Post # 1
This year was our first Thanksgiving/Christmas since we got married. Before we had spent them separately with our families and celebrated on our own later. This year we wanted to spend the actual holiday together. I suggested one of our families celebrate earlier or later but his family didn’t want to do that because they have younger kids. I said we could have it at our house and both sides of the family could come to us but his parents can’t do that because they didn’t want to travel with the kids. So we just decided to spend both holidays on our own and see our families after Christmas but then his dad called him to tell him how disappointed they were that they wouldn’t see him on the actual holiday. His parents live only a couple hours away and have never come to visit us. I don’t really think it’s fair for them to expect us to travel to them all the time. We are never going to have kids so I don’t want to spend all of the holidays like this, but I feel like it’s always going to be my family that has to be flexible/sacrifice. I really hate spending time with his family anyway because I get peppered with inappropriate questions like why my parents are no longer living together and if I am pregnant because I look like I’ve gained weight so maybe I am more bitter about this than I should be…
Post # 2
Wtf I can’t believe they even commented on your weight. Rude! Honestly, I would just tell them that one year you will go to their house, the next to your parents, and the year after that you will have Christmas at your own house. If they can’t make it or don’t want to come, that’s their problem. They need to understand that their son is married and probably won’t be spending every single holiday with them anymore. Unless your families live close enough to spend Christmas Eve with one side and Christmas day with the other, and rotate that way, I don’t know what else they expect you to do.
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
His dad needs to stop trying to guilt him, and realise that you and your Darling Husband are now your own nuclear family and that parents/siblings are extended family now. You’re totally in the right, don’t back down!
Post # 4
Most married couples I know either spend Christmas eve with one side and Christmas day with the other or someone celebrates early/late one year and then switch the next year. It doesn’t sound like they are willing to do that though. You are right that it isn’t fair for your family to always be the ones to be flexible. What does your husband think about all of this?
Post # 5
Idk he doesn’t really say much. He is willing to be flexible. It seems like his family typically makes the plans and tells him what they are. My family will tell me “oh we are thinking of doing XYZ, will that work for you guys?” and if it doesn’t, they’ll work around it.
Post # 6
hm, you say his family wouldn’t celebrate earlier or later because of kids (which I can kind of understand) – but what about yours? It sounds like maybe yours weren’t entirely flexible either.
Regardless I understand the feeling. It sounds like maybe alternating years might be the best option for you.
Post # 7
Mine are willing to do that but probably not every single year. We have other extended family that celebrates with us that would then change their plans every year too.
Post # 8
Don’t think you have to do the same thing every year. I second rebeccasum’s suggestion, to come up with a rota that works for you. One year you see his family on the actual holiday, the next year your family, and the third year you stay home and invite family to join you there. Just be flexible since not everyone will want to come to you, or due to circumstances (dying family member so it’s their last Christmas-type situation) it might make sense to go to his family twice in a row. We haven’t yet established a set holiday plan that includes both of our families so we’re still trying to figure all of this out ourselves.
As for the weight comments, I am so mad for you! As if we don’t already know when we’ve put on a few pounds. Ugh! That’s the worst. If someone says anything about it in the future just get a dreamy look on your face, stroke your belly, and talk about how happy you are about your cupcake <or insert your food of choice> baby.
Post # 9
If the parents are so inflexible, then really they’re going to be annoyed no matter what. Darling Husband needs to put his foot down about inappropriate comments or questions – not okay!!
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2017 - A Historic Inn
I can relate to your post. Fiance have been together for about 4 years, engaged for about 1 year. His parents have been divorced for over 20 years and remarried to different people for the last 5 or so years. They absolutely refuse to be flexible, which is incredibly frustrating because they always change their holiday plans EVERY YEAR. They do not have a holiday rotation. Fiance and I are the first “kids” to get married in both of our sides. Fiance has siblings who are older and younger than him, and many of them are not in long term relationships, so holiday compromise was a first with Fiance and I.
