(Closed) First Christmas with his family…vent

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 3
714 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

First, I think you have to realize that different families have different traditions and the way your in-laws “do” Christmas is fairly common and not “wrong” – just different. 

I think you can handle the Santa issue with your son by telling him that everyone in your in-laws house gives and opens THEIR gifts to EACH OTHER on Christmas eve and they can give THEIR gifts to him to open on Christmas Eve as well – then Santa will bring his presents to him that night as usual. 

As for your dogs, sorry, but you really can’t expect to bring them to someone else’s house when they haven’t been invited.  And respectfully, I disagree with you regarding your comparision of your pets to Grandma.  While I understand you feel that way, other people, like your in-laws do not and you can’t change that.  You really can’t insist they come witout being terribly pushy and rude.  If your dogs aren’t welcome and clearly they’re not, you’ll have to find other arrangements for them.  Your Mother-In-Law has been very generous in finding and offering to pay for a kennel – take her up on it or thank her and find a solution you find more agreeable.

Good luck! 

Post # 4
1297 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I think you are making this a bigger issue then it really is.  Just tell your 8 year old that Santa came early….It’s NOT a big deal, as I fell for this line for the frist 10 years of my life. 

 My family (we are Hispanic) celebrates Christmas Eve with a huge dinner and then we hang out till Midnight and open up the presents.  Santa always delivered his presents by Christmas Eve morning, so as child, I would spend all day anxiously awaiting midnight to arrive.  My best friend (who lived across the street) didn’t get Santa’s presents until Christmas Day morning, so our parents would tell us that Santa left my presents early, because he was aware of our Family Tradition. 

With the dog thing…are they aware about your feelings? I think you should let them know if you haven’t.

Post # 5
3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

When I was young, my family celebrated Christmas on both days.  On Christmas Eve we opened all the presents that were under the tree.  On Christmas morning, we opened the presents that Santa brought!  It was a way for my parents to A) seperate things a bit so we didn’t go into present overload, and B) highlight a few special presents.  Maybe it’s an idea to see if your in-laws would compromise with something like that?

As for the kennel situation, I think you are going to have to figure out something other then taking them with you to your in-laws house.  If it were your house then I’d say, your house, your rules.  But this is someone else’s house.  You need to be accepting of their rules/requests.  Think of it this way:  You feeling like your dogs should be welcome at their house during Christmas is just like someone thinking it’s ok to bring their uninvited children or some random guy/girl that they just met to your wedding.  None of us brides like to have uninvited guests foisted on us.  If you can find a hotel that will accept your dogs and let them stay in the room unattended (unlikely to be honest) then go for it.  But as Lisa says, you really can’t expect to bring them to someone else’s home when they aren’t invited there.

Post # 6
870 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I agree with @lisa105 have him open all the presents from the family that night and Santa’s gifts in the morning. My FI’s family has a Christmas the night before with just his parents, his siblings, their families, and us and then the next morning we all go to his grandmothers house for the rest of the family to join in. All of his aunts, uncles, cousins, etc go to his grandparents house to open gifts but they have their own thing the night before as well. It narrows down the amount of time you have to watch others open gifts. Plus you can use this to your advantage and spend Christmas with just your FH and your son.

About the dogs…I don’t know what to tell you about that one. We don’t have any pets but everyone else in tha family does and as long as the dogs aren’t big they allow the others to bring their animals. If you had 2 BIG dogs, I could understand them not wanting a bunch of pets in the house but maybe there is a back yard you can have them run around in?

Post # 7
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

Spending Christmas with people who have different traditions is tough.  My FI’s family does the Christmas eve present opening as well, and as I result I kind of feel like my Christmas is cut short as a result.  However, I’m sure that they weren’t considering the possibility of their son marrying you when they established this tradition, so I personally would not feel right about trying to change their traditions in their home.  I don’t think that the thing about the dogs is that weird, can you imagine four dogs roaming around the house?  You said yourself that they are big dogs, and that you aren’t going to try to find any other alternatives for their lodging.  So far the issues seem to stem from your expectations, and your desire to have things your way.  His family seem to be coming up with solutions, but you aren’t meeting them halfway.  Maybe you should spend Christmas at your home, or go to your parent’s.

Post # 8
1749 posts
Bumble bee

@Nola: I agree with Lisa about the dogs, send them to a nice doggy daycare for the weekend. Also, you are being really emotional. It’s difficult for most of us to accept change but you are going overboard. I personally think it’s an ideal situation and allows for you to make your own tradition. Could you not spend Christmas Eve with his family and have your son open a gift of two and go home to have Christmas day since you are only an hour away? Things could be a lot worse. Let it go Nola, it’s not worth the frustration.

Post # 9
2077 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

My family also celebrated Christmas early, as well as later with my father after my parents divorced.  And like @OhBeeHive84:, I believed that Santa came early or late for years.  He just knew where to find us!

I think that if you communicate with your Mother-In-Law about your concerns, she’ll try to accomodate.  It seems to me like she’s already trying by offering suggestions and finding quality kennels for you.

