The in-law Christmas extravaganza

My sister-in-law offered to host Christmas this year.

When she first offered, I told her we are not available on December 24. I am volunteering at a Reiki share until 8pm that night. It’s a wonderful experience where free Reiki (healing energy) is offered to people with physical or emotional pain. The intent of the session is to help those who have a hard time dealing with the holidays. It’s ironic because I now fit into that category.

Am I crazy to think that if you are hosting Christmas with family that lives locally, it will be sometime between December 24-26? And if the only brother and sister-in-law you have are not available one of those 3 days, you would try to be accommodating?

Well, I am crazy.  

Earlier this week, we found out my sister-in-law wants to host Christmas on December 21.

We have a family party for my mother-in-law’s side on December 19 and a party on my father-in-law’s side on December 20. The thought of doing 3 major get-togethers 3 days in a row (not to mention the fact they are with the in-laws) is just WAY TOO much for me this year.

I told my sister-in-law exactly how I felt.  It is too much for me to do the 3 days in a row and we have already committed to the other parties.  I felt quite vulnerable being open about my limitations with her, but I honestly don’t think she understood.

I asked her if we could switch it to sometime during December 25 to 28. She said they were not available unless we wanted to move it to this Sunday, December 14 or if we could make ourselves available for December 24.

We found out after that she is hosting Christmas Eve with my husband’s parents.

Her lack of flexibility is astonishing. They aren’t going on a trip or anything. They just have regular holiday plans with her family. And besides, it’s not like I’m just being a pain in the ass about December 24. I’m volunteering for a cause that is near and dear to me. Once again this week, I find myself defending my choices.

Christmas always used to be one of my most favourite times of the year. With my family, it was more about the traditions and time spent together than what you actually received.  Since we all live across Canada now, I haven’t spent a Christmas with my parents, my sister and my brother in 6 years.

Since I met my husband, the Christmas dynamic has changed. His family doesn’t build the joy into the season like my own family used to. It always seems forced and obligatory. Gifts are exchanged, but usually opened when you return to your own home.

It’s hard trying to fit into a family that you don’t gel with; a family with major communication issues; a family that never shows love.

It’s hard when all you want is to build your own family, start your own traditions and fill your own home with Christmas joy.

It’s hard when you are facing your first Christmas after a pregnancy loss, but no one seems to understand.

As it stands, I caved and agreed to December 21. I want to make an effort for our niece and nephew, but it’s getting to the point where enough is enough with this side of the family as well.

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26 thoughts on “The in-law Christmas extravaganza

  1. I’m sorry your inlaws are so difficult. They sound very much like mine (we really have a lot in common!). Last year we went to my in-laws who moved away from us (NOT the other way around) and my brother-in-law and his wife did the same, and the dates that we could all make work were AFTER Christmas, the 26-28th. We stayed for three full days. My family doesn’t get that much time with us like that, but they were still unhappy because we weren’t there ON the 24-25th. We basically told them if they want to see us those days THEY have to come to us, because my whole family is either in our home town or comes to our home town for Christmas, and I’m not just flipping the bird on all those celebrations because they chose to move away. This year we’re going for a few days BEFORE Christmas, and I’m sure there will be similar grumblings.

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  2. Ugh, I understand your family issues all too well. It’s so hard when you have to mesh your family with a new one. The past couple years we’ve had to travel to both Colorado for my husband’s family and then to Maryland for mine. By the time we get to mine I just feel completely wiped out and want to go home.

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  3. Sorry everyone is making it so difficult for you. I probably would have just given up if it weren’t for the kids, and said you weren’t doing anything with anyone this year!! My SIL is a pain too…we found out a month ago when we were visiting B’s aunt, from his aunt, that his sister is planning on being here and staying with us for Christmas…though she NEVER mentioned it to us!! Nice of her to tell other family members and never ask or mention it to us at all. I think some people are just selfish and don’t give a darn what everyone else has going on. Hope you manage to make it through the holidays in one piece!

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  4. I am sorry you are feeling so stressed about the family obligations. Although different, I completely understand the frustration of dealing with very different families at Christmas. We laid down the law a few years ago and stopped traveling because we were flying across the country on December 25th and spent most of our day in airports. We were miserable! And, even now, as the ones without kids we are constantly expected to travel and make our schedule fit everyone else – we are always the after thought. Heck, this year we got a text saying Dec 20 works for everyone, so we had better be there. No asking, just commanding. It’s frustrating, and always leaves me reeling because everyone else is asked.
    Anyways, I hope you find a way to survive it, and to even enjoy some moments. Maybe you and your husband can do something special together to commemorate the year you have had, your devastating loss, and acknowledge your hope for the next transfer in the New Year? I don’t know what that is, but maybe you can come up with something fun and special.

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  5. Ugh. Thank you for reminding me that there is something to be said for having dead and estranged family. I’m sorry you find yourself defending perfectly reasonable choices and requests. I hope you can enjoy a peaceful holiday time without all of the drama. On a wholly positive note, the reiki share sounds awesome.

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    • If you lived closer, I’d encourage you to attend! Yes, I was not sacrificing the one joyous holiday event I look forward to. I keep joking to my husband that I’m about to go silent on both sides of the family until Easter if they keep this up!

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      • If i lived closer i would invite myself! We are hosting dinner on the 25th (the LP’s idea not mine but I love that he wants to cook so am excited for it). I have excommunicated family for months and years for personal mental health and wellness reasons. Out of the boat, people!

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        • I was going to host. I told my husband for months I should, but he didn’t want to me overload myself following our loss and he didn’t want me to be personally disappointed by them… Well I think that disappointment is inevitable no matter where we eat. Haha

          Liked by 1 person

          • So true! Good idea though on your husband’s part I think.

            We are only having a few family over and I know it will be good. We usually run away to escape the drama. This is our first year in town at Christmas in at least 4 or 5 years. I am glad. But that is a first in a long time. I hope the good energy from Dec. 24 helps carry you through the rest.

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  6. So sorry you have to deal with drama from them too! Dealing with family during the holidays can be extremely stressful, I feel your pain all to well. Especially when your in-laws aren’t at all like the family you grew up with and they have all these expectations. You’re better than me; I would have said forget about all of it and would not go to any of their parties!

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  7. That’s brutal. Sending you strength to get through next weekend hon. I hope this will at least allow you to have a quiet and peaceful Christmas with your husband on Christmas day.

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      • No! Put your foot down on this one! You’re already agreeing to a trifecta of parties next week, that’s enough! I say you be non committal about it and then either you or your husband fake being sick on Christmas day, lol 😉 Actually it should be him so they don’t hold it against you. Seriously, you spread yourself thin for everyone else all the time and get very little in return, it’s time you and your hubby put the two of you first!

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  8. Sometimes you just want to pack your bags and go somewhere else and just be with the one/ones who matter. I’m just about there. My MIL hasnt been to bad (yet) though I’m just starting my infertility journey, but she has said to my husband behind my back “she’s to old now, why even try”.. I’m only 31 years old. How could you say that? Because she doesnt get it. Only you and your husband really ‘get it.’ And of course all of us sista’s out there ttc. Try to stay centered, take things with a grain of salt.. and just know, you are NOT going crazy – its everyone around you. 🙂

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  9. Your SIL sounds a lot like mine. Not only is she completely inflexible when it comes to making time for my husband’s family, when we do finally work out a date that works for everyone, something always comes up in her life, so we have to change it. My husband and I are completely done with her. We miss our nieces and feel bad that we don’t get to see them as often as we would like, but it’s entirely her fault. It really sucks when they pull this shit around the holidays, doesn’t it?

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