Holiday Plans

Updated on December 21, 2010
K.H. asks from Cambridge, MA
24 answers

Has anyone ever broken from a tradition to start their own? Myhusband and I have 2 children now, and we used to go to his Aunt's house on xmas day- in between my moms in the AM and his parents in the PM. We went their the 2 years before I had my first, and then the 2 years we had just one child. Now that we have an infant again, I feel like all that running around is just going to tire us out, rather than let us enjoy the holiday. I;ve pretty much told my MIL that we won't be going, and to my face she agreed, and said that it was reasonable to skip it. Now to my husband she says totally different things. I must also mention that the Aunt's house is also a sore spot for me because they have a small dog they refuse to put in another room- who always tries to bite my son ( unprovoked- my son is terrified of him and wont let me put him down the minute we walk in the door ). SO, how do we actually enjoy christmas day? I feel like everyone tries to make us do things we just arent interested in doing- and now that we have our own family I am just sick of it! Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great suggestions and comments. I think my husband and I are sticking to our guns and we may just ask them if we can visit the day after xmas, or even another day next week. My kids have great granparents and I dont want them to miss time with them either so its hard for me to say that we won't go at all. I think maybe I am also aggrevated at being "told" what to do, or assumed we would go there year after year with no compromise made on their part either. I just dont want to be the pain in the neck, the uptight wife, daughter in law, etc. the holidays should be spent with family and i think its really important. Xmas eve was not an option because we see friends with kids every xmas eve and let the kids play and open their presents with eachother. Aside from that I think that some people forget what its like to have an exhausted 2 year old and 6 month old... I;m the one who will have to deal with them that night.... to be continued... maybe ill update on the day after xmas :) Happy holidays to all!

Featured Answers


answers from Modesto on

Do what you want. I never visited on Christmas, it was time for home and family (MY FAMILY). Hot cocoa in the morning while kids opened their stuff, then a big breakfast, and dad and I just lounged around and let the kids enjoy their new things. Travelling is for the birds on the holidays. There is nothing wrong with staying home.
The reason the other family members that host these things get upset about breaking tradition is that they are afraid they might have to be the one travelling.
We do all the visiting before the holiday or after the holiday, not ON it.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My family's xmas "traditions" flow with the changing situations. One year, I had only three people from my family at my house, because so many of us were pregnant and didn't want to travel!

My extended family is gathering at my father's house on Jan. 8th this year. Then everyone can stay home with their immediate families on xmas, or can fit in visits to their other in-laws. Change can be good. Do what is best for you, so that you can enjoy.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Detroit on

When I met met husband his family tradition was to spend Xmas eve at his Dad's and Xmas day with his Mum.

My tradition is to not leave the house on Xmas day.

Once our daughter was born, I called the shots. We do not leave the house on Xmas day, my daughter does not have to get dressed out of her pj's. Of course it helps that my FIL moved to FL and we have my MIL over for Xmas dinner that we serve around noon (she then goes to my SIL for the evening).

You have two children, stay home let them have fun with their presents and each other. Let the rest of your family know that they are welcome to visit you during the day but that it is time for the kids to be able to enjoy Xmas day without being dragged all over creation.

Hope it all works out for you and that you can have a fun and relaxed day.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

yup. we used to boogie around frantically to make sure we saw everyone on on christmas day. our very first christmas with our son cured that. after being stuck on the side of the road during an unexpected sleet storm, trying to nurse my ridiculously exhausted and over-stimulated 2 month old, i was done.
those who must see us on christmas day are welcome to come here (that's generally my side of the family.) we do a big feast and it's grand.
we arrange to see my in-laws and anyone else we treasure during the holiday season.
do yourself and your own nuclear family a favor. stay home. no one else's holiday will be ruined because you visit them during the week before or after christmas.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Your hubby should remind her of the conversation the 2 of you had and not allow her to talk about you behind your back. he needs to set his mom straight. We just wake up, let our kids open presents and the rest of the day is relaxing family time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Just tell them that you need to spend SOME time at home on the holiday because you have little ones now and it is NOT fair to them not to be able to hang out and play with their toys and be a family. And then go to your moms in the late morning/early afternoon (you really should give the kids time at their house) and then to his house. Don't worryy what they think about is not an unreasonable request. And if his mom makes any more fuss about it...take from HER time in the afternoon to go...tell her that you are going to get there 2 hours later b/c you have to visit with aunt. I promise she will change her tune on your need to do this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

