Author Topic: Your holiday hill to die on.  (Read 219938 times)

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weeblewobble

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Your holiday hill to die on.
« on: October 24, 2011, 11:25:12 PM »
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!

blue2000

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2011, 11:52:28 PM »
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...
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Tai

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 11:54:26 PM »
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." 


MacadamiaNut

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2011, 11:57:18 PM »
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!)
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Lady Snowdon

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 06:56:47 AM »
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.

amanda_tlg

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 07:06:10 AM »
Every time I read holiday hell stories I thank heavens my own family is very laid back and easy going about plans. we have certain set things we do and places we go, but that's about it. We are also lucky that we all live in the same town and see each other often anyway. it is fair to say we are estranged from all of Dh's family, and they wouldn't deign to include us in their holiday plans even if they did live closer.

My hill to die on is actually a yearly thing. I won't cook on my birthday or Christmas day. We don't have the huge sit-down meal on Christmas, never did when i was growing up either. I spend the week leading up to the day doing a cooking & baking marathon. Our favorite Christmas meal is hoagies, chips, etc. I make sure there is tons of deli stuff and everyone's favorite. all the kids are old enough now to assemble their own sandwiches or just eat Christmas cookies all day (and it's one of the few days I don't care if they do).

This still works out for me since my extended family don't visit all day and expect to be given more than a handful of cookies and a cup of coffee. We all gather at my cousin's house a few blocks away in the evening for an informal get together.

It doesn't make for fancy, holiday-movie-worthy gatherings, but it's bliss in terms of peace!

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 07:30:11 AM »
My personal hill, which I've probably discussed before:

I married a widower with three boys. He has no family, and my family lives an hour away (we are all close). Her first wife's parents, and their family, live 5 minutes away. It was established, in a very whiny, PA way, that we would spend every other CHristmas with first wife's family. Well, OK. They are my boys' grandparents after all, and they have a good relationship with the boys.

So - every other year for six years, we went there for Christmas dinner. One house for cocktails and munchies at 4:00, and another for dinner at 7:00 (if you missed it, that's a looooooooooong cocktail hour, especially considering we see some of these people once every 2 years). Everyone was always welcoming and kind. And then came dinner - hideous food and, worse, 'family' (like my husband and kids) sat in the dining room and 'other ' (like me and 2nd cousin's weird college boyfriend) out in the hall. I accepted it the first time as a quirk of seating, but.every.time.since.  So I get it - I'm not family and will be accommodated, but barely.

No thanks. It's Christmas Day. I'd like to dine with with husband and kids. So now they are very upfront about inviting just our children:P

weeblewobble

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 07:37:07 AM »
Dogzard, I get that.  When my parents lived close by, we agreed DH's family got Christmas Eve, since that was their big celebration. and my family got Christmas Day, since that was when we celebrated.  I thought that was a pretty good solution.  Imagine my surprise on our first married Christmas, when my DH got a call about 1 p.m. on Christmas Day from MIL, telling him we should come over for dinner, to help his family eat the leftovers from the previous night.

DH wanted to get up and leave immediately! In his mind, it was reasonable, because we'd had lunch and done gifts already with my family, and at this point, we were just sitting around talking as the kids in the family (we didn't have any) played with their new toys. I told him I wasn't cutting my time short with my family so his could "double dip." They'd had their time the night before and frankly, I was looking forward to going home that afternoon for some quiet time with DH.  He went to his mom's, I stayed with my family. Mom gave me a ride home. DH came home that night to a very unhappy wife.

It didn't happen again. I think once he was outside of the "mom is calling me on Christmas day and wants to see me, I feel so guilty" moment, he saw this wasn't OK. And MIL is normally a very nice woman, I just don't think she thought this through as to how it might put stress on us.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 07:39:20 AM by weeblewobble »

camlan

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 08:03:14 AM »
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."

