Snubbed Invitations to Christmas Dinner

by admin on December 15, 2016

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

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Jai December 15, 2016 at 5:07 am

Firstly, my sympathies. My family sounds much like yours – they are full of good intentions, but I’ve lost track of how many things I’ve missed out on because they forgot to mention it! My own brother decided to go to the gym instead of coming to my wedding because he didn’t feel like it on the day…

At one time I would have sulked about this stuff for years. (I didn’t speak to my brother for 18 months after the wedding incident). But now older and (slightly) wiser, I’ve finally accepted – that’s the way they are. I don’t like it, but I can’t change them. I’ve expressed my opinions, I’ve tried to ‘teach’ them manners, but at the end of the day, the only person agonizing over this stuff is me. They go through life completely unable to understand why people get annoyed with them.

The question I’d ask myself in your situation is: if this hadn’t happened – if this was the first Christmas in my new home – would I WANT to host? Would I want to invite my family to show off my lovely home, would I want to demonstrate my wonderful hosting skills, would I want an excuse to dress up and have a party the way I want it? If the answer is yes – get over the insult and offer to host. Don’t wait to be asked and feel like you are being forced into it. Host graciously and beautifully, and be content in the knowledge that you were in the right without wanting to ‘punish’ them.

If the answer is no – if you don’t want to – practice your polite spine now. ‘Host? Oh I’m sorry, I can’t this year.’ You don’t have to explain, just a ‘no I can’t’ is fine. Don’t say ‘I won’t host because of your actions’ – I’d almost play it as if it hadn’t occurred to me that they’d ask me.

Either way, if this is the sort of thing your family does, you either have to cut them out or accept that this is how they are and learn to put aside any hurt. They won’t agonize over their actions, don’t let their thoughtlessness get to you. In the charming words of my father: Suck it up, Buttercup!

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DaDancingPsych December 15, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Wow is this amazing advice!!! It doesn’t dwell on the things that cannot be changed nor does it attempt to stir up drama. I cannot provide anything better.

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Lady Catford December 15, 2016 at 9:27 pm

I agree that this is the best advice. Do what pleases you and DH.
There is no sense to confronting anyone, they will only refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem and you will only make things worse for yourself. I would worry about hosting this party and having no one show up.

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Starrynight December 16, 2016 at 2:59 am

Love this perfect response!

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Lkb December 15, 2016 at 6:17 am

Wow! How awful!
Is there any possible way your parents were supposed to tell you but forgot (whether due to business, undiagnosed Alzheimer’s/dementia, etc.) To be shut out by an entire extended family must be awful. I wouldn’t blame you for cancelling your do. You really need to say something to all involved.

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lkb December 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm

The more I think about this one, the more I think there is much more to the story. It doesn’t excuse those who snubbed and flat out ignored the OP, but I wonder if the issue has something to do with the OP’s unconventional living arrangement. (OP continually says “partner” rather than spouse, fiance, boy/girlfriend etc.) Again, not excusing the poor behavior but I wonder if the rest of the family is more conservative and so doesn’t want to do anything that would give credence to a different lifestyle.

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InTheEther December 16, 2016 at 12:52 am

Even if that was the case, the rest of the family are still at fault.

This is a personal preference on my part, but I would prefer a person straight up cuss at me and declare they do not agree with X thing I’m doing or life style choice and therefore will not be doing Y as it would legitimize my choice. At least then everyone knows and agrees on where they stand with each other, rather than them acting cool to my face and then doing little subversive things behind my back to show their displeasure.

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lkb December 16, 2016 at 10:26 am

Agreed. The extended family behaved poorly. I wasn’t excusing them at all and tried to make that clear in my most recent post. I was merely speculating as to the reason the OP’s family — including his/her own parents — would so blatantly snub the OP and the partner.

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oregonbird December 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

This reads as an attempt to cause dissension and cast doubt on the validity of the OP’s lifestyle. I’m not comfortable with that. Partner is a perfectly good word that informs us of everything necessary to know in this instance.

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lkb December 19, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Please forgive me. I can see where you’re coming from, oregonbird and inthether. My previous posts were solely intended as “thinking out loud,” pondering how on earth someone’s own parents would leave offspring out of the loop on something as important as family holiday plans. I did not mean to imply that the OPs lifestyle, whatever it may be, was wrong or right, only trying to grasp the mindset of someone who would act as horridly as the OP’s family did.

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Jane December 15, 2016 at 7:20 am

Why do you care what those people think about you? They obviously don’t care about you at all! Just make your own plans and forget them. Build a family of your own (friends, etc) that actually treats you like a grownup human being. Those people aren’t worth your bother.

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Jane December 15, 2016 at 7:23 am

I just read it over for the 3rd time. Your Own Parents!?!?!?! They didn’t tell you? Yeah, these folks are not your friends. Leave them behind.

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pennywit December 15, 2016 at 7:25 am

In situations like this, where a grave insult has been given, I ask myself WWWFD. (What Would Walder Frey Do?)

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Lacey December 15, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Literal LOL!!!

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Michelle December 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

He would send his regards, 10,000 Lannister troops and a couple of daughters/granddaughters he wanted to marry off. 🙂

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essie December 15, 2016 at 7:26 am

I’m a little confused. The cousin who usually hosts it can’t/won’t this year, but your parents ARE hosting a Christmas Eve event, right? Unless your parents are backing out, I don’t see why anyone would ask you to do it. Regardless, I think it’s unreasonable at this date for anyone to expect you to change the plans you’ve already made for Christmas Eve/Day AND move your NYD event back a week.

