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In-laws...

So DH and I got married in March. He deployed shortly thereafter but made it home in time for the holidays (yay!!). His parents were invited to the homecoming ceremony, we went to dinner afterwards for an hour and a half, they got a hotel (they have a tendency to do this without informing us ahead of time), and then guilt tripped us into waking up early and going to breakfast with them for 3 hours the next morning. Later that week we went to their house for the day for Thanksgiving.

Ok so Christmas Eve/Christmas was at my parents' house. He called his family on Christmas and I heard his mom whining about him not being there for Christmas and he had to keep reassuring her that we were switching off every year and we'd be there next year. Keep in mind we also went to Easter at their house so this was the first holiday with my parents. Now they want us to come visit to exchange Christmas gifts but we're going to his brother's house for New Years and I start my last semester of nursing school later in January.

My question: When do y'all usually see the "other" family to exchange Christmas gifts? I'm feeling pretty miffed and a little smothered.

image
Photo bomb, yeah!

Re: In-laws...

  • When we lived in the same state we split our day & went to both. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • We don't.  Our families are a thousand miles apart, so everything gets mailed to the side we aren't spending Christmas with.  If both families were in close proximity, we would either split the day with families or do an early or late Christmas with the other family.
  • We did every other year. So we just mailed our presents to the ones we didn't see.
    30 Rock Pictures, Images and Photos
  • Oh goodness, don't let this turn in to a pattern.  When someone starts whining, "Promise meeee you'll switch offfff!!!" there needs to be a firm, "This is what we're doing this year.  We'll plan next year when it gets closer." Change topic.

    We haven't gone home for a holiday since 2008.  We're happy to Skype on holidays and employ the postal office to deliver gifts.

    ETA: I don't think it's a good idea to promise anyone you'll switch off every year.  Circumstances change.  Who knows, you could have animals, kids, lack of funds, or just want to spend time together, the two of you, in your own home. 

    Twin boys due 7/25/12
  • We're 3,000 miles away from family.  However when we do go home (like we just did for Christmas) we spend Christmas Eve with her family and Christmas morning with my family.  It just worked out that her family has always celebrated on the eve.  If we fly home for Thanksgiving my parents will sometimes drive the 2.5 hours to her family's house for dinner.

    Otherwise we stay here and tell people if they want to see us we have guest bedrooms. ;-)

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  • We went to my parents for Christmas eve to exchange gifts, then went to his parents for Christmas dinner.
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  • We had a similar issue this year.  It was supposed to be our year to host and everyone come to us because it was Sophia's first Christmas.  His family (specifically his sister) decides they "just wanted to stay home and have people come to us" so everyone went to her house for breakfast at 8 a.m. and told us they weren't going to come to our open house starting at 11 a.m.  T said f*ck it and we went to my sister's house instead.

    We went to his grandmother's Christmas Eve like we always do but his sisters didn't think we were seriously not coming to breakfast so they didn't bring our presents with them.  Whatever...we'll get to them when we do.

    My point is...don't bend over backwards if you had a prior arrangement agreed upon.  Guilt only works if you let it work.

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  • image Sgt M's Wife:

    We had a similar issue this year.  It was supposed to be our year to host and everyone come to us because it was Sophia's first Christmas.  His family (specifically his sister) decides they "just wanted to stay home and have people come to us" so everyone went to her house for breakfast at 8 a.m. and told us they weren't going to come to our open house starting at 11 a.m.  T said f*ck it and we went to my sister's house instead.

    We went to his grandmother's Christmas Eve like we always do but his sisters didn't think we were seriously not coming to breakfast so they didn't bring our presents with them.  Whatever...we'll get to them when we do.

    My point is...don't bend over backwards if you had a prior arrangement agreed upon.  Guilt only works if you let it work.

    Thanks guys. I feel a lot less guilty/crazy now. Transitioning to having in-laws kind of sucks...

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    Photo bomb, yeah!
  • We live 3000 miles away so it hasn't been a problem.. yet. Though, if we moved back home it probably wouldn't be a big deal. My dad and step mom usually celebrate Christmas as a family on a different day since my step brother and dad are firefighters and usually work on Christmas day. We'd more than likely spend Christmas morning at our house as our family, then go to his parents house and eventually go to my dads (or station) to visit.

    I think that is easier said than done though.

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    3/?
  • When we dated DH and I would switch holidays, once we got married we just told our families that we were starting our own traditions and when DD came along that just cemented it.  

    Like Ojo said don't let this be an ongoing thing where they will expect this all of the time.  Skype is a great tool. 

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  • Your in-laws sound like my MIL with the guilt trips. I'm sorry about that.

