Wanting to Spend Christmas with Extended Family the Weekend Before Christmas

Updated on October 25, 2018
L.U. asks from Kirkland, WA
27 answers

Hello! (my posts are always so long!)
For the past 16 years my husband and I have been going to my parent's house for Christmas. When we first started having children we would get up in the morning in our own house, rush through presents, and get to my parent's house by 9am to open presents with my family. We would have breakfast there and then go home, let kids nap, and go back again for dinner. At that time I had 4 brothers still living at home and my youngest brothers were still in elementary school.
As the years have gone on and the kids have gotten older there was a natural progression and for the past 3 years we have been going to my parents in the late afternoon so the whole family could all get together.
My youngest brother and his wife just had a baby this year and they moved about 4 hours away. He and I were discussing Christmas and he was saying that he and his wife would like to have Christmas in their new place and have the whole family do Christmas together on Saturday before (3 days before the actual date). I am totally on board with this!
So this weekend my husband, kids, and I were all at my parents house with 2 of my brothers and their families (2 kids for one brother, wife for another) and Christmas was brought up.
I told everyone that my family would like to spend time on Christmas with our small family (husband and three kids) and create traditions within our home but still want to see everyone else and asked if people would be able to get together 3 days before.
You would think I had shot their dog.
My mom was so mad that she ignored me the rest of the night, glaring, texting my other brother, rolling her eyes. When I went to say goodbye she just continued doing laundry and said Bye, before turning around. She immediately asked if my children were ok with that (they are) and wanted to know why we didn't want to spend time with the family?!
I repeated, many times, that we DO want to spend time with them...but we are hoping to do it a few days early so that we can have our family Christmas at home with our children. I explained that my eldest is 16 and the next is 13 and they will be leaving my house before I know it! (these years have been going by so fast!)
This has now become a "thing" with my mom leading the charge. She is texting other brothers, complaining that since we live 15 minutes away we should be able to visit on the actual day. She sends group texts to all the siblings, stating how sad and depressed my dad is and she just can't believe we are doing this. My youngest brother talked to my dad and had a tense conversation with him.
I don't understand why this is such a big deal. We still want to see family! In fact, seeing them on the Saturday before means that we can be there a LONG time! My other brother and his 4 kids would be able to spend more time with everyone instead of rushing off to his in-laws, and my brother 4 hours away can spend a long day there too.
Am I crazy for wanting to have my own Christmas? I have been bending over backwards to get to their house for the past 16 years, to make Christmas just the way they want. Am I not able to do things the way I (and my husband) want? Am I being selfish?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Added to address some questions:
They will not be spending Christmas alone. My brother lives there with his two children and my other brother will be there with his wife.
We do not go to my husband's immediate family because they all live in Mexico! He does have some family here that we see on Christmas Eve, as Mexicans do their celebration the day before.
My other brother, the one that lives 4 hours away, will not be there for Christmas day. So it just makes sense to do the big family XMas on the day he will be here.
I have been trying to be understanding of their being upset with the change. I also have a very shaky relationship with my mom...it's been that way for a LONG time. Thank you all for your kindness.

More Answers

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

You are not crazy, and if you stand your ground, she will get over it. We do exactly what you plan to do this year. We visit 1 family the weekend before Christmas, and 1 family the weekend after Christmas, and we spend Christmas eve and Christmas day at our own home. The first year, no one was happy with us. The second year, there was a little pouting but it wasn't so bad. Nonetheless, we stuck with the plan and developed own own traditions on those days. Now it's 10+ years later and everyone just asks - what weekend are we celebrating Christmas this year?

So my advice - simply continue to stand your ground pleasantly, refusing to engage in arguments. If your mom tries to pick a fight with you about it, simply say "I know you are disappointed, but this is our plan from now on. I hope we'll see you at Mike's home the weekend before Christmas."

Enjoy your day! It is really lovely to make your own traditions and relax at home on Christmas.

ETA: After reading responses below, I'll make one addition. Every year we tell all the parents our plan and make it clear that if they want to see us on Christmas day, they are welcome to come to our house and join in with what we are doing. They have never taken us up on it. But it gets around the "you are depriving us of our grandkids on Christmas" arguments. We aren't! If they really want to see their grandkids on Christmas, they are more than welcome to come to us. It turns out that roads go both directions!