It would be nice to offer to do so, IF you’re willing, but I think (A) you’re not willing and (B) that’s adding too much drama and stress to the holidays. If anyone says anything, use your polite spine to point out that you had already made your plans before you heard about the new ones, it’s too late to change those plans, and ask if they’re still coming to your family event on NYD.

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LadyV December 15, 2016 at 3:42 pm

The timeline is a little confusing, but it sounds like all of this happened in a previous year, not this year. So it was in 2014 or 2015 that the parents were hosting the Christmas Eve event. Therefore, there’s currently no one planning to hold any Christmas event, and OP is afraid she’ll be asked to do it.

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Tracy P December 15, 2016 at 7:31 am

There are some serious communications issues in this family. The OP’s own parent’s didn’t tell her they were hosting a family get together at Christmas?

In hindsight, it seems as though the OP or someone from the discussion group should have sent an email or something out after the plans for Christmas were made. I can’t imagine not having a clue of what was going on with Christmas until the 1st of December.

Since you hadn’t announced anything by Thanksgiving, even the family members that were at the planning meeting might have assumed you weren’t going to host and therefore didn’t say anything when your parents spoke up. Or they may have assumed since it was your parents, that they had discussed with you and the location/time had changed.

I would try to let it go and attempt to host one more time. Send out the invitations before Thanksgiving if you can and see what happens. If it goes bad again, then gladly step back from hosting for good. If no one steps up to host, then it just might be time for the huge family group party to end and smaller parties to start.

Just curious, did folks still come to your New Year’s Day/Christmas party? If yes, why the big fuss? It just means you got a second party!

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DanaJ December 15, 2016 at 4:53 pm

I’m confused about the timeline. I don’t think either event has happened yet.

Unless I’m misunderstanding, historically hosting went well until two years ago, then it got shuffled around. Then this year the OP offered to host the big, family shindig at a family meeting. After that meeting there was a Thanksgiving event and the parents who didn’t want to host now want to host on Christmas Eve (because now-dead relative, who was alive at Thanksgiving, couldn’t make the drive to the OP’s).

So does that mean neither the parents’ dinner nor the OP’s has happened yet, but the OP is afraid everyone will try to have OP host at the last minute this year? Or is the OP worried about hosting Christmas dinner next year?

I lost track.

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L.R. December 17, 2016 at 3:08 pm

As I read it, it was LAST year that OP offered to host, Thanksgiving discussion changed the plans, OP’s parents hosted Christmas Eve with the ailing relative, OP may or may not have still hosted the celebration on New Year’s Day (unspecified), and then sometime during 2016 the ailing relative passed away and now OP is worried about how Christmas will go down this year. It was confusing.

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Marie December 15, 2016 at 7:40 am

Don’t host it, and don’t feel bad about it.

Not because of “resentment”, but if I read this correctly, you don’t feel like hosting this year. That means it will be a burden instead of a joy, and it will not make your Christmas better.

Your parents quit hosting partly because they didn’t feel appreciated, and this year you experienced exactly why (oddly enough in part due to your parents not mentioning the change of plans to you).

There is no reason at all to host. You volunteered, it was turned down, and this year you won’t host. There is no need to bring up why. If someone asks, return the question. “Unfortunately I cannot host this year, aunt Jane, but perhaps you can this year?” If someone is not willing to host, they have no business complaining that you won’t either.
If no one steps up, that is not your problem. Don’t even enter the discussion. Just say you are looking forward to receiving the invitation for Christmas.

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Julia December 15, 2016 at 7:54 am

They did not want you to host. Their excuse doesn’t hold. If one family member was unable to drive, someone else could have picked them up. I find it unlikely that one hour in a car (assuming they lived near your parents) was truly undoable. And if it was, someone would have told you. They didn’t, because no one wanted to be the one to tell you that they don’t want you to host it. If there was some sort of mix-up, there would have been an apology.

You mentioned that your parents didn’t want to host at first because they felt disrespected, but they didn’t see anything wrong with treating you like this. None of this will change unless there is a larger discussion about family culture and the way you treat each other as a group. Unfortunately you are in a terrible position to initiate a conversation like this. Anything you say will be construed as petty (which doesn’t mean that it *is* petty), so if you feel like you really need to talk about it, talk to individuals that are close to you about what they individually did, not the group as a whole. And don’t expect anything to change as a result.

If asked to host, do not agree unless you are prepared for a repeat of last year. You don’t have to give a reason, you can simply say it will not be possible this year. When pressed, you can give them generic reasons, like you are too busy or cannot afford it. It doesn’t matter how much time or resources you actually have, you are always too busy to plan a party that may or may not happen, for a group of people that is likely to misbehave and spoil your fun.

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oregonbird December 17, 2016 at 7:28 pm

This is a sensible approach!

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kgg December 15, 2016 at 7:54 am

I would let it go, because what’s the point? You have a right to be upset, because they were inconsiderate, but you’re not going to gain anything by holding a grudge. I think that, as generations go on, trying to include everyone you spent Christmas with as a child is near impossible. Families expand and add on new parts. So spending the holiday with your aunts and uncles and all their respective families may not be feasible. I think that you have to pick the core people you celebrate the holiday with who can be on the same page as you, and then if you want to host an open house, host an open house for family and friends on a different date. If they come, they come.

