Holiday Mess!

Lounge By momofjil Updated 28 Oct 2005 , 6:41pm by susanmm23

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momofjil Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 9:00pm
post #1 of 27

This is completely cake unrelated but as it has been said before, we have such a great group of minds together, so here goes.

We do not know how to divide up the family time at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each of these families meet at both holidays. Our family dynamics are this:

1. My parents
2. My grandparents (my neices are only 7&11 so we still have a traditional Christmas gift exchange with everyone buying for all 17 people!)
3. My other grandparents
4. My husband's father's side (divorced)
5. My husband's mother & step-dad (live in Colorado and fly in)
6. My husband's mothers side

Before we had a child it was no big deal that we hit all of them. Now we want a Christmas morning at our house and then we don't want to were our little one out (she is 2).

A typical Christmas is the 24th Brunch at grandparents#3, Afternoon with #5 and evening #6. The 25th was early morning with #1, mid-morning with #2 (eat lunch), then #4 for the evening. This is just too much for a small child and I don't know what to do!!

If anyone has any great ideas as to how we can divide it up, I would appreciate it.

26 replies
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llj68 Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 9:14pm
post #2 of 27

Well--it's time to step up to the plate and be the one in charge of your own holidays!! I had to do this 2 years ago and it was SO HARD!!! However, all the running around was just so NOT worth the price I paid with my girls!! THEIR holidays were ruined because we were running here, there and everywhere!

SO--this is what we did! DH and I decided how we would spend the holidays with which family. We divide them up evenly, one family one year and the alternating. (Of course I have to keep track of all this on the calendar! lol!)

I took Christmas Eve into my own hands and now I have the family get together at our house! All are invited. Usually it's only dh's family, though.

Christmas day consists of us getting up, the girls doing presents, my parents and aunts come over to see what Santa bought, we do brunch (something with my parents, sometimes not) and then all meet at my mom's on Christmas Day.

Seriously, your families are just going to have to suck it up and realize that you have a small child whose welfare and happiness are the most important thing to you. You need to do what's right for you and your dh and your little girl--not every other adult in her life. It's hard to do (especially the first year--when everybody gets ticked off at you for putting your foot down!) but it's SO worth it in the end.

Also--think about this. As she gets older, is she REALLY going to want to leave all her brand new toys to go sit at someone else's house? That was one of the issues were were having with our dd when she was 3.5.

Just food for thought. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

Lisa

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momofjil Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 9:41pm
post #3 of 27

THANK YOU for the encouragement.

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MelC Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 9:46pm
post #4 of 27

I have a similar situation ... my hubby's families all live close to us so we usually do X-mas day with one, then boxingf day dinner with the other when it's hubby's year. When it's MY family's year, we have a 4 hour drive to visit my parent's place, so we're there for a few days (and visit his families either a week before or during the week after, on SEPARATE days.)

Thanksgiving belongs to whichever family we are not seeing on Christmas day (though when it's hubby's family, his Dad usually has turkey dinner on the Saturday, and his Mom on Sunday)

Just smile and tell each of them (have your hubby talk to his family ... but with you there - men tend to wimp out when it comes to standing up to their parents!) that all this travel time means you and your child can't enjoy your time with anyone, and you're going to try something different.

You can arrange to spend boxing day with the family who doesn't get X-mas, and perhaps your hubby's Mon & step-Dad could come with you to your family get togethers? A couple of times my parents would come down and visit with DH's Mom when our Xmas was with them!

And surely the grandparents can be visited at the same time as your respective parent? (either at their house or at the parent's house?)

BTW ... we do a secret Santa exchange among the adults, and everyone still buys gifts for all the kids!

Good luck!!

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BklynSuze Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 9:46pm
post #5 of 27

we were in the same boat a few years back..It finally occurred to us that it was just plain unfair to drag the kids all over to visit family on Christmas..poor kids would bearly get to open gifts much less play with them cause there were so many people to see...I was pregnant and due so it was a good excuse to not go running around all over the place and have never looked back since lol...What we decided to do was just do open house to all of our family,,,they could come over on christmas eve or in the afternoon on the day otherwise we would just hold off.

