't try to start any. So it was awful. DH and I went to extended family for years until we had children, and then we put our foot down. We wanted to establish our own traditions in our own home. I expect my grown children will want to do the same, and I intend to respect their choices and boundaries.

 

So Help Me God. I refuse to perpetuate extended family toxicity.

Edited by WTMCassandra
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For the first 10 years of marriage we always went home for the holidays. It was a 3 hour drive, never had Christmas at our home. But then the military moved us to Korea and we had Christmas all to ourselves and loved it. We started our own family traditions and it's been wonderful. No running to everyones home, up early to bed late. It has been great and we love our relaxed holidays. The children thrived with the peace of not having to go somewhere and it made for a joyous Christmas morning.

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We do Christmas Eve with DH's family and Christmas day just our own. When we lived near my familyl, we didn't celebrate Christmas with them because.....ah....well, lets just say the last time was when my DH had to physically stop my BIL from punching my mom in the face...no kidding. That's not what I wanted my kids to remember about Christmas. So for the last 20 years it's been just us on Christmas day and WE LOVE IT. Even if things were different with my family and we lived near them, I would still keep Christmas day private.

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We used to spend a jam-packed, looooong Christmas Eve with dh's family. It was too much - meals, presents, church. Then, we drove 2.5 hours home at midnight on Christmas Eve in Minnesota winters. Nothing is open on Christmas Eve, it is darn cold, and it is often dangerous driving depending on the weather. Then Christmas Day was miserable because we were all tired and crabby.

 

Dh still had siblings at home (big Catholic family :D) when we decided to stay home for the holiday. That meant Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at our house by ourselves. MIL and FIL are always invited to celebrate at our house with us (as are my parents), but we don't attend any extended family celebrations on the actual holiday. At the time we made the switch, dh's mom had a little mental breakdown and pouted a lot. She got over it after a few years, and now we have wonderful, relaxed Christmas celebrations the weekend before or after Christmas. Everyone loves the new tradion.

 

Dh has single siblings that are usually with his parents over Christmas, and some of the married siblings with grown children visit as well. Those of us with small children are scarce those two days. Traditions change depending on your season of life.

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I think having the opportunity to choose your own holiday traditions is a wonderful and necessary gift that parents ought to give their grown children. So often I see see FFF--Forced Family Fun--from parents who just won't let go. If grown kids want to go to their parents, great, if not, great.

 

My parents come see me or my sil in Ohio (one brother died, and the other isn't Christian, so my parents won't go there for their secular Christmas). My husband does not work on Christmas Day--he trades the Thanksgiving service for the Christmas Day one with his assistant so we can have a leisurely time opening presents and a day when my kids and me don't have to share him with "the Parish." I know my mom would probably like to have everyone come "home," but it's not going to happen. She has made the sacrifice so that we can start our own traditions, and I am very grateful for it. I hope I am so gracious when I have married children.

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Wow, all I can think of... is how crushed I'd be with just my husband and me at Christmas... and my children with just their families during the holidays. I just get sad ... thinking about it. I think that this is part of the sadness about America and how we see our families..... just our nuclear one is important... "Do what's best for YOU; that's what's important." Bummer.....

Carrie

 

I think it really depends on the family dynamics and if you are in a truly dysfunctional or uncaring family, I can definitely see not wanting to spend the holidays with them. On the other hand, I can't imagine disappointing my sweet mother by not coming over on Christmas Day. She enjoys the holidays in a way that I never will and while I sometimes would like to avoid all the craziness, I could never let her down after all the sacrifices she's made for me.

 

As I've been reading this thread, I've been trying to picture just being home with my family on Christmas Day and it seems like it would be just like every other day of our lives with the addition of presents for the kids. My kids would be so sad if they didn't get to see their cousins. Getting together with my family is what makes it special for us, but that is what I am used to.

 

Lisa

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Christmas Eve go to Grandma's house. Skip MIL's - you will see all the same people. Don't stay for cards. The first year will be the hardest, but really, they are demanding too much and they will eventually get used to it. If you see them regularly throughout the year and open your home to them with love, I think you should feel NO guilt about a shortened evening.

