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Already stressed about Christmas


Family Parents too demanding? Sibling driving you mad? Tell us!

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Old 14th October 2017, 11:25 AM   #1
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Already stressed about Christmas

My family is beginning to discuss Christmas arrangements and I'm already dreading it. I used to love Christmas and it saddens me how stressful and unpleasant I find it nowadays.

My MIL and I hate each other. She's widowed and has no family except her two sons, so we all have to spend Christmas together. She's been so nasty to me in the past that my mother won't speak to her. Christmas is unfortunately one of those times when I can't avoid her.

Usually my mother (divorced) spends Christmas with her sister, but her sister passed away this year so she has to spend it with us now. But she's refusing to come because MIL will be there.

My BIL lives halfway across the country and rarely sees us or his mother. One year he comes home for Christmas and the next year we spend Christmas with him. I've never been happy with this arrangement. Having to put my dogs in kennels and trail halfway across the country ruins the holidays for me, plus it prevents me seeing my father and his family who live near us. I don't see why we should have to travel when BIL is the one who chose to move away. I can see how it might have worked years ago when my husband was single and it was just him and MIL who traveled, but it doesn't work now that he's married with dogs and kids and a wife whose family lives here.

Not that it's much better when BIL comes to us - last year it blew up because my dog dared to sniff his baby and BIL's gf freaked out and BIL hit the dog, then insisted that both dogs had to be locked in the bedroom until he went home. My husband sided with BIL as he was a guest, which really upset me, so I took the dogs in the bedroom and just stayed in there with them.

I have no idea how to negotiate Christmas with these people. I'm tempted to just insist on staying at home every year from now on, and anyone who wants to come is welcome as long as they're civil and accept that the dogs will be here, and anyone who doesn't want to come can get stuffed. My husband says this is selfish and unreasonable but I don't think it is!
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Old 14th October 2017, 1:26 PM   #2
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I wouldn't blame you if you decided to stay put and host an open house.

Just because you share the same blood doesn't make you family. I love my dogs more than I do a few people in mine.

And no, you aren't being selfish.
People who don't see each other all year long but expect others to jump through hoops for one day to keep up appearances for their own sake is what I consider to be selfish.
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Old 14th October 2017, 2:06 PM   #3
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i have no idea who you'd like to spend Christmas with, but it sounds like you love your pets and your home and would prefer to stay there. i'd do that - stay home, and invite everyone -even those you don't regard as highly - and welcome anyone who comes. i have 2 dogs, very well-behaved, but i also recognize that not everyone loves them and usually kennel them for a day or two until family leaves. that's better than placing them into a boarding place for 5-7 days.
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Old 14th October 2017, 3:19 PM   #4
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I would stay home and invite your family to join you. Your husband needs to tell his mother that she is in it'd to attend, but only if she is able to be respectful to everyone present.

Your problem isn't actually your mother-in-law or your brother-in-law. Your problem is actually your husband, who has tolerated his families disrespectful and rude behavior toward his wife in the past.

If that doesn't happen, I would go and spend the holidays with your mom.

I feel for you. We had a period of time after my mother's passing when I dreaded holidays because of the personal conflicts between family members. It sucks the joy out of What should be a joyous event... Good luck.
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Old 15th October 2017, 12:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyTot View Post
Not that it's much better when BIL comes to us - last year it blew up because my dog dared to sniff his baby and BIL's gf freaked out and BIL hit the dog, then insisted that both dogs had to be locked in the bedroom until he went home.
This person wouldn't be invited into my home ever again. I can see new parents overreacting to a dog getting that close to their baby, and I would accept an apology for that. But hitting the dog was unacceptable. I wouldn't risk that happening again.
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Old 15th October 2017, 1:03 AM   #6
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I wanted some context, so I read your thread you started about a year ago. Has that situation improved any? Your husband sounded like an emotionally abusive jerk in that thread, so it's not shocking that he seems to be siding with anyone but you on this Christmas thing.

There are two sides to each story, but is it possible that maybe your husband and his family are just, you know, crappy people?
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Old 15th October 2017, 9:19 AM   #7
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You need to be there for your mom if this is her 1st Christmas without her partner.

If -- and only if -- you can get your husband on board, you host Christmas with your rules. The dogs will be there & everybody has to be nice. Anybody who is not nice will be asked to leave.

If your husband doesn't have the backbone to stick up for you in your home even against his mom I suggest you kennel the dogs & take a cruise over the holidays to avoid all of them.
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Old 16th October 2017, 4:48 AM   #8
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The problem is indeed my husband. When his brother wants us to travel halfway across the country to spend Christmas at his house every other year, my husband doesn't say no. He says it's only fair to take turns. I disagree because we still live in the home town we grew up in and so does MIL. He's the one who chose to take his family halfway across the country so surely he should be the one who takes the stress and expense of travelling for Christmas? It seems unfair for him to move and then expect everyone else to deal with the consequences! I didn't move away from home so why should I have to travel at Christmas? Why should I be put in a position where I can't see my extended family over the holidays even though I haven't moved away from them? However when I explain this my husband says I'm being selfish.

MIL is just a nasty person. I appreciate that my husband can't reject his own mother, and he has stuck up for me when she's been mean and accepts that I mostly avoid her. She's a widow and I appreciate that he has to invite her for Christmas. But I'm not sure how to handle the situation where my mother has now become a Christmas guest and refuses to speak to MIL. I totally understand why, because of how nasty MIL has been to me. But it does create a difficult situation.
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Old 16th October 2017, 8:52 AM   #9
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How old are your children? It's a shame they have to travel that distance for Christmas rather than being able to stay close to home.

Maybe your BIL will feel the same for his own child in time.

My solution would be simple. Since your husband is the problem I'd tell him to go it alone if it means that much but you and the kids aren't going this year.

And if your two moms can't get along I'd address it before the holiday. Tell them it's not about them, it's for their GRANDCHILDREN, and if they are going to make a tense situation for them they should just stay home.

You need to find your voice, girlfriend. I think maybe people walk all over you because you allow it.

Be careful what you're teaching your children since they learn by example.

XO
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Old 16th October 2017, 9:14 AM   #10
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Since your husband seems to want this dump it all on him. You sit on your hands & he does EVERYTHING -- decorating, meal planning, shopping, meal prep. You sit on your hands & visit with your mother. If MIL or BIL act up you & mom drive around the neighborhood looking at the lights.
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Old 16th October 2017, 1:34 PM   #11
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Its because of drama like this that I gave up on Christmas years ago. Its not a holiday any more, its just another day to enjoy some time off at home. I refuse to give in to the drama. My SO has places he likes to go, so he goes, and I stay home with the dogs and thoroughly enjoy the day. People stop by sometimes and I enjoy their company, but its a drama free zone and I stand firm on that.

Sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and say Stop. You cant make everyone happy, sometimes you cant even make some of the people happy. I dont even try anymore.
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