My family lives in rural Massachusetts. It's a huge, close-knit extended family, and almost all of them live within an hour or so of my parents. I'm the oldest of three girls...I'll call my sisters M for middle, and Y for youngest. M is married, has a 1 year old daughter, and lives 2 miles from my parents. Her husband also has a huge family that all lives locally.
Y lived at home until 13 months ago, when she moved to LA. Last Christmas, Y spent it with me, DH, and my MIL in Orange County. This Christmas, Y came up to have Christmas with DH and I again.
M is not handling this well at all. She's constantly making comments about us leaving her, how Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas anymore, etc. She talks about us moving back (despite us telling her it's not happening) and since Y's ex-boyfriend works with M's husband, she holds on to this believe that Y and her ex will get back together and Y will move home and marry him. (yes, seriously.)
The reality is, we just won't be home for Xmas much anymore. After travelling almost every year for Christmas for the last decade, I loved not going anywhere this year. Not to mention, it's expensive and time consuming to travel cross country then, and if we don't spend Xmas with MIL, MIL is totally and completely alone. DH's dad is in Virginia, we'll probably never spend an Xmas with him, so it's not like my family is getting the short end of the stick here. And I go home for baby showers, and christenings, and weddings - the events that I think are the most important.
Y works in retail and probably will be working on the 26th for as long as she stays in that field, which makes a cross-country flight at Xmas impossible.
I'm not really sure what to do. My first Xmas away from my family was hard, but I'm happy in my marriage and we are building our own traditions. My sister isn't even away from her family...she's got a kid, and about 60 relatives between she and her husband that live within 15 minutes of her.
We almost certainly won't go back next Christmas and neither will Y. Are we horrible people? I'm really not sure what to do. I hate feeling responsible for ruining M's Christmas every year, but I'm annoyed that she can't accept that we are adults now with families of our own and different commitments. I end up feeling guilty and it's this huge downer on my holiday.
I'm really not sure what to do here, short of going home every year for Christmas. Any advice?