Post # 10
10851 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

A few thoughts. First, regarding Santa, I totally agree with the PPs that you can open all you other gifts the night before and do Santa gifts in the morning as usual, just give your Future In-Laws the heads up so they don’t write “From Santa” on any of the Christmas Eve gifts. It’s not the same as how you usually do it, but it’s not wrong. PLUS think of it this way, if you’re ever going to do Christmas morning on your own as a family you’re perfectly set up: Christmas Eve with DH’s family, Christmas morning on your own, Christmas afternoon/evening with your family! No fighting over who spends Christmas day where, that’s awesome!

On to the dogs. So on the one hand, I see where you’re coming from especially since your FMIL’s dog and your FBIL’s dogs are going to be there as well. BUT how big are those dogs? Do they get along with your dogs? At the end of the day, it’s her house, so if she doesn’t want to have two big dogs around that’s her decision and it’s generous of her to offer to pay for it (and to me, a sign that she feels strongly about it). You should respect her wishes in her home even though it’s tough.

Option B is that you go for a couple hours, have dinner with them, open presents and come home to start your own traditions at your own home with FH and your son and with your dogs.

Post # 11
971 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I’m really surprised when I hear people say that their inlaws do holidays differently.  It seems to me that people would realize that holidays don’t fit into a cookie cutter and people hold different traditions and do things different ways.  Not everyone celebrates holidays the same way!

OP – You do have choices.  I am going to guess that your inlaws live a distance since you’d have to board your pets and couldn’t leave them at home.  You can find a hotel that accommodates pets and stay there.  More and more hotels offer floors for people with pets. 

As for boarding the dogs, I think it’s very nice of your Mother-In-Law to offer to pay for boarding.  I would never bring my dog to somoene else’s house and, in turn, I wouldn’t want anyone to bring their dog to my house.  That’s a rule you can establish right now. 

I would talk to your FH about this.  NOW would be the perfect time to start new traditions of your own ….

Post # 12
69 posts
Worker bee

Traditions are different for families across the country and the world so I think you need to figure out how to embrace his families traditions and incorporate your own. Like previous posters said, I would let your son open his presents from family on Christmas Eve and then have him open Santa’s presents in the morning. I am pretty sure this is how my BF’s family does it with their kids and it seems to work just fine. I think it’s good to see how your FH’s family does it now, because it will give you ideas on to how your FH will want to celebrate Christmas in the future, when you are your own family. He won’t want to drop the Christmas Eve celebration just because you celebrate on Christmas Day, and vice versa. You’ll start thinking of ways to incorporate both your traditions into your new family’s way of celebrating.

In regards to the dogs, I think it is very generous of your Future Mother-In-Law to offer to pay for your dogs. She obviously does not want them at the house, and since it is her house, it is her choice and you have to accept that. She didn’t have to try and find a kennel for the dogs, or offer to pay for them, she has gone above and beyond what I would expect her to do, and while you may be disappointed to not bring your dogs with you, you have to realize she is stepping up and trying to help in this situation.

Post # 14
2790 posts
Sugar bee

As other PP’s have pointed out you have to realize that every family does things differently and every person see’s things differently.

In my family we have always done my mothers’ family meets Christmas eve and we open family presents. On Christmas morning I would wake up and open my stocking and my presents from Santa. On Christmas day I would go to my dads’ and open more presents from him and from Santa. Kids get used to whatever you lay in front of them. I think as long as your song receives his presents and isn’t excluded he will be fine.

In terms of the dogs I think you are being slightly unreasonable. Clearly the other 2 dogs are smaller and just because you see your dogs as your children does not mean that your In-Laws agree. My SO’s family see’s my cat as an animal just the same as the cow they butchered and is now in their freezer. They don’t understand why I buy our cat clothes and they told me repeatedly how disgusting cats are until they saw how I treat him and how clean he really is. Even so, they would not want me bringing my cat into their home. It is a difference in opinions and practices and you are not going to change them.


I think the solutions others have suggested should help and hopefully melding holidays will get easier over time.

Post # 15
10851 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Can I just say, this may be the time to set boundaries with your FILs? It’s nice that they “like” everyone to stay over, but if that’s not what you want to do for holidays going forward, I think now is the time to say so.

Personally, when Darling Husband and I decided to have our first Christmas at home together (this was before we were engaged) both our parents took it a little hard that we wouldn’t be home for Christmas morning with them. We decided we would have our little Christmas morning, then do brunch with DH’s mom, and then all continue on together to dinner with my parents. Don’t you know it but DH’s brother calls at 9:30 in the morning saying brunch was ready (we had said we’d be over at 11:00). I told him, that’s nice, you eat, we’ll be there at 11, it’s not my problem your mom decided to put brunch in the oven an hour and a half early. I wanted to make sure that we each respected each others traditions and space, but also that we weren’t bending to everyone else’s demands. As time goes on and we have our own family, I want to make sure we have our own Christmas traditions/routines, so I was pretty adament about putting my foot down from the get go. So if you can, I’d start to think about what you’d like to have for traditions with you, Fiance and your son (and other kids if you choose to have more) down the road. Just food for thought 😉

Post # 16
4546 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@bakerella: I love your post! It’s so exactly what we’re doing this year!

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