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

You are absolutely right, and this should not be a big deal. So why not have your own family (your immediate family) have "Christmas" on another day and let your mom have December 25. It's not a big deal, right?

My entire childhood, we had our "Christmas" a few days early so that we could drive 7 hours to my grandparents' house for Christmas. We would usually do there on Dec 22 or 23, so we just had our big celebration the night before we left. My cousins did the same thing, and then we were all together on Christmas Day at our grandparents' house.

Who cares what day you celebrate, as long as you have a good time doing it. Your mom is being crazy stubborn, but can't you and your brother still have what you want? A Christmas with just your immediate family that's nice and relaxing and special and a Christmas with your parents and siblings that's nice and relaxing and special? Just swap they dates you originally had, and you're set!

10 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

You're not being selfish. Your mistake, if you want to call it that, was in making yourselves insane since your 16 year old was born! Racing around, hurrying with gifts to get to Grandma's, etc.

I think all of this business with enforced rules of engagement ("Grandma's house or nowhere") completely erases what Christmas is supposed to be about. It takes all the joy out of it because there are regulations.Okay, so you mom is either really controlling or she takes this as a rejection of her holiday management style, or she takes it as a reference to her getting older. Maybe she's a little afraid of the grandkids getting older and moving on - so she clings to "tradition" as a lifeline. She has defined herself as the matriarch by being in charge and even by bossing all of you around, and now she's pitting one sibling against another. Not a good plan.

She's 15 minutes away so, unless the plan is to leave her and your father totally alone, I see no reason why she can't be with one kid on Christmas Eve, another Christmas morning, and maybe another on Christmas night. If you want a big party a few days before (because that's how the calendar works out this year), fine. Throw it yourself if you have to, and whoever comes, comes.

If your mom chooses to not see you, just remind her that it's her choice. Then don't keep having the same argument over and over. You know how attorneys say, "Asked and answered"? No badgering of the witness is allowed! In your case, just remember that you don't have to go to every fight you're invited to.

When our son went off to college, he came home with a mix of being exhausted and wanting to see friends. We learned to share. He moved 8 hours away 18 months ago, and we learned to deal with it. He has a girlfriend, and she has parents. We learned to share. I hope your mom doesn't use this as a crowbar to drive her grandchildren further away, but if she does, it's her loss. With her current attitude, it's unlikely anyone will want to see her 3 days beforehand either.

9 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

you've been bending over backwards for too long, hon. stand your ground!

before we had kids, yes, we went to both parents' houses to visit on christmas day.

after having a kid we did exactly ONE christmas where we did that racing around BS. when we were driving home late christmas night with our exhausted infant and got stuck in a whiteout snowstorm, me trying to nurse our fretful baby in the back seat, we were done.

i didn't ask, i informed both sides of the family that anyone is welcome to visit us on christmas, but we were spending it at home with our kids and would visit everyone else 'during the holiday season', not on christmas day.

still holds true even with the kids grown and out, although i'm totally ready to do whatever my daughters-in-law now decree. this is their time.

i'm sorry your mother is being pouty. hope she gets over herself soon.

khairete
S.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I can totally relate to what you have written, except not with my own family - but what my husband has gone through with his. In fact, it's probably lead to the demise of his relationship with them. They don't speak at this point. It's ridiculous.

In our case, my in-laws never changed what they did to suit children. We were expected to do what seniors liked to do - and not knocking that, but it didn't work for us. We were the only ones with a young family.

In the end, we took a family (ours) vote - and went with it. It's not selfish. But be prepared for the fallout.

In our case, my husband didn't expect anyone to change what they did. We would celebrate Christmas day at our house - relaxed instead of rushing about. We would host a brunch the following day for those who wanted to come. New tradition.

This did not fly.

When we tried it (the once) they showed up and b!tched nonstop about how we sucked. I had to remove the kids from the room. My MIL broke down in tears.

It was a lovely (not!) Christmas.

Good luck :) Keep us posted!

Just to note - my side of the family totally gets it and we get together when we can, over the holidays. Your mother has been very fortunate to this point and has unrealistic expectations that traditions will never change. I would just ask for her input and say some traditions have to adapt - then what would you like to see happen? kind of thing (so she has some input in the new ones).

