I don't want to be judged....just need some advice

curlysueDecember 12, 2012

SO and I have been together for 19 years. He has 3 kids who are all grown, married and have kids of their own. The dilema is that all these years they have all celebrated Christmas at his brothers house and I and my kids have always gone to my Moms house. Both celebrations have always been on the same day--the Saturday before Christmas. It didn't matter that we had to be at different places, I mean we all live in the same town, we all see each other a lot, so it isn't like we would miss seeing someone who was only in 1 day. Fast forward to this year, my kids do live out of town now and my son lives out of state. We are having our Christmas at my Moms this Saturday. SO's brother has decided that he is not having Christmas at his house this year. I don't know why, he didn't say, just that he was not hosting at his house this year. So I asked SO if we should do something at our house for his kids and their families and he said no that they all went to their Mom's house and then their in-laws houses too, so they had plenty of obligations already. The dilema, I feel bad, like I think that we should all celebrate together even though we never really have and I don't want to do it this weekend because I only have my kids and their families at my house for a few days and I don't want to spend the whole time cooking and entertaining. This sounds so selfish. I just don't know what to do and SO is useless---he really doesn't think it is a big deal..because like I said his family all lives within a few miles of us so we see them all the time. My kids do live out of town and we don't see them very often and I selfishly want them to myself.
If we don't have a meal or celebration, how do we give them their gifts? The youngest of his grands is 13, so at this point they all get gift cards because that is what they want.

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Why not do something simple. I totally understand NOT wanting to spend the holidays slaving.

It does seem though, that this year would be a fantastic time to start a new tradition. Why not plan one small event that will bring both families together? I'd think that it wouldn't be that much trouble, if, one evening when you were making dinner for your visiting children, you invited his family over later in the evening for cookies and coffee. That would be something lovely, informal, and a great time for the 2 sides of your family to start interacting.

If you really don't want to have them when your family is there, what about asking them over some other evening to decorate cookies? You could bake them, or you can even buy supermarket cookies and just have piping bags of frosting and lots of sprinkles so everyone can go to town and have fun.

The key, though--for your own sanity, is to keep things low-key, simple and very casual.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Sally Brownlee

Why dont you ask them when a good time to visit would be?
Go to each of their homes individually and spend some quality time one-on-one with each of his children.
You can give your gifts then.

As families grow, blend and move away, I think it is important to keep a healthy perspective that not everything is possible, nor will it work out every year for everyone.

Relax and enjoy your families while you have them....Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Thanks guys. Decorating cookies one evening sounds very promising. My kids and SO's kids always got along really well but there are some pretty big age differences. I didn't want it to sound like they can't be at our house all together, I guess I just didn't want to make a whole big production where I spend my day cooking and cleaning and everyone else has all the fun. Selfish, I know. I think all of us together decorating cookies would be a blast. Maybe it is time for a new tradition

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:15AM
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I think all of the suggestions are great~~~sometimes you have to start new traditions as people get married or move, also as we age we get tired. I would if possible have everyone over for dessert and maybe games one night while everyone is in town. Above all else I would make it simple and relaxing for myself~~~everyone will enjoy just being together nothing fancy or big needs to be done;)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:17PM
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First, you really need to convince yourself that not wanting to slave away, be exhausted and not be able to enjoy yourself at a gathering you value at a time of year that is supposed to be "joyous" is NOT SELFISH! Realize that if you're exhausted, you're not going to be as much fun to be with and you can't enjoy yourself, a lot of people would feel guilty about it. Not judging, just don't be so hard on yourself.

Many people get stressed out this time of year. Often there's so many gatherings that it's hard to attend them all. Then guilt sets in. Go for the simple things and enjoy the moments. That's really what you're looking for I suspect.

It's entirely possible that SO's brother isn't doing it because of all the work involved and as people get older, it's more of a chore than enjoyment. I can understand that. I remember my mother slaving away for holiday get-togethers. I felt sorry for her. It was so much work and so much stress. She really enjoyed it for a while, but it got to be too much.

New traditions can be just as good and even better than old ones. Your time with your immediate family is probably becoming more important to you as you get older so enjoy it. Especially with them being farther away you won't see them as often so when you do, it's not selfish by any means to want the time with them. The others that you see more often, don't have to be there this time.

Take a deep breath. Enjoy the season and time with your families so it makes you the happiest you can be.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:27PM
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azzalea said

It does seem though, that this year would be a fantastic time to start a new tradition.

And I totally agree....start something of your own as a new tradition. Perhaps the Brother just decided that he has done it enough times...and now it's someone else's turn..

We do a Christmas eve celebration for one family and a Christmas Day celebration for the other...you can figure something out....I bet the family will be happy about it.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:28PM
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A few years ago we had the same problem. My nieces and nephews were starting to get partners and get married, have kids etc so that demands for their time on Christmas Day increased. We had our Christmas Dinner on Saturday (the 8th) with everybody but what we have also started doing in having a cookie contest. Everyone makes a batch of cookies and then brings them anonymously into the house. Someone is appointed the judge and both taste and looks (how decorated a cookie is) are taken into consideration. We have a trophy and my sister takes care of getting the name of the winner engraved onto the trophy. Then we spend the rest of the evening eating cookies.

If your family is actually staying with you I don't know if that would work out but it has turned out to be a really fun thing to do and everyone looks forward to it.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:39PM
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" SO..really doesn't think it is a big deal..
because like I said his family all lives within a few miles of us so we see them all the time."

& you're worried about being "selfish"?

One new, maybe overdue, tradition you might start is kicking SO in the hinie & telling him *you're* a big deal & he better think about making *you* happy.

Invite everybody you want, & call the caterer or the deli, & have a good time.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:45PM
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If your SO isn't concerned about it, shake off the guilt and start enjoying the holidays. Just because his family changed doesn't mean you have to. Considering your family celebrates at your mom's, it would be rather rude to ask a lot of other people--would she even have the room?

Seem like you will have enough time between Saturday and Christmas to have a simple get-together with SO's kids/GK's. Make a pot of soup or two, add cornbread and a bowl of crackers--ask the kids to bring desserts and voila--a party.

Holy cow! Time has really gotten away from me--only 13 days til Christmas!

This post was edited by patti43 on Wed, Dec 12, 12 at 13:03

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Thanks everyone, I think you guys just put it in perspective. It doesn't have to be a grand production, just all of us together. Heck, I like the caterer suggestion. Who knows, maybe we will just order in pizza.
It is starting to sound like fun instead of a chore.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 1:24PM
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I was just going to suggest ordering pizza! My sister & I used to make a big to-do about gathers; always had tons of food, etc. Now, we order pizza! Paper plates & beer cans! lol Have fun!!!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Pizza AND cookies...sounds like a balanced meal to me! You are not responsible for 'making Christmas happen' any more than your SO is. (He seems to know that. LOL)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Why don't you get everybody together and go out to breakfast? This way, nobody has to cook and just about everybody eats breakfast. When it's over, everybody can go their seperate ways.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Obviously I am the selfish one, not you. :)

I would be wanting my SO other to spend Christmas day with me and my kids since his family all live in the same town.

Glad that you're getting it sorted out in your mind. Hope you enjoy the holidays!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Pizza and Pictionary on the Wii for everyone. This Sunday at our house, be there or be square. My kids go back home Monday and we have Christmas at my Mom's Saturday, so Sunday at high 5. Pictionary on the Wii is so much fun. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you all so much.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 8:24AM
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great ideas!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 12:18PM
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