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Thanksgiving Again...that time of year we have our annual email flame war. JAWM please


Ginevra
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No, they shouldn't be pressured into it, but it sorta sounds like he needs to hear "no meal" spelled out from everyone. I don't know how it has been done in the past (other than the two years you mentioned) so maybe he found a pattern and thought there had been a specific rotation. I don't think it's so strange for him to think it's someone else's turn since he did it last year and doesn't do it annually, but I also don't think that automatically means someone has to volunteer to do it. I just think everyone has different expectations and those need to be made aware by all parties. I can see now that Jane's expectations (small kitchen, already offering dessert) sound pretty clear to me now and yours (not interested in meal, possibly already hosting at Christmas, etc) are also clear. Does Jim know all this? I'm thinking it just needs to be spelled out for him.

 

I'm not trying to disagree, just saying I can see how someone would think, "not it!" lol In this case, everyone is saying, "we're done playing, not it!" Lol

Yeah, those were reasons why I replied at all, instead of just saying nothing at all, which is my tendency. I wanted to make it all crystal-clear. Part of why it was a big mess two years ago was because assumptions were made and I obviously failed to be completely clear that we were only helping arrange who was bringing what and would not be managing the rest of the details. I did tell everyone (reply-all, which I ordinarily hate to use for fear of over-use) that we offer hosting CHRISTMAS, but felt desserts were fine, and were already having a meal before the shoot. So yes, I have been making every effort to spell it out for him.

 

AFA why he thinks it's an established rotation, I have no idea. Before two years ago, it has always been at MIL's and for ten or so years, all comers have contributed some food items. It is because of this that I know you can make ten pounds of mashed potatoes in advance and keep them just fine in the CP. :) So, she had begun declining mentally; that was 3 years ago, I think, and the next year was when it got misconstrued that we were hosting at MIL's. Anyway - yes, his family hosted last year after the big debacle the year before, but AFAIK, there was never a sit-down where people figured out a rotation...IMO, he is being myopic, because most everyone else has these other things they do with other family. Not everybody can devote a large part of the day to hosting because of it.

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And this is why people like Jim continue to be people like Jim - others cave to their unreasonable demands. Sad for Jane.

I'm sad for more than just Jane. He got his way through pressure, which always hurts the meekest people. I am one of those, so I know this only emboldens the bully.

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I am grateful for my family. Most of us live far away from one another. My parents are still alive and (relatively) healthy and living in the house we grew up in. For the last few years, my siblings and I, with whichever of our children we can muster, descend on my parents for Thanksgiving. I go early and help clean, shop & cook. Everybody (okay, mostly everybody - we have a couple of slackers!!) pitches in to prevent my parents from doing too much.

 

There is, of course, always some drama and nonsense, but mostly it's a good time.

 

Anne

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I think I would send Jane a text saying that we're eating before the skeet shoot, so we don't really care about dinner, and that if she doesn't want to do the whole meal, she really shouldn't put herself through it. I'd let her know I'd back her up. Then I'd be done.

 

I'm like you, though, Quill. I don't play very well with bullies, and I'd want to engage and make him back down. Probably not the best tactic for family relations though! I'm sad for Jane too, although who knows, maybe she was on the fence about dinner anyway and that's why she capitulated?

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Good grief. Jane has capitulated. She's making a meal after the shoot. So Jim gets his way. Yay.

Ya know, I don't totally feel sorry for Jane.

 

She should have seen that her offer was a really big departure from tradition, and either not tendered it, or foreseen that it would arouse consternation.  I hate that Jim is apparently a big fat jerk, but really, I also don't think that Jane should have capitulated and egged him on in his jerkiness.  So I don't entirely feel sorry for her.  

 

I'm happy for your family that you'll all be able to get together, and I think you have a better shot at working out the real estate issues if you're all in the same place being nice to each other once or twice before negotiations start.  So this could end up being really helpful.

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I think I would send Jane a text saying that we're eating before the skeet shoot, so we don't really care about dinner, and that if she doesn't want to do the whole meal, she really shouldn't put herself through it. I'd let her know I'd back her up. Then I'd be done.

