I don’t know if this will be in time for Christmas, but here goes.
I love hosting our extended family Christmas, and this year it’s on the 30th December. It’ll be a large family gathering, all the generations getting together, hopefully without much fuss!
My elderly Father loves to party, but due to ill health, my Stepmother can’t come with him. Father doesn’t like to leave her alone for too long, so he’s just going to come for the day. He can no longer drive, and we’ve offered to pick him up, but he’s determined to take the local train. I think he’s quite looking forward to it, he doesn’t get out much and it’s a bit of an adventure. I know he’s dead stubborn, and values what independence he has.
My brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles have all agreed to send Father and his wife their gifts beforehand. That way they can open them together on the 25th, with one of my uncles and aunts who’ll be going over on Christmas day. We’ve agreed that on the 30th, each couple will give him a small, lightweight present, just a little token, something to open when everyone’s exchanging gifts. This way he doesn’t get left out, but won’t be overburdened. We did this last year, and it worked well.
Here’s the problem – we posted off our gifts last week, from me, DH and our little ones (who loved choosing presents for ‘Gramps and Granny Jess’). But when I spoke to my brother, he said they’ve decided not to do that this year. For whatever reason, he and his wife want Father to open all their gifts when the whole family’s around. They’re also going to give him our Stepmother’s gifts, for him to carry home.
I can’t see Father managing to carry all those gifts back on the train! He’s in his late 70’s and the doctor’s told him he needs to use stick, even though refuses to. He’s not as strong as he was, not even as strong as last year. I know he won’t say anything of course, he’ll give it a go, but I’m worried he’ll hurt himself trying.
I know my brother’s a grown man and can make his own decisions, and yes, so is my Father, and they’re both stubborn as each other! But I’m the hostess, and I want to make things as easy and comfortable as possible for Father, as my guest. Do I butt out, or ask my brother one more time to come round to our way of thinking? 1216-16
I’m firmly of the belief that adults should often be allowed to be adults. In other words, do nothing. Your father is an adult who has the capacity to know that his son and daughter-in-law just made his trip home harder and to make plans for someone to mail his gifts to him at a later date. And there is no way you can change your brother.
I suggest the following. After the gift exchanges are over, you can offer to pack up Dad’s gifts and ship them for him. How nice! What a good daughter you are!
I also suggest buying one of the nifty folding grocery carts like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Olympia-Tools-85-404-Pack-N-Roll-Rolling/dp/B003ES5TM4/, so that Dad has an easy way to take those gifts home with him should he decline your offer to mail them. The cool thing is that once home, it can do double duty as a rolling laundry basket.