Author Topic: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?  (Read 4609 times)

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flickan

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2013, 06:53:24 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice in this thread!

I guess I should clarify a few things.  My brother and I are very close, much closer than either of us are to our parents.  That's why I mentioned it to him and only him.  So there's no worry of him saying anything to them if dinner ends up being the nuclear family without me.  My family isn't terrible or anything more like "mildly dysfunctional".  I like seeing them for holidays and spending time with them in small doses.  At any of our family dinners there is definitely going to be a lot of talk and some of it will be petty needling.  The folks mean well but give my father an audience and he will talk over everyone for an hour about some political issue or another and finish with some good old fashioned PA baiting to drum up drama.   So while I wouldn't say dinner is a huge chore, it's something we have to gear ourselves up for a little bit because it can be trying.  The thing about my brother is, even though he finds it to be as trying as I do he's much more the "put on a brave face and deal with it," type because he's a very family oriented person.  I'm more of a loner.  So his comment is definitely him wanting to see me but it's just as much a desire for us to put in an appearance to appease his vision of what a family holiday should be; Hallmark logo and all. 

It would be nice to celebrate as a family of two even if we only pull it off one time.  So we're definitely going to do it this year.

I love the idea of going out of town but a nice dinner is all that's in our budget for Thanksgiving so travel really isn't an option.

I will talk to my spouse and we'll come up with a plan in advance for handling and deflecting questions!

TootsNYC

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2013, 08:48:41 PM »
I think that one perhaps useful tactic is to never talk about what you are moving away from--don't even allude to it. Never say anything that could sound like, "We don't want to be around family." so, no mention of "no drama" or "taking a break."
  No negatives.


Instead decide/define what it is you are moving **toward**--the positive. You want a romantic day for the two of you. You want to create a ritual that's just for your little family, as a marriage-enriching thing. You want to try out that new restaurant.


flickan

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2013, 09:41:03 PM »
I think that one perhaps useful tactic is to never talk about what you are moving away from--don't even allude to it. Never say anything that could sound like, "We don't want to be around family." so, no mention of "no drama" or "taking a break."
  No negatives.


Instead decide/define what it is you are moving **toward**--the positive. You want a romantic day for the two of you. You want to create a ritual that's just for your little family, as a marriage-enriching thing. You want to try out that new restaurant.

I like this a lot, thank you!

Deetee

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2013, 09:42:53 PM »
I think that one perhaps useful tactic is to never talk about what you are moving away from--don't even allude to it. Never say anything that could sound like, "We don't want to be around family." so, no mention of "no drama" or "taking a break."
  No negatives.


Instead decide/define what it is you are moving **toward**--the positive. You want a romantic day for the two of you. You want to create a ritual that's just for your little family, as a marriage-enriching thing. You want to try out that new restaurant.

I very much agree. It works (better) for a couple reasons that I can think of.

1) Less hurt feelings. If someone says they don't want to spend time with me because it's too noisy and my kids set their cat on fire, my feelings will be hurt. If they say they are looking forward to peaceful time with a roaring fire, glass of port and a view of the ocean, I don't feel personally slighted.

2) Less to argue with. If you have offered reasons you don't want to visit, I could promise to duct tape my kids to the wall and hide all the lighters if you will come over. If you give reasons why you want to be elsewhere, I can't really say that ocean views make you seasick and port is for weirdos.

Of course, those truly dedicated to finding offense will do, but most people will want you to be happy.

weeblewobble

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2013, 10:09:54 PM »
Your brother's reaction is typical of someone who sees someone else breaking from a dysfunctional system.  "Hey, I'm miserable, too, and if I have to deal with it, so do you!"  Do what makes you happy.

Maybe I'm wrong but I'm not getting the impression that the OP's family is dysfuntional or that anyone is miserable, though.  Of course the OP and her DH can do whatever they want, but I think the brother's reaction is normal one.


I got the impression from this quote from the OP:

 "You're missing the point of Thanksgiving, no one wants to deal with family but everyone has to so you just suck it up."

That spending time with their family wasn't a lot of fun. But I will admit, I was assuming much.

cwm

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2013, 10:23:47 AM »
OP, I think you shouldn't try to justify anything to any members of your family. You have a new family now, you and your DH. And if you want to start a tradition of just the two of you doing Thanksgiving dinner, then do it. If someone calls you on it, tell them you're starting a new tradition with your household, and that you're looking forward to seeing them come Christmas. There's no need to go into any more explanation than that.

If this attitude of your brother's is any indication, I'm tempted to call him a twit. He's missing the whole point of Thanksgiving and trying to drag you along with him in his misery.

Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with your husband. Be thankful for the fact that you don't have to put up with family drama. And leave your phones in the car (or at home!) so you don't have any interruptions.

mspallaton

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2013, 10:40:25 AM »
OP - from the update it sounds like you view your brother's comments as primarily coming from missing you around that holiday.  Is there any way to have a little mini-get together with him on a different day around the same time?  You mentioned that you're closer to each other than to your folks -- it may be worthwhile to make a symbolic gesture to show him you're not rejecting him, while at the same time not breaking your plans.

bopper

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2013, 11:09:45 PM »
Also why not just get together with your brother? Or get together with him sometime that weekend?

flickan

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2013, 09:09:38 AM »
Also why not just get together with your brother? Or get together with him sometime that weekend?

I see him quite often so this is definitely in the cards.

Although I couldn't get together with just him and the spouse for Thanksgiving-- that would be a huge blow to our parents if they found out.  I'm not quite willing to do that (if that's what's being suggested, don't mean to mis-read if it's not)

Lynn2000

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Re: thanksgiving minus family-- can we get away with it politely?
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2013, 02:32:51 PM »
Also why not just get together with your brother? Or get together with him sometime that weekend?

I see him quite often so this is definitely in the cards.

Although I couldn't get together with just him and the spouse for Thanksgiving-- that would be a huge blow to our parents if they found out.  I'm not quite willing to do that (if that's what's being suggested, don't mean to mis-read if it's not)

It wouldn't have to be, "Let's get together for a Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and everything!" It could be, "Hey, let's meet for lunch at the sushi place sometime around the third week of November." And you could perhaps have another meal with your parents separately, again not labeling that as Thanksgiving either. Personally I'm not keen on the big family gatherings with all the trappings of The Big Holiday Meal--I would rather see people in small groups, so I could better socialize with them. But it depends a lot on the logistics, who lives close to who, etc..
~Lynn2000