Please forgive me if I've missed any points that have been raised. I'll only quote a couple that I want to address individually,
To those saying that I'm being steamrolled over and that I should put my foot down and start as I mean to go on, I do understand your point. I'm willing to let it go this year, because with any luck DH and I will starting a family next year (also our turn for hosting), and then traditions WILL change (especially if we have the first grandchild!). I can guarantee that. By the time it's their turn to host again (four years time), who knows what may happen?
I think this may well be one of those "we teach people how to treat us" situations. Twice already he has demonstrated a complete lack of concern for you and your husband. My prediction would be that that's not going to change.
I wondered this as well. BIL and GF have learned that they can dictate whatever they want and the rest of the family will fall in line rather than deal with the hissy fits that might come from standing up. If you ever want them to respect any other commitments you have, then you and your DH have to decide what your hill to die on will be. Your family's traditions are just as important as DH's family. It is completely inappropriate for your DH to basically say that your family's traditions can be ignored in favor of his brother's whims.
Fair point. DH and I are usually pretty easygoing, whereas when BiL and GF Sulk (with a capital S) and are a nightmare to be around. It's not so much as having one's whims trumping another's traditions (although I can see why you might perceive it as such), it's about not triggering a Sulk on a day that's suppose to be special. We see BiL and GF once a week - we alternate dinner before the guys go off to one of their many hobbies together - and BIL Sulked one time because there were issues after work on the trains and I couldn't make it on time. "Tough", we told him - "these things happen. If allowing for train problems is too much trouble, I can always not come".
But for Christmas, I don't want to cop attitude from him.
I completely understand that your husband wants to go to his family celebration. Yet you also want to go to yours. So, the two of you, have a stalemate, since neither of you trumps the other.
Could you visit your family during the morning and lunch and go to DH's for dessert and afternoon visiting?
Exactly - it's not one's needs trumping the other, it's about trying to find a compromise that'll work for all of us.
I suggested the morning visit to mum, but she reminded me how heinous traffic is around lunchtime on Christmas Day, so we'll see my family either the day before or the day after. It's not perfect, but it'll do for this year.
Honestly, I wish my mother hadn't been so nice and that I had been a little more "selfish" earlier on. Hmmmm .... that's certainly interesting food for thought.
I've always told all my kids (all married) that they could feel absolutely free to spend holidays wherever they wished. We'd be happy to have them, but our feelings certainly wouldn't be hurt if they wanted/needed to go to their "other" parents house for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We'd be happy to see them whenever it was convenient for them, even if it was nowhere near any major holiday.
I'm wondering now if that was the right attitude?
That's my mum's attitude, you have.
I should point out that I do see my parents more than at holidays, but having everyone together at Christmas time is always special to me - I can't really explain it...
One question, as per your OP, you hosted lunch one year? So they are wanting to do the same thing this year?
Snipped from your OP:
Extra you're-being-difficult BG: The first year my DH and I hosted, BiL and SiL decided to start a "traditional" 11am pancake brunch with the rest of DH's family (we weren't invited), knowing full-well that we had planned a proper sit-down meal for midday. DH and I were furious! And the last time he hosted dinner, he kept us waiting until 9pm, for teeny portions of gnocchi. Not impressed there, either, given that we'd cut short my family's celebrations to get there "on time" (because he complains we're late getting back).
I do see what you're getting at, but I worded the OP poorly. DH's parents tend to hang at the Host's home for the entire day, so lunch that year was for my side of the family, DH's parents, and BiL/GF, because they were at a loose end and don't see her family for the holiday. Dinner was just for DH's side. It was chaos. I wanted everything perfect (it was the first time we'd entertained in our new home), and to have the meal and nibbles and appetisers and goodness knows what else we'd prepared dismissed with "We're not hungry, we've just had pancakes" was infuriating (and just a little bit upsetting). We've hosted one other time since then (never been invited to "traditional pancakes" though), and we both put our foot down about those wretched pancakes: if you're coming for lunch, eat earlier or don't expect us to wait until you're ready. That worked.