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Anon December 15, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I think it’s a little different being excluded from your OWN PARENTS party. I think that’s the main problem, not only in that they refused to send OP an invite (or forgot, but really?) but to be excluded by their own parents?

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Huh December 15, 2016 at 8:25 am

Nope, no way would I host. If asked, I would say something along the lines of “apparently the drive was too far, so my place isn’t even an option” and if pressed, “You all went and changed your minds and didn’t bother telling me, I’m not having a repeat of that.”

Did you still have your party? And it was at your parents?! Why didn’t they say anything to you?

I know people like to have big extended family Christmases, but maybe it’s time to let that pass.

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Cleosia December 15, 2016 at 8:35 am

Somehow it seems that they’ve already tried to isolate you by not letting you know of the Christmas Eve dinner long before you found out by accident. I do have to wonder if they don’t approve of your partner and had decided not to let you know before someone had accidentally let the cat out of the bag. I ask this because I have a hard time swallowing the fact that 35 people just forgot to mention it to you.

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AppleEye December 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Not to mention they were not invited to thanksgiving, either.

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LadyV December 15, 2016 at 8:52 am

OP, I’m afraid this is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. If you’re asked and say no, you’ll be “ruining Christmas for everyone”. If you do host, and you show anything but 100% enthusiasm (and frankly, I can understand how that might be difficult), you’ll also be “ruining Christmas”. My advice is, do what’s best for you and your partner, and don’t worry what anyone else might think. If other people are so set on having a family Christmas celebration, they can volunteer to host it.

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Vic December 15, 2016 at 9:24 am

I found your post to be a bit confusing. I’m not sure what the mention of your cousin at the beginning has to do with it and the timing of your conversations is confusing. But, regarding your actual dilemma, just tell them that your dinner is scheduled for New Years Eve just as you planned, and you’re looking forward to seeing everyone then. I honestly don’t understand why you’re blaming the 35 people you mentioned for not telling you that your own parents were hosting a dinner on Christmas Eve. If I was one of those 35, I would assume that the hosts would have told their own children. It would never, in a million years, occur to me that you didn’t know. And since the dinner you were planning was scheduled for New Years Day, I would have thought this was a New Years dinner, not a Christmas celebration.

I think you have good reason to be upset with your parents, since they planned to host this and didn’t tell you. But, you have no standing to be angry with anyone else. My guess is that they just assumed you were in a new house and wanted to host a celebration of your own even though your parents were already hosting the “official” Christmas dinner. Have you talked to your parents about this to find out if it was some kind of misunderstanding?

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SianMcClay December 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

But there was a meeting of the family who decided, the large family Christmas celebration would be at OP’s house on New Years Day. Christmas eve and day were reserved for immediate family gatherings.
So no one, who attended the “lets plan christmas” meeting that the whole family was invited to, would mistake New Years Day Christmas celebration as a New Years housewarming party.

The whole situation is weird though. How did the large family Christmas on Christmas Eve celebration get planned and OP not get an invite? I wish that part of the story had been finished.

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Vic December 15, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Agreed. I’d really like to know if the OP asked her parents about it and what their reaction was.

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NicoleK December 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Yeah I would have assumed she knew too

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Anon December 15, 2016 at 9:32 am

They have a lot of gall if there’s resentment because you say you won’t host this year, especially considering that no one out of 35 people even bothered to mention, I’m assuming, last year’s plans to you.

I’m terrible myself (or vindictive, whatever), but if it were me I would make other plans. If they can’t even bother to try to contact you by talking to you, email, instant messenger, phoning, facebook, twitter, writing a letter, etc. then I honestly don’t think they’re worth it. I mean even your PARENTS didn’t think “oh hey, let’s make sure our OWN CHILD knows that we’re hosting Christmas this year!” Really?

What did they think would happen, that you could read minds? Did they get mad at you for wanting to host your own party even thought hey hadn’t even bothered to mention theirs to you?

I guess overall I would go with a “Unfortunately, I’m unable to host this year.” Don’t give a reason, you may even not be able to if something comes up. If they can’t handle the fact that a person doesn’t or can’t host, I’m not sure why you stay in contact with these people.

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Dee December 15, 2016 at 2:33 pm

It’s not vindictive at all to to make other plans, given the response to the offer to host. If a person makes a generous offer and the response is lukewarm, to say the least, then the offer should end right there. Maybe the host isn’t particularly likable, or the guests have a lot on their plate and can’t even contemplate making a firm commitment to something that is optional, or maybe the guests are jerks. It doesn’t matter. There is no point in forcing hospitality/gifts/whatever on others who do not particularly want it. Nobody wins when that happens.

It does make me wonder, in this case, if OP’s offer was not exactly accepted. Maybe the reception to that offer was a lot of humming and hawing but no outright opposition or counter offers led the OP to assume she was accepted. I know people who are so enthusiastic in their plans with others that they cannot hear the word “no” unless it’s shouted at them loud and clear, resulting in a mega explosion that makes such honesty too painful to repeat. And so, others just remain bland and non-committal at each offer and the person is left feeling used and discarded because they won’t pay attention to the anvil-sized hints dropping on their head.

In this case, OP does seem to be quite eager to host gatherings that she was never asked or suggested to do by anyone else. That silence is kind of loud.