 

I'm like you, though, Quill. I don't play very well with bullies, and I'd want to engage and make him back down. Probably not the best tactic for family relations though! I'm sad for Jane too, although who knows, maybe she was on the fence about dinner anyway and that's why she capitulated?

Maybe, but I'm imagining a row with her DH in which he shamed her for not wanting to host dinner, so she said "Fine. I'll host. Then at least I will be off the hook for several more years."

 

I could be wrong, of course. But I think it probably went something like that. She HATES to cook and she doesn't like hosting at her house. I 100% know this about her. I'm certain she was hoping it could be lower-key and not a big deal. i think lower-key sounds terrific and would be reasonably happy if all we had was a couple of TV trays with Fig Newtons on them. The company is the point to me, not the meal.

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Ya know, I don't totally feel sorry for Jane.

 

She should have seen that her offer was a really big departure from tradition, and either not tendered it, or foreseen that it would arouse consternation. I hate that Jim is apparently a big fat jerk, but really, I also don't think that Jane should have capitulated and egged him on in his jerkiness. So I don't entirely feel sorry for her.

 

I'm happy for your family that you'll all be able to get together, and I think you have a better shot at working out the real estate issues if you're all in the same place being nice to each other once or twice before negotiations start. So this could end up being really helpful.

Well, I doubt that will be a topic of conversation at TG. But we'll see.

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Go get Tandoori turkey at an Indian buffet. Hell in your shoes I would be going to India every year for Thanksgiving.

 

Just say no to the email dramarama. Remember the old "this is your brain" commercials? The fried egg isn't your brain on drugs. It's your brain having to deal with this shit. Don't participate. Just say no.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Yeah, those were reasons why I replied at all, instead of just saying nothing at all, which is my tendency. I wanted to make it all crystal-clear. Part of why it was a big mess two years ago was because assumptions were made and I obviously failed to be completely clear that we were only helping arrange who was bringing what and would not be managing the rest of the details. I did tell everyone (reply-all, which I ordinarily hate to use for fear of over-use) that we offer hosting CHRISTMAS, but felt desserts were fine, and were already having a meal before the shoot. So yes, I have been making every effort to spell it out for him.

 

AFA why he thinks it's an established rotation, I have no idea. Before two years ago, it has always been at MIL's and for ten or so years, all comers have contributed some food items. It is because of this that I know you can make ten pounds of mashed potatoes in advance and keep them just fine in the CP. :) So, she had begun declining mentally; that was 3 years ago, I think, and the next year was when it got misconstrued that we were hosting at MIL's. Anyway - yes, his family hosted last year after the big debacle the year before, but AFAIK, there was never a sit-down where people figured out a rotation...IMO, he is being myopic, because most everyone else has these other things they do with other family. Not everybody can devote a large part of the day to hosting because of it.

 

Ahh, I see. So you did everything you could. He probably made up the rotation in his mind since it seemed (to him) like the natural order... "ok not at MIL's. Who else is left?"

 

I just saw that Jane is now hosting a meal. I sorta feel badly for her, but I also think she could have said no. I don't really know her personality, though. Maybe to stop this from happening in the future you and Jane could team up and address Jim together. Like face to face? Then it would be easier? Possibly in the same room with your dhs so they could chime in. I don't know. Not during the meal, but at some other point.

 

At least you have closure for this year!

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My sympathies.

 

I came to hate thanksgiving.  my house, every year.  dh did most of the cooking (it was his family) and others brought potluck, but it's A LOT of work. it finally ended about six years ago.

 

I've  been  away from it long enough I can think about thanksgiving without stressing.

 

eta:  i've even btdt on the assumptions.  a couple years ago, dh made the suggestion of getting together for *DESSERT* - they took that as we were offering to host dinner.  not just no, but H### NO!

 

boundaries are good - and in some cases - essential

Edited by gardenmom5
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My sympathies.

 

I came to hate thanksgiving. my house, every year. dh did most of the cooking (it was his family) and others brought potluck, but it's A LOT of work. it finally ended about six years ago.

 

I've been away from it long enough I can think about thanksgiving without stressing.