ETA: I read the responses too. Good points made by all.
One thing I should add is - my in-laws celebrate with lots of family, just not us, because it does not work for us. If it was just them on their own, we would have invited them to join us.

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S.B.

answers from Houston on

When we started our family I told everyone Christmas was at my house and anyone could come. We did that for a couple of years and then we moved away. That is when we started rotating years. One year my parents the next my in laws.

We did decide to spend Christmas with my folks in AZ and then the next year we traveled to TX for the in laws. I told hubby I would NEVER do that again. It was a big pain in the butt and not worth the hassle.

My son got married last year so that was our first experience with him not being home for Christmas. I did NOT like that but its a new normal. I get them for Christmas this year. I'm not opposed to going to them but they would rather come to TX and get away from the snow. My daughter has now started dating a really nice guy so we are navigating that with her. Its a new normal and I have to adjust.

You are not selfish. I'm just impressed it lasted this long. I'm sorry your Mom is being a brat. Things change as kids grow up. Its the circle of life.

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T.H.

answers from Dallas on

You are not crazy. This is totally normal and acceptable and quite honestly, I'm shocked it's taken you 16 years! (But I totally get it! ;) My kids are 11 and 9 and a few years ago we stopped the madness on Christmas day too. It's been so nice. Last Christmas was our first Christmas in a new city/state, 7 hours away from all our family. We decided to spend it alone in our new home and then travel to see family the day after. It worked out so well and my little family of 4 had such a glorious day!

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J.K.

answers from Wausau on

After we had kids, it wasn't long before we decided that the rush-around-on-Christmas thing wasn't working for us. It took some family members a little adjustment period to realize that an extended family gathering did not have to be on December 24/25.

The only thing you've done wrong is wait 16 years to change things. :-)

You've been doing the same thing for a long time and change is hard, but that doesn't make it okay for your mom carry on about it. She is engaging in emotional manipulation and it is working well enough to make you question your own needs. Don't argue with her about it. "Mom, I'm sorry you feel that way but this is what we need. We want to see you on another day. If that doesn't work for you, not seeing us will be your decision." Then going forward, "We've had this discussion already."

I am the oldest kid, first to marry and not live nearby. As time went on, my siblings lives changed too. Often at least one has to work on Christmas day. This year, it looks like we might get together in January. See about getting support from your siblings, because they probably would like a more restful season too.

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R.J.

answers from Tampa on

I feel like I could've posted this!!!
We went through the same things when we got married. Both parents wanted us at their house for EVERY holiday. My mom and MIL almost had power struggles over who got what time, and the most time etc. I had a large blended family so trying coordinate time was exhausting! And only one of my husbands 4 siblings had family in town, so they were always all there all day.
The one year I wanted to host Thanksgiving at OUR house and invited both sides, my MIL announced they were going to volunteer that year, and she'd still have the family meal another day LOL And that was the only year the volunteer thing happened ;)
Anyways, long story short , as we started having kids, I just put my foot down. Especially Christmas. What kid wants to wake up, open gifts then have to leave?
You have been accommodating for 16 years!! People have to learn to be flexible. Sadly that seems hard for a lot of people, and while I get parents of adult kids like having their families together and keep "traditions" going, they also need to remember what it was liking raising a family and wanting to make your own traditions!
Now that we live out of state, I don't have to worry about it anymore. And while I miss being with family around the holidays, I do not miss the guilt trips and all out chaos that were the holidays. We were stretched so thin it wasn't all that enjoyable!
Stick to your guns, you're still trying to see everyone and enjoy the SEASON. It doesn't have to be just one day!

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B.E.

answers from New York on

This kind of question comes up A LOT on this site, so just know you are not alone. I've had similar issues with my mother down through the years. She and my father had a bitter divorce over 30 years ago and she never remarried, so there was this expectation that all three kids would always come to her place for Thanksgiving and Christmas to keep her company for the holiday. She's always been very resentful if one of the kids made alternate plans - enough so that my sister refuses to come for ANY holidays anymore.