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Julie December 16, 2016 at 12:33 am

Dee, thank you for stating my thoughts. As one of the people who will hem and haw to avoid outright saying ”no, we’d prefer to do (something else)”, overbearing people can really make me feel forced into a position of flat out rudeness ultimately. I wondered after reading this if the family actually did agree or the OP possibly would benefit from reviewing her own behavior and see if she is forcing issues onto the family. She may think she is delighted to have everyone over to her new home, but perhaps she is perceived as one who is rubbing it in their faces if she has a much nicer home, etc. There also could be other reasons, such as general bossiness etc. There’s SOMETHING terribly amiss here if 35 people behaved this way ”out of the blue”. I know I am playing devil’s advocate here and probably will get roundly chastised but MY family is full of overbearing people who hear only themselves and surely there HAS to be posters on this board that are like that as well.

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Anon December 16, 2016 at 8:59 am

That could be a possibility, but it still sounds like their parents never even told OP about their own party, did they just not want her to come rather than giving OP a direct answer of “sorry honey, we’re hosting this year”?

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Dee December 17, 2016 at 11:14 am

Anon- I agree, things still don’t add up. OP doesn’t say that she has a problem with her parents’ behaviour, other than that they apparently didn’t think of her at all, so at least some of it starts to point back to OP. Her parents and siblings never tried to include her in the Thanksgiving dinner, and it might be that her exclusion was deliberate, since at that dinner people gathered to make plans for future holiday dinners without OP’s input. Something big is going on here and it’s either complete dysfunction in the family outside of OP, or OP’s got big issues but can’t see her role in any of this, or a combo of the two. Since OP doesn’t point out any other problems amongst her parents and siblings it leads one to conclude that she is, at least partly, responsible. For that, she needs to do some serious introspection and exploration. It’s possible this family can’t play nicely together anyway but she is still responsible for any part she plays.

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BellyJean December 15, 2016 at 9:39 am

Wow… I’m so sorry that your family (and especially your parents!?!) are so inconsiderate. How did your own PARENTS not even let you know? That’s beyond rude and the fact that you weren’t invited to Thanksgiving dinner – what is that all about? Very sorry about that. So, did you end up cancelling your “Christmas” on New Year’s Day? 🙁

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E.H. December 15, 2016 at 9:44 am

As families get larger and children have children, new traditions need to be created. I think you’re in your right to include your parents and your husband’s family (if possible) and maybe your direct siblings and start a new tradition of holidays in your family. You’re under no obligation to continue to host family that is unappreciative of your efforts.

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Mags December 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

“Don’t look at me. I offered last year, and that went over so badly that we weren’t even invited to the family Christmas party.”

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ketchup December 15, 2016 at 5:59 pm

This. Just this.

Who cares what they think? You worry too much. Find or make your own family. Go to their events when they remember to invite you. Or not. Otherwise, choose for yourselves.

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DGS December 15, 2016 at 9:48 am

Don’t host. Hard stop. If the entire family did not have the courtesy to reach out to you and communicate that for whatever reason they did not think coming to your house was a good idea (whether it was distance, driving, whatever it was) – they don’t deserve you to have you host them. What they did was rude. It was very thoughtless and very unkind. Host a party for your friends or neighbors instead.

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Amanda December 15, 2016 at 10:02 am

Three dozen people will never agree on anything. Do what is right for you.

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Semperviren December 22, 2016 at 11:39 am

This is an excellent point.

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Dawn December 15, 2016 at 10:08 am

I’m shocked that your PARENTS were the updated hosts and didn’t bother to tell you. What ended up happening? Did you still host everyone on New Year’s Day? If so, who showed up?

As for being asked, tell them you did that before and it didn’t turn out so well, did it?

-Dawn

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livvy17 December 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

I would say that if you enjoy these people, and enjoy hosting parties, do it. Otherwise, if you are doing it out of a sense of obligation, I’d say no. I understand your resentment totally, I don’t think I’d personally volunteer myself as host again for a long time. Why the heck did your own PARENTS not let you know?

It may be that no one has volunteered because no one wants to do it anymore. Sometimes these kinds of extended family events become very difficult to keep together. You might also consider suggesting that the family move to a different format – a family picnic in the summer, for example, when people don’t have so many other obligations, or as many weather difficulties.

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Daniotra December 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

If you like hosting parties, and it will make you happy to throw the party, then go ahead and host. You can cut down the invite list if you so choose. If you cannot host without feeling bitter, then pass on this “honor” and let someone else take on the responsibility this year. You may want to host again in a few years. You don’t need to justify why you are not hosting, and don’t let others, or yourself, guilt you into hosting.

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Honeybee December 15, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Yep, that’s where I fall–if you want to host, do so. If not, then don’t.

And if asked to host just say “It isn’t going to work out for us this year.” No further explanation is required.

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SianMcClay December 15, 2016 at 10:54 am

I’m a little confused at to how this played out. It starts with “two years ago” but as I read on it seems like the meeting about what to do around hosting Christmas is this year.
So I read it as, two years ago Cousin announced they would not host Christmas at the last minute. I don’t know what happened that Christmas. But this Christmas, a meeting was called, and a house not yet bought was offered as the place to host. Surely this is the Christmas following the Christmas with the last minute cancellation. Because how could you have a family meeting, look for a house, buy a house, have a thanksgiving dinner that you’re not invited too, and people make alternate plans…well you know where this is going, all at the last minute?

