Etiquette School is in session! > Complete Silence

Christmas host from E-hell

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Sharnita:
I think beyond that the cousins needed to be called on their rude behavior long ago.  The fact that they keep showing up without food and their kids smear food in the house is unbelievable.  It sounds like the rest of the family accepts it and your brother feels obligated to put up with it and to host because of his house size and location.


doodlemor:
Welcome to the board,  shutterbug.

No wonder your brother and SIL were so upset.  It sounds like the *raised by wolves* group of relatives needed to be set straight long ago, as stated by Sharnita.  I suspect that the large, centrally located home of your brother will no longer be used for family gatherings, due to this group/pack of people.

There is no way that I would have let people behave like that in my home, if I were SIL.  I would have sent the children out of the cellar to sit beside their parents, or stated that no children could be down there without their parents.  If SIL had been assertive enough to stand up to the wolves  perhaps she wouldn't have been so angry, and put so much pressure on your brother. 

It does sound like the hosts completely lost control of the party.  In your kind attempt to help, you were unfortunately identified with the wolf pack.

Time can be a healer.  Perhaps in the years to come SIL and BIL will loosen up a bit, especially if they have children.  It sounds like you are trying hard for a reconciliation - I hope that things work themselves out.

jedikaiti:

--- Quote from: RiverSong on May 26, 2012, 04:54:17 PM ---While I can understand your desire to be helpful, I would be upset too if I was hosting a party and someone else took over without even consulting me.

You hijacked the hosting duties by buying food and preparing it in their kitchen without so much as a by-your-leave. They had every right to be upset over what you did.

I do think that they reacted badly to everything going on, but they were not unjustified in their feelings.

--- End quote ---

Then Bertha should have gone out for more food - and food that everyone could eat - herself. Since she was busy shirking her hostess duties and going bonkers over a few shreds of parmesian, OP was just fine in my book. It also sounds like hosting duties are pretty loosely defined in the OP's family, and Bertha is just uptight. I wouldn't go over there again while she's in the picture, and instead invite the family over instead, if that's an option. And if Bertha wants to avoid the gatherings, call it a bonus.

RiverSong:

--- Quote from: jedikaiti on May 27, 2012, 09:24:26 PM ---
--- Quote from: RiverSong on May 26, 2012, 04:54:17 PM ---While I can understand your desire to be helpful, I would be upset too if I was hosting a party and someone else took over without even consulting me.

You hijacked the hosting duties by buying food and preparing it in their kitchen without so much as a by-your-leave. They had every right to be upset over what you did.

I do think that they reacted badly to everything going on, but they were not unjustified in their feelings.

--- End quote ---

Then Bertha should have gone out for more food - and food that everyone could eat - herself. Since she was busy shirking her hostess duties and going bonkers over a few shreds of parmesian, OP was just fine in my book. It also sounds like hosting duties are pretty loosely defined in the OP's family, and Bertha is just uptight. I wouldn't go over there again while she's in the picture, and instead invite the family over instead, if that's an option. And if Bertha wants to avoid the gatherings, call it a bonus.

--- End quote ---

I would think that since the OP and husband are vegetarians that they would have brought a vegetarian dish to share, so they would not have been completely lacking in food, just options.

By this logic, then anyone who finds someone's hosting to be lacking in any way may then take over and do it their way? Yes, hosting was lacking, still not a call for taking over someone's kitchen and arbitrarily deciding what to do. She should have approached one or the other of the hosts and present the options, not decided to hijack it. If she truly could not stand the situation, she always had the option to leave.

trailgrrl:
Ohhhh Shutterbug.  First  ((hugs)).   Second I identify with your situation.  Third, they say the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

My brother lives a three hour drive away.  I am close to my brother and was close to my ex SIL.  We had known each other since they were kids.    To the point where I was encouraged to make myself at home in their home.  I was usually up before them and would cook breakfast for the kids, mine and theirs.   Auntie Trailgrrl visits are generally marked by pancakes and eggs with Chocolate Chip cookies in the evening.

However, brother is divorced now (and as much as I love SIL, trust me when I say this was a good thing) and has been for several years. He is now in a Long Term relationship and she has recently moved in.  His home is now her home as well.  I remember commenting to my mom that I need to remember to be more careful not to just use my brother's kitchen as an extension of my own.   I like his girlfriend, but I would be annoyed if she came over to my house and started digging through my kitchen and using my things without asking first.

With my Bro and my Parents we tend to make each other at home in our respective homes and if my brother ran out of food during a holiday, you bet your bippy, I would have been the first to run to the store to help out and get some more food, then prepare it.

HOWEVER, now I would not without first consulting his GF.

OP,  Your brother was rude, and mean.  But he was reacting to the situation I believe and I would no longer want to host moocher cousins.  My husband would have been livid if my cousins had acted like that.  But you also owe him and specifically his girlfriend an apology for overstepping, even though your intentions were made of pure gold.  I would phrase it like this.:

'Brother, I know that the last holiday was stressful for you and GF. People didn't behave well and although my intention was to help, I think I made the situation worse and for that I am sorry.'  Don't mention his nastiness.  This is about your behavior, not his.

I hope the reaction is positive.

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