I've been OK about still coming for Christmas (though my son has mentioned a few times he'd like Christmas at our house one year) but found that coming for both Thanksgiving and Christmas was becoming too arduous. My mother lives a 9-hour drive from our house and flying is too expensive and too much of a hassle. However, if I would ask her to come our way for Thanksgiving instead, even meet up halfway somewhere, she would pose it as this huge imposition and she can't possibly do that because she can't drive/fly/take a train/take a bus that far by herself. Never mind that it has been a huge imposition for me all these years, especially when my son was younger and not as patient with long drives. But I've always felt guilty - my mother is getting older; yes, travel is probably harder for her; what if something happens and this will be our last Thanksgiving together - that kind of thing.

Then this past year I became seriously ill - ill enough that there was the possibility (and still is) that I could be the first in our family to go. That got me thinking - what do I want for the holiday? Not what will make everyone else happy. What will make ME happy? And you know what? I don't want to fight holiday traffic jams and spend hours in the car just to spend an arbitrary Thursday somebody years ago decided should be "Thanksgiving" with my mother because it's the expected thing to do. We will spend a few days with her around Christmas, less frazzled, less stressed, less resentful, and if that's not enough for her, that's unfortunately her issue and not mine. It may not sound nice, but life does not always turn out as one expects and there are times where you should put your own needs ahead of others. If what you want for YOUR Christmas is a relaxed day at home with your family, then go for it. You've offered a reasonable compromise. Your mother may be resentful for a while, but I think you might find yourself unhappier giving in then standing your ground on this one.

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T.D.

answers from New York on

We get to juggle 4 separate Christmas gatherings every year. In addition to finding time for just me, hubbs and kids to open presents together. I don't think you are being selfish. I think your mom is being immature and unreasonable about this! over the years our days and times for gatherings have changed to accommodate families growing and moving and no one has ever thrown a tantrum about it. We are just happy we can still gather and celebrate together.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

No you are not crazy, and ask your mother why YOU can't have the same traditions she has enjoyed every year, namely having all of her children home on Christmas. Also remind her that if your husband had ever wanted to spend time with his parents and family then you would probably have been splitting Christmas all these years anyway so isn't she actually very lucky? Most people have to juggle their own home, their parents home AND their in laws home so this is NOT a big deal.

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❤.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

No, you are not being selfish. You've been doing it their way for the past how many years? You did it when it was hardest....when the kids were little. I say do it your way this year. Your mom sounds like she is being a petulant child. Your dad might be acting that way, too. It has been crazy. You have every right to have your own Christmas. Please do it your way this year. Make yourself happy and let your children have it a nice relaxing Christmas this year. 16 years you've been doing it their way? You deserve to have it your way. Do what you want. You are a grown woman with a family. You can see them the week before or a few days afterwards. This is the natural progression when you have a family of your own. They need to quit giving you a guilt trip

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R.K.

answers from Appleton on

My ex-husband's mom INSISTED her children spend Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving at her house. His sister's were married but the in-laws were out of state so it wasn't a problem for them but it was for me. My parents never got to see me or my children on Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. Christmas Eve is my birthday and according to HER that was good enough for my parents. She tried to insist we be at her house for Christmas Eve also but not celebrate my birthday since Christmas Eve was more important.

Your Mom is being selfish. If she is so keen on everyone being at her house then she needs to be considerate of your husband and children. Your husband has a family also and he should get to see them on Christmas too.

As I said my birthday is Dec. 24, I tell my kids I would like them all to be there for my birthday but they have their own lives and families. Sometimes we get together for a family lunch or dinner whichever fits their schedules.

I refuse to be demanding of their time. I never see my kids on Christmas and usually spend the day alone. I prefer to spend the day alone, I don't like my DIL's family very dysfunctional. And my SIL's family and I have never met. When my daughter lived in Wisconsin she usually hosted Christmas and included her husband's family. I went but didn't really enjoy myself, his family is very dysfunctional also. It's better to be alone than to put up with them.

Updated

My ex-husband's mom INSISTED her children spend Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving at her house. His sister's were married but the in-laws were out of state so it wasn't a problem for them but it was for me. My parents never got to see me or my children on Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. Christmas Eve is my birthday and according to HER that was good enough for my parents. She tried to insist we be at her house for Christmas Eve also but not celebrate my birthday since Christmas Eve was more important.

