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Lang Syne Boardie

Boycotting family holidays - are you?

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I'm literally taking notes from this thread. We are going to drop the bomb over text, because neither of us can deal with the tears and tantrums over the phone or in person. Here's some of what I've stolen from you guys so far that i plan on using. Keep them coming!

 

I'm substituting D: for :cursing: because evidently you're only allowed to use so many emoticons in a single post, ha.

 

---

You guys should come to our house for Christmas! :) It'll be our first Christmas in our new home, and you haven't seen our house yet. It'll be great.
D:
We really don't want to travel for the holidays, the roads are bad and [9 month old] hates being stuck in her car seat.
D: D:
We really want to have our kids' memories of Christmas to be here at home.
D: D: D:
We've done Christmas at your house for the past thirteen years. Now that we have a house of our own, it's our turn to host.
D: D: D: D:

You're welcome any time, just let us know when you'd like to come. We really want to you and FIL to come be a part of our Christmas tradition.

D: D: D: D: D:

Edited by Epicurean
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My mom didn't/doesn't always give great advise but when I got married she told me that my husband and I were now a family and needed to make our own decisions. That was very freeing and I appreciated having permission to do what we as a couple wanted to do. I hope I can pass that on to my children.

 

I'm giving you permission to celebrate the way you want. How exciting to be in your new home with a new baby!

 

I'm literally taking notes from this thread. We are going to drop the bomb over text, because neither of us can deal with the tears and tantrums over the phone or in person. Here's some of what I've stolen from you guys so far that i plan on using. Keep them coming!

 

I'm substituting D: for :cursing: because evidently you're only allowed to use so many emoticons in a single post, ha.

 

---

You guys should come to our house for Christmas! :) It'll be our first Christmas in our new home, and you haven't seen our house yet. It'll be great.

D:

We really don't want to travel for the holidays, the roads are bad and [9 month old] hates being stuck in her car seat.

D: D:

We really want to have our kids' memories of Christmas to be here at home.

D: D: D:

We've done Christmas at your house for the past thirteen years. Now that we have a house of our own, it's our turn to host.

D: D: D: D:

You're welcome any time, just let us know when you'd like to come. We really want to you and FIL to come be a part of our Christmas tradition.

D: D: D: D: D:

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When the girls were 1 and 7 months, we went to Thanksgiving at my aunt's house. It started snowing heavily, and we wound up not getting home til almost midnight. We decided to stay home on Christmas and haven't looked back since. 

We live across the country from both families now (by choice) and wouldn't trade our cozy, in-house, family holidays for anything. 

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Well, we are "running away" and going to visit ds at his school for Thanksgiving. He has the whole week off. We encouraged dh's parents to do that in lieu of taking the trip out for graduation when it will be far more hurried and hot. They opted out and plan to attend graduation. My sil (dh's sister) and her family generally spend turkey day with her husband's family. We will all gather together for Christmas at the in-laws'. However, since this is ds's last year of college, I am hoping the need to have Christmas with them (it is not always *on* Christmas Day proper, but it is expected that we will all be together sometime near Christmas) will go away. We will be relocating farther away whenever my dh retires.

 

We only have one ds. I learned from our friends with multiple adult children who are spread out that there is always much jockeying for time at holidays because it's the only time everyone is all off work at the same time. It's much more difficult for the three siblings to get together when it is NOT a holiday. Two of their three are married now, and the "sharing" with the various in-laws doesn't sit well with them. It's ironic, really, as I can remember their complaining about having to make the rounds to their respective family gatherings when they were newly married and had young children. They seem to think they are "different" now that the shoe is on the other foot. At any rate, it will be easier for us when ds is launched as we can go to him. However, once he is married, I hope I can play nice and be respectful of boundaries. I will not insist that we spend holidays together.

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...

...
We really want to have our kids' memories of Christmas to be here at home.
D: D: D:
....

