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Son and Christmas dilemma

(48 Posts)
Topiary Thu 22-Dec-22 16:46:50

Hello 😀 I hope this is in the right section. Couldn’t decide between here or in relationships.

I have had a disagreement with my Son and would appreciate some advice to resolve the matter.

Basically this came about because I asked when we would exchange Christmas presents. He said they were busy now up until Christmas so would have to be a quick drop off and then arrange another day to spend time together. I said that it was disappointing not to be able to see them and he was then very hostile. The issue seems to be that we are hosting his sibling and their family for Christmas Day and had not invited him. However him and sibling don’t get on so he knows it’s not possible for me to invite him if sibling is here.

Sibling alternates between us and in laws. So I said that Son should come on opposite alternate years but he says that he isn’t a back up plan and only wanted when sibling isn’t coming.

I feel like whatever I do he is always saying I am in the wrong. He is putting me in an impossible position. If I insist on inviting him then sibling won’t attend and then I could end up with no one attending every year. At least now I am guaranteed every other year. All I want is everything to be simple and all get along.

Seems like someone will be upset no matter what I do.

Topiary Thu 22-Dec-22 16:48:04

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 22-Dec-22 16:56:32

Yup, and they will go on being upset and so will you.

Leave it until after `Christmas then tell your children that you love them both and that it hurts you that they cannot or will not make up their differences, or visit you, if they know the other will be there.

No parent wants this kind of thing - you suggested they take it in turns to come, as they obviously cannot behave like grown-ups, but only like spoiled brats if they both come.

So if the year ends on a odd number your son and his family come for Christmas, or invite you to theirs.

If it ends on an even number it is the turn of his brother or sister.

That's the deal - they can take it or leave it.

If they can't accept this deal, find a way of enjoying Christmas without them and invite them seperately at any old weekend of the year.

And give serious consideration to your will sometime soon.

SunshineSally Thu 22-Dec-22 16:58:17

Hi Topiary
Whatever you do you’re in a no-win situation. It’s unfair of your son to expect you to choose, which is basically what he’s doing - especially if the problem lies in his relationship with his brother! Do both your sons feel the same way about each other? And what of their partners - do they talk?
I so hope that this can be resolved - but much will depend on whether they are prepared to compromise x

SunshineSally Thu 22-Dec-22 17:01:57

I should add that I have been in this situation for 8 years and this year all will be celebrating Boxing Day in my home 👏👏
Don’t give up hope xx

PoppyBlue Thu 22-Dec-22 17:32:28

If you haven't invited him to Christmas Dinner/Christmas day you can't really be upset that he's made other plans over the Christmas period? Especially with 3 days to go.

Just see him when it's convenient for both, not just you.

Smileless2012 Thu 22-Dec-22 17:41:20

If you've explained to him that you invite him and and his brother on alternate years because they don't get on, then he's being rather childish saying that he and his family are a backup plan for when his sibling isn't there.

Go with the quick drop off of presents and arranging a get together for another day, and be sure to enjoy your Christmas.

VioletSky Thu 22-Dec-22 17:49:15

You are in the middle of a tricky situation

One son cones every other year because he goes somewhere else every other year

The other son has been told to fit in with that, it's not necessarily what suits him.

So they are both in different positions here and the feelings will be different.

Perhaps you could have made arrangements with your son for boxing day or Christmas eve but you didn't either so he has other plans now.

If it were my sons both would be invited and welcome every year and both would need to sort out whether they wanted to come, not whether they were welcome to. I would not be changing my behaviour for their argument

Callistemon21 Thu 22-Dec-22 17:54:40

He said they were busy now up until Christmas so would have to be a quick drop off and then arrange another day to spend time together

That sounds fair enough. Disappointing for you but it's quite late to expect them to visit you if you haven't already planned a date over Christmas.

If they really don't get on to the extent they can't even spend Christmas Day together then alternate Christmases seem a good plan. Presumably they can all then see the other sides of their families alternate years.

Your DC need to sort out their relationship, it's not fair to you to keep accommodating their huffiness with each other and make you piggy-in-the-middle.

I'd leave it a day or so and then phone to offer him a couple of dates after Christmas or at New Year.

Hithere Thu 22-Dec-22 18:20:54

Team son

Nobody is putting anybody in sn impossible situation, expectations about Xmas are and need to be adjusted

I can see how he feels like a backup plan, working around his brother's

Second issue here is you didn't like your son's reply and he got mad at your push back
A more appropriate answer would have been
"Sure! Let us know when it is convenient for you"

Why not celebrate Xmas with your son in a non traditional week, first week I'd December, for example

AskAlice Thu 22-Dec-22 18:22:39

But you will see them, just not before Christmas. At least he has arranged to drop off presents! Many families have so many calls on their time in the run-up to Christmas. You did not invite him for Christmas day because of tensions in the family, which I understand completely, but can you not arrange to see him after Christmas or in the New Year?

I would explain tactfully that he is not the "back-up" for Christmas but that, as he and his sibling will not tolerate each other's company for the day, you thought that alternate years would be a fair way of treating them. Then leave it...and ask him in good time for next Christmas Day.