 

Have your parents over Christmas Day. It just seems mean not to. It's just every other year, and this is your year.

 

Then the day after Christmas, lock the door, shut the blinds, don't answer the phone, and just hang out. If you need a "down" day, why not the day after Christmas?

Edited by Danestress
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Well, I'm hoping that I will be more considerate of my grown children, especially when they have little ones of my own. And I hope I'll be the one to offer to go to their house, so that I can participate in the traditions they decide to include and watch their little ones open their presents at their OWN HOUSE.

 

And if my grown children would rather have Christmas Day to establish their own traditions, we will set a different day for our extended family celebration.

 

My parents catered to extended family for years, and when we found ourselves on our own, we had NO traditions at all. And they didn't try to start any. So it was awful. DH and I went to extended family for years until we had children, and then we put our foot down. We wanted to establish our own traditions in our own home. I expect my grown children will want to do the same, and I intend to respect their choices and boundaries.

 

So Help Me God. I refuse to perpetuate extended family toxicity.

 

:iagree: I so agree with this and one reason I put my foot down when my first came along. I wanted us to have family traditions and not cater to a siblings wishes.

 

There is quite an age-gap between my siblings and me. In fact I'm closer in age by a few months to one neice then I am to my oldest sister. Consequently when I was 12yo we travelled to her home to celebrate Christmas with her family. That was great for her kids and I got to watch them celebrate opening presents and being joyful. As a kid, cause that was what I was as a 12yo and a teen, I didn't like having to travel 8 hrs, to cater to their schedule and feel like a third wheel. Her home was never my home, I never lived in the town they lived in so I had no connection to it. As a kid I felt what it was like to not be able to be at your home at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and decided then I would not do the same to my own kids.

 

There have been a few times when we went elsewhere for Easter or Thanksgiving and afterwards my kids request was that we not do that again. Please can't we stay home for the holiday and see the relatives at other times. We've invited relatives in and for several years my Dad actually joined us for Christmas. My oldest sister, where Christmas had been at her home for years and years was quite upset that Dad wasn't going to be at her home.

 

And when my boys have wives I will ask if they'd like to have the holiday celebration at their home. I'm not interested in extended family toxicity either.

Edited by Blue Hen
I wasn't done typing and it posted!
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Guest janainaz

A few years ago I decided we would just do our own family on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. My dh has a million people in his family and we see them all year long. I really wanted my kids' memories of Christmas to be very mellow and meaningful with just my dh and I. It was chaotic at my dh's house and I really grew tired of having to follow someone else's traditions (such as making the kids wait until almost noon to open their gifts). I also disliked spending so much time shopping and having every person tearing into their gifts at the same time and everything being over in like 10 minutes and not knowing what anyone got! Drives me nuts! When I grew up, we each opened a gift, one at a time, and there was oohing and ahhing and thanks-you's and hugs.

 

You really only get so much time with your kids when they are little. As much as I love my sons, I also hope that when they have wives and kids that they will create some special memories of their own and not feel guilty for not wanting to hang out with us Christmas Eve and morning.

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Christmas Eve go to Grandma's house. Skip MIL's - you will see all the same people. Don't stay for card. The first year will be the hardest, but really, they are demanding too much and they will eventually get used to it. If you see them regularly throughout the year and open your home to them with love, I think you should feel NO guilt about a shortened evening.

 

Have your parents over Christmas Day. It just seems mean not to. It's just every other year, and this is your year.

 

Then the day after Christmas, lock the door, shut the blinds, don't answer the phone, and just hang out. If you need a "down" day, why not the day after Christmas?

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

I personally could never let my parents sit at home alone on Christmas. I couldn't handle it in my heart, and I think it's a bad example to the kids.