You had a 4 day old premature baby and people did this to you? Unbelievable. You should have been able to stay at home, with your feet up, with people coming to visit for a half hour or so, respectfully tiptoeing into the nursery to see the sleeping baby, dropping off a meal for the freezer and some gifts and then leaving. I'm just shocked that anyone would consider a family tradition more important than the health and well-being of a new mom and baby.

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Perfect Circle

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 08:11:51 AM »
It's coming this year.

My husband's brother and his wife host a get together every year around Christmas time, usually on Boxing Day. It's great, but they generally invite us on Christmas Day or Boxing Day morning.

No more. I want to know well in advance so we can make any other plans for the day. We won't be able to go. DH has finally realised why this bothers me.

It's even easier this year because my parents are coming on Boxing Day morning, so we have a very valid excuse, but even if it was just us, we would not go on such a short notice.
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Shopaholic

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 08:20:31 AM »
This was a good number of years ago, before I met my husband:
I was an undergrad, but living at home. My parents decided to spend the holiday dinner with my sister's boyfriend's family. My sister and her boyfriend (now husband) weren't even engaged or living together at this point.
I can't stand my BIL, and his family is not the people I'd choose to spend the holiday with. My parents even took my favorite aunt and uncle with them, along with my grandfather.
I said no thanks, and spent the evening with my best friend's family.

I haven't spent the last three holidays with my family (one was with DH's family, one my parents were abroad, one I was abroad). I told my mom that I would really really like to do the holiday with them this year, but that I really wouldn't want to spend it with BIL's family.
Maybe that's immature of me, but I've seen these people enough in the past year. I didn't make it into "it's them or me", I just told her that if they're coming, I'm going to my ILs. Or abroad.

MindsEye

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 09:07:02 AM »
My hill to die on is that I want to have at least one completely relaxing holiday a year.

I do not find driving all over hither and yon, sleeping on the floor in someone else's house, having no privacy,  or scrambling several days in advance to prepare my food contribution, to be at all relaxing.  I am very much an introvert, and I find all of the above very stressful.

So what DH and I did when we started to live together is that we informed our families, that each family would get one (Christmas or Thanksgiving) holiday every other year.  And that for the other holiday DH and I would happily spend it in blissful peace and solitude at our own home. 

So, say, one year his family requests Thanksgiving, so we go to visit them for that, and spend Christmas at home.  The next year, my family gets pick of the holidays, and we spend the other at home.  (Yes, we do plenty of family visiting at other times of the year.)

There was some grumbling when we announced our plans, for sure, but we made it clear that while they didn't have to like how we were going to handle the big holidays, they did have to accept that that was our plan going forward. 

Giggity

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 09:21:09 AM »
I had to draw the line at multiple celebrations for the same occasion. My family would hold three or four Christmases for various parts of the family starting around December 21. It got difficult to work my ex-husband's family in just once, so I regretfully declined to attend more than one Christmas per family per year.
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violinp

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 09:53:33 AM »
Once I get my own place, my hill to die on will involve behavior.

I understand it's the holidays, Relative. I understand it's the time to be merry. However, it's better for everyone if you're not "merry." It is perfectly acceptable to decline certain beverages - everyone will understand, and no one will be mad or anything. I'd rather not hear you bawl out Mom and tell her she's an awful parent simply because she didn't press food upon us. Frankly, she's a sight better at parenting than you are, and I feel confident that I was not screwed up as a child because I wasn't made to eat my veggies.

I really love my relatives, but that one in particular tests every bit of patience I have. I would rather have my cousin as a five year old again, and on a sugar high, than deal with this relative when having imbibed.
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Lisbeth

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 10:14:39 AM »
I am not able to host anyone for the holidays.  Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe, I'll be able to do so in the future, but my hill to die on is that nobody will be allowed to criticize the rules of my home or be rude to me.  Period.  Also, I won't let anyone voluntell me to host someone or invite guests to my home without my permission.

Actually, that goes for whether it's a holiday or not.

One more that I just thought of: I will not participate in any plans made, changed, or cancelled behind my back that involve me.  If someone tries to pull this, I will just tell them, "See you later," and go about what was originally planned.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 11:36:28 AM by Lisbeth »
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