Your Mom is being selfish. If she is so keen on everyone being at her house then she needs to be considerate of your husband and children. Your husband has a family also and he should get to see them on Christmas too.

As I said my birthday is Dec. 24, I tell my kids I would like them all to be there for my birthday but they have their own lives and families. Sometimes we get together for a family lunch or dinner whichever fits their schedules.

I refuse to be demanding of their time. I never see my kids on Christmas and usually spend the day alone. I prefer to spend the day alone, I don't like my DIL's family very dysfunctional. And my SIL's family and I have never met. When my daughter lived in Wisconsin she usually hosted Christmas and included her husband's family. I went but didn't really enjoy myself, his family is very dysfunctional also. It's better to be alone than to put up with them.

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

I think the only mistake you’ve made was not stopping this insanity sooner.... your poor kids, every year, got to see all kinds of fun stuff they wanted, then put it down to go somewhere. Then he for a short bit(for a nap), then back out again.... when did they get to be a kid on Christmas? And your husband must be a saint to have tolerated this.

No, you are NOT selfish, you’ve just been a doormat to your mother instead of doing what worked best for your nuclear family.

I’d create a lot of distance, I’d remove myself from the group texts, and not entertain ANY discussion about Christmas other than yes or no, we are doing the Saturday prior. If she starts acting up that day, just leave.

Personally, we told family that once we had kids, Christmas is at our house(hubby and I are both only children). All parents lived 10+ hour drive away, but were welcome to come visit for a week or so at Christmas. Just recently, one set of grandparents(we have three due to hubbys parents being divorced) moved about 30 minutes away. They are welcome for lunch or early dinner Christmas Eve, and after about 1:00 Christmas Day. I’m not rushing through my morning with the kids prepping for company. Selfish? Maybe, but it’s important to me that we have a relaxing Christmas morning.

Good luck, your moms a manipulator, she’s just having a temper tantrum because it’s not working now. Create a firm boundary, things will get better, but they may get worse first.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

My feeling is that as soon as you start having kids - you need to start having your own holidays in your own home.
The pressure to have the whole clan all together on one particular day at one particular place just gets insane.
Your mom has just become accustomed to a certain tradition that centers around her at her home on one date - of course she doesn't want anything to change - but she needs to adopt a bit of flexibility and not be so rigid in her holiday expectations.
Getting together 3 days early sounds like a nice (and overdue) change to me.

And it wasn't even your original idea - your brother suggested it!
You broke the news on it so they are shooting the messenger.
It might have been better to announce this as a united group.

If the others can't/won't do this then maybe this year you need to skip the grand reunion and just stay home period.
You're not crazy or selfish at all!

Additional:
No, I don't think swapping the dates for Xmas and family get together will work (where you celebrate with your family at home 3 days prior and you pack everyone off to Mom's Dec 25th).
You want to spend your Christmas in your home - and I still don't know why you didn't start doing this 16 years ago.
They are going to make Thanksgiving (and all the other holidays) major battle grounds too.
Explain to your parents that change is not rejection.
They probably aren't going to listen but only explain yourself so much and then stop.
You do not have to justify yourself to anyone.

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

After getting married, my husband and I hosted my parents on xmas eve. My brother would be with his in-laws, and then we'd all have dinner on Xmas at my parents. Then a bunch of years ago, we were sick on xmas eve and had to cancel. It was heaven to not run around cooking and preparing for xmas. We did take out and it was glorious!

The next year I told my parents that it was too much to host a big dinner on xmas eve. My parents were upset and disappointed, but I stood my ground. I just said we needed time alone as a family, and I needed time to just worry about making the cake for xmas day, etc. without also having to make a big meal for others.

Give it time. She will adjust. My mother did, and she is beyond difficult. Just stand your ground and say, "this is what we are doing this year, but we look forward to the whole family celebrating at bro X's house."