 

I also wouldn't spend 12 hours with family who lives right by me. Something about that would have to change for dh and I. :001_smile:

 

We always have Thanksgiving here and my small extended family comes. This year it was only my brother due to sickness. Christmas Day we've always had at home alone with the kids. If my parents were going to be home alone, they'd be welcome to come here. We spent Christmas Eve with my parents. It was always wonderful and we always got home too late, put the presents out too late, and awoke EXHAUSTED the next day. We all stay in our pj's on Christmas. I'm so thankful my kids ejoyed Christmas Eve with my parents up until their death. They cherish the memories and speak of them often. And they also love having Christmas Day alone. My brother is welcome here, it would be cruel to have him spend Christmas alone. We only have mil on dh's side so that makes it easy, and most holidays she chose to stay home alone. Easter will be at my sisters house.

 

We have a healthy balance between spending time with family and having our own traditions here at home.

Edited by Denisemomof4
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I refuse to perpetuate extended family toxicity.

 

That's it, isn't it?

There is no one so important that they are worth making myself and my kids miserable to please. They are big people, my kids are little people. The big people are big enough to have perspective. My little people aren't. Besides, if the big people think they are going to enjoy the company of overwrought children, they haven't thought things through properly.

 

Rosie

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Wow, all I can think of... is how crushed I'd be with just my husband and me at Christmas... and my children with just their families during the holidays. I just get sad ... thinking about it. I think that this is part of the sadness about America and how we see our families..... just our nuclear one is important... "Do what's best for YOU; that's what's important." Bummer.....

Carrie

I think expecting grown children, with spouses and children to come to grandparent's house every.single.Christmas. is nuts. Seriously.

 

My parents were spoiled when I had my first two children, as I was a single mom. They never had to 'share' with in laws. It caused a huge crap storm when my older brother married and had children...to the point where my older brother, who lives three doors down from my parents, no longer talks to them, and they haven't seen his kids (other than in passing, not even to talk to) in years.

 

My youngest brother and his wife are expecting a baby the end of Dec. My mother has been told to back off to the point that she's in a complete hissy fit mode over it.

 

To demand that your kids come home at Christmas is to ignore their need to be a family, them and their children, apart from you, as well as the other set of grandparents. To think it fair, rational, to demand that grandchildren are dragged around Christmas Day to two sets of grandparents is bizarre, imo. All families need traditions, traditions that stand alone, and the growing up kids can take with them.

 

A tradition of traveling misery, where nobody's happy, isn't it to me. "Doing whats best for you; thats whats important" is true when the alternative is trying to please everyone and being completely miserable, making your kids miserable in the process, because NOBODY is ever going to be pleased. Someone will always want more, will whine about something...I put my husband and children ahead of everyone and everything, period. There's simply nobody that is worth making them miserable Christmas Day for.

 

I moved across country to ensure that I wasn't roped into any more of it, and that was before I even MET my dh!

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Growing up. our house was where everyone came for Christmas. Even my single aunt and her two little kids. I always felt sorry for my young cousins, as they had to rush through their morning to get to our house ( an hour's drive away) by 10am. Then, after all the gifts were opened (we did it all en masse with all the relatives) their toys were bundled into their mom's car...and the rest of the day they just wandered.

 

My kids, here, I have insisted on Christmas eve and morning at home until at least noon. Then we could go to Grandma's condo (an hour away) as the six adult kids (well, the three who lived in the area) had to have Christmas at their childhood home. Now Grandma is getting older, ...and last year we took over the meal, so folks come HERE by 1. Much better. Sometimes is is just time for the old folks to let the young folks with the actual kids do the Christmas day.

 

I just remembered - several years ago when all four kids were less than 10 and one was sick - too miserable to even open her presents - hubby left mid-day to go spend the rest of the day with his folks. I was home with four small kids - one sick. Pissed me off. Hubby should not have left me and his four small kids on Christmas Day!!! Two days later I was sitting at the hospital - the little sickie was in for two day for dehydration, etc.

 

I look forward to someday traveling and spending an evening here, a morning there, an afternoon elsewhere, visiting kids and grandkids. The newbie parents with the little kids should get to arrange their own holidays, and let us know when best to come over.