 

eta: i've even btdt on the assumptions. a couple years ago, dh made the suggestion of getting together for *DESSERT* - they took that as we were offering to host dinner. not just no, but H### NO!

 

boundaries are good - and in some cases - essential

:D When I said in the email that DH and I had talked about offering to host Christmas, I said, "...CHRISTMAS, on December 25, 2016, at our house, CHRISTMAS, just so there's no confusion. ;)"

 

Yeah, it was snarky but it was fun to say.

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I feel your pain.  A few years back, our family started having a big kerfluffle over Christmas.  For decades, there had been a Christmas time get-together complete with gift exchange.  It started when 5 siblings had small children, and they all rotated houses.  Well, each of those five siblings soon had 2-3 adult children and each of those had kids.  You do the math.  It still worked out mostly ok while my kids were small, but as that generation began to grow up, get jobs, significant others, and obligations, it became pretty much impossible for everyone to be able to get-together at the same time.  It took several YEARS to get it through to the oldest generation that it was logistically impossible AND too expensive.  That Christmas get-together finally gave up the ghost about three years ago, after my dh and his brother refused to go any longer.  

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Whoops.  You are suddenly having a lot of problems with your email.  You think you might have been hacked.  You couldn't access your account for a while, and when you could, everything was deleted.

 

Sometimes I hate people.

 

Last year we had a small, us-only thanksgiving with no extended relatives due to DH's work making it impossible for him to travel that weekend.  I spent two days cooking, DH spent 2 days washing dishes afterwards while I did all the Christmas shopping, mostly online, mostly with Hallmark Christmas movies playing in the background.  It was peaceful and easy and I sort of wish DH's work would ban travel this year too, but alas, we're in a different region, and he seems to be in an easier job.

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Whoops.  You are suddenly having a lot of problems with your email.  You think you might have been hacked.  You couldn't access your account for a while, and when you could, everything was deleted.

 

Sometimes I hate people.

 

Last year we had a small, us-only thanksgiving with no extended relatives due to DH's work making it impossible for him to travel that weekend.  I spent two days cooking, DH spent 2 days washing dishes afterwards while I did all the Christmas shopping, mostly online, mostly with Hallmark Christmas movies playing in the background.  It was peaceful and easy and I sort of wish DH's work would ban travel this year too, but alas, we're in a different region, and he seems to be in an easier job.

 

You may have started a trend.  Google is going to be mighty perplexed with the sudden rise in e-mail "hacking" around the holidays.  :lol:

 

This is the first year we will not have anything for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It's just the three of us.  We'll see the grandparents at different times over the season.  

 

I've hated the obligation for so long and dread the season.  I truly wonder how many years it will take before I enjoy this time of year again?  

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Maybe, but I'm imagining a row with her DH in which he shamed her for not wanting to host dinner, so she said "Fine. I'll host. Then at least I will be off the hook for several more years."

 

I could be wrong, of course. But I think it probably went something like that. She HATES to cook and she doesn't like hosting at her house. I 100% know this about her. I'm certain she was hoping it could be lower-key and not a big deal. i think lower-key sounds terrific and would be reasonably happy if all we had was a couple of TV trays with Fig Newtons on them. The company is the point to me, not the meal.

 

Oh, ick :( Maybe you and Jane can get together and go out for a movie and dessert somewhere and leave the men to host their own dang family gathering!

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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Several years ago, there was a big blow up with my family. We have always done Thanksgiving on our own since.  And I did not ask permission from anyone either. In hindsight, I only wish we had done it sooner.

Edited by Janeway
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Can Jane casually email Jim about what size cooked turkey and mashed potatoes he is bringing for the dinner he wants to hold at her house, so she can plan to have enough stove/fridge/counter space available for him? Obviously, since she gracious accepted his invitation to host and will be putting her efforts and costs into cleaning and prepping for the dessert/skeet-shooting, she knows that JIM will gladly be holding up his part and be pot-lucking the main part of the dinner, so it spreads the labor and cost around. ;)

Edited by Lori D.
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And this is why people like Jim continue to be people like Jim - others cave to their unreasonable demands. Sad for Jane.