On the other hand, my parents have been divorced for over a decade. Both sides of my family have clear, uncomplicated schedules for the holidays (like grandma and grandpas thanksgiving at 2 pm every year, or Christmas Eve with Dad and Christmas Day with Mom). Because FI’s family does not make holiday plans until the last minute, Fiance and I have been very vocal about our plans following my family’s schedule then including FI’s family plans if it works out. I think of my family’s holiday schedule as a template that never changes and that also ensures we get to see everyone. We also see FI’s family SO MUCH throughout the year, so carving out guaranteed time with my family makes sense.
At this time, it works extremely well for us. Fiance and I, however, will revise what works for us when we start having children. Bottomline is I’m using this time to set a marriage precedent: we will celebrate holidays by setting our own schedule that will benefit our nuclear family.
Post # 11
The simplest way is every other year. One year, you do thanksgiving with yours – Christmas with his, then switch.
Post # 12
We aren’t married yet but we’ve had a big discussion about this already. FI’s family lives out of state (all of them, he’s the only one here) so the onus is on us to travel to see them. FI works alternating holidays and he happened to be off this year for Christmas, the first time in a few years he didn’t actually have to work on the holiday, so we went to see his family. At first my mom was a bit upset, but it worked out as my sister took her family to Disney and we’re going to have our celebration on New Year’s Day. Next year we’ll have to figure out how it’s going to work.
My point is that most couples have to compromise this time of year, and it unfortunately is not unusual to have family making you feel guilty in not seeing them on the holiday. I don’t quite understand why Christmas has to be celebrated on Christmas Day, but I may be in the minority.
I would talk to your husband about spending one day with his family and one day with yours. I could see why you would not want to see his with their comments, which should have been nipped in the bud when it happened. He needs to stand up for you and if he doesn’t, you have a lot more problems than holiday rotation.
Post # 13
Thanksgiving isn’t big in Canada, so we’ve always struggled with xmas and our families as well. FIs family doesnt celebrate xmas (another religion/culture) but they like to throw a party every year. My family does celebrate xmas, and always does their dinner early enough for us to leave and goto FIs familys party after. I got so angry this year. Our dinner was at 4pm. So we arrived, said hello, opened presents, and maybe around 4:30 sat down to dinner. FIs family called him FIVE times while we were at the dinner table. He eventually had to text them to stop because he was at dinner and it was rude. So we ate, it was nice, and left after dinner before their more party/drinking part started. We got to FIs parents house at 7. They hadn’t even started eating yet. His mom was so huffy and told me ‘well we didn’t know your family was doing anything’. And I was like ‘well it’s only been every year for the past 10 years…’ (how long we’ve been dating). And she stomped off. Then of course, we get put to work fixing drinks and serving people food. And when we only eat a small portion, his dad got all mad because we ate at my parents first. ARGH. They are so annoying. My family purposely makes sure we can attend both, and they only want us to attend theirs. I even said they should have done it on xmas eve, it was saturday night and people would be more likely to ‘party’ rather than everyone who wanted to go boxing day shopping (they were also mad that we werent drinking enough). So, I have no advice at all lol. But I comiserate with difficult ILs.
Post # 14
Yikes OP, the weight comment is absolutely uncalled for and would really upset me! I’m not sure I’d want to go out of my way for someone who spoke to me like that. This was our first year doing the holiday rotation as well. We live 9 and 12 hours from our families, so it’s a production for us to see them. This year we chose to have Thanksgiving on our own at home and for Christmas, we joined half of my family’s annual trip and flew back into town for Christmas day with DH’s family. I think for us it’ll be a year by year decision for us. Please focus on doing what you and your husband want to do. Your families will have to deal with it!
Post # 15
What did you end up doing? Um, his dad was wrong, period. Most people DO split up the holidays, do one first and then the other. However, there are also many ILs who get all pissy about it, even when it is more than fair. So your Father-In-Law is not the only one. My Mother-In-Law always complains even though she gets the better end of the deal, still not enough. Oh well.