Edited by JFSinIL
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We do this. My mom usually comes down for the week of Christmas and my MIL and FIL live 300 yards from us. My mom is here on Christmas morning as just part of our celebrations. My MIL and FIL come down around noon to visit, and then we have dinner that night together. In all, we may add 3 people to the celebration and all of them are very immediate family. No cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. And we absolutely REFUSE to leave our home! As a matter of fact, my older son also does not go with his dad until, usually, the day after Christmas. His dad respects the fact that he is still young and still wants to open presents and enjoy the morning with his little brother.

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We do Christmas on our own. We don't have near by family to visit or for them to come to us (all live at least 10 hours away). It is just us (the 10 in our house) and a very very close friend in Chicago, and my sister living in a nursing home about 1 1/2 from us.

 

But if we did have more family near by, then we would still have Christmas on our own and celebrate with extended family earlier/later. It is crazy enough as it is for us and to add in family coming/going... would just drive everyone crazier and make Christmas stressful. I would invite extended family to come over Christmas afternoon (after mass)... but then we have 7 kids and it is just easier for us to stay home.

Edited by AnitaMcC
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We've been having Christmas at our home, by ourselves since my oldest's second christmas. I'm so glad that we put our foot down way back then and it has been SOOOOOOOOOOO nice. The first year I just said--we've decided to enjoy Christmas day at our home. They didn't like it but as someone else said---it was their problem not mine. My kids have always known only Christmas at our home and have so enjoyed being able to open gifts slowly or quickly, playing with items to their heart content without the need to run off to someone else's home.

 

Carole

 

Similar for us. We have a routine down that works great for us. Christmas Eve, after dinner, we open presents from distant relatives who sent gifts to us. We often also open a new family game and we play that while wearing our new PJ's. Christmas morning we have a relaxed morning. The kids get their stockings as soon as they wake up. That usually keeps them busy for a bit and allows the adults to sleep-LOL. Then we all get up and the kids open one present while breakfast is being made. We go to Christmas mass at noon and then come home to open the rest of the gifts while dinner is being cooked. The rest of the day is easy going with dinner around 6pm.

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We enjoy it being just our family for Christmas Day. Of course we live thousands of miles away from family so we have no choice.

 

I'd be seriously bummed if I had to get out of my pjs on Christmas day. :001_smile:

 

I never really enjoyed the very few times we got together with extended family when I was growing up, but then again, my family was very dysfunctional. Hubby's side of the family seems to always be feuding. His brother and sister live in the same town and mail gifts to each other's kids. CRAZY.

 

At least it is peaceful at our house.

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Wow, all I can think of... is how crushed I'd be with just my husband and me at Christmas... and my children with just their families during the holidays. I just get sad ... thinking about it. I think that this is part of the sadness about America and how we see our families..... just our nuclear one is important... "Do what's best for YOU; that's what's important." Bummer.....

Carrie

 

:iagree:

I understand when there are truly unhealthy family situations, and I am not referring to those, but...

 

I did not grow up in a perfect family and I know that there were always personalities to deal with, but my memories of Christmas, Thanksgiving, being about FAMILY and community are precious to me. (and I dont just mean the nuclear family). Sure, it can be inconvenient, a lot of work, and exhausting. But I think that it also sends a message to our kids that it is not just about us. My parents often visited friends and we had friends over when we couldnt travel. They would sometimes include those that didnt have any family to share the holidays with.

 

We keep Christmas morning as special time with just the children, but I just cannot imagine feeling the need to separate ourselves and keep our dc from those that love them at every holiday. And, my heart hopes that my dc will not consider it burdensome to get together with family when they are grown with family of their own.

 

These threads pop up every Christmas and it always saddens me. The whole idea of community seems to be getting more and more lost...:(

 

Kim

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Our nuclear family IS important. Our relationships as husband and wife and parents with children ARE important. Some relatives cannot accept this and use the idea of 'family' to negate our nuclear family relationships in favor of perpetuating their childhood and/or avoiding aging. It is not healthy for our nuclear family to pretend that our relationships don't deserve as much or more time as the extended family relationships.