i read all these posts about families imposing holiday plans on you moms. I read you getting so upset and not knowing what to do?? I would never allow anyone to plan the holidays for me, my husband, and our children. we do what we want to do. You told MIL you're not going. end of story. tell your husband you're not going. end of story. and whoever calls tell them you're staying PUT.
start your own traditions now, while kids are small. Teach kids holidays are spent with closest ones, and you entertain here and there for a few hours during that week. but THST IS ALL the extended family should get. A few hours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You are the Mama.. What is best for YOUR family is what is best. Just speak with your husband decide what you all want to do for Christmas,

We did not run around on Christmas morning..
On Christmas eve we took turns going to MIL or my moms..

If we felt up to it, we would join the other parent on Christmas afternoon after naps.. Or they were welcome to come over after we all napped..

Maybe in later years you all will want/be able to rejoin the other groups.. As we grow up, so do our priorities and our ability to make different plans.
No guilt!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If your husband is on the same page with you, then have the holiday at your home. It's about family, yes, and our primary family is your husband/kids - you have to do what works best for them. That said, you can cooperate with the family re scheduling - but NOT NOW - too much baggage, stress, etc.

Perhaps this year, you just tell them the truth - to your Aunt directly, that you are taking it easy because of the new baby, just visiting family for short periods, etc, but spending most of the holiday taking it easy. Then maybe in the summer, decide what YOU'D like to do for YOUR family celebration. Figure out who else does what, when, for how long, etc. Then coordinate accordingly. Some people might be pissy about it, but they'll just have to deal, especially if you're thoughtful about what you're doing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Every year gets easier to do our own holidays. We have NEVER regreted not keeping the actual day just us, at home, relaxing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

In the end I do agree with the advice that you have to do what you think is best, I also think that with a small baby, things change and what you decide this year, because of that situation, may not be what you do every year. In the end though I think that the holidays are about family and I belive, even though I'm kind of in the minority, that you should do everything you can to be with your family. It's important to the grandparents (and others) to see the little ones on the holidays and although I don't think you should go crazy doing it, I think everyone should compromise. We end up going to 2 different places on Christmas too and it is hard, but it makes everyone happy. Plus, my husband and I aren't ready to give up being with our families on these important days either, so we make it work.

In your case, I think going to 3 houses is extreme and cutting out the aunt's house is the logical conclusion. I think you should confront your MIL and just simply ask her which one she'd like you to come to...aunt's house or her house. I mean if she really wants to fight for it then go to the aunt's house and skip her house in the pm and go rest at home with your family!

Like I said, I do think you have to take care of your own, but honestly, I want my kids to run crazy with their cousins and want their grandparents to see them open presents on Christmas and it takes a little sacrifice but it's worth it. Happy holidays and have's all about mind set, right?! ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am still in the same boat still after three kids....First of all stand firm on not going to auntie's. While it may be her house she should think of the kids first and foremost...SAFETY. A dog bite can do much damage. The stories I could tell you. I have large dogs and we put ours away with guests in the house so there are no issues...No brainer. You are a Mamma bear first protecting your kids. So why not split the day and make your own tradition on Christmas eve??? Or split Christmas day to create your tradition in the a.m. or p.m. and see Mom and MIL later? Leave the aunt out or have her come over to your house.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

you have to do what works for you. once we had kids we ruled that we only do 1 house a day. sorry if we can't get everyone in on the actual holiday. but anyone is more than welcome to come by our house to see the kids if they wish.

my Inlaws are divorced so we do thanksgiving with my FIL, christmas eve with my MIL and christmas day with my parents.

