Last year was the first year in 5 years since my Mom died that I didn't have to go to the IL's for Mother's day. They just did not get it. They are sweet people, but I had to leave the state to be able to ignore Mother's day.
I am sorry that you had to go through that, Christmas was a special day with my mum - and I know it's not like that with everyone - but Mother's Day? There is no way I will be spending Mother's Day with my MIL, Mother's Day was a special day with my mum and it will be a special day with my children if / when we have any. It is not a day for me to spend with MIL, it is a day for DH to spend time with his mum if he wants to.
I think that it is perfectly okay to spend Christmas away from the PIL's. But I don't think a present boycott is the way to go. Take this time to bond with your family. This is going to be a really hard Holiday for you all. If your DH feels that he needs to show up at some point at his parents, so be it, but that day will be painful enough without having to put on a "Happy Christmas Face" so soon after your loss, so you will not be able to join him.
It wasn't really a present boycott in that sense, I was just wondering if it would be more acceptable (generally) to not celebrate Christmas and not do any gift exchanges rather than appear to refuse to spend time with PIL but exchange gifts. I am worried the gift thing will factor into how his mum behaves or reacts "DIL couldn't be bothered
seeing us on Christmas Day, we're not important enough but she expects a gift!" or "DIL is pretending
she is grieving for her mum so she doesn't have to see us...but she was happy enough to exchange gifts with us!". I do have good reasons for feeling this is how it is going to turn out - and I will definitely be sharing if my suspicions prove correct. Anyway, I think DH giving a gift to his parents from us is how it will go.
And no matter what people say, no matter how nice they are, people tend to be made uncomfortable at the happy holiday by any outward grieving. Ask your DH how comfortable his parents and family would be with any show of grief on your part. And then ask him how nice or kind it is to make you put on that "Happy Christmas Face" for his family.
Honestly, I think any outward grieving on my part will be met with envy / jealousy from MIL because she knows I am grieving because I really loved my mother and miss her terribly. I also think there will be a part of MIL that will be happy to see me upset because she does take pleasure in other people's suffering. If I was to put on a happy face, she might instead assume it's because I didn't love and miss my mother terribly as much as I have made out that I do, or she might decide that I have elevated her into the position my mother would usually occupy and she would be absolutely over-the-moon about that.
However, DH is not like that and I suspect he has never really considered what I wrote above, so I will bring that up - I may instead choose to phrase it as "I would not be comfortable showing that I am grieving and make Christmas celebrations uncomfortable for everyone but I am not going to be able to put on a happy face and pretend I am not grieving". Do you think that would work as well? I just wonder if that will prevent any "but mum & dad won't mind if you're upset" or "no one expects you to pretend that you don't miss your mum" responses.
Also, is it okay that I am responding to posts individually? I tried the multiple quote thing and I found it a bit too confusing.