Author Topic: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?  (Read 6435 times)

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heartmug

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2014, 12:15:43 PM »
I personally do not believe that it's the child's responsibility to plan celebrations for their parents.  How your parents wish to celebrate their 50th anniversary is up to them. 


POD!!!  After planning my ILs (which included picking a date, rearranging kids' activities to accommodate the date, travel to there and working on it for a solid week - my vacation) I don't want my kids doing that for me.  A simple dinner or a trip when the time comes.
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

TootsNYC

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2014, 12:22:30 PM »
I feel as if I'm surrounded by people who think that it's the children's role to host a big anniversary party, w/ dancing, etc. And/or send the parents on a cruise.

And if that's the case, I know I'd certainly need to start saving pretty darned aggressively to pay for it, probably sooner than 4 years.

So I'd say that you should touch base carefully w/ your parents. See what *they* think--because theirs are the only expectation that matters. You wouldn't want to end up hurting their feelings by misjudging what their hopes or expectations are.

Then be honest (and loving) when you explain what your own limitations are--money, time, etc. And encourage them to be honest about what they want.

Also, now's a good time to start your siblings on the task of thinking about what they'd like to do, what they can offer, etc.

I think it's actually a good time, 4 years ahead, to start having this sort of convo w/ them, and to start deciding how to celebrate it.

But people here are right, there isn't some sort of objective "this is how it's done" thing.
My mom announced that their 50th was coming up about 5 years in advance, and informed us all that what she wanted was for all of her offspring to be in her home for Christmas that year (anniversary is the 28th of Dec.). No excuses. "I'm telling you now, so you have time to save money for travel and to plan vacation time. I don't ask for your presence often, but I'm asking for it on this important occasion. It's important to me. If I am important to you, if your dad is important to you, then you will make this event important to you as well."

It sounded fair to me.

And I in turn said to her, "I don't think we will be able to afford to pay for a big hotel meal, etc." And she said, "I want to pay for it, because I want to control it."

Mrs. Tilney

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2014, 12:27:44 PM »
My parents' 50th anniversary is also 4 years out (March of 2018). At Christmas, my father made a fairly lighthearted comment about my sister and I throwing a party for them, and I said back that they could throw one themselves--my parents being in MUCH better financial shape than my sister or I. I imagine we'll start discussing plans for real in a couple of years, after my parents have retired and settled down (they plan on moving after retirement).

I'd recommend just bean-dipping with your aunt--that it's too far away, but you have it in the back of your mind.

Calypso

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2014, 12:31:04 PM »
As for the reply to your aunt, ”We talked to Mom and Dad, and we’re going to celebrate it just the way they want.” And stop there.

POD.  My ILs wanted the big, hugh party put on by their kids.  We all did it.  My parents wanted a lifetime trip - so we each contributed whatever we could afford to help them out with that.

And this is what I was wondering....does your Aunt have the  notion that y'all need to do something SO BIG that you probably should start saving up for it/researching the logistics now?

On reading your first post, I speculated that you might have the type of roundabout family communications where your parents asked your Aunt to start hinting...but when you followed up with what your parents usually do for landmark anniversaries, it seems less likely.

Depending on what kind of relationship you have with your Aunt, I'd be tempted, if I were you, to ask her next time what exactly she has in mind, and where she got the "inspiration" for her idea (but that's because I'd be curious, not because I'd want to to anything with her idea).

As PPs have said, there is certainly no expectation or obligation for the kids to "do" the parent's 50th celebration --- but I can imagine there might be family traditions (doesn't sound like the case here, though).

cattlekid

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2014, 12:51:39 PM »
Well, there is a tradition in the extended family of big anniversary parties.  My mom's parents had big parties every 10 years starting at 30th.  At the 30th, they got sent to Hawaii for their one and only vacation up until that point.  For the 40th, we had a family party and community open house.  For the 50th, we had a family party with a scrapbook for which everyone had to contribute a page ahead of time plus another community open house.  For the 60th, we did scale back a bit and just have the big family party because by that time the community open house was too much for my grandfather.

For the record, my mom is the second oldest of 10 biological kids, most of whom are married.  There are 17 grandkids, I am the oldest. 

