Author Topic: Your holiday hill to die on.  (Read 220652 times)

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HelenB

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2011, 03:04:01 PM »
I think I'm hiking up to the top of my hill this year.

My husband has three step-brothers.  This summer it became obvious to me that his step brothers and (most of) their families are quite content to treat his mother like their father's housekeeper and caterer, not a part of their family.  I also realized that we (my husband and I) had fallen into a pattern where we would arrive early to events and help his mother set up, help out during the meal, and then clean up afterwards, while the brothers arrive late, sit and socialized and leave early.

I started doing it again for a Thanksgiving meal. We showed up on time, the others showed up an hour to an hour and a half late. After they did arrive, they chatted while we brought the food out. 

I will not be their unpaid wait-staff this year at Christmas. If they're not willing to put some work into an event that is held so that they can see their dad, and their children can have a holiday experience with their cousins, then I don't want to be there. 

Only took me 6 years to work up to this.  Wow, this hill is really steep!

MERUNCC13

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2011, 03:05:58 PM »
Mine was with my MIL and SFIL (both have now passed on).  They would insist on me and my LTB (now hubby) to spend EVERY holiday with them even if we invited them to our house (which was always declined - it had to be at THEIR house  ::)).  Now, my parents are both in good health and live in the same state, just 3 hours up the road from our house but are pretty laid back.  It got so bad that I finally had to stop going over to their house and let my DH handle his parents which he did until they both passed away.
Life likes to be taken by the hand and told, I'm with you, let's go! Maya Angelou

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2011, 03:21:43 PM »
I live about 100 miles away from the bulk of my family hense I must travel about 2 hours drive to reach the house where everyone is visiting.

About 6 years ago we drew names to give presents to one other person in the family. Present exchange was planned for 11AM Christmas morning with a big Christmass dinner shortly thereafter. Perfect especially since I worked Christmas eve until 6 PM. 

Got off work Christmas Eve when my mom calls me and says toxic aunt had everyone who was there already open gifts.  (it was just her sons there)  Since I had drawn one of her son's name he had no present to open except what she gave him  ::).   Anyway at this point I am told the rest of the family will still be there Christmas day.  They had decided about 9PM Christmas eve to change dinner to breakfast. Ok fine, except they didn't tell my mom, so my mom did not call and tell me about the change. It would have been a big hardship to me to get up super early to travel there for it, but I probably would have anyway.

 I show up at 10:45 AM on Christmas day, the only people there are my grandma and my mom. Everyone else had gone back to their house or motel location. I sat down and opened presents from my mom, gave her my exchange present to my cousin and then opened the one from my exchange person which was left under the tree with no name tag.....a white towel and wash cloth (looked like they were the kind used in motels)   ::)    I cried in the car all the way home that Christmas. And because I had planned on Christmas dinner at grandma's I had not gone shopping that week. There were no stores open and I had nothing in house except canned ravioli for dinner.

At that point I decided that if no one was really going to notice my presence at family get together's I decided I would plan to have Christmas at my house the next year, my way. I invite everyone to come to my house and tell them the plan. If they choose to come great, if not, I have Christmas solo or with my mom. We have a blast watching the kitties knock over the christmas tree and play with the ribbon we take off our presents while we drink spiked coffee  and watch the Christmas parades on TV, ;D

Arizona

HeebyJeebyLeebee

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2011, 03:47:45 PM »
Christmas 2009 we flew back to Chi and stayed at DH's sister's home.  In general, I've never liked staying at her home, even when we lived closer and could drive.  Her home is filthy and there's always a lot of yelling.  This particular year, the house was still disgusting and it was affecting my asthma.  We spent the entire day watching football, and since I'm not a fan, I spent the bulk of the day hiding in our room and reading and was then accused of being unsocial (at which point I moved to the living room and was ignored).  We also got food poisoning from her cooking.  The food poisoning was the last straw. 

I told DH that I'm not staying over there for any event ever again, and that goes triple for when future kids are in the picture.  I'm not putting my health or our future kids' health in danger. 

Fortunately, our current circumstances mean we can only afford 1 trip back home per year, and between graduations and weddings, we've managed to avoid holiday travel since. 
I am grateful for the friends I have made on EHell and everything I have learned, but it is time I move on.

yellowpaint

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2011, 01:49:01 AM »
We used to go to my parents for Christmas Eve. It was always stressful but one year my mother and sister chewed me out because a gift for one of my daughters was not finished. ( I wrapped it up anyway. Like my daughters don't know what I'm like! I had the week off after Christmas to finish it) I decided that my daughters and I were starting a new tradition and we were staying home and ordering in and watching movies. We really enjoyed it and have kept it up for almost 20 years. My daughters won't be home for Christmas this year. But I still stay home and order in and watch movies. I took over 10 years to get through to my mother that we weren't coming over for dinner on Christmas Eve. We also tried decorating a gingerbread house the first few years but that didn't work out so well!

hannahmollysmom

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2011, 02:37:31 AM »
I work every other holiday and it changes every year. This year I am off for Thanksgiving, but working Christmas. I do have Christmas Eve off.  I have to say my children (now adults) are very accomodating with my holidays as is my Ex. He will celebrate with them at Christmas on whichever day I have to work. As far as Thanksgiving goes, he is also fine with an every other year thing. They do make a point to stop at his mothers (where he celebrates) before coming over to my house. I also try to plan the time of meal to accomodate them visiting there.