 

We have run into the living too close problem. Every single inlaw is over for something or , most frequently, asking dh over for something that 'only he can do' every single weekend that there is not a 'family' party. None speak to anyone other than their blood relatives. It seriously impairs the relationship of the children to their father, and to my teen's ability to develop appropriate skills that his father should be teaching him - but instead their 'dad time' is robbed because of the demand on his time from his 'real' family. My son's scoutmaster has done more with my son this year than his dad, due to the needy/greedy 'family'. Let's see - 6 siblings, 2 grandparents - all are ticked off because he can only give them each 1 weekend day per month and he works a non-gov't job so doesn't get home as early as the non-disabled ones do. The nuclear family gets no weekend time. So I have no problem taking Christmas morning for us and am looking forward to moving. Were I to continue going over on Christmas morning, it would be the same dysfunction as usual - I'd rather sit in my chair at home with a cup of tea while my kids enjoy themselves than in someone else's kitchen working as the servant while my kids are ignored in the back room. I had one SIL that set her law down when she turned 40 - "I am NOT sitting on the floor...I will be gone with your son or he will be divorced if you cannot be civil and provide seating to the nonblood members". My status as a wife and mother counts and should be respected as well as my hubby's status as a father and husband. He is not just a child or a brother. And dh was not dragged around to the grandparents on Christmas as a child nor were any of his cousins.

Edited by lgm
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:iagree:

I understand when there are truly unhealthy family situations, and I am not referring to those, but...

 

I did not grow up in a perfect family and I know that there were always personalities to deal with, but my memories of Christmas, Thanksgiving, being about FAMILY and community are precious to me. (and I dont just mean the nuclear family). Sure, it can be inconvenient, a lot of work, and exhausting. But I think that it also sends a message to our kids that it is not just about us. My parents often visited friends and we had friends over when we couldnt travel. They would sometimes include those that didnt have any family to share the holidays with.

 

We keep Christmas morning as special time with just the children, but I just cannot imagine feeling the need to separate ourselves and keep our dc from those that love them at every holiday. And, my heart hopes that my dc will not consider it burdensome to get together with family when they are grown with family of their own.

 

These threads pop up every Christmas and it always saddens me. The whole idea of community seems to be getting more and more lost...:(

 

Kim

 

I understand what you are saying. I grew up with great Christmases that involved all the aunts and uncles and cousins. I wish I could give that to my kids but my sibling and my dh's siblings don't really value that and some live far away.

 

Sometimes it's about choices as well. My parents are quite insistent that we "do" Christmas their way. It has to be at their house, we have to arrive by a certain time, they expect us to stay all day etc. I've tried meshing my desire to enjoy Christmas morning at home with my children with their expectations and it's simply not possible. Arriving at lunch time or after will not do for them. I've invited them to come to our home on Christmas afternoon to visit and they don't want to do that either. So the end result is that yes - we spend Christmas day at home just our own family and we see the grandparents on other days (sometimes Christmas eve day we "do" christmas with my family, sometimes the saturday before). If there is no willingness to compromise, sometimes you just have to choose what is best for your own family.

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Wow, all I can think of... is how crushed I'd be with just my husband and me at Christmas... and my children with just their families during the holidays. I just get sad ... thinking about it. I think that this is part of the sadness about America and how we see our families..... just our nuclear one is important... "Do what's best for YOU; that's what's important." Bummer.....

Carrie

 

I've been thinking about this all day today. I know I posted before in reply, but I wanted to add another dimension. It is SO ingrained in our culture to spend this time with large family gatherings. All of the movies, the cards, the commercials, all of them show these big happy family gatherings.

 

I think the *default* in our culture is still to spend these days with extended family.

 

That being said, if someone expresses that they have broken away from that model, that usually takes a huge act of courage--a revolutionary act, even. It is usually not a step taken lightly or for selfish reasons, and it usually was a last resort after years of trying lots of different things. Selfishness is different from *self-preservation,* of an individual or a family. If this kind of boundary needs to be set, the person setting it usually faces tremendous pressure, guilt, obligation, and even punishment from the boundary-crashers.