That had been the clencher for me.  When I was 8, we moved 1000 miles away from the rest of the family.   When DD was little, I gave a lot of thought to past Christmases, particularly from my childhood.  I was shocked, really really shocked to realize that I had ZERO memories of a Thanksgiving or Christmas before we moved.   Zippo, Nada.   My first memory is of my 4th birthday, and I remember lots of other things between then and when we moved.   But we traveled to see both sets of grandparents every holiday and it was so completely not special and not fun that I didn't remember.  The non-specialness wasn't due to my parents, the holidays were great after we moved.  

P.S.   I am really enjoying this thread.  I always need a spine-shining about this time every year because Mom and Dad haven't given up.  I think the only reason my parent's don't stay home is that DD is their only Grandchild.  Dad has threatened to stay home a couple of times.  

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. At any rate, it will be easier for us when ds is launched as we can go to him. However, once he is married, I hope I can play nice and be respectful of boundaries. I will not insist that we spend holidays together.

My son and his fiancée were home this past weekend. I asked, "What about Thanksgiving," and wondered whether they'd like to do what they did last year, and come here for an early'ish main dinner, and then go to her folks' extended family party in the evening. Which it sounds like they will do.

 

But the part I wanted to share is the look on her face when I said, "You know, we are not going to be the type of people who insist on holiday events, or who fight over equal time with your parents, or any of that nonsense. You get to be your own family. I know you're planning to live here in town so you can be close to both sets of parents, so the exact days and events aren't important. We will see each other often, and be flexible on holidays."

 

She literally gasped. And then she told me that 100% of her newlywed friends are stressed out over trying to please their parents and in-laws all the time, so I guess what I said was like a "get out of jail free" card! What is wrong with people?

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My son and his fiancée were home this past weekend. I asked, "What about Thanksgiving," and wondered whether they'd like to do what they did last year, and come here for an early'ish main dinner, and then go to her folks' extended family party in the evening. Which it sounds like they will do.

 

But the part I wanted to share is the look on her face when I said, "You know, we are not going to be the type of people who insist on holiday events, or who fight over equal time with your parents, or any of that nonsense. You get to be your own family. I know you're planning to live here in town so you can be close to both sets of parents, so the exact days and events aren't important. We will see each other often, and be flexible on holidays."

 

She literally gasped. And then she told me that 100% of her newlywed friends are stressed out over trying to please their parents and in-laws all the time, so I guess what I said was like a "get out of jail free" card! What is wrong with people?

 

Quoting because I already used up all my likes.

 

 

You are my hero.  On behalf of daughters and daughters-in-law everywhere.....thank you.  :D   

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Not boycotting anything this year, although for a couple of years, I refused to go to my sister's house for holidays because

she.would.not.discipline.her.son or make him interact with his own cousins (my kids). He's 'grown up' now, so it's a little better but

we really haven't been over there much and, honestly, I'm fine with that.

 

Last year, due to my immediate family's schedule, we planned a quiet Thanksgiving at our house, just the four of us. And we didn't even have turkey!  :hurray:

(None of us particularly care for it.) It was a good thing we had planned that quiet day, too, as the day before was when I wound up being rear-ended.  :glare:

 

For the past few years for Christmas, we've begun our own immediate-family tradition: wake up, open stockings, have breakfast. Then head out to a movie.

Come back and open a present or two. Then head out to whomever's house we're going for 'the gathering.' Then we come back and open more presents. I also

have invoked a rule that once you've opened a present, you need to enjoy that present for awhile before tearing into the next one.

It stretches out the day and doesn't make Christmas seem like it only lasted an hour!

 

Maybe our traditions can help some of you. And when someone you don't necessarily care for invites you over, you can honestly say, "Sorry, we already have plans." 

And leave it at that. You do NOT have to tell them the details of your plans, no matter how much they cajole.