1987H2001M2002Inanny Thu 22-Dec-22 19:03:08

Dealing with Christmas and offspring. In the past my kids wouldn't commit to any Christmas plans so I thought stuff them.So one year we booked a Christmas week cruise,another time a coach trip away 24th to 27th,another a hotel for those same days and this Christmas hubby and I are having a carvery out Christmas eve and a lazy day 25th just cooked brekkie then xmas pud later!!They always get a shock when they ask at the last minute if we're cooking at ours and we say "oh no, we're away". Let the kids not talk to each other but don't spoil your enjoyment of life.You have put them first for years.

V3ra Thu 22-Dec-22 19:26:22

There's no reason why you can't have a Christmas get-together with your son on another day and exchange presents at the same time, it doesn't all have to hinge on one date in my mind.
We've had our family Christmas get-together already, as one adult child is working all over this weekend and one is hosting their in-law in another town.

Lathyrus Thu 22-Dec-22 19:29:54

I guess because he knew his sibling was coming and you hadn’t arranged anything else, he just assumed it wasn’t his year so he arranged other things.

I’m not quite sure what you wanted actually. He’s going to drop presents off and meet up after Christmas. Did you want his family to come for a day before Christmas?

Topiary Thu 22-Dec-22 20:11:48

Thank you so much for everyone’s advice and guidance.

I will try to answer questions, sorry in advance if I miss any!

I do feel like my Son is putting me in a difficult position. I think he could be more easy going with things and not so set in his way about this type of thing.

Son says he can be civil with sibling and therefore shouldn’t be excluded. I don’t agree that he’s excluded, I’m just trying to keep everyone happy. Sibling doesn’t want to be in same room as them (which I think is an overreaction, but it’s their decision)

Their partners have always seemed fine with each other. Very different people, but no major disagreements or anything that I know of. I think it is between my two DC and that Son believes there has been favouritism in the past and therefore this clouds their beliefs.

SunshineSally I am pleased that all your family are now able to celebrate together. I would absolutely adore if that happened for me in the future.

I would have invited them for Christmas but I can’t have DC here at same time.

VioletSky I know it doesn’t necessarily suit him, but we all need to be flexible sometimes to make the best of things. I was hoping he would have contacted us before now to arrange Christmas Eve or Boxing Day but I called about the presents because hadn’t heard from him.

They are both welcome, I always try my best for them. But I can’t help it that Sibling feels so strongly about not seeing Son. He could have made some effort to arrange something special for a different day.

He thinks he is the back up because we used to go to his for Christmas Day or him and family came to us as Sibling lived abroad. But now back in the UK for a few years, so now alternate between us and in laws. This seems to have it irritated Son, he likes things his own way.

Hithere Thu 22-Dec-22 20:25:53

Xmas is not about only those 3 days mentioned above

I feel that the easy going comment could be apply yo you, OP.
Your son is willing to meet you, just not in Xmas Eve or Boxing day
In the future, if you want any of those days, why don't you initiate the contact and arrange it?

Your son is an impossible position, honestly.
He can be civil with his brother but it is not reciprocated.
What happened that his sibling is not willing to see your son?

I did feel a vibe of favoritism before you mentioned it yourself.

Xmas are so stressful because of high expectations of making them "special"
That is what ruins everything

VioletSky Thu 22-Dec-22 20:30:38

It does sound a bit more like he is being pushed out now, sorry

Grams2five Fri 23-Dec-22 05:33:19

I agree with your son. He is 100% being excluded. I’m curious why instead of saying you are both my children and you’re both invited and if you can’t be civil that is on you to choose not to attend - rather then accolade the spoiled brat whom refuses to make efforts at civility in the name of Christmas . Of course he feels
Excluded because he is. You’re not trying to keep eveyone happy only the one child and offering the other the scraps from when said child is unavailable

harrigran Fri 23-Dec-22 07:14:28

I am amazed that adults can't sort out their differences and actually share a couple of hours together. If that was my family I would be giving them a good talking to.

dragonfly46 Fri 23-Dec-22 07:47:48

Yes your son feels pushed out and is probably upset that his sibling won’t see him.
The sibling is in the wrong not compromising.
Of course we don’t know the background to this and we don’t know why sibling hates your son so much.

Juliet27 Fri 23-Dec-22 08:03:19

Who spent Christmas Day with you last year?

MercuryQueen Fri 23-Dec-22 08:20:52

Hang on. Your response shows that you ARE favouring the sibling. Your son says he can be civil, sibling refuses, so you excluded your son. You dropped him and his family, after apparently years of holiday visits, in favour of your other child. And now you’re unhappy that you’re not getting the time you want AND expect your son to accommodate this?

Why would he?

Zoejory Fri 23-Dec-22 08:25:30

I didn't get on with one of my sisters at all. But we managed to be together on Christmas Day, Few glares then the wine flowed and the day went fine. Could that be possible?

MawtheMerrier Fri 23-Dec-22 08:29:24

Well I know what I think and it’s along the lines of the majority of posts.
Sibling rivalry is endemic but not helped when the parent clearly pussyfoots around one child.
If it is making you unhappy, read the replies and look hard inside yourself. They are both your sons.

Hetty58 Fri 23-Dec-22 09:00:42

I can detach myself from any battles or squabbles - it's their problem, not mine. A lot of sibling rivalry (even into adulthood) is fuelled by a desire to impress a parent, to be the 'best kid' - quite pathetic, really.

It's entirely up to me who I invite, and when. Of course, I'd try to be fair, but if anyone was awkward or couldn't attend, I'd just ask somebody else. My Christmas, New Year (or whatever) celebrations are not an opportunity to resume competition and conflict with siblings!