But did the house buying and christmas switch happen this year, or last year? I’m think it is actually happening now, you sent out invitations, you got your brand new house all ready for the party, you talked about purchases and borrowing china for the Christmas celebration (I’ll just call it a party), and no one told you about the alternate Christmas? Did those who knew about the Christmas Eve do at your parents house, as well as your Christmas do, just think, oh we won’t tell them and we’ll just go to both?

If I were you, I would sent out notice to everyone who had received an invitation to your Christmas thing, stating” that you had just been informed that the plans made at the pre-Christmas family planning session had been changed, but no one had notified you, the designated host.
You’re very sorry, you have already made plans for Christmas Eve and Day, so you can’t make this year’s family do. And who wants to go through it twice, right? So, sorry about the confusion, we hope to catch you next year.” I would be very light, and fun with it, (with a pinch of sarcasm because I can be bad) and if anyone called me and tried to explain anything or thought I was being a drama queen, I would just say, Don’t worry, these things happen.

And then I would send out invitations to my close friends, maybe my kids friends, some people I don’t know but would like to know better, people who are interesting, and go on with my Christmas party plans, sans family, plus these people. I think that would be awesome.

But it also sounds like this may be the year, after, the Christmas switch, if so…host if you want to, but don’t if you’re feeling resentful. Let them judge away. That’s their problem, not yours.

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PJ December 15, 2016 at 10:55 am

There’s no way (for my own peace of mind) that I’d host in the upcoming year. I would be resentful of the way I was treated just the year before and I wouldn’t find the relatives trustworthy enough to believe that my party won’t be cancelled at the last minute again. Maybe a year later I’d feel differently.

This time around, if I were you, I’d have some excuse for not being able to do it, and see where everything falls. Then that year can be the test of whether the extended family values your relationship or your party facilities.

In fact, that knowledge would inform whether I even want to see them on future Christmases.

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Shoegal December 15, 2016 at 10:57 am

Well, I know this doesn’t make it all right – but stuff like this happens in families. When it is a group, information that should have been passed never does because everybody assumes someone else is doing it. I would have thought your mother – the person who stopped hosting family events because of the expense and lack of respect – would have spoken to you before and told you about the change in plans. I would have thought the aunt and cousins would have questioned what you were talking about when you asked about borrowing china. I also understand that your feelings are hurt. That recently happened to me. My sisters and mom have a secret Santa exchange early in December and I was told one day and it got changed and nobody told me. Everyone arrives with their gifts and I arrive with nothing because I thought it was the next week.

Ok – so what to do. You don’t want to host because you don’t want to put yourself out there again to be disappointed and disrespected. You can play it by ear. Don’t offer – see how it plays out. Somebody else might step up to the plate. Ok – fine – if that happens then you fretted for nothing. If no one does, then you may decide that you can graciously put this miscommunication behind you because it is Christmas and it is your family and offer to host.

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Cor December 15, 2016 at 11:15 am

Why didn’t OP’s parents mention they were hosting Christmas Eve? I can’t imagine my parents would overlook telling me something like that, even if my aunts and cousins did!

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Anon December 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Yeah we have so many means of communication now-a-days that it’s weird that you wouldn’t be able to contact anyone for the 4-5 weeks in-between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Princess Buttercup December 15, 2016 at 11:35 am

If you don’t want to host and someone asks say “due to personal reasons I will not be able to do that”. Simple as that. They don’t have to know that the personal reasons is that they are inconsiderate and rude. If they pester ask them what part of personal do they not understand.

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swamptribe December 15, 2016 at 11:36 am

Honestly, I think it’s more a matter of not being a doormat as opposed to ‘just letting it go’. What they did was, how to phrase this, horribly dismissive of you. To me, this is a good time to use the phrase ‘I’m sorry, that won’t be possible’.

My husband and I recently moved back to our home town. We started hosting holiday get together for my family. I’d even invite them over occasionally just for a dinner to catch up. Each time, they would show up, barely speak to us. Instantly walk into the room and turn sports on TV (never even asked if we minded). My husband and I would both try as best we could to get some type of chat going. They would also actually be rude to me. My hill finally came up. One holiday when I had prepared an elaborate meal. 45 minutes before they were to arrive, I got a call informing me that one of them didn’t feel well, so nobody was coming. The second and finally straw was during a visit of my MIL. I invited family over to catch up with her. Same old crap, TV, WiFi. At one point I asked a sister a question and she yelled at me telling her to not bother her. That was it. They have hinted about ‘we’ll, don’t know where were going for Thanksgiving. I just don’t even offer anymore.

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Vic December 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm

That’s horrible swamptribe. I’m glad for your sake that you’re not hosting these ungrateful people any more. They don’t deserve your hospitality.

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Cat December 15, 2016 at 11:41 am

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” You put a great deal of time and planning into a family event and your family absconded without telling you. They never apologized for setting you up like that.
Now you are worried that, if you don’t repeat your original offer, they will tell you that you “should let it go”.
I’d suggest meeting at a restaurant so that, if they don’t show up, you can have dinner and go home. You can say you have already offered to host and will allow someone else to host this year- and smile.

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Leigh December 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

OP, there’s a lot going on, and a lot of it reminds me of one side of my family (the largest side). There is an overall lack of communication, and when asked about it, my family inevitably falls to “Oh, it was on Facebook,” or “I could have sworn I called and told you,” to “I thought s0-and-so already told you.”
Your parents know this, because they stopped hosting due to what you called disrespect in their eyes, and now you’ve experienced the same thing. Your cousin likely stopped hosting for (at least in part) a similar reason.