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S.M.

answers from Boston on

What’s not clear to me is if you and your siblings would be leaving your parents alone on Xmas day. That would be kind of mean I think. If someone will go to them or they are invited to your place, then I think you’re totally reasonable. But even if you celebrate 3 days prior, it’s depressing to be totally alone on xmas day so I’d find a way that wouldn’t happen.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

I think the idea is reasonable. However, would this leave your parents alone on Christmas day? My parents would be very hurt and alone if they weren't celebrating with their children and grandchildren on the actual day. When we were kids (I'm one of 5) we would open presents at home, then my mom would put on a whole dinner for us and her own siblings, then we'd get in the car at around 5 and go to my grandparents' house and meet up with extended family. We do the same thing now, but the the celebration is at my house for dinner (around 20 people, including my parents, siblings, and nieces) and then my aunts, uncles and cousins come to my house for the evening. I know it was a lot of work for my parents when we were kids, but they knew how much it meant to the grandparents to have everyone there, so I do the same for them.

Given that you're only 15 minutes away, can you host an open house later in the day and have your parents and anyone else who wants to come over, visit? Or go to their house for dessert? Another issue for my parents is that they spend a ton of time decorating their house for Christmas and it would be a shame for everyone to not see it, so we do Christmas Eve there. That way they get to host an easier gathering and aren't exhausted by hosting Christmas but can spend the day at my house with everyone.

My guess is that if you make arrangements to make sure that your parents have someone to celebrate with on the actual day, then the weekend before celebration can be the big one and then you can keep things lower key on Christmas day while also recognizing and meeting their need to not be left alone on a special day.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

I do no think you are being unreasonable at all. I think it's a good idea and would make your Christmas day less hectic and more calm. It's your mom that is being unreasonable and unkind towards you. What about your husband's family? Do you never spend Christmas with them? We take turns. We spend one year with my mom, one year with my husband's family, and every third year we stay home. My mom is NOT happy about this and wishes we would spend every year with her, but I just stand firm. She says she ALWAYS went home for Christmas and we should too...then I remind her she divorced my dad and never went to visit his parents and I also tell her some years we just want to be relaxed at home and she is welcome to fly to our state to spend the holiday with us. I think you should take your mom out to lunch and tell her your feelings. She is being unkind to you. That this is not personal and you love her. That didn't she ever want to spend the holiday at home when she had young kids so they can open gifts and then just hang out playing with them? Did she go to her parent's house EVERY single year with no exceptions? Have a kind heart to heart chat with her. She is hurt and is being very childish. Is this how she always acts when she does not get her way? How come your one brother has not stuck up for you and said the same thing about the holidays to her? My MIL says it's just a day and we can celebrate it any day...she has the right attitude. That family and being together is what is important and we can pick another day to do that. My step-sister stopped traveling to visit parents at Christmas once she had kids. She ALWAYS spends the holiday at home and she tells her parents they are welcome to visit her any year they want to. I think a big part of your problem here is that you live only 15m away. If I were you I would be tempted to compromise a little and go over for dinner or dessert instead of the whole day. Or invite your parents to your house. Remember -- you are setting boundaries here with your mom and whatever happens this year will set the tone for years to come.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

It's clearly fine to do whatever you want! But here are two other points to consider:

(1) "The Saturday before Christmas" cannot be a "forever" thing either. When you eldest is in college (maybe, what, Christmas after next?) you might be picking up from the airport on the flight home from college on "the Saturday before Christmas". And when Christmas falls on a Saturday, your children might not be home from college by the Saturday before. Etc etc.

So, that leads to (2)....

(2) I think you all need to think "big picture" about who will see who at Christmas going forward. One suggestion: could you do a rotating schedule of "each sibling visits Mom"? Like, this year the brother with no children has to see your Mom on Christmas Day (at least for a quick coffee), next year the brother with the new baby (who will then be a toddler) has to see Mom on Christmas Day - something like that?

Or, could you tell your Mom that now *she* needs to travel? She can drive to *your* house?

(Telling your Mom that she is "not allowed" to see any relatives on Christmas Day, seems like the wrong way to handle this.)

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M.6.

answers from New York on

I can totally relate . . . to your mom. I've had Christmas Eve at my house for the last 20 years. Prior to that it was at MY mother's house and I did all the running with young kids - getting up early, making the drive, squeezing in naps, etc. I know it has been a hassle for my 6 kids, some live across the country, some are in the military, some are married and have kids of their own. While we have had to shift days in order to accommodate everyone (the last few years, we have been doing the closest Sat/Sun before the actual date), Christmas has been MY holiday to have.

