My cousin has been hosting family Christmas for the last several years. Two years ago, she decided she wasn’t going to host anymore, at the last minute. There are issues surrounding that too, but that’s another story. After much discussion, we decided to get together and discuss how to divide up the hosting responsibilities for Christmas. Everyone was invited to this discussion, and a date and time was set. I should probably tell you that there are 4 sister and brothers (my parents and aunts and uncles). Hosting responsibilities have been traded off over the years, with 3 of the aunts and uncles and a few of the cousins having hosted over the years. My parents had decided to stop hosting a few years ago because of the expense involved and because of the lack of respect that they felt they were receiving (people arriving late, things like that).
About half the family showed up for the scheduled meeting. After discussion about possible days to hold the event, we decided that we would have extended family Christmas on New Year’s Day so that Christmas Eve and Day would be open for each families’ immediate family events. My partner and I were looking for a new house at that time, but had not found one yet. Regardless, I was confident that we would have a house soon, and was excited about finally being able to host a family event, so we volunteered to host it.
We ended up buying a beautiful, brand new house about an hour from our farthest relatives (which happen to be my parents), which was planned. We had let people know where we were looking for a house and was told it wouldn’t be a problem to drive to our house for family events. We did host another family event in the summertime that year, not only because we wanted to, but also so that when winter rolled around, people who were coming to our house would be familiar with the drive (we live in the north and winters are snowy and sometimes icy).
Fast forward. The first of December, I put together an Evite with the relevant information about time, date, directions for those who hadn’t been to our house, and information about other things we had made decisions about at the family meeting (mainly gift giving). Christmas is a casual affair in our family, formal invitations have never been issued. I sent it out that day so that everyone would have the information they needed in plenty of time. I was very excited, and had spent considerable time and money planning the event.
A couple of days later, I received an email from a cousin asking if the Christmas my partner and I were host is *in addition* to the Christmas my parents are hosting on Christmas eve. WHAT??? Long story short, someone in the family hosted a Thanksgiving dinner (to which we were not invited) and spent considerable time discussing how and when to have Christmas. The family members who had been at the family meeting didn’t speak up to let anyone know that Christmas had already been planned. Christmas plans were changed, and NO-ONE bothered to call and tell me this.
In the meantime, my partner and I had also made other plans for Christmas Eve and Day, since we knew that family events were not supposed to have happened on that day.
The reason they gave me for making the change was to accommodate a relative that they didn’t think could make the drive, which I understand to a point. What I can’t forgive is the fact that out of 35 people, no one had the courtesy to include me in the conversation, or to let me know. To be clear, its not like the conversation happened 11 months earlier and no one brought it up again. The week before Thanksgiving, I had been talking to my sister and one of my aunts (who were both at the Thanksgiving dinner) about the fact that we had made some purchases that week for the Christmas party and about borrowing some china for the party, and about the particular wording for a couple of items on the invitation, that they knew were going out.
Here’s the dilemma part: The reason for the change in Christmas plans passed away this year. The family members who usually host the party either don’t want to or can’t for health reasons. My partner and I are the only new blood to have stepped forward in many years to volunteer. I worry that I will be asked if I will host this year. I know I have the option of saying no. I also know that if I say no, there may be resentment. I also, to be honest, have a hard time being in the same room with all of these people, knowing that they allowed me to send out those invitations knowing things had been changed, and have never apologized. What do you do, host to keep the peace and keep from getting too isolated? Or don’t host and be judged for not being willing to just “let it go.” 0820-10