Jane needs boundaries and Jim needs to sit and spin. People keep acting like this as long as they can get away with it and it's really true that we teach people how to treat us. I hope Jane can hear that message gently at some point and benefit from it :(

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Get out of town for Thanksgiving or spend the holiday with friends/neighbors whom you enjoy.

 

Find a new way to catch up with nieces/others you will miss. The negative vibe at the family gathering would make caring up unenjoyable anyway. Invite them for tea, meet up on a holiday shopping trip for dinner, plan a break time meet up at the mall on black Friday. If they are younger, add attending one of their school events or games to your schedule.

 

Yes, it seems easier to catch up with relatives at these mandatory holiday gatherings. However, these events can be so draining that the quality of time you have with others is not good.

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At some point, traditions need to die. We all piled into Great Grandma's TRAILER for many more years than we should have just because of tradition (big Catholic family, there had to be at least 50 people). Only the first people there got a seat. It was terrible and we hated it. BIL needs to step up and make the big dinner for his grown children.

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I have been wondering if it's just me or if Thanksgiving is really just not Thanksgiving any more.

 

I mean ... my parents did it big, and they still try to when they can, but it's getting really hard for them.  I don't see anyone in my generation (fiftyish) wanting to take over.

 

I really don't care about turkey.  My kids don't even like it.  I have no intention of ever roasting one.  My dad really likes turkey, but I don't know if anyone else cares one way or the other.  It's an awful lot of work just for "tradition."

 

I could see us just ditching Thanksgiving and traveling once the fam stops doing it together.  I don't think my kids would care.  Especially once someone informs them that Thanksgiving is an assault on Native Peoples (from which they are descended).

 

Am I what's wrong with America?  :P

 

Sorry if this seems like a hijack.  I just feel a lot of "who wants this holiday anyway" in this thread.  I don't know how it got that way - maybe it always was that way, and our parents hid it from us.  :P

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I have been wondering if it's just me or if Thanksgiving is really just not Thanksgiving any more.

 

I mean ... my parents did it big, and they still try to when they can, but it's getting really hard for them.  I don't see anyone in my generation (fiftyish) wanting to take over.

 

I really don't care about turkey.  My kids don't even like it.  I have no intention of ever roasting one.  My dad really likes turkey, but I don't know if anyone else cares one way or the other.  It's an awful lot of work just for "tradition."

 

I could see us just ditching Thanksgiving and traveling once the fam stops doing it together.  I don't think my kids would care.  Especially once someone informs them that Thanksgiving is an assault on Native Peoples (from which they are descended).

 

Am I what's wrong with America?  :p

 

Sorry if this seems like a hijack.  I just feel a lot of "who wants this holiday anyway" in this thread.  I don't know how it got that way - maybe it always was that way, and our parents hid it from us.  :p

I can't speak for anyone else, but for my family, a lot of it has to do with travel and distance.

 

We live 2 hours from one side of the family and 3 from the other side. So we're not particularly close to inlaws and cousins. Our family lives a drastically different life from that of cousins and siblings, and it's hard to find common ground with people that you see a handful of times each year and don't share much but genetics with.

 

So driving long distances to cook a big meal and then wash piles of dishes with people you don't have much in common with is just not so exciting any more.

 

And it also seems that more and more people are just...not nice. You can't really share what you think about stuff because they don't seem to be able to agree to disagree. Things like politics and lifestyle are so very personal. I sort of blame it on Facebook. Seems like manners have gone the way of the dodo. This is less in our family than many others, but I hear more and more of the insufferable, opinionated boor who just won't shut up and is pushy and rude. So annoying.

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Well, I still love Thanksgiving. It's probably my second favorite holiday after Christmas. I love cooking the turkey, putting out a big spread, and just enjoying my family without a rush for Church, presents, wrapping, etc. It's like Christmas but easier, lol. But I cook well, so that could be part of it. 

 

Although lately we do it at my mom's house. Dad makes the turkey and stuffing, mom does some sides, sister and I bring some sides and the desserts. No one perosn does it all. The kids play, we have wine, and it is great. 