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PinkPanther Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 10:36pm
post #6 of 27

Hi momofjil,

We do the same thing - spend Thanksgiving with one family and Christmas with the other, then switch for next year. My DH's family does a Chinese Christmas, so that makes it much easier as far as the gifts go. HTH! thumbs_up.gif

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ayost43 Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 11:02pm
post #7 of 27

My motto is why making something as stressful as the holidays (which you should be enjoying) more stressful by visiting a million people, just I was in a similar situation when my I was dating my now husband. We use to live 4 hours away from my husbands family and 2 hours away from my family. We ended up assigning holidays Thanksgiving to his mothers family and fathers family (his parents are divorced), X-Mas to my parents and then a mini X-Mas closer to New Year's with his family. We did a gift exchange for his mother's side (she is 1 of 8 ). Each person writes their name on a piece of paper and 3 items that they would like to get, including the children because there are so many. And then you draw names. This really saves a lot of confusion and worry around already hectic holidays.

Now we have an entirely new problem, my husband doesn't want to visit his mother's side of the family (who by the are evil, every time I do anything thing they say Well, shes not a xxxx(their last name) woman, and all the other women who married into the family say they had the same problem until they had kids and then they were accepted). His mother caused a scene at our wedding last November; last year we still stuck to the holiday schedule but were miserable. When we were leaving to go to his dad's she starting crying and put on this whole act like I was brainwashing her son and breaking her heart. Since then she has visited our new home and criticized everything. She keeps asking for money and insisting that I am stopping him from seeing his family (which by the way is completely not true). I'm afraid if we don't go this will be even more ammo for his mother/family and if we do go we will get lectured and that will only make things worse. The worst part of it all is that my husband won't tell his mom what she did that has upset him so she doesn't even know. Needless to say this topic has been the fuel of several heated discussions, and now with the holidays quickly approaching I am afraid that there is nothing I can do anymore, he seems set that he is not going. So anyone with advice on crazy mother-in-laws or stubborn husbands I be glad to hear it.

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ShelbysYummys Posted 27 Oct 2005 , 11:18pm
post #8 of 27

I totally agree with llj68.
You have your own family now. This is what I always tell my husband. When we got married I DID NOT hear the priest say ANYTHING about your MOM (family) it was all about ME, YOU AND OUR FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I went through the same thing. Now Tgiving we ausually spend together . Christmas eve night with the inlaws and Chritmas dinner with my mom. We did it this way becasue my family has small children and his doesn't.
You can always alternate. This will never make anyone happy!!!
REMEMEBER it's about your family!!
GOOD LUCK~ I totally feel for you
Michelle

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leily Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 3:16am
post #9 of 27

hehe this situation sounds very familiar. Except I dont' have children.

Growing up I had 5 christmas's. Thankfully two were the week before or after (although it took quite a few years to get it this way-once a lot of aunts and uncles started having kids) Then one christmas eve and two christmas day (one with my parents in the morning-one for lunch/dinner at a grandparents house)..... oh and this was only my dad's side of the family hehehe. My mom's side has a Christmas in July.

For all other holiday's my parents made it well known that in the morning it was our family time at home. The rest of the day went to whoever we heard from first. Sometimes it was my grandma sometimes my grandpa. So whoever was on the ball more and was planning in advance is usually where we went. However my dad's parents usually did well and planned dinners accordingly so all the kids could go to both.

Then when I started dating my BF he had 5 also.... so our first year together we tried to go to them all. We hated it. On christmas night we decided not again. We decided where we would go on what nights, and that is pretty much what we have stuck with since. Then we would make as many family events as we could through the year to visit other family that we didn't get to spend as much time with at the holidays. (for me i like the non-holiday gatherings better, a lot less stressful icon_wink.gificon_smile.gif

I hope you decide to take time for your family (husband and kids) and do what is best for you.

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vitade Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 9:23am
post #10 of 27

Listen, No matter what you choose to do, SOMEONE is going to be upset. But, you have to do something. I think your going to get quite a bit of responses on this one!!

But you have to do what feels right for your "family". I won't get into my situtations with the holidays because their going to be just about like everyone else. Running from place to place trying to appease everyone but ourselves. To me holiday's means family but how can you spend time with them when your constantly looking at your watch thinking about what time you have to leave to make to so and so's house.

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stephanie214 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 12:36pm
post #11 of 27

We alternate Thanksgiving hosting, Christmas is entirely free visting.