Last year, my oldest daughter decided to spearhead a movement to change Christmas to another sibling's house. I was devastated. Seriously, I cried for weeks I was so depressed. Our entire family ended up not speaking to each other for months. Eventually, it got straightened out and we did have last Christmas at my house like normal.

See, Christmas is my only holiday. It is the only day that all my kids, no matter where they are in the world, come home (I cry just thinking about this). I spend months planning the menu, making sure that each child, and their spouse/partner, have their very most favorite dishes. I clean and reclean the house. I figure out where everyone is going to sleep and the perfect wrapping paper for each gift. After dinner, I open up our home to friends and extended family so my kids from far away can visit with old friends from school, old neighbors, etc.

Do I know that my day is coming where Christmas will no longer be "my" holiday? Yes, of course. Actually, this coming Christmas is my last one. We are moving to a home that is very small and very inconvenient for everyone to travel to. I'm ready to hand the gauntlet over to the next Christmas host after this year (it sounds like it will be my 2nd oldest daughter, but I will let all the kids get together and decide). Whomever gets it will get to run Christmas their way, with nothing but help (and no interference) from me. Just like my mother did for me when I took over.

This is just one mom's perspective - don't take this away from your mom if it is this important to her. She will be ready one day, but just not today. Good luck.

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E.J.

answers from Chicago on

Things are going to change whether we want them to or not. That’s life.
From a systems perspective, internal change (from a family member) is hard because the benefit is usually singular to that family, while other members have to adjust without getting the benefit from that change. So there is a lot more resistance versus an external change like ‘we have to move because job relocated’,etc.
The older we get the less we like change. Psychological agendas for your mom (wanting to stick with tradition) are different from yours (wanting to establish your own). Neither are wrong.

I suspect if your mom would have reacted with a bit of empathy ( understanding how important this is to you and bending some) you might have reciprocated the same.

Change happens. It’s finally gotten important enough for you to speak up, so stand your ground!

PS. I totally sympathize with your mom in keeping the celebration to that day, so I kinda like Marda’s suggestion of meeting your mom halfway this year and letting her know you are firm on your agenda for next year! *But* you need to do what is right for *you* and your family :-).

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N.C.

answers from San Diego on

Talk about a guilt trip. It’s Christmas you can celebrate it how and where you want to celebrate.

Your mom is making it an obligation not a celebration.

Be the matriarch of your own family. Put your foot down no apologies

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D..

answers from Miami on

No, you aren’t crazy or selfish. However, you should’ve done this earlier. Your mother feels that she rules the roost, and all of you have let her do it for a long time.

Talk to your younger brother. Ask him if he is still willing to go against his mother’s wishes and have Christmas at his own house with the new baby. I hope that he will say yes. It will make it easier for you to do it as well.

Your mother has no right to treat you this way. Show up early regardless of how she feels. Be matter-of-fact and say to her that this is what you are doing this year. If she doesn’t like it, ignore her. You need to stand up for yourself and your family. Have a talk with the kids before you go, and warn them that grandma is in a bad mood.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

Change is difficult especially when the change is voiced close to the holiday. I suggest you consider why your mom is upset, talk with her one on one about how you feel and how she feels. Try to meet in the middle. Make plans together. Did you even discuss the change with her or did you tell her as it being a done deal.

Of course your Mom is upset. She has hosted for 16 years. Suddenly changing plans close to Christmas isn't fair. Empathize with her. Talk with her to see if there is a way to compromise this year. By next year, she will know the plans will be different and be better able to accept the change.

It sounds like you presented the change telling her what you need/want. Try listening to her needs.

She is not being immature. She is not being unreasonable. She is hurt. Empathize. Reassure her that you love her and have enjoyed getting together with her. It's just time for your family to do things differently. Find a way to include your Mom and Dad in the Christmas eve or day celebration. Acknowledge her pain and disappointment. Talk with her in a kind and loving way.

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K.G.

answers from Fort Myers on

I go through this every year with my mom. She starts asking me what our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans are in August. She always calls dibs to host but maybe we would like to. We want to do our own thing on Christmas as a family. I finally told my mom last year that our son has 2 weeks off for Christmas break and we will drive down sometime during then.

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