General Etiquette > Holidays

Your holiday hill to die on.

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So, here at ehell, we're pretty dedicated to finding the most polite, sensible solution to problems, but somehow, all of those skills seem to evaporate for some of us (ME included) when we're trying to negotiate the holidays. 

We compromise.  We put up with boorish, bizarre behavior from others just to keep the peace.  We put ourselves through a scheduling wringer to try to make all sides of the family happy- even though we know there's a veritible army of ehellions online, cheering us on, chanting, "Just tell your (MIL, uncle, dad, etc.) the universe doesn't revolve around him!"

I was wondering which of you have had your "hill to die on" moment.  That crystal clear moment in which you realized that the requests you were accomodating were not reasonable and you changed the way you handled holidays.  I'd love to hear about them, and how you handled it in a non-violent, ehell-approved manner.

If this is the wrong place for this thread, and it belongs in the Coffee Break folder, I'm sorry!

I think I posted about this before, but my family have a habit of calling me the day before (or the day of) and expecting me to go along with whatever they decide (spontaneous 200 mile trip to see Great Aunt Maude, nothing for me to eat, and I have to work tonight? yeah, lovely). I can call them ahead of time, but they either won't call me back or won't make a decision.

I spent Christmas Eve one year twiddling my thumbs and waiting for them. I decided I don't want to spend the holidays/vacation time like that. If they call, they call. If they can't be bothered, I'll make my own plans. Right now I am on vacation and I haven't even told them I'm off. It is strangely relaxing just to do whatever I dang well feel like doing, even if it is cleaning the closets. Well, I do still have the kitties spontaneously demanding snacks ;) but...

My hill to die on was the 1st Christmas with DD.  She was 4 days old on Christmas Eve, and after an exhausting day of visiting with family, DH allowed his parents, sibs, and one sib's violent SO to invite themselves over, after 10pm, to open presents.  Because "its the DHname family tradition!".  Did I mention that we had seen them every day that week because we had a newborn? 

They didn't leave until after midnight, and SIL had the nerve to say that I wasn't being a good hostess since I didn't have food ready or enough seats, and shouldn't I give up my seat for MIL?  Maybe because I wasn't expecting to a. go into labor several weeks early and have the baby, b. have 7 extra people crammed into my living room which seated 6, and c. have them stay until after midnight because their traditions were more important than us getting to bed at a decent hour. 

I told SIL that she was welcome to let her mom sit in her spot, but I wasn't moving from my seat since "I just had a baby.  She's not even a week old, and they don't just crawl out on their own.  But thanks for asking, I'm quite fine sitting right here." 

Not my best moment, but again *4 days postpardum with a house full of demanding ILs after 10pm*. 

I solved this by telling DH, "Never, ever again.  I'm not hosting a gift swap in our tiny apartment, especially since SIL was rude to me in my own home." 

If we absolutely cannot find a way to be with each of our families *together* for Christmas (usually due to distance), we must find a way to get back together somewhere/anywhere for New Year's Eve.  I sort of guess my hill to die on is not being with my SO to start the next year (although not a deal breaker).  I have always looked at Christmas as a close family thing and New Year's as a friend's/everyone else thing.

The way I have handled it in the past is to plan ahead as soon as we know how much time we have off from work for the holidays between Christmas and New Year's and plan logistically the best place to meet from there.

Note: I am someone who does not have children (which may make a difference in how you look at my post!)

Lady Snowdon:
My "hill" was about 4 years ago, so right after we got married.  We were spending Christmas with DH's family that year, and they wanted us to come over for dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by watching It's a Wonderful Life.  Then on Christmas Day, they wanted everyone to be over at their house by 10 am, so we could all do present opening in the morning before going on to visit various family members in the afternoon.  Well, dinner was late, we had to fast forward through half of It's a Wonderful Life to get done watching it before church (I was like "church?") and the evening service was long, so DH and I didn't get home til after 11.  We dutifully got up the next morning, went to his parent's house, and discovered that his sisters weren't there yet!  One sister ended up not showing up til almost noon!

Long story short, we had almost no time to celebrate Christmas ourselves and I ended up feeling very stressed, resentful and mad at his family.  I told DH never again.  We will carve out some time on Christmas for ourselves.  We will not feel pressured to do everything that his family demands. 

It'll be interesting to see how this year goes.  It hasn't been an issue for the past few years, but now one of DH's sisters has a baby and I do believe his family thinks she may have hung the sun and the moon, so the unreasonable demands "because of Niece!" may make an appearance.


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