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briansbaker Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 2:38pm
post #12 of 27

I feel everyones " where do we go for the Holidays?".. So here is what we do.. We decided to do this a few years back.. My hubby has to work the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas.. So that really bites! Now My family, (mom, 4 sisters, all together 16 kids, husbands, boyfriends, a few close friends) we have Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Eve. We hold dinner at my sisters house.. Each family brings enough food to feed their own family (thanksgiving dinner of course). That way when we put it together we have TONS of choices.. We leave all left overs at my sisters house and on Thanksgiving they enjoy relaxing.. Now on the other hand, I prepare enough food before we leave to her house to feed us on Thanksgiving Day. My family stays home and we have a small Thanksgiving dinner alone!.. LOL
Hubby's mother, grandmother and sister keep to themselves (by choice). His mother calls and wishes us a Happy Turkey day . And we are fine with that.. Christmas we repeat our tradition.. Adding one visit during the day of Christmas Eve to hubby's grandmother on his fathers side.. We eat, open gifts and mingle for awhile.. Then off to my sisters house.. Works out great!

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pooker Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 2:56pm
post #13 of 27

Our family is in the midst of a "change" as far as holidays go. It used to be really crazy, but its calming down a bit.

We used to make a 2 hr drive to my grandmas on Christmas Eve, then come home at midnight, only to get up really early Christmas day, open gifts, and go to my MIL's for half the day. Then we'd have to get ready again and go to my mom's in the evening. Crazy crazy crazy.

My grandparents have passed on, so we don't go there anymore, and my brother is an idiot, so we don't celebrate with him anymore, and my BIL has a horse farm that keeps them from coming in a lot...so we go to my mom's and my IL's and we're done...or everyone comes to our house!

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ThePastryDiva Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 3:13pm
post #14 of 27

Um...why not make it more simple and just say....HOLIDAYS AT MY HOUSE THIS YEAR!

We are adults and grownups and in charge of our own lives.

I agree with someone that posted that HOLIDAYS should NOT be stressful.

Christmas if for the kids! Whoever invented the 12 days of Christmas had it right on the money! You have 12 glorious days...USE THEM!

With my large and extended family..and most of us work gov't jobs so we are not really free during the holidays...we continue on till January 6th!

That's when we take the tree down too..well..the day after.

I know that taking charge of your holiday may hurt some family members, but, those family members eighter still see us as children...expect us to act like children...or have control issues.

I would just say, we would rather spend the holiday eve and day at our house for our kids sakes and we will see you Christmas day or after.

After all ....Christmas spirit is about LOVE...not about a marathond family visitation round robins.

I would start to prepare the family as of now!..lol so there are no surprises later.

and if your family boycotts your house..( which creates stress all on it's own, cooking for your relatives..lol...) invite your friends over!

The first year that I made Thanksgiving ( which by the way is an AMERICAN HOLIDAY...as I use for an excuse when I dont' show up at people's houses..hehehe)... at my house...I cooked a GROUMET meal....wild rice..cranberry sauce with real cranberries...and mandarin slices...turkey breast roll. ( since no body liked any other part of the turkey, I thought this was the way to go) I served mushroom and sausage stuffing on the side...several wines and other dishes that I don't remember....this was...close to 25 years ago.

I blew my entire food budget on this meal so I didn't really have to much food in my house.....

and all I got was....Did you make rice and beans? where's the pork roast?

I was goobstoped!...I was like..people...open your epicurian horizons!..

Nobody liked what I served...they complained and left early...( so my daughter and I got to eat leftovers..yummy too...for a while after...great on that budget..lol)


I NEVER cooked for my family again! and was happy!!

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momofjil Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 3:16pm
post #15 of 27

Wow! Thanks everyone. I guess this is what I thought but I know it is going to cause ruffles with the family and I don't want to do it!!! I guess I will sit down with a calander and try to figure things out.

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KayDay Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 3:25pm
post #16 of 27

OK, let me throw a slightly different spin on this one...( don't I always?) But ... Ex and I are divorced and he nor his family has contact with my kids.My parents and grandparents are all dead I even lost my 40 year old brother this past year so we have very little family. What I wouldnt give to spend a holiday with them! My dad used to always say when I would mention staying home for a holiday, "You can do that after I am dead!" Well...he was right. My kids are now 12 and 5 and I don't have that option. So I am sure glad I did it when I could. I always caved and went.

I mean don't make your holidays miserable....but DO invite everyone to your place or if the groups don't get along try to get together at different times right before the holiday or something. Just something to think about, we never know when a holiday will be someones last.

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msumissa Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 3:29pm
post #17 of 27

A little late for this now, but when my DH and I were dating we set up the rule, one house per day. My DH did not want to travel on Thanksgiving so it is always at our house and whomever wants to come can. Xmas eve is always at my family. Xmas day open gifts at our house and then we go to his dad's. We then agree on a time to meet w/ his mom at a time all convienent for his brothers and us. Usually the weekend before or after xmas. Now that we have a child is is very nice. Yes his Dad still grumbles about xmas eve, five years later, but too bad.. a) he is not getting us both days and b) this is my family's time.