I would suggest talking. Tell your parents how you feel. “You didn’t want to host because of expense and because of disrespect, and I get that. I felt disrespected when you hosted another gathering and didn’t tell me.”

Tell other family members the same thing.

If it were me, and I was asked to host, I would, but I wouldn’t volunteer. If you host, you’ll see everyone, and you can clear the air. Not with a grand speech, but one on one, face to face. Tell them you love your family, but you were hurt. Tell them you’d prefer seven calls or e-mails about the same thing instead of none at all. Tell them to eat up, enjoy the holiday, and don’t marinate in unspoken resentment.

If you speak up, host dinner, and a similar incident happens again, you can bow out of future hosting with a clean conscience, bean dipping all the way.

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Dee December 15, 2016 at 11:52 am

I’m so confused. OP, you say that cousin cancelled hosting the Christmas dinner at the last minute, and you and your partner stepped up and volunteered to do it, and to make things easier you had an earlier event in the summer beforehand in order to accustom people to your new home … but which one is it, that the cousin cancelled last minute or that she cancelled MONTHS ahead of time?

You rack up lots of problems in your submission but none of them are about Christmas dinner. What are the problems you allude to regarding cousin’s previous Christmas dinners? What about the big red flag reasons why your parents don’t host anymore? Why aren’t you more bothered by the fact that your parents have invited everyone but you to their Christmas Eve dinner than that you were misled into believing only you were holding the extended family event? Why don’t your parents and sibling(s) talk to you? Why weren’t you invited to Thanksgiving? Why do people in your family not speak to each other?

Either everyone in your family is dysfunctional or you are or there’s a combo of the two. That’s your problem to solve, if it is solvable. Forget happy family gatherings nobody seems capable of and focus on what’s really happening – namely, a whole lot of not talking or cooperating. Whatever your role is in this you have to own it and make the change to see if that has any effect on family dynamics. If it’s not you then you need to say your piece and then let it go. But I certainly wouldn’t be planning anything for a family that can’t get along together unless I enjoyed being a martyr.

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Vic December 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Yep. I found this post confusing as well. I couldn’t figure out the timing which made the dilemma hard to understand.

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AJ December 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm

The first part ‘at the last minute’ was two years ago in 2014

The second part took place the thanksgiving and xmas of 2015.

She is now, understandably, worried about 2016.

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Princess Buttercup December 15, 2016 at 7:32 pm

It’s not really that hard to understand. Go reread. OP states that _two years ago_ cousin stopped hosting. (Also look at submission date it was written August 2010.) So after cousin canceled, likely in the new year, they held a family meeting and OP volunteered to host. They found a home, moved in, held a welcome party and as the year went on started planning the holiday party. Things went wrong and the next year OP wrote this submission.
My guess off hand is family that didn’t attend the meeting may have had something against the host or felt slighted somehow and decided fine, I’m doing my own thing.
Either way I don’t know why people are having issues following a played out path.

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Dee December 16, 2016 at 1:34 am

I read it through a number of times and it’s still confusing the way it’s written. InTheEther has clarified it a fair bit, in a comment farther down. I highly doubt, however, that the OP wrote this letter in 2010, and there’s nothing to indicate that she did, and which, if true, should make everyone scratch their heads in wonder and confusion. Maybe you want to reread the letter?

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Princess Buttercup December 16, 2016 at 11:03 am

Base of the letter says 0820-10 that means it was submitted August 20, 2010. Again try rereading, it’s pretty easy to figure out.

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Dee December 17, 2016 at 11:06 am

Oh, sure, okay, so the events that happened in 2014, 2015, and 2016 OP wrote down in a letter and submitted to this site in August 2010? Um, okay, if that works for you …

KenderJ December 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm

@ Dee
Why do you think the events happened in 2014-15-16?

PWH December 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

Hi OP, I can’t believe your family would have done that to you, knowing full well the costs involved in hosting. I feel even worse since it was your parents who decided to host this new event and didn’t tell you (never mind the other family members who you were in contact with). I too would be reluctant to offer to host again. If your family does want you to host, express your concerns. Do mention last year’s communication issues. In this case I think honesty is the best policy.

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stacey December 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Host only if you want to and if you can be at peace with the vagaries of your family’s dynamics. Hosting events has never been about “will you host”? It’s never been about “should I host”? It’s always and exclusively about your joy in the event, your desire to create it and to experience it. Only as a secondary consequence are guests considered. (Then, if they don’t show or misbehave, your event may have been marred, but it isn’t ruined). Entertaining is a lot of work and expense. It takes a lot of time and a lot of heart. And you’re still just setting the stage for the possibility of great conversation, interaction and memories. So- yes, do it. (But do it for yourself and only if you really want to).

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Kimberley Rusthoven December 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

I wouldn’t host. If brought up, I would just casually remind them I already offered and got ready to host last time. I would fear plans would again be changed at the last minute without telling me and we can’t afford wasted expenses right now.

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magicdomino December 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

I agree with others that the timeline is a little confusing. How long ago was this family meeting? It sounds like it was early that year since you mentioned that you hosted a summer party the same year. If it was many months ago, people may have simply forgotten, especially since they tend to be pretty casual about things.

