Family Matters
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Family vacation for Christmas?

Hi everyone, I hope you might be able to offer some advice.  Yesterday at Easter dinner, my future MIL told us that my fiance's sister suggested that we all take a family vacation together at Christmas this year instead of celebrating at home. This plan is being suggested as a way for my future IL's to save money by not buying presents.  However, we believe that part of the reason that my future SIL suggested this plan is because she has recently changed religions and can no longer celebrate Christmas. By going on this family trip, we will be missing all of the usual Christmas celebrations we share with my fiance's extended family.

I care about my future ILs and I want to be supportive, but this plan makes both my fiance and me uncomfortable.  We explained that we didn't feel right not sharing the holidays with the extended family.  Also, we don't believe that a family vacation would allow anyone to save money, as it would most likely be more expensive than buying presents (we suggested simply having a family get together with no gifts, and no one seemed amenable to that solution).  Finally, given that we usually travel out of state to my parent's house to celebrate Christmas with them a few days before the holiday, I'm concerned that this vacation could potentially make that trip either hectic or impossible.  Also, this is all happening a couple of months after we finish paying for our own wedding, so our finances will be tight.

I've thought of suggesting that we celebrate Christmas at home, but save up as a family to take a vacation at a later time.  I know this won't solve the my future SIL's problem of not being able to celebrate Christmas, but I also feel like it's not fair to force us to give up our own Christmas celebration.  Does my proposal seem like a fair compromise?  Or does anyone else have any better ideas?

Re: Family vacation for Christmas?

  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    They have made a suggestion, but you are not required to go on the vacation if that is what they want.

    I think your idea is reasonable, but your SIL may not.

    The best you can do is make your counter-proposal (which is fair), and if they insist on the family vacation, tell them "that doesn't work for us and our Christmas plans, but have a fun time!"

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • I think your SIL suggesting a vaca instead of the traditional christmas is fine, I wouldn't judge that at all. At the same time I'm really not into traditions, I think they keep you trapped every year doing the same thing nomatter what everyone really thinks about it.  It's like my Brothers MIL who cooks a big turkey every year even though nobody in the family likes turkey, it's tradition though so she keeps doing it. I think you can see family another day, I think you can do your own traditions without forcing your sister too, and make a compromise, figure out the parts you really love about the traditional way and see if you can incorporate a few things while maybe still having it outside of your parents house.
  • I think it is great if your ILs want to do a holiday vacation rather than a traditional celebration. You are not obligated to participate every single year, or any year for that matter.

    Two suggestions have been offered up. If they pick one you're not comfortable with, don't participate. 

  • It sounds like you are making this a bigger deal then it really is.

    It doesn't sound like anyone is forcing you to give up Christmas.  It was a suggestion.  If it isn't something you want to do (for absolultely any reason) then decline the offer.  It's also ok for you to make other suggestions (and just like you, it's ok for them to decline your offer.)

    In the end, the best decision made might be for everyone to celebrate Christmas in their respective family units.

  • If you don't want to go, don't go. You also shouldn't explain to them why you don't want to go - you are adults who can make your own decisions. When you explain yourself, it only opens the floor for them to argue with your explanation.
  • This year you get to celebrate Christmas with your cool is that? ( can choose to just do one family this year and not the hectic race to see everyone)
  • Ditto those who said you're making this into a bigger, more personal deal than it probably is. It's dangeous to go guessing at the family's ulterior motives for planning this trip, even if you *think* you know the secret reasoning behind it. (And even if the reasoning isn't really about money or gifts, who the heck cares? The family wants to do a trip together and it could be fun ... my family went to Ireland last summer and I'll remember that forever.)

    And also ditto that you shouldn't give a list of explanations as to why you don't think this is a good idea, because that'll just open up a bunch of arguments as to why you should go anyway.

    Your FI should say something like, "Thank you for inviting us, but a trip just isn't feisable for us right now," and then leave it at that.

    If you want to go on the trip with them and the trip isn't planned yet, your FI could say something like, "We've love to go on a trip with you, but we can't make a commitment right now. Could we all sit down and hash out a date and a location, before we commit to this?"

  • I would stick pins in my eyes before I went on a vacation with my ILS, but that's jut me.  I would not want to burn vacation days with ILS, not to mention the $$.

    What does your H think of this?  Does he want to go, or does he share the same concerns about a hectic schedule and finances that you do?

    If this is the year you get married (and have a honeymoon!), I can understand saying to your ILS "sorry, this year won't work for us."  However, it's something to think about in the future (if you rotate holidays between families every other year, for example). 

    You and your H get to create your OWN traditions from now on.  That could mean spending Christmas just the two of you, rotating holidays between families, going on vacation with the ILS, or seeing DH's extended family while the ILS are sipping cocktails on the beach.  It's really up to you!


  • My parents have started to do this every few years.  They take us on a family trip, pay for the tickets, rent the house, treat to meals, etc.  They know that none of my siblings or I are able to afford to go on nice vacations right now for a miriad of reasons so on the years we go, they forego other gifts and we always travel around, but not over, the holiday.  I actually really look forward to it. 

    That being said, it sounds like they are wanting everyone to pay their way and if you can't afford to go, or just don't want to, then just graciously decline.  No biggie.

  • well-i guess it comes down to what you and FI want to do. if you want to stay home-do it, if not go on the trip. figure out a budget. if the trip fits the budget and you want to go-go.

    christmas comes every year. if you dont get to spend this one with your family then you can always celebrate at another time or visit them for thanksgiving.

    i think also you need to give more info on the trip. is it a 4 week italian extravaganza or a long weekend somewhere close by?

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • "That just won't work for us; but thanks so much for thinking of us! We'll plan to get together when you get back in town".

    Then, plan a nice little gettogether at your house for after they return.

    People who take 'family vacations' are asking for trouble. People who take family vacations over Xmas thus depriving some or all of the vacationers of time with family are just nuts. People who take family vacations over Xmas with little or no money in hand are setting themselves up for a nightmare.

    You and fi are on the same page, which is good. Stay home; offer no excuses; it just won't work for you.



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