Good luck, but you are right to start limiting the travel!

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debsuewoo Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 3:45pm
post #18 of 27

Well, being the parents of three children born with a 2 year age difference, I can tell you that we did try the traveling family thing until we realized that all of my siblings had OLDER children (aka teenagers), so it was easier for them to pack their kids up in the car and come see us if they wanted. Turns out the holidays aren't so special to them. The DH's family all live hours away and they all have kids in our age range so we tend to just call each other and wish each other happy holidays, unless the parents were visiting from out of state.

I think what I'm tryig to say is this : If it is easier for your relatives to come and visit you, make it happen. Get them all together for one big dinner at you house and celebrate that way. Afterall, who is your main focus on the holidays? Your precious baby girl!

Debbi

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thecakemaker Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:02pm
post #19 of 27

Sounds like my family! I finally told them all that I would only run around like a chicken with my head cut off for one holiday - their pick! I started having Thanksgiving at my house for whomever wanted to come by (it grows every year - 30+ people). I do buffet style and everyone comes and goes when/if they can. If they can't - their loss! Christmas Eve we go to my Dad's. Christmas morning after we're done at home we go to In-Laws and later in the day to Mom's. Different family members meet up with us at different houses and it all somehow manages to work out. Of course we need a vacation when it's all over!

Good Luck!
Debbie

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sugartopped Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:03pm
post #20 of 27

OH my, my head is spinning just trying to read it!! icon_eek.gif

All our family is several states away (mine in MO and my husbands in NY).....which most times is actually a good thing (not ever in the middle of family disputes) but gets to be a bother at holidays!!! We have decided (since we have a kid now) that we alternate Thanksgiving holidays between the familys and xmas is ours to enjoy w/our son!! I'm sure if we lived closer it wouldn't be so simple.

But why not do SOME visiting on xmas eve and stay home on xmas day!!! If your families would like to visit then they can come see you!!

You need to make sure you and your family can enjoy the holiday. My side of the family....always celebrates xmas on the 26th...and at one persons house (each year someone else 'hosts'). Even if we were fighting and didn't like each other at that particular moment....we always seemed to put differences aside for one day (didn't always go as planned....but we were together!!). but this allowed everyone to spend xmas at home w/all their new stuff.

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ThePastryDiva Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:07pm
post #21 of 27

Family is family..no matter what you do someone's nose will get out of joint.

All I have to finally say about this..is...

If they love you, they WILL forgive whatever choices you make....

And the choices should be made to make your child and YOUR family comfortable!

THAT'S ALL SHE WROTE...lol

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Kiddiekakes Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:18pm
post #22 of 27

Well I know that Holiday time can be very stressful for some so as many have already mentioned you have to now make time for your own family.Since my husband and I have had kids of our own we tell everyone that Christmas morning is for our own family only so the kids can open gifts etc and not be rushed out the door!! My Mom and Dad have the big Christmas dinner cause they live here also so we usually go over there about noon and spend the entire day and evening.Boxing day is usually spent with hubby's brothers and families as they live here also.We don't travel to hubby's home town since it is 800 miles away and his parents live there only so it is easier for 2 people to fly here than 3 families flying there and besides they are getting up in age,80...so it won't be much longer before they can't travel anymore.It can be very difficult to try and please everyone but do what is suitable for your family and everyone else will have to just accept it.If they really want to see you they can pop over!!

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vitade Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:26pm
post #23 of 27

Ummm, can I ask what Boxing day is?

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MominSC Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:52pm
post #24 of 27

Oh I just went through this!! I can soooo relate. I am in South Carolina and all of my family is in North Carolina. All of hubby's family is here. We always go to my grandmother's on Thanksgiving..(4 hour ride) and then we go back the week before Christmas. Then we go to my mother in law's 2 days before Christmas. I got to thinking about it...ya know I have 3 kids ..I want their memories of the holidays to be special...not the memories of doing all that traveling. Yeah it's only 4 hours, but my kids hate to ride. So for an hour and a half of that ride I have to listen to.."He's touching me"...etc. I am very close with my family and didn't want to hurt their feelings. And I am the type that says, "What if something happens and I didn't go, I will never be able to live with myself."...Well the more I thought about it...that highway travels both ways. I have 3 kids....they have don't. I have to pack for 5 people....my nerves are usually shot, and I really don't have that good of a time after all the frustration. SO this year...I am cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas!!! We are staying home and if it is really all about the "family" then they will understand and try to come here!! If not, that's ok too...I have to do what it takes to make my kids childhood full of good memories...not memories of the billboards we pass every single year on the interstate thumbs_up.gif Good Luck!!

