General Etiquette > Family and Children

Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?

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Okay, now that's Christmas is over I've had a chance to think about the situation and I feel myself getting a bit upset/angry.  I thought I'd get outside perspectives from you folks.....

Background: My mother died several years ago and was the "glue" of the family and the great organizer of holidays.  Since then, I have tried to step in but things are always a bit chaotic although I think everyone is happy in the end.  My only sibling, Pablo and his wife Kristina do try to help but they both work full time at low wage jobs, live paycheck to paycheck and are a bit flaky when it comes to plans/organization. 

My dad has been dating a lovely woman, Lita, for over a year. She is also widowed. Lita has 3 adult sons, 2 of whom live 500 miles away and 1 who is married with a small toddler; they live on the other side of the country.  Last year Lita visited her children for Christmas so there were no issues (also she and my Dad had not been dating very long at that point).  I should note that although Lita has a fairly large house, she spends most of her time staying with my dad at his house.

This year, all of Lita's children and families came out to visit her, as well as her DIL's parents.  So the drama begins.....

We now have to plan something to include our family of 4, my bro's family of 3, my bro's ILs, my dad and my elderly grandmother who can't drive, as well as Lita's 2 single sons, her married son, DIL and child, and DIL's parents.   Unfortunately, "no one" is willing to step up and host the entire crew
(I say that in quotes because actually I did offer....but our house is the farthest distance, and on the small side-- we would have to do card tables around the living room to accommodate not good enough apparently).

So my dad decided that he would celebrate Christmas eve with Lita and her family at her house, and then we would get together with him and Lita to celebrate Christmas day at my grandmother's.  My grandmother is 95 and this would be easier for her.  Lita suggested we get Chinese food already prepared and bring it so my grandmother does not have to do anything.  Apparently, this is what Jewish people do on Christmas (none of us are Jewish, but Lita's deceased husband was).  My dad thinks this is a wonderful idea.  I am not a fan of Chinese takeout on Christmas I admit, but I kept my mouth shut because I agreed it will be nice for my grandmother.

So...can anyone guess the ending?  Yes, the day before Christmas Eve, after Lita's family arrives, her children decide that they can't live without her on Christmas Day.  Nevermind that they are staying for a whole week.  They must see her on Christmas Day!  So Lita cancels on my family, and we get stuck with Chinese takeout.  When all is said and done, we arrived around 1:30pm and left around 5pm.  Surely Lita could have spent 4 hours away from her family?  My dad did seem a bit subdued--normally he is quite talkative and upbeat.

Was it unreasonable to expect her to attend?  Or do out of town visiting children trump previous plans? 

You live in the same town, I think it's a lot to ask to leave her kids at her house while she goes somewhere else for Christmas.  I think she should've told you sooner, but I'd stay with the out-of-towners too.

Are you upset she didn't come or because she suggested Chinese, which you don't like, and then didn't have to suffer through it like you did?

I think it was silly of her to make plans with your family in light of her kids coming to town - she probably rarely sees them, and probably even more rarely all together, not to mention they were house guests.  So to me her 'fail' was ever thinking she'd come to your family's gathering and especially for saying it.  I think to an extent your family was a bit naive to think she should come to your family as well.  I think though once she said she was coming and then bailed, yes you are justified in being a bit hurt... but I think you should let it go and forgive her.

As for Chinese take-out, yes lots of people Jewish and otherwise, have it on Christmas.  If you don't like it, why didn't you suggest some other sort of take-out (you can get a deli or grocery or even Boston Market to do a more 'traditional' type meal to go), or suggest a potluck of sorts, with each household bringing one component of dinner?  I'm betting everyone went with Chinese because it was the best suggestion made - if you'd made a better suggestion they might have went with that.

I am actually surprised that Lita agreed to leave the family that traveled so far to see her on Christmas Day.  I think maybe she shouldn't have done that, and I don't blame her kids/family for wanting her to spend Christmas Day with them.  Your family, on the other hand, was all together, and Lita isn't even a family member, so I just don't understand why she should have spent Christmas Day with you.  Is there something about this situation that we are missing?


--- Quote from: onyonryngs on December 26, 2012, 01:40:03 PM ---You live in the same town, I think it's a lot to ask to leave her kids at her house while she goes somewhere else for Christmas.  I think she should've told you sooner, but I'd stay with the out-of-towners too.

--- End quote ---

I agree. I can't see leaving a house full of out of town guests, including my children and grandchild, to go spend Christmas Day elsewhere. I think it would have been nice if she had offered to have your Dad's side of the family over, too, and made it a big celebration, but not everyone is up for that much work. Given her choices I can see why she sent your Dad along and stayed behind.

That said, it sounds like you wanted to have everyone over to your house and she shot that down, do I have that right? She definitely should have planned on staying home from the beginning and let the rest of you plan accordingly. To practically insist on going to Gran's with Chinese takeout and then pull a no-show was rude. I imagine you all would have enjoyed the day more in your home with a more Christmassy meal.  :-\


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