I think because my aunt was instrumental in planning her parents' parties, she is now projecting this on me as the "leader" of the next generation.  Because we grew up with these events for my mom's parents, I was also kind of assuming that was the norm and expected.  Glad to hear that not everyone has the same experience and that I won't be a cruel, heartless, ungrateful child if I let my parents take the lead on what they would want.   ::)

TootsNYC

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2014, 12:55:23 PM »
Your extended family--aunts & uncles--will have this expectation. And if there are only 2 of you, throwing such a party would probably cost each of you quite a bit of money. So if you were to throw such a party, your aunt would be doing you a service by pointing it out now, so you could save.

As it is, she did you a service by getting it on your radar screen, so you can plan, and be out in front of it.

And you absolutely won't be rude by following your parents' lead. Whatever it is. (They may feel that it's important to have a big gathering for the 50th, even if they didn't for the others--so don't make too many assumptions.)

Dorrie78

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2014, 01:00:25 PM »
My parents have decided on a big family trip (them, my sister, her family, me, my SO) to Hawaii for their 50th. I think that is in 2 years. And they said that they are paying for it. It's different for every family. OP - maybe treat your aunt's questions almost as a joke? If you have the type of relationship that is casual, you could say (with a laugh)  "Seriously? They just got back from the 45th anniversary cruise. We've got some time. We'll definitely let you know what the plans are as we get closer, but it won't be for a while!"

Luci

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2014, 01:03:06 PM »
We would be very upset if our kids had to strain themselves to give us a big 50th party. They'll still have kids in college and we are very quiet people anyway. They gave us a big 40th because some of our friends had started dying, and we really didn't expect that! And we footed part of the bill. We had a tiny wedding because I don't like attention on me.

My mom gave her parents a gold teapot. Mom died early, so there was no 50th, but I did send my dad a small written note that said, "I know this the 50th aniversary of you marriage to Mom. I'm glad you married her. Love, Luci." Even my stepmother, the eternally jealous, approved. We brought dinner into my inlaws' home - they hated to eat out. All the siblings took Lucas's brother and wife out to dinner and their kids gave them a picnic with decendants and spouses only, my brother & wife had a small family dinner planned by their daughter and wife's sisters. We went, but out chldren were not invited and wife's neices and nephews weren't, either. Our friends took their nuclear family to a resort for a long weekend. Tha's the biggest I've ever heard of, and they planned and paid for it, not the kids.  We don't expect anything but quiet acknowledgement. This is why I don't think anything is your social responsibility.

Find vague answer for your aunt, use it everytime, and pity her kids because of what she might be expecting - or demanding.

GoTwins

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2014, 01:03:59 PM »
My parents' 50th is in 6 months and my sister & I have barely touched on it!  ;D
They're not big party people so it will probably just be a BBQ at one of our houses with close family. Within weeks of their anniversary both my sister & I have kids birthday parties, my husband's birthday is the same day as their anniversary, my sister is hosting a family reunion and my husband & I host our annual block party. There's no way we could afford something big!

cheyne

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2014, 01:25:04 PM »
My parents 50th was actually 2 years ago (Dec 2011).  I called my mother in April 2011 to ask her what she and dad wanted, since I live 900 miles away and would have to plan accordingly if they wanted a party.  She told me that they were keeping it low-key since they had already done the big anniversary trip for their 45th.

My parents took a two week cruise to Hawaii for their 45th anniversary.  They were 62 and 63 at the time, felt fantastic and wanted to take advantage of their health to really enjoy it.  As mom said at the time, "Who knows if we'll be healthy or even alive on our 50th!"

For their 50th they went to a B&B for a couple of days (just the two of them) and had a nice time.

siamesecat2965

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2014, 01:54:17 PM »
The only obligation I see is respecting their wishes and doing whatever it is they want (or nothing if that's the case). It is too far out, and your aunt needs to back off. But as for throwing a huge party, if someone wants it, and their kids are in a position to do so, great, if not, then they shouldn't be put in any position they can't handle.

slightly OT; my mom will be 80 in Jan 2015, and I'll be 50 the following December. while I'd love to do something really special for her, I simply don't have the funds. she knows that too, so we are planning something; maybe a weekend trip, which we will both pay for.

