Post # 1
My fiance and I have been together for over four years now, and have managed to balance our time between his family (in New Jersey) and my family (in northeastern Vermont) quite well. Until this year.
In early November FI and i sat down with a calender and mapped out 6 days with his family and 6 days with my family over the winter holiday. Becaue he is still a graduate student and I work in a school, we have the luxury of a long holiday break. The plan is to spend Saturday- Christmas morning with his family, and drive (on Christmas morning) the 6+ hours to my family to spend Christmas day until New Years Eve. We did this 2 Christmases ago and spent last Christmas on an island with my family. FI called his grandmother to make plans to meet for a holiday dinner in the coming week, only to find out she had made plans with his brother, sister, her SO and thier aunt and uncle the day AFTER christmas. Though we are the only ones to travel during the holidays (we live in Boston) they took it upon themselves to make plans without contacting us for our plans. Now his grandmother is upset that this will be 3 years in a row with my family on Christmas day. This has resulted in much heartach and sobbing on my part (and my FI’s) over our need for holiday travel vs pleasing family members. I am feeling angry that they would assume our holiday scedule (which changes every year depending on family plans), and then expect us to change our travel plans to accomidate their plan. My parents, on ther other hand, have been planning on hosting Christmas dinner for months now and have already invited my very large extended family. Meanwhile, FI’s grandmother is upset that we are not staying with his family over Christmas. The underlying issue here being that we would not even be spending Christmas with her, but with his parents…it’s an odd family dynamic.
Do any of you have these issues with holiday travel and family expectations? How do you handle it? I am feeling torn in half. What a horrible way to begin our holiday vacation.
Post # 3
We do somewhat, but our families live close, so no biggie.
I know this is difficult, but my recommendation is to take Christmas day and spend it with your family – no traveling, just get there and enjoy – and meet up with FI’s family when you can. Next year, switch.
For us, we’re doing Christmas Eve and his families’ place, and Christmas Day with mine. We could drive to spend half a day with his family, but we opted to take the time to just relax.
Post # 4
This happens to us EVERY year because of FI’s mom. It is him and his sister and his mom. She takes it upon her self to plan what she wants (it also depends on her new husdands schedule with his childre). Keep in mind all the “children I speak of are adults. She will schedule things in the middle of the afternon so there is no way to “share” the day. Last year she called FI the week before Christmas and cancelled all plans with him and went off for half an hour about how he is a terrible son and never calls her and doesn’t do things are her house any more. She also did this the week before our daughter’s first birthday.
What we have decided is that if people schedule things that conflict with previously scheduled plans, then “sorry we will be missing that day. we would love to see another time, but that doesn’t work for us.”
Post # 5
I’ve heard that, as bad as it sounds, a lot of people switch off for years. All you one year, all him the next.
As for us, our families like “close” (we’re talking 3 hours) so we do Christmas Eve with his, and Christmas day at our house with mine.
Post # 6
Im so sorry you have to go through this – this is the one reason I am glad we are different religions. The only holiday we have to “share” is Thanksgiving! I think you should keep your plans as is and next year switch and do Xmas night-New Years Eve with the in-laws. Hopefully they understand – it sounds like Grandma is the upset one and not the rest of the family?
Post # 7
I’m sorry things are complicated with them. But it seems like you have already made the plans so I think it would be too late to change them around the other way. I think it was sort of rude of them to not even ask you about what your plans were before making plans with his grandmother. They knew that you were coming from out of town and that you wouldn’t be there all the time. Is there any way that you could switch it around next year where you go to your family first and then show up at his family on Christmas? I hope you can get things worked out somehow. And why can’t his grandmother spend time with the entire family to see you two?
Post # 8
Oh, I feel for you. SO MUCH.
Post # 9
This same BS happened with us this year too. We were pretty upset. My husband’s brother, who lives the farthest away (6 hours) just thought that he should get to decide when Christmas was celebrated this year. We all brought up when we wanted to celebrate it when we were together this Thanksgiving and he was like “oh well it has to be over New Year’s weekend because my wife and I already took off those days and we have had them scheduled off for months”. Ummm… hello? You didn’t contact any of the other 3 families when you asked for those days off to make sure that was when the 12 of us would want to celebrate Christmas too? Anyway, my husband’s mom is pretty upset that her other son would do this. Because of him the whole family isn’t going to be together now. I am having surgery on the 28th and my husband and I won’t be able to make it to see all of them on New Year’s weekend. So we are going on Christmas eve instead and we will be the only ones there besides his parents.
Sometimes I think people are really inconsiderate. And it’s unfortunate that this had to happen this year when it is our first Christmas together as newlyweds. We really wanted to make sure we could schedule the Christmases correctly, but what can we do? My doctor says I have to stay home so I can’t really go and make that next weekend just because his brother said that is when he took off of work.
It’s like just because he lives 6 hours away he is the one that is entitled. The rest of us live 2 or 3 hours away too and we should also get some say.
Post # 10
For all of the people who rotate years, doesn’t it stink though to not see your family, or do you see them just not on the traditional holidays. What will you do when you have children, will they really not see a set of grandparents at Christams?
I wish we could come up with a solution to our drama.
Post # 11
We struggle with this too. I get really peeved because his family usually wants us there Christmas Eve and Christmas and seem to think we are trying to hurt them if we aren’t there for every second of the holiday. We try to do stuff with my mom, stepdad, and brothers on Christmas Eve and I know it pisses my mom off that we have to leave by 4 to drive up to his fam. Its just frustrating because we are constantly driving and trying to see everyone and appease everyone…and so many people get upset with us. Its like we can’t win no matter how hard we try. So this year we are going to my moms on Christmas Eve and driving up to his parents to spend the night and spend it there on Christmas.
Its worse on Thanksgiving because that really is only ONE day…I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t live within an hour of them all.
Post # 12
@mrskesslertobe: We used to rotate where we went to Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine but this year has been different because we don’t live near his family anymore and we haven’t been able to afford to go there this holiday season. Eventually, we hope to be able to see each family for one holiday and we see them other times of the year too (my dad came here to visit us in October this year).
Post # 13
So what do you all plan to do when you have a family with your own kids? Are you still going to be driving around to your parent’s house with the kids? Because I feel like once you have your own kids you should be allowed to stay home with them and start your own family tradition. I know my husband will still probably want to go to our parent’s homes though. At what point do you start having Christmas on your own? And what do your parents do then?