Author Topic: The Holidays - share your stories  (Read 10360 times)

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MoonChild

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The Holidays - share your stories
« on: November 22, 2011, 11:32:05 AM »
Good Morning Ladies and Happy Holidays as the season has now begun. So, I have heard many of you share your stories of hurt feelings that revolve around the holidays and I suppose I am hoping for some insight into each of the different dilemmas you have faced at the holidays – what was the circumstance and why did you feel the way you did and how do you wish things would have worked out? I believe I mentioned this in my introduction post that I am here for insight and perspective – I have seen and heard so many stories about relationships deteriorating and so I joined this site in the hope of preventing any discord that may arise in my relationship with my FILs as any friction there may cause a strain on my relationship with FDH.
The holidays are now upon us and so is the planning of holiday celebrations, which is the beginning of hurt feelings many times. How do we choose where to go, etc.? How do you ladies make your decisions, or how would you like the decisions to be made, what factors should take precedence, etc? If one family has set traditions and the other doesn’t, does this matter? If one family has more people attending does this factor in? I am hoping everyone will share their thoughts, experiences and opinions(feelings) of getting together during Christmas.
For me: I am extremely close with my family, and my Mom, my Sister and I always spend the holiday cooking an extravagant holiday spread and enjoying the day together, and I really just cannot see myself not being with them on the holiday. However, I also know that I cannot expect FDH to just ‘jump on board’ with my family celebrations and drop his family. I was a bit ‘lucky’, so-to-speak, last year as FDH’s mother had to work on Christmas day (she is a delivery room nurse) so we were not torn with ‘having to pick where to go’, but this morning FDH told me that his mom wanted to see him on Christmas day. Of course I am trying to remind myself that of course a mother wants to see her son on Christmas, but I cannot help but feeling a bit bummed that now I won’t be spending Christmas with my FDH; and also a bit torn wondering if FMIL is expecting me to come as well, because I won’t be, not because I don’t want to, but because I have numerous obligations (granted I do not treat them as obligation because I enjoy cooking SO MUCH) with my own family. Additionally, we have kept the exact same routine in my FOOs house on Christmas since my sister and I could walk; the only time it changed was one year when FDH and I tried splitting Christmas between both families (our first year together) but all that did was stress us both out and, at least, I felt a bit cheated and disappointed with Christmas that year (possibly because I felt I had to ‘sacrifice’ my Christmas morning – arrrrrrrgggghhhh – perhaps the fact that I thought of it as ME ‘sacrificing’ MY Christmas morning is the start of my problem, but how do I not think of it that way?)
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and stories to gain some insight into MIL/FMILs thoughts on holidays. Thank you.

Offline Scoop

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 12:33:33 PM »
Moonchild - I'm worried about you and FDH not being together for Christmas.  When you get married how will you do it?  When you have kids how will you do it?  I really hope that you've discussed this with him, because these are things you both should know 'going in'.

As for us, we live 'out of town' from both of our FOO's.  When we were first married, we would spend Christmas with one FOO, and New Year's with the other.  The following year we would alternate (whoever "had" Thanksgiving, did not "have" Christmas).  This was brutally hard because it involved a lot of driving, and we would be gone for over a week.

Then DH got a job that didn't shut down over Christmas and DD was born.  Now, we visit ONE family for Christmas and the other is welcome to visit us for New Year's (my Mom always comes, the IL's - not so much).

So, 2 years ago my Dad died, very unexpectedly (at only 62 y/o).  That year was supposed to be my IL's turn for Christmas.  But there was NO WAY I was leaving my Mom alone for her first Christmas without my Dad.  Even then, we went to see the IL's for Thanksgiving.  Then LAST year, we were up in the air over where to spend Christmas, because of my DB's family, and we really had not made any plans either way.  But MIL invited us specifically for Thanksgiving.  Phew!  There, our decision was made!  Thanksgiving with the IL's and Christmas with my Mom.  That Thanksgiving, my MIL made a rude comment about having missed Christmas last year, and then said "well, you're coming this year!"  Uhm, no. 