for her 75th. I "hosted" a small party for her, with her approval, but she funded a lot of it, and was ok with that. It was lovely, and she had a great time. It was a cocktail party; lots of munchies and booze, and cake. very low key, and she really enjoyed herself/. Had she wanted nothing, I simply would have taken her out for a nice dinner.

cattlekid

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2014, 01:56:30 PM »
Yeah, that's the other rub.  My parents live on the East Coast (I do not), the rest of the aunts and uncles are flung across most of the contiguous United States.  So to find one location that will suit everyone's budgets and available time, especially with my parents' anniversary in December, will be a feat guaranteed to aggravate at least someone in the bunch.  I think what made it easier for my grandparents is that their anniversary is in August, which is a more natural/easier vacation time for many people, at least in our family.

Your extended family--aunts & uncles--will have this expectation. And if there are only 2 of you, throwing such a party would probably cost each of you quite a bit of money. So if you were to throw such a party, your aunt would be doing you a service by pointing it out now, so you could save.

As it is, she did you a service by getting it on your radar screen, so you can plan, and be out in front of it.

And you absolutely won't be rude by following your parents' lead. Whatever it is. (They may feel that it's important to have a big gathering for the 50th, even if they didn't for the others--so don't make too many assumptions.)

faithlessone

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2014, 02:46:14 PM »
I would definitely second/third/whatever waiting until closer to the time.

My grandparents celebrated their 50th in 2011. For ages up to it, they were very vocal about nobody making a fuss - just a quiet family dinner or maybe a small party in the back garden (they were married in August).

Then, about five/six months before the event, suddenly my grandmother let slip that they had thought it over, and actually they did want a party.

Between the four "children" and their spouses, they managed to put on a party for 150 people at a local event hall, with food, drinks, dancing, a live band, all gold decorations, party bags for the kids, the lot. My grandparents were completely thrilled.

So yeah, if there's 4 years to go, I wouldn't start worrying yet. A lot can change in 4 years. I'd also suggest talking it over with your parents, figuring out exactly what they expect to happen. No point planning a big party if they actually want a nice holiday.

Also, this is not your aunt's problem. Beandip all you can!

daen

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2014, 03:01:33 PM »
In my connection, the expectation is that one celebrates the 25th and the 50th anniversaries with a party. You are responsible for your 25th, and your children are responsible for your 50th.

That said, different people want different things. My parents' 25th celebration was a BBQ in the back yard with four or five couples (and their families) they were the closest to. Their 50th is next summer, and I don't know what they want, or what they feel they are expected to do. I do know that it won't be fancy, because that's not their thing - they're both low-key people.

I'm pretty sure that people are expecting us to do some variation on a large gathering/party thing, but if my parents don't want that, everyone else can just get over it.

DCGirl

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Re: 50th anniversary for parents - what is expected?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2014, 03:33:31 PM »
Can I also just encourage you, whatever you decide on, to avoid a surprise party?

When my ILs were due to celebrate their 50th, MIL requested a small celebration (her, FIL, their three sons, and the one spouse -- me).  Younger BIL was insistent that we had to do more than that, because other families of our acquaintance had done bigger shindigs, so he planned a surprise party in a reserved room at a local Italian restaurant and invited all of the ILs' siblings and their families.  FIL's brother had eight children, for example, so with all of them, spouses, and children, it turned out to be a quite a crowd, probably 100 people. 

Well, MIL was quite annoyed.  She thought she was just going out for the dinner she'd requested and wasn't as dressed up as the guests, some of whom were in sparkly cocktail attire while MIL was in slacks and a sweater.  She sulked, pouted, refused to let pictures be taken.... and then proceeded to over-imbibe because she was so peeved.

FIL, on the other hand, felt the need to make a big, important speech when he saw the crowd.  The problem was that he tends to ramble and digress -- a lot -- if he speaks off the cuff.  So, the speech turned into a lengthy disquisition on his military service (he was in the Navy when he met MIL) that didn't include a single mention of MIL, the woman to whom he was married and his fellow guest of honor. 

This did not improve MIL's mood one bit, and she proceeded to imbibe some more and started crying.  YBIL ended up having to drive two quarreling parents home while the rest of us had dessert. 

It wasn't the warm family gathering YBIL intended.