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I have been wondering if it's just me or if Thanksgiving is really just not Thanksgiving any more.

 

I mean ... my parents did it big, and they still try to when they can, but it's getting really hard for them. I don't see anyone in my generation (fiftyish) wanting to take over.

 

I really don't care about turkey. My kids don't even like it. I have no intention of ever roasting one. My dad really likes turkey, but I don't know if anyone else cares one way or the other. It's an awful lot of work just for "tradition."

 

I could see us just ditching Thanksgiving and traveling once the fam stops doing it together. I don't think my kids would care. Especially once someone informs them that Thanksgiving is an assault on Native Peoples (from which they are descended).

 

Am I what's wrong with America? :P

 

Sorry if this seems like a hijack. I just feel a lot of "who wants this holiday anyway" in this thread. I don't know how it got that way - maybe it always was that way, and our parents hid it from us. :P

I don't see it as a hijack.

 

Personally, I don't care one jot about the gluttonous meal. There are certain foods that do ellicit fond memories for me, but we also don't live in an age anymore where you wait all year to have that one piece of pumpkin pie. I've never enjoyed eating myself stuffed anyway, so with a traditional big spread, there are several things I will leave off eating because it's not worth the room in my stomach. Turkey itself is my least-favorite meat; I would rather have chicken. The turkey only makes sense in the context of 20-30 people eating.

 

To me, THE best thing about TG and Christmas is that on one of two holidays, nearly all of my scattered family will come be in one place. My grown nieces and nephews with their adorable little kids and babies make the effort then, but wouldn't likely do it for many other ocassions. I do really love that part; I just don't much care if we're eating a full-blown meal or just some pumpkin pie.

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I also used to love it when everyone got together with the kids.  For some reason I'm less excited about that now too.  Most of the kids are bigger now, and too disconnected to really get into a conversation.  The younger ones (my sister's kids) can meet with us at other times - not that they do very often.

 

It could just be me though.  I have been kind of "meh" about a lot of things lately.

 

I think it was better when I could sleep over and spend the next day just chilling with my folks.  Not just on Thanksgiving, but any day.  I should make more opportunities to do that.

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Ugh.  We had the crazy demanding relative throwing a fit about TG but my oldest brother divorced her a year and a half ago.  It was the opposite situation-she insisted on hosting every year instead of taking turns.  Sheesh. What a pain in the....

Does Jane have a nearby grocery store that takes orders for traditional  Thanksgiving dinner for pick up?  If she does I suggest she take that option, divide up the cost per person and let everyone know what day she wants their money in her hand so she can place the order.

 

Anyway, I think some (not all) of this comes from being afraid to say things out loud and explicitly state the issues like, "Thanksgiving is overwhelming and I'm not going to make a big dinner anymore.  I don't even like to cook.  I am, however, willing to have everyone over at my house for dessert at insert time here. Be sure to eat your turkey dinner before you arrive. If someone else wants to host a TG dinner I'm happy to come and bring insert name of side dish here. Let me know which you prefer: dinner at your house or dessert at mine.  "  It's harder to pressure someone who says they're overwhelmed and don't like the activity to begin with. 

Let's all remember that the Thanksgiving dinner at Grandmother's is a thing of the past.  Grandmother was typically an emptynester with no paid employment who had years of cooking, baking and meal planning experience. Not so anymore.

For the 10 years before my crazy demanding SIL insisted that it would always be at her house she complained about the time and how things were done and how things should be done.  Once when she did, I intentionally misunderstood her and said joyfully, "Oh, yeah? I'm sooooo glad you can do it.  Every year I ask if anyone wants to do it and no one volunteers.  What relief!  Thank you soooo much! What should I bring?"  Then she looked panicked and said I should just send her an email with what time I hosting and what she should bring.  It shut her up for a while.

 

Complaining is a lifestyle for some people.  So is traditionalism.  Traditionalists are fine on their own and among other devotees, but they oppress those around them when they insist others adopt their beloved traditions.