I was SO MAD.   Here, my Mom, traumatically widowed, never once expected us to spend ALL holidays with her and my MIL was trying to 'hog' all of the holidays for that year.  Argh!

I guess my point is that no matter how hard you try to keep it fair, some people won't be happy.  So you have to do what YOU and DH think is right and fair.

One more thing.  My IL's open presents Christmas Eve and my FOO open presents Christmas morning.  Before DD was born, it wasn't even on the radar, we followed the traditions of the family we were visiting.  But after DD came along, I refused to open presents Christmas Eve.  Santa doesn't come until you're in bed - that's how it works, no matter WHO'S house you're sleeping in.  I don't know if we'll renegotiate when she no longer Believes (may that day be far in the future).

These are things you will have to consider with FDH, for when you're married and especially for when you have kids.  It's better to "begin as you mean to go on".  You'll have to come up with your own family traditions, which hopefully incorporate a mix of both yours and FDH's traditions. 

Offline FAFE

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2011, 12:57:14 PM »
What we do for Thanksgiving and Christmas is what my mother suggested many years ago, so that we never had to choose between her and the other side.

We have Thanksgiving with my husband's family on Thanksgiving day at his brother's house.  On the Saturday after, we have my family Thanksgiving.   We used to take turns having it, but my brother has a great big barn and we do both holidays for my side of the family there.

For Christmas, my family has Christmas the Saturday before and I have Christmas day at our house for my husband's family.   

We also have a special Christmas day when all or part of my children are home.  Two sons live out of state.  OS has a child, so they have Santa Claus at their home and then come to Georgia for a week.   So, we end up celebrating for a couple of weeks it seems like. 

Hope you and your FH can come to some agreements so it's not too stressful for both families.   

Offline Rejected

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2011, 03:00:01 PM »
Here is a DIL's insight...
My DH and I have been married for 2 1/2 years and we have our own traditions. My MIL usually travels for the holidays and has since she was widowed 12 years ago. She would leave her DS (my DH) at home alone and go visit her other kids out of state, so my DH would spend the holidays with his aunt and uncle. So we usually don't spend holidays with her. When she is home we sometimes have dessert at her house.

I grew up in a big family and all of my siblings live withing 30 min of my parents. We have so many traditions that I love, that instead of constantly taking my DH to my FOO's house, we carry on the traditions ourselves (and my DH has some traditions we incorporate as well and we've come up with new ones together). We don't have any kids, so it's just the two of us, and we have a blast! Every other year we eat by ourselves and the next yr with my FOO, then dessert at my MIL's when she's home (and if she's been good), if she isn't home then we go out to eat when she gets home. My DH and I also spend Christmas Eve together & Christmas morning together doing our own traditions, then at 4:00 pm we head over to my FOO's for the big family gift exchange, then dessert with my MIL if she's home and if she has been good or we out to eat later.

I strongly suggest you start your own traditions to help the two of you grow together, then if kids come along those traditions are already set and there isn't as much stress and hurt feelings in the future. Good luck!
"Women are Angels and when someone breaks our wings... we simply continue to fly --- on a broomstick... we are flexible."  ~Anonymous

amflautist

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2011, 05:10:06 PM »
Good Morning Ladies and Happy Holidays as the season has now begun.
......
For me: I am extremely close with my family, and my Mom, my Sister and I always spend the holiday cooking an extravagant holiday spread and enjoying the day together, and I really just cannot see myself not being with them on the holiday.
.........
However, I also know that I cannot expect FDH to just ‘jump on board’ with my family celebrations and drop his family.
.......
his mom wanted to see him on Christmas day. Of course I am trying to remind myself that of course a mother wants to see her son on Christmas, but I cannot help but feeling a bit bummed that now I won’t be spending Christmas with my FDH; and also a bit torn wondering if FMIL is expecting me to come as well, because I won’t be, not because I don’t want to, but because I have numerous obligations (granted I do not treat them as obligation because I enjoy cooking SO MUCH) with my own family.
......
I felt a bit cheated and disappointed with Christmas that year (possibly because I felt I had to ‘sacrifice’ my Christmas morning – arrrrrrrgggghhhh –

OK -- I just checked -- you are not going to marry my DS -- whew!
Carry on then.

Kate123

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 06:21:00 PM »
Moonchild I think you will be starting off on the wrong foot if you and FDH start going your own ways for the holidays. I know I would be offended if my DIL did not come with my DS whenever he visits, let aone a special Holiday. You have to do a lot of compromising in a relationship and this is one of the things you must compromise on. So unless you and the ILs do not get along you should give them equal time-together with your FDH. Part of growing up and getting married will involve many changes from that of your childhood.

I do not like spending time with my FDH(maybe) because they have done things and said things that were offensive. I am still not sure about holidays this year. But before I overheard the ILs advising a break-up I was OK with sharing the holidays (Christmas Vs Thanksgiving Vs New Years) between everybody.

My DS on the other hand usually spends holidays with either his ILs or my X's family because those gatherings involve more people, whereas with me it is just myself and FDH. I am very hurt by this (FYI) because even though I no longer have family I still love and need my AC and would also like to be visited, and invited to visit, on the holidays just like everyone else.

Offline jdtm

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 07:13:21 PM »
I think some people try to make the holidays more difficult than they should be - after all; Christmas is about the birth of a baby and Thanksgiving is about being truly thankful for our many blessings.  I feel these (as well as other) holidays have morphed into "something" that was never the intent.

Having said that, as a daughter and DIL, I tried to accommodate both sides of the family on each and every holiday.  Because it was so very rushed and hectic, I can't say that I enjoyed either very much (but in my generation, that is what one did).  Not to do so would have been considered cruel and selfish.  As a MIL, I only want to be "considered" - whether it is getting together one or two weeks prior or even a few moments on "the" day.  It's when I am totally omitted and left out and frankly, not even considered that I get upset.  It's not about one's traditions, or size of the gathering, or the distance people travel, or the meal, or the closeness of the family, or the number of obligations - for me, it's just being "considered".  And when a new family unit is formed, your parents' traditions are just that - traditions of your parents and likewise for your husband's side of the family.  Their holiday traditions are not yours nor your husband's.   This is hard for parents to accept (and some children) - when a new family unit is formed, the "old" way is obsolete; traditions are changed/broken, and others need to be accommodated and/or created.

Does your future husband accompany you to your family obligations?  If so, then I feel you should accompany him to his family obligations.  Not to do so would be a major "slap in the face".  I have one DIL who treats us as her family and an ex-DIL who treated us as non-existent and invisible and unworthy.  (note - she is now an ex).  When you marry, your husband must come first, then your children, then other family members (and that includes both sides equally).  I have noticed that if one spouse ignores or treats the IL family poorly, often the marriage suffers.  After all, if one is cruel to one's IL's, that person is probably self-centered and cruel to others - whether family, friends, acquaintances or strangers.

So, whether you squeeze in two celebrations in one day or alternate between years/holidays or choose another day for some celebrations, it's a decision to be made by your husband and you.  And, I believe this decision should be based on being kind, being fair,  and being considerate to others - and that may mean saying "no" to your family members as well as to your future IL's.  I suspect neither side will "like" it, but this is part of being an adult - compromising and giving and letting go.  All the best ...

Offline justanoldgrandma

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 11:00:40 AM »
Moonchild, I am a MIL who hasn't had Thanksgiving or Christmas with ds since he got "serious" bc the FDIL (then dil) had such strong traditions with her FOO and we didn't want the couple to split up going places, wanted them to be together, so we just said ok (we were informed by dil she would be at her FOOs  on all holidays till death, no kidding, so no choice there.)  We were so shocked we missed our chance to show alarm but it would have been useless anyway.