 

Please don't heap on additional guilt when people have HAD to take this step. It's hard enough as it is. To echo another poster, Yes, It Can Be That Bad. And if it is, it's hard to hear this kind of thing from people who don't understand. Be very thankful that you can't understand. And be flexible grandparents who value your grown children's nuclear family as you wanted yours to be valued.

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I've been thinking about this all day today. I know I posted before in reply, but I wanted to add another dimension. It is SO ingrained in our culture to spend this time with large family gatherings. All of the movies, the cards, the commercials, all of them show these big happy family gatherings.

 

I think the *default* in our culture is still to spend these days with extended family.

 

That being said, if someone expresses that they have broken away from that model, that usually takes a huge act of courage--a revolutionary act, even. It is usually not a step taken lightly or for selfish reasons, and it usually was a last resort after years of trying lots of different things. Selfishness is different from *self-preservation,* of an individual or a family. If this kind of boundary needs to be set, the person setting it usually faces tremendous pressure, guilt, obligation, and even punishment from the boundary-crashers.

 

Please don't heap on additional guilt when people have HAD to take this step. It's hard enough as it is. To echo another poster, Yes, It Can Be That Bad. And if it is, it's hard to hear this kind of thing from people who don't understand. Be very thankful that you can't understand. And be flexible grandparents who value your grown children's nuclear family as you wanted yours to be valued.

 

 

:iagree:great post..

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I understand what you are saying. I grew up with great Christmases that involved all the aunts and uncles and cousins. I wish I could give that to my kids but my sibling and my dh's siblings don't really value that and some live far away.

 

Sometimes it's about choices as well. My parents are quite insistent that we "do" Christmas their way. It has to be at their house, we have to arrive by a certain time, they expect us to stay all day etc. I've tried meshing my desire to enjoy Christmas morning at home with my children with their expectations and it's simply not possible. Arriving at lunch time or after will not do for them. I've invited them to come to our home on Christmas afternoon to visit and they don't want to do that either. So the end result is that yes - we spend Christmas day at home just our own family and we see the grandparents on other days (sometimes Christmas eve day we "do" christmas with my family, sometimes the saturday before). If there is no willingness to compromise, sometimes you just have to choose what is best for your own family.

:iagree:

I've been thinking about this all day today. I know I posted before in reply, but I wanted to add another dimension. It is SO ingrained in our culture to spend this time with large family gatherings. All of the movies, the cards, the commercials, all of them show these big happy family gatherings.

 

I think the *default* in our culture is still to spend these days with extended family.

 

That being said, if someone expresses that they have broken away from that model, that usually takes a huge act of courage--a revolutionary act, even. It is usually not a step taken lightly or for selfish reasons, and it usually was a last resort after years of trying lots of different things. Selfishness is different from *self-preservation,* of an individual or a family. If this kind of boundary needs to be set, the person setting it usually faces tremendous pressure, guilt, obligation, and even punishment from the boundary-crashers.

 

Please don't heap on additional guilt when people have HAD to take this step. It's hard enough as it is. To echo another poster, Yes, It Can Be That Bad. And if it is, it's hard to hear this kind of thing from people who don't understand. Be very thankful that you can't understand. And be flexible grandparents who value your grown children's nuclear family as you wanted yours to be valued.

I agree with this as well.

 

Honestly, it gets tiring. When you come from a family like mine, then marry a man whose mother is just as likely to have NPD as your own mother, hearing things like we should be grateful to still have them, that we should sacrifice to take care of her, etc etc etc is like heaping coals on a person already flayed alive. You can't know until you've been there...and if you haven't been there, be so grateful for it.

 

Nobody WANTS to have a hurtful family dynamic. Nobody WANTS to be a motherless daughter all their lives. I would give so much for my children to be able to have grandparents in their lives that were healthy people. They don't, and I regret that for them more than I can possibly express.

