General Etiquette > Holidays

No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions

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My uncle got married a few years back and his wife has different expectations of what should occur on family holidays.

It is nothing too bad, but lately she's been trying to add events that I (and some others, but I don't know about everyone) just don't want to participate in.

Before she joined the family our events were all rather low key.  We get together and watch parades/football/holiday specials, play cards, talk, ate, and open gifts.

Mostly the new stuff has to do with music and performance.  The first Christmas she decided that we should all gather around the piano and sing carols while she played.  We joked that she'd obviously never heard us sing, and that she should consider herself lucky.  She was disappointed, but didn't mention it again for a year or so.

She hosted Christmas last year and insisted that each family come with a performance piece to share.  We were treated to opera singing, a family slide show, and kids playing instruments and singing.  Then we were expected to sing carols around the piano while she played.

Yesterday, after Thanksgiving dinner,  we listened to kids playing instruments again.  This year Christmas is at her house again.

Even if all the performers were good I'd not want to be held captive.  As a disclaimer, I don't object to her right to do as she pleases in this case while she hosts, but I don't want to join in.  I've tried being busy while she is gathering people, but she keeps pestering people until they join.   Everyone else seems to fold, and I got a few comments from people I am closest to about just going along with it.  So I've just sucked it up.

But I don't want to have to do it again.  I feel silly singing.  Actually I don't sing, I lip sync. And if I wanted to listen to opera...I'd go to the opera!  If it was ten minutes I might be ok. I'd be annoyed and still not want to do it....but last year the whole performance thing went on for an hour.

How do I get out of this?

Have you considered hosting the dinner yourself or alternating?

There is always the option of each doing their own, as well.

We alternate hosting holidays and, because of previous events, we held quite a few at our house so it others people's turn to host for a few years.  Thanksgiving wasn't at her house, but at the house of the musical kids.  So it seems that even when she isn't at her house she is trying to put things on.

Next year's Christmas party will be at a different house (the one we had thanksgiving at this year).  And it probably won't be our turn to host Christmas until the year after that.

I enjoy the family gatherings so even though I really don't like this new thing she is trying to instate I don't hate it enough to miss out on everything yet.

You don't really seem commited to not participating. It sounds as if most of the others kind of like it. When it comes to your performance, just say, 'No, thank you.' (No one has ever heard me play the piano, despite the few years they tried to force me to. I just said I only played for myself. End of discussion. No more arguing or explaining - hmmmm, sounds like I knew not to JADE 45 years ago!)

You really can be pleasant and not participate without making a rude big deal out of it. Maybe there are others who feel the same. It's a hour or more out of your life if you hate it. It's only an hour out of your life if you just want to go along but stay in the background.


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