It wasn't always that way though. My hill to die on was when my kids were little. I wanted them home for Christmas morning. My mom understood that and always said she would come to us, except she passed when my youngest was 2 weeks old. When my Dad remarried, his wife wanted us to come up, (3 hours away) and I said no. She didn't like that much but Dad didn't say anything, and amazingly, they came to visit us. Her kids lived in my area too. But I was the only one who made sure we had a nice dinner. Her kids just wanted the gifts. So they adjusted their visit to around our dinner time.

Compared to other posters, I have nothing to complain about, and am not. I am lucky that my holidays work out well and I am hoping all of you have nice ones and stick to your hills!

Bethalize

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2011, 03:10:57 AM »
I had wonderful Christmases at my childhood home for 32 years. Then my mother died in November and my cousin hosted me, DH and my father for two Christmases running. I will be grateful to her forever.

The second Christmas I was looking forward to seeing my father. When I asked him if he had brought my present from his sister for me to open he said he thought we would have another Christmas at family home tomorrow. When we arrived at his house the next day there was nothing festive what so ever. No decorations, not even cards up, no special food or drink, nothing. I spent the afternoon of Boxing Day crying because I missed my beloved mother and my father had retired to bed. I didn't expect anything but to be promised a Christmas celebration and for that promise to be a lie hurt me deeply. I shall never spend Christmas in my mother's house again. She would have been ashamed of the way we were treated that year. My father was preoccupied with his health but his selfishness and lack of thought means I feel quite comfortable in prioritising myself and DH.

If Christmas isn't enough of a special day for you to spend time with your loved ones or to do festive things then you won't mind if I spend it elsewhere.

Luci45

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2011, 09:31:10 AM »
I had wonderful Christmases at my childhood home for 32 years. Then my mother died in November and my cousin hosted me, DH and my father for two Christmases running. I will be grateful to her forever.

The second Christmas I was looking forward to seeing my father. When I asked him if he had brought my present from his sister for me to open he said he thought we would have another Christmas at family home tomorrow. When we arrived at his house the next day there was nothing festive what so ever. No decorations, not even cards up, no special food or drink, nothing. I spent the afternoon of Boxing Day crying because I missed my beloved mother and my father had retired to bed. I didn't expect anything but to be promised a Christmas celebration and for that promise to be a lie hurt me deeply. I shall never spend Christmas in my mother's house again. She would have been ashamed of the way we were treated that year. My father was preoccupied with his health but his selfishness and lack of thought means I feel quite comfortable in prioritising myself and DH.

If Christmas isn't enough of a special day for you to spend time with your loved ones or to do festive things then you won't mind if I spend it elsewhere.

I'm sorry you felt hurt by this.

In this case, I really feel for your father. He probably wanted things to be like they used to be, but just didn't know how to start. When my dad wanted Christmas at his house, my sister-in-law and I made it happen. She lived in town so put up a few decorations. My husband and I drove the 5 hours with some food prepared and then bought and finished what was needed there. Dad didn't do anything but sign the gift checks and show his gratitude. We did that for several years.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2011, 10:09:40 AM »
I'm lucky in that my immediate family is just my mom and I.  We do different things each year for TDay and Christmas, and don't really have any traditions, aside from opening our gifts on Christmas Eve.  We try different things, and if they work, we keep it up, and if not, we do something else.  The last few years on Christmas have been tough as my dad passed away on Christmas Day 2007. 

Last year for TDay we went out.  It was lovely!  No worrying about cooking dinner, who's coming, etc. and neither one of us really cares much for turkey.  Mom had duck and I had a steak.  For Christmas it was just her and me, and it was so nice again not to have to rush around and make sure stuff was done at x time.  Also, we got that major blizzard that hit the East Coast, in VA, where it rarely snows more than an inch or two.  So we were cozy and relaxed.

This year, my hill to die on is that since I'm not going to my mom's for TDay, I'm staying home.  Alone.  Doing what I want.  I alrady have multiple invites, and while my close friends get why I want to stay home, others think I'm nuts. I'm really not.  I will be working both black friday and the folllowing day, all day, so I want to stay home, cook something yummy for me, and watch football in my jammies.  I can't wait.

HelenB

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2011, 10:22:17 AM »
...
This year, my hill to die on is that since I'm not going to my mom's for TDay, I'm staying home.  Alone.  Doing what I want.  I alrady have multiple invites, and while my close friends get why I want to stay home, others think I'm nuts. I'm really not.  I will be working both black friday and the folllowing day, all day, so I want to stay home, cook something yummy for me, and watch football in my jammies.  I can't wait.

