Post # 1
Hello everyone, I’m looking for some insight. I’ve been with my SO for almost 5 years and we’ve had our own places until moving in together recently. He’s a casual Christian and celebrates Christmas while I’m not into organized religion and never celebrated Christmas growing up. All of the years that we’ve been together, he would go by his parents’ for Christmas eve, spend the night, open gifts, and have Christmas dinner with them the next day. I’ve never gone because I figured this is something he does with his family and I just didn’t give it much thought. This summer, we moved in together (yay!). I don’t know if that has a bearing on the situation, but now his mother wants to know if I’m coming by for Christmas.
My SO and I were talking about it last night and the question of logistics came up: do I go for Christmas eve dinner and head home at the end of the night, do I stay the night, do I just go over for dinner Christmas day? He says it’s up to me and I’m more than welcome whenever. Honestly, I feel a little awkward with all three scenarios. I feel that I’m getting only half the holiday experience. If I go just for Christmas eve and leave at the end of the night, it just seems like any other time they have us over for dinner but I’m not not there for the festivities. If I stay the night and they’re opening gifts in the morning, am I included or not? And how would the sleeping arrangement work? My SO sleeps in his old room and the bed is quite rickety and narrow. While his family obviously knows that we’re living together, I don’t know how comfortable we would all be with us sharing a bed in their house. If I go only for Christmas dinner, then I feel that I’m showing up after the festivities are over.
I appreciate that maybe they’re trying to recognize the seriousness and progression of our relationship and get me more involved in the family. This could be a way into transitioning to how the holidays will change once we are eventually married. They’ve had us over for Thanksgiving dinner every year and they’re a very lovely family. I don’t want to intrude but I also don’t want to seem aloof. In the end, I know it’s whatever my SO and I are comfortable with but any advice is appreciated, thank you!
Post # 2
I’ve had to be pretty clear about whether or not I want to be included in gift exchanges wiht my SO’s family, so it wouldn’t be out of line for you to ask your SO to have that chat with his family and find out what they’re doing and whether you’re included.
In terms of sleeping arrangements, why don’t you just get a blow-up mattress for the two of you to sleep on, instead of his rickety bed? Would you be offended if you were asked to sleep in another room? I’m sure the two of you could stay in his room OR sleep elsewhere in the house, providing there’s room.
If you’re comfortable going and being part of the entire experience, knowing that there may be some awkward moments, I would go. If not, then just pick and choose what you’re most comfortable doing. You can always go to more next year if you find yourself comfortable.
I opt not to go to my SO’s family’s Christmas morning because I do feel awkward when watching families open lots of gifts and I would just be sitting there, watching for the most part. I do find my SO’s family christmas meal to be overwhelming (40+ people for Christmas lunch and I can’t name half of them) but I appreciate that I was included and so I attend that celebration.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the celebration being over if you only go for one portion – something to consider is that it may be super overwhelming for you to immerse yourself in all of the Christmas celebrations when you’re not used to it. In my family, the lull between Christmas morning and Christmas dinner was basically just everyone sitting around, reading the paper and drinking coffee, kids playing with their new toys. Celebrations resume once dinner is close, with some festive drinks and continues after dinner.
Post # 3
Wow, sorry but I think youre over thinking this.
They are a kind an easy family to get along with who are trying to make you feel welcome. I am athiest but still celebrate Xmas as it is a wonderful cheerful time of year with my whole family. Nothing more nothing less.
If you feel like doing a portion is missing out, then do the whole shebang! Go for xmas eve, discuss with SO about gifts (ie both names on gifts or bring something small from just you. baking, dvds, costco gift basket etc) You will sleep where you will sleep, its one night. Go, have fun, be festive, be loved.
If you dont enjoy it at all, certain aspects, or love it all then adjust next year accordingly. Be grateful you have wonderful extended family and smile and eat some candy canes haha.
Post # 4
Honestly, I would just go, and stay the night. If they are not comfortable with you and SO sleeping in the same bed, respect that and sleep on the couch or something.
My parents have a tradition of throwing a Christmas Eve party. DH has always gone with me, we drink, we stay the night, we open presents in the morning and my dad cooks a big breakfast. For the first few years, we respected my parents wishes and DH slept on an air mattress in my old bedroom. DH never had a problem with it, and being his family doesn’t do much for Christmas, he loves that my family does this.
This tradition will change once we have a child, as I’d prefer my kids to wake up at our house for Christmas morning.
Post # 5
I do tend to overthink things, haha. I think I was overwhelming my SO with all my questions so I turned to the bees for different perspectives.
You have a good point, we can use this time to transition and see what works for all of us. It’s a small affair, just his parents and brother so it’s not a barrage of rarely seen family members.
I would truly be fine with sleeping on an airbed in the living room or something, a little compromise never hurt anyone.
Thank you all for your responses. I’m leaning towards going for dinner the night before, that way we can play it by ear and there’s always the option of staying over if I want.
Post # 6
I would probably ask SO to ask his family point blank. It can cuase stress to both you and his parents if you don’t have it settled before you arive. Will you and SO need two cars so you can go home? Do you need an overnight bag so you don’t need to go home? Does SO’s mom need to have clean bed sheets and a place for you to crash?
There is too much opportunity for hurt feelings here if SO’s parents are prepared for you to stay and you don’t or if you are prepared to stay and SO’s parents aren’t prepared for you to stay. Communication is the best way to make sure you have a heatlhy relationship with them form day one.
Post # 7
I can’t imagine they plan to invite you and not get you anything, or at least address gifts to the two of you (like household items).
I agree with pp — I’d go for the whole thing. If they’re uncomfortable with you two sharing a room, they’ll probably make it known early on (or you can get him to ask).
As for gifts for them, make them from both of you, or get them something small (home made sugar cookies are a great idea!).
Post # 8
I second what the others are saying. I think you should go – perhaps bring a small gift for the other family members if you would like to (I think it would be a nice gesture).
As far as sleeping arrangements, first time I went to vist DH when he was home for the summer (before we lived together) I fully expected to be put up in a spare room, nope. His parents informed me I was sleeping in DH’s room. That was fine by us, but it did take a little getting used to. I found it a little weird at first.
If you’re not comfortable, bring an air mattress and sleep in another room or on the floor, but if you’re living together and they’re okay with it I think you’re fine to sleep in the same bed.