Beth

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momofjil Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:12pm
post #25 of 27

First, Thank you KayDay. Sometimes we do need a reminder about the importance of family, not the rush of Holidays! I think that thought will make it easier for me becuase I can tell everyone that I want to spread it out so that we can enjoy time with everyone instead of rushing and enjoying no one! I have checked things out. I think this is what I will do. Since Christmas is on the weekend it is going to make it so much easier for us because I will have Friday and Monday off.
23rd- I will spend in preparation
24th- Brunch at Grandparents; 1pm -? with dh family
25th- Lunch Grandparents; NOTHING ELSE THIS DAY
26th- Brunch at my parents; 6pm dh other side of family

For some this may still seem hectic but I have talked with my family members and found out when they will be with their other families and this works. I hope the boat doesn't get rocked this year! icon_surprised.gif

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Calejo Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:34pm
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayost43

...Now we have an entirely new problem, my husband doesn't want to visit his mother's side of the family (who by the are evil, every time I do anything thing they say Well, shes not a xxxx(their last name) woman, and all the other women who married into the family say they had the same problem until they had kids and then they were accepted). His mother caused a scene at our wedding last November; last year we still stuck to the holiday schedule but were miserable. When we were leaving to go to his dad's she starting crying and put on this whole act like I was brainwashing her son and breaking her heart. Since then she has visited our new home and criticized everything. She keeps asking for money and insisting that I am stopping him from seeing his family (which by the way is completely not true). I'm afraid if we don't go this will be even more ammo for his mother/family and if we do go we will get lectured and that will only make things worse. The worst part of it all is that my husband won't tell his mom what she did that has upset him so she doesn't even know. Needless to say this topic has been the fuel of several heated discussions, and now with the holidays quickly approaching I am afraid that there is nothing I can do anymore, he seems set that he is not going. So anyone with advice on crazy mother-in-laws or stubborn husbands I be glad to hear it.




As far as your crazy in-laws go, at least he's not brushing off his mom's actions like" that's just the way she is". I have in-laws that were very crazy when we first got married. They called me a snake (imagine their delight when they found out I was born in the year of the snake according to the Chinese zodiac), talked about maybe adopting our first child for insurance purposes (certainly NOT something we would've been ok with), and a lot more. It was a big mess!

It's great now, but it took him sticking up for me and putting his foot down and me sticking up for myself too. I didn't go looking for a fight, and neither did he, but he had to make it clear that I was his wife, and he chose me, no one else, and if they weren't going to be nice, then they couldn't be a part of our lives until they could be.

As far as your man goes, I would support him, but I would also say that if he's going to be the one to decide NOT to go, then he would be the one to explain EXACTLY why not. After all, you'll be the one to suffer the brunt of his choice. Her finger will point directly at you, just as most of his "bad" choices were my fault. Not easy, but as he continuously tells her his choices are his own (and this may take years), eventually, she'll soften up. In the meantime, focus on the two of you and become stronger through it. Good luck!

Also, on the topic, we had about 4 family's to cover too, we just started the alternating pattern, one year, thanksgiving with his family, one year with mine. We would try to squeeze everyone in if we could for Christmas, but instead of 4 places, we did 2 larger parties for his side and my dad's side, and then one closer to New year's for my mom's side. and we condensed so that the grandparent's were with the respective parent. My grandparents liked not having to entertain so many people in their home and the hassle of the small kids and their precious items (not to mention clean-up, which we tried to help with), but to include them in a way they were used to (cooking), they would bring 1 of the larger more important items to the family party. I am so sorry for the long post. I think I'm done talking for the week.

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susanmm23 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 6:41pm
post #27 of 27

We are lucky Thanksgiving we do at home all of my family and Dh family comes. lst year it was close to 40 people. 3 turkeys a ham and 20 lbs of mashed potatoes 3 dozen deviled eggs and a whole lot more was jsut enough for everyone. DH family is hispanic and they love my american cooking. Dh family usually goes to mexico for christmas we dont get to go because of visitation issues with the kids birth mother. She is supposed to get them half the holiday time so we never get to go. We do Christmas Eve with his family when they are here and my cousins so we go to 2 hosues on Christmas eve then on Christmas day we stay home. family members visit through out the day but its usually just us.

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