I just notified my family that Christmas would be different for me this year. I made a generational chart that included both my side and my husband's side.  I color coded in green who I buy gifts for (20 people,) in pink who I make gift suggestion lists for (7 people) and in orange who I plan to buy gifts for from here on out (8 people including my single father, my spouse, kids and their SOs;8 people.) I took each of the siblings and my mom and step dad aside at a couple of get togethers and showed them the chart and explained the color coding.  Then I said in a cheery voice, "Shopping for 20 people is just too much.  It's the time more than the money but the money is significant too. Please don't buy my family any gifts.  We won't be buying you any gifts. It's not that we don't love you, it's that I'm not going to spend all that time planning and shopping in November and December.  I'm just not going to do it anymore but I am glad to bring a large box of fireworks for all of us that we can divide up and set off together after dinner. I'm also willing to show up an hour later than everyone else if you guys still want to exchange gifts so it's not awkward for you." I haven't spent a moment worrying about how they feel about it because won't change what I'm willing to do. I've also made sure there's a way they can continue to do things the way it was done before without making it weird for them.
 

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I don't like Thanksgiving.

 

I love my family.  Adore them.  However, my family all live 2500 miles away.  

 

The in-laws?  10 miles away. So....we spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws.

 

My MIL and FIL are tricky.  They're not mean people, but I just don't have much in common with them.  When I get MIL alone, I think she's great.  But with the family around?  She gets snippy.  And so do the rest of them, even my DH.  They all get snippy and pick on each other.  Sometimes it's overt and sometimes It's subtle, but it's always there.  I think they're all FILLED with pride and so are prickly and they all think They are Right and Everyone Else is Wrong.  I end up leaving feeling bruised emotionally every single time I'm with them.  My BIL gets snippy and prickly, too.  

 

My family is sooo the opposite.  They are hilarious and tell lots of jokes and bend over backwards to put others first.  They're like chip and dale, "Oh, after you!" "Oh, no, no...after YOU!"  Not an ounce of pride in them.

 

So, for me Thanksgiving finds me completely sad and missing my family for the whole day and a few days afterwards.  I sit at a dinner with a bunch of prickly people eating food I only marginally like.  My SIL and nephews are like me...just trying to ride out the prickliness of this weird Mother-Father-Sons dynamic going on.  The four of them together are like oil and water or something.  Those of us that married into it just watch and endure.

 

None of my in-laws (dh included) are awful when they're alone--it's just when they're together. 

 

I really dislike Thanksgiving, but I'd love it if I was near my own family.  My parents leaving me here alone with only in-laws has been a source of much pain in my life.  Blah.  Holidays just make it worse.

 

 

Edited by Garga
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It is hard to host if you don't have the right kind of house.

 

We have a small-medium home, and a somewhat busy street (it's narrow but cars go fast on it), and a back yard that is not fenced sufficiently to keep kids from wandering around to the front/street. So we did host when it was all adults, but once there were a flock of little boys that no one wanted to have to watch, it became really unreasonable, because we don't have room for them to run amok inside, and it's too cold out for adults to watch them there. Plus our back yard is generally fairly uninviting in the winter--it's chilly and muddy (we get rain rather than snow) so the tracking of muck inside would be really high.

 

We could host a fantastic indoor/outdoor party in the summer, but no one would come. It's impossible to get the extended family together on one specific date.

 

So we kind of look like the pikers who attend but don't host. I try to make up for this by bringing a lot of potluck food, but *I know that that is trivial compared with actually hosting.*

 

Last year this kind of came to a head and I cooked up a scheme to rent a nice little old fashioned hall and host Christmas there. It's a nice place that is about 100 years old, so it's got some charm rather than being just a big white boxy conference room. But although we could have an awesome meal there, and dancing, and presents, and games, it would be prohibitively difficult to have much in the way of decorations, since they would all have to be brought over and set up and then taken down and home on the same day. Everyone was horrified at this idea, which I actually think is really too bad.

 

I'm not really sure what to do. I guess I could try to hire a couple of babysitters to watch the kids in the back yard but they would still be bored and probably a bit cold. It's just a mess.

This is in no way trivial. If other people did all of the cooking, I would be happy to host any and every holiday. Seriously :D

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