Now why neither your sister nor your parents didn’t tell you about Christmas at their house is another question, but it may have been the old assumption that of course”somebody” told OP.

Looks like this is an old submission if I’m reading the date correctly (0820-10). I’m curious if the OP was in fact asked to host.

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rindlrad December 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

I’m assuming your parents participated in the family meeting were it was decided where and when to celebrate the family Christmas (i.e., this is not just some big miscommunication). If so, I believe the people you need to speak with are your parents as they are the people who offered to host Christmas after the group had agreed to hold it at your house on a certain date and, apparently, neglected to extend you and your partner an invitation to this “family” Christmas gathering. It was thoughtless and rude to change plans behind your back and then allow you to continue expending time and money on your gathering. And they think showing up late for dinner is disrespectful!!!

As you say in your submission, you can choose to withdraw and isolate yourself from your family. You can choose to say nothing and act like nothing happened. Personally, neither of those options sounds very attractive to me, but it really depends on how much you value these relationships. I’m not sure confronting your entire family and demanding an apology is going to work for you, but you can certainly speak to your parents and tell them firmly and politely how their actions affected you and your partner (hurt, wasted time and money, embarrassment, etc.).

As to whether you and your partner host again for your family – I wouldn’t let one bad experience keep you from hosting if it’s what you want to do. Just be sure to invite early and often to ensure everyone knows what’s going on. It sounds like your family might be like mine – I feel like I’m over-communicating to the point of being annoying and there will still be someone (usually my brother) who says, “I never heard about that!”

Good luck!

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NostalgicGal December 15, 2016 at 3:42 pm

It’s sort of a muddled mess but. Proceed with what you offered to do, what you sent invitations out for. If you get snubbed or stood up THEN proceed from there. As for the being shut out from Thanksgiving and the planning, that was inexcuseable. With that many people it should have gotten to you about Thanksgiving. Period. It may be the family dynamics are just plain changing but.

Proceed with what you planned, for Christmas, for New Year’s, and take the next year as it comes. Try on your side to find out what’s going on for the big days BEFORE hand, be proactive and ask. So you aren’t left out of the loop–as they’ve demonstrated they’re willing to let you fall through the cracks, so you will have to take it up yourself. Knowing they can do this, take it as it may keep happening and don’t let it happen. IF it’s done to you again, polish the spine and start making your own plans.

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lakey December 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

It’s terrible the way you were treated. If it is requested that you do Christmas I think you need to clear the air. I would send an emaill to all family members. In it I would state that it had been decided at the family meeting that you would host the Christmas dinner. You went to trouble and expense planning it, and then you were stunned to find out that the plans had been changed and no one bothered to inform you. I would then say that I would still be willing to do it, but I feel that in the future people need to make sure that they are being considerate of whoever goes to all of the work and expense of putting on the event.

I’m saying all this from the point of view of someone who did the big holiday dinners, while also taking responsibility for caring for my ninety-something year old father. There were times when I was upset over how I was being taken for granted and imposed on. I spoke up about some of this to the three worst offenders. It helped a lot.

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lakey December 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Oops, “emaill” = “email”.

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ketchup December 15, 2016 at 6:07 pm

You worry too much about their opinions of you. Your own emotions are important and you deserve to have and show them. Don’t bottle it all up. It’s not right to have to carry that burden.

Speak up. Don’t let them walk over you. If you feel snubbed like that, do something about it. If you don’t tell them they hurt you, how will they know? There’s a big difference between standing up for yourself and being rude. You deserve some respect, yes? So tell them.

Keeping the peace may seem like a kind thing to do, but you need to take of yourself too. And they don’t seem to want to do that, and if you don’t, then no one does. I hope you find your voice in this mess. And I hope it’ll get better.

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Yet Another Laura December 15, 2016 at 7:42 pm

As someone with a family the size of a small town, I’m imagining the following scene at Thanksgiving:

Where’s Letter Writer?
I don’t know, did you invite them?
I thought you did.
Oh no, I thought X did.
Y was the one calling everyone.
Wait a minute, I was only calling Cousins A, B, and C. You knew that!
Hey Z, did you tell Letter Writer they’re invited?
Me? I didn’t know I was supposed to. Doesn’t D usually do the phone tree?
Oh no! I didn’t know you weren’t going to tell Letter Writer about Thanksgiving. I hope they’re not angry at us.

The larger the group, the more likely it is that everyone thought someone else told you to come resulting in nobody mentioning it until it’s too late. And everyone will assume it’s someone else’s fault for not telling you and therefore won’t apologize. It happens. One occurrence is just an oopsie.

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Anon December 16, 2016 at 8:57 am

Honestly, the family has communication problems if the parents can’t even ask “Oh hey so and so, are you coming to our Christmas party this year?”

I would understand the confusion if it wasn’t immediate family and the OP was hard to contact, but it was immediate family and it sounds like the OP talks on the phone enough.

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Anonymous December 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Yes. Those kinds of miscommunications can happen–in fact, one popular TV plot line is one where a surprise party is afoot, and everyone neglects to invite the guest of honour, because they thought that “someone else” was doing that.

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Goldie December 16, 2016 at 1:30 pm

You’d think the Letter Writer’s parents would mention to Letter Writer that they are hosting a Christmas party! And I’ll bet money everybody else assumed they would, which is why nobody told the LW – they thought her parents/hosts had taken care of that.