maybe pick another holiday to do with your aunt and host it at your house - like easter or a mothers day brunch or a valentine's day brunch etc... this way your can still see the aunt but you don't have to worry about the dog.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

could the compromise be going to your in laws house for christmas eve. and on christmas day your parents could come to your house.
i think the aunt could of been more considerated with her dog and your son. your child needs to feel safe and if she is not going to put the dog somewhere else it seems to me she is being unreasonable. be gracious and dont get your feather ruffled. your mil surely does understand but also doesnt want to cause friction with the aunt. she is probably hoping you will back down easier then the aunt. remember peace and calmness is what you need. you loose ground when its repeated calmly tell your mil in law again just once. if she wants to continue talking let her. dont say anything. when she is done talking tell her you looking forward to seeing her in a couple of days. have a nice day.



answers from Boston on

You're picking the right time to break away and start your own tradition. By next year or the year after your kids are just going to want to be home, open their gifts and just hang out and play with their new things - and you rest and enjoy. Just plan an alternate time to see other family. Maybe the weekend before. Or the day after Christmas, or even New Year's. Or if you feel you could tolerate it, tell them they are always welcome to come to YOUR house on Christmas day - but that you aren't planning a big meal or party. Or - if you could push some of this visiting to Thanksgiving instead - that always helps.



answers from Eugene on

We are going through a similar thing....minus the dog part. It's like Halloween all over again!!!! Our son will be 5 next month, I'm really wanting to stay home on Christmas because we open our family gifts in the morning - he's at the age where he is going to want to stay home and play with them. Instead we have open the presents, then get ready to go to Grandma's then back home and have Christmas dinner at my parents (fortunately we all live walking distance). It's chaos. We decided this is going to be the last year of going here and going there for Halloween - I think we should do the same for It's get so stressful. Trying to please all the families...and it get's worse when you add the fact that his and mine are both divorced and re-married....instead of 2 sets of grandparents there is 4 sets. "Oh what fun it is to ride and sing in the car to all the families houses......"



answers from Lynchburg on

Dear K.-

I made this decision LONG before I married and had children...As a former army 'brat'...we traveled to my parent's family in NY no matter WHERE we were stationed. So, I decided as a child that when I had

Usually what we did when kids were younger was x mas eve with the in laws...x mas day was 'ours' with the kids...and we would catch up with my folks sometime after x mas for a second one with them.

I never really discussed had MY mind set since the age of 5 or six!!!




answers from Chicago on

K. I am in the same boat as you. My family always did Xmas Eve and then Xmas day we stayed home, but now with my husband here is our schedule for the past four years:

Thanksgiving Day: Morning at his moms side 1.5 hours a way, then lunch/dinner at my familys back by our area.

Sunday after Thanksgiving: Lunch with his dads side 2 hours away

Xmas Eve: brunch with my dad downtown 20 minutes away, then dinner at my aunts 30 minutes away.

Xmas Day: Quick open gifts at our home with our daughter, leave by 9am to go 1.5 hours to his moms side, then back to his parents house, then 1hour to his dads side before we drive the 2 hours home that night.

New Years Eve: Host my mom and her bf for dinner

Ugh. . . I dread the holidays! I am now 3 months preggo with #2 and next xmas I just cannot imagine having to do all this with two kids---I am having panic attacks just thinking about it! It is really hard to cut something out, because then it feels like we are playing favorites and we want to see everyone. My true wish is that we could just stay home for xmas day like when I was a kid, but it doesn't seem fair to cut out his family--who I love. I guess I don't have any solutions for you, just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.



answers from Washington DC on

Here's our schedule:

Christmas Eve brunch is at our sitter's house - she's doing a party and gift exchange for the kids (its only 3 families and everyone agreed to it)

Christmas Eve dinner is at our house with my parents and sister: this is a tradition from when I was a child, my mom's parents wanted to spend some alone child with each grandchild over Christmas so they always came to us on Christmas Eve...I've continued that with my parents and my son.