    Until we PCSed last December, we used to live only 2 hours away from MIL (we moved a few times, but always within that radius). She's the only one of our parents who is alone-- DH's dad is remarried, my parents are married and have tons of friends, and I have a lot of siblings who are younger and still single and go home for every holiday anyway. MIL guilt trips DH not just for normal holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, but also things like her birthday and Mother's Day. It's become especially bad since DH's sister got engaged and her fiance keeps whisking her off on trips at every holiday (I know this is on purpose to get away from crazy MIL). So we're always left holding the bag. Now with Baby arriving, we're going to have to be more firm, because it's just not fair the amount of time she monopolizes at the expense of not just my family but DH's dad, too. We live far from everyone, and our families are even further from each other, so we can't ever spend with both. (sorry, MIL just left this week and I'm still bitter she wormed her way into what was supposed to be a just us before Baby arrives Christmas).

    We mail gifts to the ppl we'renot with (last year we were alone, this year, we mailed gift to everyone but MIL since she was with us). We absolutely refused to travel due to how pregnant I am, and next year we're planning a trip with my family over Christmas (I'm expecting the crazy comments to start as soon as we announce we're going and MIL needs to fend for herself...) We don't promise her holidays ahead of time, either, because we might just want to stay put :) Just her, bc everyone else is very reasonable :)

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • We are from the same town so this may not apply to you. However, for the last 8 years we have spent Christmas Eve with his side and Christmas Day with my side. 

    This year he is gone so I did the same but solo. As for next year it will depend on a couple variables like if he is deployed again and if I'm working. We still don't know what we'll do when we have kids. 

  • When i said we did every other year, I meant the person decided what we wanted as a couple to do. Next year would have been my year and I would have wanted to stay at our own home instead of traveling.
    30 Rock Pictures, Images and Photos
  • We don't. Both sides came to us for Thanksgiving and we spend Christmas as a family. If they want to come to us, so be it, but we're not starting the "every other year" scenario. Nobody wins.
  • I haven't lived within 1000 miles of my family since I went to college, so I'm probably no help.  My parents just say I'm welcome to come home whenever, but no pressure, and they encourage me to not waste limited vacation if I have a better option.  They actually prefer me to visit on a non-holiday just b/c of the cost and hassle of holiday travel, especially since they live in a tourist destination.

    H's family is similarly low key.  His dad doesn't even really do holidays, so he'll just see us whenever we choose to grace him with our presence (that's how he'd phrase it :)  We have a great relationship).

    If people are hassling you, you just have to learn to have a thick skin.  Tell them your plans, explain the fairness, and let them *** behind your back.  If they make you feel like shits when you actually visit, tell them you won't return in the future if all they're going to do is make you miserable. 

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  • When we all lived in the same town we would spend Christmas Eve with his parents, stay the night at our own house and do our own little Christmas when we woke up, then Christmas morning with my mom, and then spend Christmas night with just us 2.

    FWIW: the 1st year we did this his parents stopped by anyway on Christmas night to give DH a hug because (my MIL's own words here) "I haven't ever had a Christmas where I haven't physically touched Daniel (DH)." You are not alone with the needy/whiny MIL.

    "Compare, where you are to where you want to be, and you'll get nowhere" ~Sara Bareilles




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  • Oh, I wasn't responding to this as far as visiting one family instead of another.  I was thinking of doing my own thing vs seeing just one family.  Our families live about as far apart in the contiguous as you can get, so we'd never see them both in the same year, let alone in the same holiday.

    When we moved to Japan, our family encouraged us not to waste time/money visiting them, even if it meant we didn't see them for the next 3 years, just b/c there are so many other awesome travel opportunities when living in that part of the world.  I did see them after 2 years, but that's only b/c I moved back early.

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  • We are from the same hometown so it's a little easier.  H's family used to do Christmas and Thanksgiving at like 1pm, which was perfect since my family does dinner around 4.  We would go to H's family dinner first, then mine.  We haven't traveled home for Thanksgiving since moving to the West coast though since the cost is too high.

    For the past 2 Christmas' H has been deployed so it's been completely my choice.  His family has also started doing there dinner at 4 now, so I just don't go since my family is going to win out if it's just me.  I dropped off gifts the day after Christmas.   

    image BabyFruit Ticker
  • We haven't spent Christmas with either one our families in 8 years.  With overseas assignments or living on the opposite coast, they understand.  We mail their gifts and skype with them.
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  • My MIL has know that since E and I started dating that my Dad's entire family all siblings and all children and grand children do Christmas Eve together. My family has always had concrete traditions and E's family doesn't.

    So this is what we do. Christmas Eve with Dad's family, sometime Christmas Eve or Christmas morning with E's family. And Christmas Day we do something E and I and his parents and my Dad brother FSIL and my grandpa. Its fun. We rotate houses and responsibilities. When we have kids I'm sure a lot of this will change but for now it works. 

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  • I totally agree with OJO... don't even tell them you're switching off because it will cause even more issues if something comes up or YH gets deployed again during a holiday and you don't want to change the year on and off. 

    Just mail the gifts, skype a Merry Christmas/Happy Thanksgiving, or whatever and if they really want to see you that badly, tell them to come see you at YOUR house instead.

    "Babies are such a nice way to start people."
    Don Herrold
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  • When we are back with family, we end up splitting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This year we didn't go back, so it wasn't an issue. We may be moving back there, and then we are not sure what's going to happen, since everyone on H's side is being ridiculous about not talking to each other.
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