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InTheEther December 15, 2016 at 9:01 pm

For those expressing confusion about the time frame (and I know it wasn’t sent this year. But if I try to guess I’ll invariably be wrong)

Christmas 2014 – Cousin has been hosting for several years but as a result of drama declared that she would no longer do so, cancelling the current plans. Presumably there was NO big family get together as there was no time to reorganize.

Early 2015 – Not having the big Christmas celebration apparently bothered people enough that it was decided that there would be a big family meeting to decide what to do for Christmas 2015. At some point in all this or previously OP’s parents declared their disinclination to host since people were being poor guests. During said meeting it was decided that Christmas Eve and Day would be left free for everybody to do their own thing, and OP would host the family get together at her place (which they were in the process of purchasing) on New Years.

Summer 2015- OP invites extended family to house so everyone knows where it is. Also, sprinkle in multiple instances of talking about, planning for, and prepping for Big New Years celebration throughout the year, including 1 week before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2015 – Relative X hosts a Thanksgiving celebration which OP is not invited to. At which someone goes “You know, Y doesn’t want to drive all the way to OPs.” So all those present decide that OP’s parents will host the big family get together on Christmas instead, despite parents’ previous disinclination to do so. Those there for that celebration then proceed to tell everyone BUT OP and partner.

Dec 1st 2015 – OP sends out invitations with all relevant info just to make sure everything is clear. She is then contacted by cousin, who is confused because s/he was told of the new plans. Presumably OP cancelled the New Years party since it was then redundant.

Approaching Christmas 2016 – Y, who plans were changed for, has passed away. All the usual suspects for hosting either can’t or won’t do so for Big Christmas Celebration this year. OP expects to be asked to do so and isn’t crazy about the idea.

I am NOT the OP. But, I guess the writing just didn’t confuse me. I’m pretty darn certain the passage of time in my timeline is correct, even if some # needs to be subtracted from all the years.

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Dee December 16, 2016 at 1:25 am

Thanks for the translation, InTheEther. It helps a lot.

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Saucy Minx December 15, 2016 at 10:39 pm

That is one confusing letter. No wonder the inter-family communication is so poor, if this is a sample. I take, it, however, that the people involved know the timeline & are less befuddled than I by the account.

Focussing simply on the fact of the parents not inviting the LW to the festivities at their house on the changed date, my own plan would be to spend the holidays in Germany, which has delightful Christmas atmosphere, or Austria or Switzerland. Or New England. How about Canada? Break the cycle, come back refreshed, & when sufficiently calm, ask the parents to explain in one-syllable words how they see future family gatherings, & whether the LW should carry on w/ making holiday plans that don’t include her parents.

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Ange December 16, 2016 at 12:41 am

I can definitely understand why everyone backs out of hosting eventually.

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Kay_L December 16, 2016 at 5:20 am

You have a lovely new home. Time to nurture a lovely he chosen family of friends and neighbors and have a delightful celebration where everyone not only comes but is excited and joyful to be there.

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Claire December 16, 2016 at 7:19 am

Just a thought, the OP says xmas eve and day were planned to be for immediate family – maybe she was invited to her parents for xmas eve (hence why she’s not mad at them as thats what I’d be most annoyed at) and she just didn’t realise that it was the entire extended family

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IfIEver December 16, 2016 at 11:35 am

I’m always the odd one out here. 🙂 First, I don’t have a big problem with the parents deciding to have a smaller family xmas eve party fully intending for everyone to enjoy the BIG extended family party at OPs house later on. There’ snothing wrong with celebrating a couple of times is there? Many people do this, especially is there are uncertain of the weather that’s coming up or illnesses etc.

And for those of you who tell the OP to ditch the family….wow. You just do away with your family over every little offense? What bad advise. Family and friends tick together, even when it gets tough, or rough.

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Kariachi December 16, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Inviting everyone but the OP and their partner to Thanksgiving- Offense #1
Inviting everyone but the OP and their partner to Christmas- Offense #2
Not apologizing for either prior offense, thereby sending the message that excluding the OP and their partner from family events is fine and dandy- Offense #3

I believe the 3 strike rule applies here

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Alan December 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm

For years, my partner and I have been renting a suite at a hotel out of town, taking a couple of bottles of wine and munchies. Most sane decision we’ve ever made.

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David December 18, 2016 at 5:28 am

I remember one year, I invited the entire family over for Christmas (we were taking turns hosting). Everyone was invited months before and it was known by everyone that Christmas was at my house.

I bought all the fixings, decorated up the house and then two days before Christmas I get a call saying; “Oh, we’ve all decided to have Christmas at our individual homes this year because it’s just too far to drive.”

It depressed me, but I figured; “Oh well, I guess I’ll have a lot of food for later.” Then Christmas day I got another phone call; ” Oh, we’re all at mom’s for Christmas, where are you?”

And that was the last time I bothered to invite any of them anywhere.

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stacey December 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm

I hate sabotage. It’s cowardly. If they didn’t want to attend, a simple “no” would have sufficed. Hopefully you’ve found more considerate guests this year.

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admin December 18, 2016 at 12:02 am

Princess Buttercup is correct. The number at the end of every submitted story is the date the email was received in my Submission In Box. I have a backlog of over 1000 such submitted emails all waiting to be posted to the blog (most won’t). When I need holiday stories, I search for them, like “Christmas” and post them accordingly. You assumed the OP’s events occurred in 2014, 2015 and 2016 since the original story never mentions those dates.

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