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Christmas day lunch

(46 Posts)
countrygourmet Mon 05-Dec-11 17:01:46

My daughter and son in law have been married for 15 years. They are always late when they come to us for a meal (which is not very often as they spend a lot of time on their business). They now have a 2 year old and a baby of 5 months. They use them as an excuse to be even later ("it took ages to get her ready, she was playing about", or "we were nearly ready then I had to feed him again", etc. etc.). Last year it was 3.30 before we ate. We would like to eat on Christmas day at 2.30 (3.0 at the very latest). I feel that is fair on the children - who will get tired and need a rest - we don't want them still eating at 4.0, tired and grumpy; also fair on my husband and me who get up early and have all the cooking and clearing up to do. Am I being unreasonable about it? If not, can anyone suggest any strategies I could employ to get them here (they live half an hour's drive away) in reasonable time for lunch.

JessM Mon 05-Dec-11 17:04:24

Tell the canapes are at 12.00.

greenmossgiel Mon 05-Dec-11 17:30:47

What about suggesting they do the Christmas meal at their house next year? It may be easier all round, and save the children from being taken away from their toys? You can help your daughter get the meal ready, perhaps taking with you one of the courses? hmm

glammanana Mon 05-Dec-11 17:57:18

I would not expect them to be on time with two small babies to get ready as I'm sure most will agree they can always be relied on to have a mishap at the last minute,green your solution is favourite and the children can they be entertained by GPs whilst parents arrange Christmas lunch. My DD and I are cooking at her home this year and do the meal for 3ish give or take an hourwink as we are not rushing to do anything else and when everyone is ready so be it. smile

Notsogrand Mon 05-Dec-11 19:31:30

YABU. What's more important? Having a meal at a time that suits you and your husband? Or having it at any time if it means you're with your daughter, son in law and grandchildren?
Next year, perhaps you could invite them to come and stay overnight on Christmas Eve? They won't be late for Christmas dinner then. smile

glassortwo Mon 05-Dec-11 19:44:57

I think you are YABU!!

Christmas Day is one day out of the year when we are not rushing off somewhere and we can enjoy time with our family.

I think notso suggestion for next year would mean your DD and SIL have a much more relaxed time without the added worry of turning up late and upsetting you, and you would get the extra bonus of seeing Christmas Day through the eyes of your Grandchildren, it brings all the magic back into Christmas.

gracesmum Mon 05-Dec-11 20:36:48

What is wrong with sitting down an hour or so late? More time for G&Ts!! (Maybe not such a good idea for me!) but seriously, just factor in the time delay in your planning. My sister in law who lives 100 miles away is always late and often used to ring us to say she was just leaving at the time she was due for lunch so we always tell her at least an hour earlier than we expect to see her. Only time we were caught out was while Granny was still alive and they were coming on Boxing Day. The girls and I were all loafing around in PJs confident that they would get to us about 2 o clock for lunch at 12.30 when suddenly one of them spotted Granny striding determinedly up the path!!
If it really stresses you, offer to do lunch at theirs next year - so much easier for the children too!

bagitha Mon 05-Dec-11 21:25:28

Even parents with two young children can get somewhere that's half an hour's drive away by two o'clock in the afternoon. I know this because I used to travel by train when my kids were that young and, obviously, had to be at railway stations on time. People with young babies still get their older kids to school on time, and so on. I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. It's hardly an unreasonable time. I think they are being rude. Possibly they don't really want to come.

rosienanna Mon 05-Dec-11 21:53:34

I'm not very helpful ..but i tried the 'we are having dinner earlier' on my mother and she still came late! even later..i think she was on to me! But it is solved...we have lunch in different places now....she even didn't want to change her venue last year when the family came over from NZ! only after a lot of persuation did she turn up!

i only wish i could have my family for dinner..anytime...NZ to far away ..just enjoy it! even though its annoying

Carol Mon 05-Dec-11 22:08:30

I really wouldn't be bothered about it. It's so lovely to be together on Christmas Day and the time of the meal can be as flexible as you want. If it's a big deal with you, cook the tukey and trimmings and take them round to their house for a change. Children do like to be in their own home when they've got lots of presents and it's hard to drag them away when they are playing. Have a great time x

nanachrissy Mon 05-Dec-11 22:16:31

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to arrive on time for a meal which takes a lot of organising. If the baby's feed is at an awkward time, surely they could at least call you? I think being regularly late is just bad manners.

trishs Tue 06-Dec-11 11:45:11

I'd give them a 'to be opened on Christmas Eve' present of a pre-set alarm clock to get them up an hour earlier in the morning. And then phone them in the morning to see if it worked and just mention to the two year old that Father Christmas had left some presents at your house too ;)

absentgrana Tue 06-Dec-11 11:58:46

It's not unreasonable to expect guests to be on time, more or less, except in the case of an emergency. However, in the case of Christmas Day and family, it's simply not worth making a fuss. Treat yourselves to a delicious breakfast (smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is nice) and cook with wine – in your glass as well as your gravy. smile

bagitha Tue 06-Dec-11 12:33:11

Children that young don't know what's going on at xmas anyway. It's their parents who are making a fuss. If someone was that rude to me about a meal I'd invited them to and was putting effort into preparing and clearing up afterwards, I'd be miffed. I don't see why the fact that it's xmas makes a scrap of difference. Rude is rude whatever day it's on.