Just to let you know, I don't think you're nuts.  My first job was 600 miles away from my parents' home. That first Thanksgiving, I drove there all night Wednesday to be there. And it was the same ol' parents screaming at my sibling, someone stomps out in anger, everyone else watches football all weekend (not my thing).

The next year I just stayed home, and it was glorious.   Every year, someone would extend a pity invitation ("You just can't spend Thanksgiving alone!") but I turned them all down, and had Thanksgivings I was actually thankful for.

Miss March

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #40 on: October 27, 2011, 10:44:23 AM »
We do the 'draw a name gift exchange' with my in-laws every Christmas. So we'll buy the gifts, wrap them up, and ship them to my in-law's house so that they can be opened by those people on Christmas Day. And every year - without fail- the people who drew our names will simply leave our gifts at our in-law's house so that we can 'pick them up the next time we visit' which may be months later.
He had no choice, he had told her, and then he left, choosing.-- George R.R. Martin

MindsEye

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2011, 10:48:11 AM »
I thought of another holiday hill...   the gift exchange. 

Don't wanna do it. 

DH and I will still exchange gifts with each other.  DH and I will still get gifts for our parents. 

Everyone else?  Forget it.  I am tired of the stress of trying to pick out the 'perfect' thing, I am tired of the expectation that everyone has to get something from everyone else, I am tired of being handed wishlists, and I am tired of sending packages and receiving no thanks, I am just tired of it all.

If we decide to do any gifting beyond each other and our parents, we will give each family unit some kind of home made goodie - sweet chili sauce, marinara sauce, hot salsa, sweet pickles, etc... - from the produce from our garden this summer.

Ruelz

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #42 on: October 27, 2011, 12:02:55 PM »
Some of your stories sound very familiar!
Mine came several years ago.  Long story short:

We always travelled home for Christmas (no one would travel to visit us).  At our last move (to our currrent location) we drove, with 3 kids, for 9 hours, to be on time for Christmas gift-opening. 

Keep in mind that leaving the acerage is also a big deal...I need to board the dogs, get a horse-sitter, worry about pipes freezing if it's -40C...etc.

One year we did our usual mad-rush, arrived on time (2:00 in the afternoon), to find out that FIL decided that the other 2 cousins just couldn't wait to open their Christmas presents (they live close by)!   My 3 kids were crushed that they 'missed' the present opening.

This year might be another hill...last year was a fiasco (regards to gift-giving)...so I think I will remove myself as much as possible from hubby's family.  He can look after them.  I will look after my side.
"The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions." Ellen Glasgow

kudeebee

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #43 on: October 27, 2011, 01:53:09 PM »
We do the 'draw a name gift exchange' with my in-laws every Christmas. So we'll buy the gifts, wrap them up, and ship them to my in-law's house so that they can be opened by those people on Christmas Day. And every year - without fail- the people who drew our names will simply leave our gifts at our in-law's house so that we can 'pick them up the next time we visit' which may be months later.

I would opt out of the gift exchange if you are so far away that you can't be there and noone will ship your gifts to you. Seems like a lot of work and expense for nothing.  Use that money to go out and do something fun or buy an extra gift for yourselves.   If they draw names for you and email/call you with the info,  "We aren't doing the gift exchange anymore.  You will need to send out an email to find out who has our names and  give the names you drew for us to the them."  Repeat over and over and over.

Reader

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Re: Your holiday hill to die on.
« Reply #44 on: October 27, 2011, 02:01:04 PM »
Driving 3 hours to see Aunts and Uncles that never have come to visit me since I moved to my current city back in 1995.  (Both parents were deceased before I was 17) I have a dog and 2 cats which I have to board or get a sitter for, unless I can bring my dog which isn't always the case depending on who I stay with.  All my relatives know this and yet they have no contact with me over the year until about a week before Christmas and then starts the guilt trips to come down.  When I was younger and before I had the dog I would always go so I wouldn't have to be alone on the holidays.  Never made if for Thanksgiving because I always have to work the day after and I'm not driving a total of 6 hours just to have turkey.  This year I have decided to put my foot down and not go, especially after last year when I tried to contact my Aunt who used to have custody of me during my senior year in high school.  I had been told earlier the extended family was not getting together (division of loyalties since my Uncle S and Aunt M got divorced and she was spreading untrue rumors to cause the division a year prior).  Played phone tag with my Aunt till my last message went unanswered, and I still have not heard from her to this day.  Found out a few months later from Uncle S that the family did get together for Christmas I just wasn't notified this time  ???.  So thanks in part to this wonderful site I will be flexing my spine in case this year they try to run the guilt trip on me again.  I'd rather spend the holidays comfortable in my own home, with my fur babies, a few good movies, and some yummy food.