Christmas morning: our house, just me, my hubby and our son. Cody opens his presents and then plays with them while we get showered and dressed. Then we go to my in-laws for gifts and brunch.

Christmas afternoon: come home for nap-time and some play time.

Christmas dinner: we go to my aunt's house for dinner and gift exchange with family (my mom is the oldest of 5, all are married with kids, and I'm the first of the "kids" to be married with a kid of my own). Depending on what time we leave there, we may stop at my in-laws house on the way home.



answers from Boston on

The year my son was born was the last year that we went to my sisters - a 3 hour drive. I have always loved going there (last 20 years) because she has 4 kids and that's what Christmas is all about - the kids! In fact, everyone went to my sisters because she was right - the kids want to play with their new toys etc. so they wanted to stay home. We decided to follow that same rule and now we stay home so my son can enjoy his gifts and the day relaxing. My son is now 2. We welcome family and friends over after 1PM. We still go to my sister's house but either the week before or the week after.


answers from Boston on

Absolutely start your own tradition. The great joy of Christmas morning in your own home should not be lost - you have little children and it's really special to wake up and sit around in your pajamas watching their little faces. Your MIL forgets what it's like to have little kids - either that or she has a nasty side. She may be perceiving your reluctance to go as a rejection of her and her family. Your husband needs to deal with her, as she is his mother. I agree that the dog is a problem - your son needs a break from it and hopefully will meet other dogs over time and begin to learn how to deal with that.

Start a new tradition, and add something special to it - perhaps it's giving each child a special ornament. You and your husband can decide whether to invite your MIL to join you that morning - depends on how many people are involved on her side of the family. Or, she could come over Christmas Eve and perhaps have the kids open one gift each from her, or she could come Christmas afternoon for tea. You could consider taking some pictures and emailing them to her so she feels connected. But let your husband do this.

But stick to your guns. My daughter started doing this when they had their 2nd child - all that running around was wearing her out, and it was always her responsibility to organize the gifts, make a dish for the pot luck at the home of others who have older kids, and so on. It was a huge hassle. Now they have all the excitement their kids should have. They do Christmas Eve at her aunt's, and have a series of visits from grandparents who live locally, and it's very easy.

Do it! Tell your MIL you will miss her and hope she will come by. Let your husband do the rest. And he needs to stand up to her and not let her make YOU into the bad guy!



answers from New London on

It's time to do what is best for you and your family. If that means staying at home then do it. You could always invite them to your house instead. And your aunt not being willing to put the biting dog in another room is completely inexcusable -- you should not feel bad at all for wanting to keep your kids away from that. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

I will simply reiterate what many have said by sharing our own traditions.
We do not travel on Christmas day. That is a day for our daughter to enjoy her gifts in her own home.
We have come up with a schedule that seems to work for my divorced parents and my brother's in-laws.
On Christmas Eve day we celebrate with my mother, step-father, brother and sister-in-law. Sometimes we travel to them; this year they're coming to us. (My father goes to my brother's Christmas Eve. My brother and sister-in-law go to her family Christmas day.)
We have Christmas morning with just me, my husband and daughter.
Late Christmas morning, my father, mother-in-law and brother-in-law come to our house to celebrate.
It isn't always easy to accommodate everyone and no one wants to be left out (especially those without spouses or other children). For us, though, Christmas is about our daughter and what is ultimately best and most comfortable for her.
Good luck creating your own new family traditions.
PS. Perhaps New Year's Eve or New Year's Day would be a festive time to celebrate with those you don't see on Christmas.



answers from Kansas City on

We use to go to my husbands family on Christmas day and mine before my dad passed. We have two kids as well and I wanted to enjoy the day like you and not worry about getting ready and leaving to make it somewhere by a certain time so we for the past 3 years now have stayed home on Christmas and let me tell you it is SO NICE to spend it just us in our new pjs all day long! Put your foot down now about what you want and they will get over it and if they don't then they can come to your house to see you guys! Merry Christmas

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions