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Christmas with the Inlaws

My husband and I have been married almost 4 years but together 8. His parents are divorced and my parents aren't. 2 years ago I started a job working every other weekend and every other holiday. We have been more then accommodating the last couple of years but last year and from now on it won't be like that. Last year I spent Christmas Eve working and Christmas Day going to his dad's house then his moms house and finally was able to spend some time with my family for Christmas. How do others handle holidays with families that expect you to be there all the time? This year I work Christmas Day so I asked all family's to give me a day that works for them for Christmas. My parents took Christmas dinner and his parents haven't responded. I would like to celebrate Christmas with them but they said they plan all there stuff Christmas Day both his mom and step dad and his dad and stepmom. Should I just not worry about spending holidays with them or try to make it work? And how do I go about doing so by making everyone happy but also not stressing over it.

Re: Christmas with the Inlaws

  • You can't make everyone happy so don't bother trying.

    Don't forget that you and your husband are a family too and the most important one.  I would get together with your hsuband and a calendar and prioritize which holidays are most important to the two of you and then do whatever you want.  Do you want to go out of town on the 4th of July ?  Then do it.  Do you want sit around on Christmas day and watch kung fu movies ?  Then do it.  Do you want to volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving ?  Then do it.  These are your holidays too and you truly can spend them however you please.  You really don't have to make yourselves crazy running all over town trying to make others happy ( and they never will be anyways.)  One you figure out what holidays are most important to you and your husband, then fill in family time around the others.  

    Right now I have a feeling that there is a pissing match going on between his parents.  I wouldn't play into it at all.  In fact, I would "reward" whatever family is being most respectful to you guys with your time.  

    What a lot of people here do is they alternate holidays every year.  For example, the spend Thanksgiving with one family and Christmas with another and then switch the next year.  In your instance, I would tell each family what works for you.  One gets thanksgiving, one gets Christmas Eve and one gets Christmas day and then switch it around next year and one family for each day as you will not be driving all over town.  If they don't like it, then tell them that maybe it will switch next year but for now this is what works for you.  If they give you flack and say, "Well we don't do anything on Christmas Eve ""  Tell them now is good as time to start new traditions but you aren't changing your mind.  They get Christmas Eve or New Years day.  That's it.  
  • Where is your husband in this?
  • He agrees with me and hates going all over the place for holidays but on the other hand his parents don't communicate with him if he doesn't. He's been dealing with this for 20 years and he said it never fails that someone is always mad about what we do or how we do it. He doesn't talk to his parents much because of all the drama. We skipped his moms thanksgiving last year and she didn't talk to us for 4 months other then Christmas. He has tried talking to his parents and he gets yelled at and it goes in one ear and out the other.
  • Well if that's the case, don't go.  Send the clear message that you aren't going to be wasting valuable holiday time with someone that treats you both poorly over something that is beyond your control.  MIL will get really mad but she will have no one to blame but herself.
  • I also want to say that if/when you have children you will not want to drag them to 3 houses on Christmas day, that isn't fair for them and I know grown adults who hate Christmas now because all they remember is being in a car or going from house to house.  No, just no.  

    This is what happens when your children grow up and get married.  You have to share them with their new spouse and their new family.  Christmas won't be same as when there were little.  Circumstances change and new traditions begin.  That is the way the world works.  The earlier the ILs realize this, the better it will be for everyone.  Please don't make yourselves miserable trying to make people happy who will never be satisfied with how much time you spend with them on the holidays.  Stop trying and prioritize yourself and your husband on the holidays.  

    Here's the thing,  it's just one day and it's not like there aren't other days to get together and do the same thing like eat a dinner and open presents.  If they want to spend quality time with you both, then do it on another day for heavens sake.  That way they can spend the entire day and enjoy a good meal with you and not just a few hours.  If they choose to spend Christmas DAY alone and sad, that is of their own choosing.  They could spend it with friends or family in the same situation, they could go see a movie, they could go out to eat, they could volunteer, they could go on a vacation.  If they willingly choose to sit at home and mope and feel sorry for themselves, that is their decision to make but most of all that is not your burden to bear.


  • I think you're being MORE than fair asking them for a different day near Christmas with plenty of notice. I go through this with my husband because his schedule rotates and 99% of the time includes all major holidays. If he's working a holiday we don't see his family, I split off and see my dad. Originally I was going to suggest you and your husband open your home on a different day in Nov or Dec that works for both of your schedules and invite everyone over to celebrate, that way only the ones who want to come come, but the way they treat you I don't think that's fair to make you open your home.

    As PP said you have to make a stand now, if you ever have children your holidays will be a nightmare trying to go to 3 or 4 different homes with a baby in tow for people who apparently don't care that you made the effort. I'm a big fan of staying home on a holiday and letting people come to you, if they don't, even enjoy the day in your PJ's and don't stress.
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