However, I do like absent's suggestion and in the same boat as the OP would probably do that this year. But that would be the last time I invited them for a special meal. Come round any time, for sure, but don't expect me to put myself out for you since you obviously don't appreciate it.

That bark sounds worse than the actual bite would be because I don't do effortful meal performances anyway. Life is too short.

I don't get trampled on by other people's lack of consideration either.

bagitha Tue 06-Dec-11 12:34:46

In short, countrygourmet, you have my sympathy!

JessM Tue 06-Dec-11 13:21:52

too right rosieanna all mine in NZ/OZ and wish I could have them at mine. Even if the DSs do take over the cooking and then disappear
They grilled the expensive organic goose once (put on the grill function instead of the oven)
Maybe part of prob is that we are used to eating in the middle of the day and if dinner is at 2 or 3 or 4, we get a touch of the low bloodsugar grumps
ourselves? Don't want to eat cos will spoil our dinner...

lucid Tue 06-Dec-11 13:23:07

My brother and SiL are always terribly late and they don't have the excuse of children....we always tell them we are eating an hour before we want to...i.e if we want to sit down at 2.30pm we tell them 1.30pm. I can't say that it always works but at least they do arrive nearer the time. I think it extremely rude to arrive late for a meal but then it wouldn't do for us all to be the same. When we go to them we arrive at the stated time only to find nothing ready, they are very laid back about time keeping!wink

countrygourmet Tue 06-Dec-11 18:41:16

Thanks for all your replies, and sympathy. They are difficult! My daughter "doesn't cook"; I've always told them an earlier time in an effort to get them here. We once treated them at a Michelin star restaurant (before they had children)and they were horribly late. They want to come here, they love coming and we love having them. I appreciate about children having Christmas in their own home and next year I hope to get them to do that (they recently moved and their house is not up to it this year) and I will do most of the cooking (I've done Christmas since 1969, time for a bit of a break??).
I will try your suggestion JessM and combine it with TrishS's, the temptation of extra food and some humour might work!
It's really SIL, he thinks he has fgood time management skills.......!

JessM Tue 06-Dec-11 18:59:58

Just off to collect very close relative from Luton. Supposed to be landing at Gatwick several hours ago and making own way. Good job I didn't go along with earlier suggestion that we meet in London this afternoon...
Your relatives are lightweights in the late department countrygourmet !!
I am getting better at being chilled about this one but it is a lifelong challenge! And completely predictable.

I only once nearly missed a plane, in Amsterdam. I think it was something to do with the visit to the "coffee shop" the night before. That stuff does stay in your system... Very laid back that morning. Uncharacteristically laid back. Was buying smoked eel for my friend when i heard them announcing my name. It is about a mile from the smoked eel shop to the gate and no moving floor thingy working. "It's OK madam. The second bus is just about to leave" she said sweetly. Was only person on second bus. Walk of shame onto plane. blush
I was just telling a friend about this and realised why I was so laid back. It was about 15 years ago, so maybe the coffee shop thing has just worn off... smile
Luton here I come.

Annobel Tue 06-Dec-11 19:11:26

JessM shock grin

bagitha Tue 06-Dec-11 19:34:23

Ah! Daughter doesn't cook! That explains a lot. Have fun in spite of irritations, gourmet. smile

johanna Tue 06-Dec-11 19:56:05

Well, JessM
If you are going to Luton, there will be CAMPARI.............

yogagran Tue 06-Dec-11 23:31:47

I'm in full agreement with baggy on this subject, it's just plain rudeness to be late when you've been invited somewhere and it drives me mad to have to wait for people.

Elegran Wed 07-Dec-11 13:09:16

It sounds as though either a) they are completely disorganised (when they are getting one child off to school on time and simultaneously coping with a stroppy younger one they will find out the virtues of routine!) or b) they are just not aware of the realities of producing a nice meal within a reasonable time slot. As DD does not cook, the second possibility seems more likely - "Mum makes the food, we eat it, what's the problem?".

If you are getting really fed up with it, you could try a little demonstration (maybe not for Christmas though) Instead of choosing things that are not time-critical, and then taking a lot of effort to stretch their edibility even further, why not make something that absolutely has to be eaten when it comes out of the oven.

Then invite them over, saying "I have found this gorgeous recipe for ..... . but it spoils fast once it is made.....have to eat it at once...." Set a time (with a margin for them being slightly late. If they are later than that - oh dear - what a pity - it would have been so tasty - things dry out so fast - never mind, would you like some tinned soup and bread and cheese?

Might work!

bagitha Wed 07-Dec-11 13:26:34

Like it, elegran! smile. With people who are consistently rude late I would stop waiting for them. We would eat when the meal's ready and leave theirs in the oven. I wonder how long it would take to get the message across?

When I make scrambled egg, people have to be seated at the table before the pan goes on the stove. Scrambled egg waits for no man; man waits for scrambled egg. Soufflés ditto.

There's an idea, gourmet — invite them for soufflé one day, eat yours while it's lovely and serve theirs cool and flat. We did say one o'clock for the meal, darling!