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Thanksgiving is always at the in-laws.  It's ok.  They are mostly nice, but also quietly critical most of the time, so it makes for a quiet, yet stressful dining experience.  My dh starts getting critical back at them, while his brother just gets crabby.  Sigh.  I don't enjoy myself there at all.  I try to spend as much time as possible talking with my sil, who is not a blood relative.  The blood relatives are all quietly critical of everyone, and we non-blood relatives do our best to talk to each other and ignore them. 

 

They're not mean enough to cut out of our lives, but their quiet criticism is irritating.  It's a thing that they all do.  They will do this thing where if you say, "I like the color red," they'll say, "Oh, red is such an angry color.  I don't like it.  I like blue better because it's calm." And literally, within the same visit, if you say, "I like the color blue," they'll say, "Oh, blue is so bland and boring.  I like vibrant colors, like red."  They are completely unaware that they're doing it and it's more subtle than that, so it's hard to call them on it.  Their knee-jerk reaction to everything someone says is to disagree.  Quietly and pleasantly...but they still disagree.  I think it's a weird power struggle they're all having with each other, or a matter of pride.  My only defense is to sit there in silence and refuse to talk to them other than bland comments like, "Pass the salt.  Isn't the weather lovely?"  "Well, it could be warmer, you know."  Silence from me.

 

I don't really like traditional Thanksgiving food, so the food part of it doesn't make up for the tense and critical conversations.  My aunt keeps pointing out that my MIL is getting older and will want to stop hosting Thanksgiving soon, so my SIL or I will have to figure out who will host in the future.  Ha.  My sil can barely cook a pot of spaghetti and I detest with all my heart hosting anything.  I haven't had guests in my home in literal years. If I "host" it'll be at a restaurant where I can get some food I like.  We'll put that decision off until much later.

 

Christmas has become weird.  Christmas was set aside for my family, but then they moved away.  So, for a number of years, we'd hang out with my in-laws on Christmas eve and then Christmas was just my dh, the kids, and I.  Nice!  I loved the quietness of it and how we'd meander through our day.  We'd get food at a Chinese restaurant and sometimes go to a movie.

 

But somewhere in the past 25 years, the in-laws also started coming to the Chinese restaurant.  And so did some friends of ours who are our parent's ages.  I kinda like it that we go to the Chinese restaurant as a group, but I also kinda don't.  I miss our quiet Christmas days.  I would be ok with our friends coming, but not so sure I like it that the critical in-laws show up, too.  But I don't know how to get out of it now.  Yet, at the same time, I would feel sad to be a grandma in my 70s and my kids say, "We don't want to see you on Christmas day.  We already saw you on Christmas eve.  Go away."  So...I, keep letting them come because they're not terrible enough to boycott, they're just mildly rude.  

 

 

Edited by Garga
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I was also thinking about tradition of including grandparents, and would I be welcome once the dc have children. The issue though, isn't the gpness, its the holiday purpose combined with manners.  For me, the holiday is for spending time with family.  At one set of gps, the holiday, like every gathering, is a massive drinking occasion with the 'real family', i.e. blood relatives and nonblood  females are expected to take the role of cook and the servant help.  I do not have a place at the table, nor do I want to spend the time with angry, hostile sils. Our nuclear family doesn't care for that type of noninclusiveness combined with the hostility, so I doubt the dc will go for that once they have family.  Our neighbors have shown them that my side of the family isn't unusual. LIke any visit, as a gp I would be keeping it short and using my manners. Dominating  the gathering, or not allowing the nuclear family their private time is not how we do things.

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My mom didn't/doesn't always give great advise but when I got married she told me that my husband and I were now a family and needed to make our own decisions. That was very freeing and I appreciated having permission to do what we as a couple wanted to do. I hope I can pass that on to my children.

 

I'm giving you permission to celebrate the way you want. How exciting to be in your new home with a new baby!

 

 

Aw, thank you! I really hope we are as gracious as your mother was when our children are grown up.

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