Our son thought we didn't celebrate on The DAYs or even close to them as his wife makes the plans (I know, he doesn't get into it and it's probably better that he doesn't) and also bc my mother and ILs were flexible and would alternate, being considerate, so he didn't remember how we sometimes had the family at our house, sometimes at someone else's to accommodate the ILs; I explained once, and he now knows we miss them on holidays but he wants wife happy, so we keep duct-taped; who wants a dil who doesn't want to be w us, makes ds miserable, all of us; better to be just dh and me.....

BTW, when the family does come to visit (not on holidays, of course, other times) we do all get along; dh and I go out of our way to make dil and ds and all happy; there are no arguments or resentments bc we want to keep the family.

I'm requoting what amflautist said bc frankly it's how much fun and great it is w your FOO and frankly, it's that feelings of your fdh and of his family don't matter.  You won't go to your fdh's FOO; you'd rather be w your FOO even if it means not being w FDH?  Really?  Just because it's so much fun and what you always do?  Your mother and sister wouldn't consider an alterate date on alternate years?  It doesn't make your heart hurt to hear you FMIL say she wants to see her ds (and probably you, too!?)  And how fortunate that fdh's mother had to work on last year's holiday so it all worked out!  Wow!


My dil's FOO doesn't feel bad for our being alone, so of course dil doesn't either, only of their own celebrations, traditions, everyone falls in line, those who don't go to their own FOO alone!  How sad that FOOs don't volunteer to alternate any holiday to make the "outsiders" happy; I hope you reconsider and give up some of your happy times (alternate, ok?) bc believe me, even if your mil or ds say nothing, it isn't a good way to start a marriage, thinking only of your own fun and not someone else's feelings.  I'm saying this bc no one must have said this to my dil.

Please reread jdtm's post also..... it's not how many people are at the celebration, how far the distance, how deep the traditions; it's being fair and considerate; FOO should instill this in their children/young adults bc if they are willing to make the to-be ILs and fsil happy at the expense of having to alternate, share, etc., they will have gone a long way towards making the future couple happier.

This is all said not in malice but just in what could happen if you don't consider fdh's feelings and that of his FOO.  Believe me, I wish my dil had had this guidance.

Amflutist implies she's glad you won't be her dil.  (It's bc your FOO and your enjoyment with them are what counts.)  You are my dil. 


Good Morning Ladies and Happy Holidays as the season has now begun.
......
For me: I am extremely close with my family, and my Mom, my Sister and I always spend the holiday cooking an extravagant holiday spread and enjoying the day together, and I really just cannot see myself not being with them on the holiday.
.........
However, I also know that I cannot expect FDH to just ‘jump on board’ with my family celebrations and drop his family.
.......
his mom wanted to see him on Christmas day. Of course I am trying to remind myself that of course a mother wants to see her son on Christmas, but I cannot help but feeling a bit bummed that now I won’t be spending Christmas with my FDH; and also a bit torn wondering if FMIL is expecting me to come as well, because I won’t be, not because I don’t want to, but because I have numerous obligations (granted I do not treat them as obligation because I enjoy cooking SO MUCH) with my own family.
......
I felt a bit cheated and disappointed with Christmas that year (possibly because I felt I had to ‘sacrifice’ my Christmas morning – arrrrrrrgggghhhh –

OK -- I just checked -- you are not going to marry my DS -- whew!
Carry on then.

sapphire

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 11:39:07 AM »
Moonchild, pardon me, this is the first post I've read on here. I was struck.

I remember when I was 18 and I got to choose for the first time between which parent I wanted to spend Christmas with. All of our traditions previously had gone out the window. I could not imagine missing all that stuff I grew up with. I was tormented at the thought of missing all of that. I didn't have a choice.

A decade later, my family is stretched in even more ways than that. Myself getting married, my brother getting married, another brother in law moving overseas. We all may go 2-3 Christmases without seeing each other now. Make that 2-3 years worth of holidays.