 

At the same time, having someone in their lives on a regular basis that disrespects their parents, their parents marriage, their parents parenting, and themselves as people, it would be completely irresponsible for my husband and I to NOT limit the contact. It would harm them more than the current situation, with out a doubt. Spending Christmas with my MIL, or my mother, would be a complete misery. As much as I *do* hope my MIL moves to our city out of fear for her health and safety and wellbeing, I dread the day that it becomes a reality, because of the stress and negativity she brings. I pray that when/if that day comes, my marriage is in a place that it won't be irrevocably damaged, if not outright destroyed.

 

Every peaceful Christmas we have, just us and our children, is one to be treasured, because I don't know how many are left. MIL moves into town, and it won't happen again, guaranteed.

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As someone who has mostly never had family in town to spend holidays with, I'm having a hard time imagining not wanting to spend time with family if given the opportunity.

 

Can't there be a compromise? 12+ hours with anyone is way too much; couldn't you just do dinner or something? And couldn't you, on Christmas day, open presents at home and schlep around for awhile, visiting folks later for dessert, if not for a meal? I guess you might get flack for that, too, but still...Most holidays, it's just been the four of us (well, back before we were empty nesters and lived in the middle instead of on the coast). I've sure missed the family get-togethers.

 

:iagree:

 

My family is either dead or estranged. I MISS family get togethers. We've spent every Christmas day by ourselves for the past 14 years. My dh's family gathers the Saturday after Thanksgiving to have Christmas. My parent's are dead and my brother doesn't like me. Christmas is weird without family--in my opinion.

 

ETA....I'm sorry that many of you don't have families you enjoy spending time with, but the original poster asked for opinions. I'm giving mine.

Edited by Happy
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As someone who has mostly never had family in town to spend holidays with, I'm having a hard time imagining not wanting to spend time with family if given the opportunity.

 

 

Only my dh's side of the family is in town, we moved here to be near them. My own folks are not here.

 

My kids love Christmas Day with cousins. They spend the year looking forward to it, unloading stockings and exchanging gifts with the recipient, whose name was drawn months before.

 

SIL (BIL's wife) wants to not do Christmas on Christmas evening (and I mean evening, giving them the whole day at home before coming over at dinner time for an easy snack supper). They want that day at home, and push our celebration to the next day.

 

As the ones on the other side of the fence, dh & I are having a hard time with this. The reason they want to change our celebration is not due to their wanting to be alone for Christmas as much as it is due to their being exhausted from copious activities with her side of the family. Yet they would *never* dream of asking that side of the family to change dates. It's our side - that has no other plans to look forward to - that is being asked to work around SIL's family. This is what we have a problem with. It happens on other holidays, too, and we're always "second fiddle."

 

All this to say, stay at home if you want to, but ask yourself if you really just want to stay home because it's easier than going out, and consider how your decision will affect others. Also, be diplomatic in stating your reasons to extended family.

 

PS - I appreciate the tough situations some have with extremely dysfunctional families. I am talking about the normally nutty ones, not the truly toxic ones.

 

PPS - We have also gotten the excuse that the other's kids want to stay home (all day) and play with their new toys. Toys that are now theirs that they have the next 364 days to play with until they are replaced next Christmas. DH interprets this as a subtle message that things are more important than people. Sorry that many may disagree, but this as a reason to stay at home is one that has the potential to hurt feelings.

Edited by AuntieM
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I think sometimes people that don't have alot of family nearby don't realize how exhausting it can be (when you have demanding relatives.) Thankfully my family is very laid back, but my inlaws are not. My first Christmas when dh and I were just engaged we were 'expected' to go to 5 different houses for Christmas day (3 were in the same town, but 1 was an hour and a half away--all the running around really took the enjoyment out of the day). The thing that got me is that we had seen all of those people the day before except my grandparents. We generally have to get together w/ my inlaws at least 4 times within the week of Christmas. When we decided to have Christmas day to ourselves it was simply because we needed a break from the craziness. We've done it this way the last 8 years and it's been wonderful having a day devoted to playing games, reading books etc as a family.

However, this year I have invited our families to our house...I'm looking forward to it, but we'll have to see if it becomes the new tradition or not. :tongue_smilie:

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