That first Christmas was gut-wrenching, but only because I was making it so. It was awful right up until the day I was sadly anticipating. I experienced something different: a Christmas with a handful of loved ones instead of all of them. I still enjoyed myself. I realized there wasn't any love lost because I missed a holiday with the ones I was used to spending it with. I had a great time. I realized that tradition is something we bog ourselves down with, but it isn't mandatory. I realized too, that traditions have to change once marriages, divorces, births and deaths take place. If a holiday "day" gets split between two families, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the company of loved ones. If it happens to be that one family gets the entire day and the other gets the day after or week after, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the company of loved ones.

Offline justanoldgrandma

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 12:03:46 PM »
Sapphire made a good point; it's being with loved ones even if it means new traditions (hard to be comfortable with at first, yes) and establishing good will (not referring to being forced to be with ILs or relatives who are cruel or hurtful.)

My last post was on the feelings of your FMIL and ds being together on Christmas and your not being with fdh bc of this.  I know that you know that when you marry your dh you are a unit; as close as you are with your FOO, the closeness you have with dh will be stronger; even if it is upsetting to the dynamics of your FOO, the happiness of your dh (and of your union) comes first, even if it means not being at every Christmas morning, cooking with your FOO.  The happiness of your fdh actually started when you fell in love and decided to marry (or before!)

When a bride marries, she is actually marrying into the family of her dh, and vice versa.   You'll read many stories of bad relationships between mils/dils/sils........ sometimes it's unavoidable.  But "back in the day" dh and I did as jdtm did, traveled to both sides of the family and/or alternated holidays so as to maintain the closeness of both sides of the family.  Fortunately dh's family and mine understood that even if it wasn't their preference on whose house/holiday/date, we needed to be with both sides of the family when possible; marriage is a merging of the two families and is important for the happiness of the couple. 

foofoo

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2011, 01:04:30 PM »
The first time my husband took me to see his FOO was Christmas day before we got married.  He attempted to introduce me to his parents and his mother and father seeing me and immediately figuring out that I'm not Asian refused to speak to me.  I said Merry Christmas, they looked away.  Five years later, they don't understand why we don't spend Christmas with them ever.  Apparently, I'm supposed to magically forget how awful they have been, despite the fact that to this day, my MIL has yet to say one word to me, not even "hello."

I would love to have in laws where it was just a matter of dealing with alternating holidays and having arguments over who cooks what dishes.

Offline justanoldgrandma

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2011, 01:20:07 PM »
Foofoo, that's why when I said that ILs need to compromise and dhs and dws accept new traditions I added the caveat, "(not referring to being forced to be with ILs or relatives who are cruel or hurtful.)"

I'm truly sorry that you have been treated so shabbily; I've heard of such things.  Along with the accepting ILs, there are these types of cruel ILs and also plain inconsiderate ones (I was speaking of the ones who don't realize the pain of their sils and dils and their FOO's.) 

Yes, it must seem trivial to hear stories of ILs or sils or dils who refuse to share/compromise, etc., compared to being shunned as you are.  Hope you have a dh and other relatives who make your holidays good ones; it's hard to get a stinker of a mil like this, cultural biases or not.

sapphire

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2011, 01:21:05 PM »
That is really sad, Foofoo. I wouldn't forget something like that either. It is things like that that help me to put the holiday tug-of-war into perspective, whether I be on the losing end or the winning end.

Offline pam1

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2011, 01:26:37 PM »
Welcome Sapphire :)

Please read the Forum Agreement and WWU History (first two threads highlighted in pink) in the category Open Me First.  We ask all new members to do so not b/c there is anything wrong with your posts :)

Glad you jumped right in, I think you'll find a lot of posters to relate to here :)
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline Pen

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Re: The Holidays - share your stories
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 01:43:50 PM »
FooFoo, I remember your story and it is heartbreaking for all concerned. Your MIL is missing out on a wonderful DIL and GC.

IMO, if we see people as "less than" it's easier to pretend they don't have feelings.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
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