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christmas incompetance

(18 Posts)
Treelover Mon 11-Dec-23 13:46:42

Are we the only family that does their best but basically aren't very good about Christmas? Every year we gather in some way but increasingly with trepidation. We wish each other well.
I'll detail...presently (xmas changes over the years and decades) my son has wife and three daughters and try as I might I get little back. No conversations with wife or children... My son responds but he too is a bit literal and is always too busy to talk. I now have a condition that makes it impossible for me to travel alone to them in another city a couple of hours away. My daughter has an enormous house and three gardens and a husband a dog and no children and lives nearby. She is tired of the lack of response from her brother and family and wants to just spend the day with her husband, dog, me and mine (dogs not husband).
Her husband's family have just declined invites to her house and she is pleased. My house is small. Of course son and family can come to mine but there is a history of upsets that I'm loathe to risk as I have a serious heart condition and decided to avoid stress whenever I can. I hosted Xmas at my house for 35 years till my mum died. It was easier then, she had expectations that we fulfilled. Now we don't, we just want to go to the beach with the dogs. We buy all the presents and are very generous and hope everything goes well... DIL likes to spend it alone with hubby or with her parents. I understand. (she too has a disability which has only recently been discovered)
I suppose what I want is for my daughter to be the host and for everyone to be happy. The children love her house. And she has said no. I feel she should care more about her nieces (two of whom are disabled) she says. No. Oh dear. My son and DIL have not responded to her general invite. Is this just pre Christmas angst? What do you think? Are we beyond the pale?

Mouseybrown60 Mon 11-Dec-23 14:14:15

Perhaps the best solution would be for you to spend Christmas day at your daughter’s house and for your son and daughter-in-law go to her parents?

Baggs Mon 11-Dec-23 14:18:55

Why don't you just accept your daughter's invitation to you and your dogs and have a nice relaxing day?

pascal30 Mon 11-Dec-23 14:25:57

it's no use trying to force people to be together at any time, especially Christmas.. I would go and enjoy a doggy Christmas..

Norah Mon 11-Dec-23 14:42:13


it's no use trying to force people to be together at any time, especially Christmas.. I would go and enjoy a doggy Christmas..

Seems autocratic to attempt forcing gatherings others don't desire. Perhaps accept with your daughter, allow the rest to self sort? Not all people get along well, no matter their status as 'family'.

Merely a few hours on the 25th - an insignificant annual blip.

biglouis Mon 11-Dec-23 16:23:53

Every year about the beginning of November my mother would ask "What are you doing for christmas" and my heart would sink. I used to put off my answer by saying I hadnt thought about it but she would continue to nag. The fact is that I have ALWAYS preferred to spend it on my own doing my own thing. The big family christmas with squabbling kids and endless tacky TV programs bores me to tears. Then I began going to counties like Morocco, Egypt, Nepal and so on where they dont celebrate christmas and found it really liberating.

How do you tell your family that you just dont want to be with them?

AreWeThereYet Mon 11-Dec-23 16:26:58

Why incompetence? Stop measuring your family against what other families apparently do. I know an awful lot of people who dread family get togethers, or think them incredibly boring duties they feel they have to do. Some families pull it off really well, but many, many do not. Let everyone get on with what they want to do, go and enjoy some time with your daughter and try to arrange some time together later - maybe short spells that everyone can handle.

maddyone Mon 11-Dec-23 16:34:52

Good advice from AreWeThereYet.
Enjoy Christmas with your daughter and her husband and the dogs, and see your son and grandchildren another time.

M0nica Mon 11-Dec-23 16:42:03

Once they are adult our children set the rules for our relationship with them and we just have to go with it.

You have been offered a quiet and enjoyabke Christmas witha daughter and SiL who live near by. Just go there and enjoy it.

There is amnay a parent sitting alone over Christmas that would give everthing they possess to have a Christmas like yike you have been offered.

By thankful for the blessings you have.

Marydoll Mon 11-Dec-23 16:42:44

I am relieved this year that it is only my DH, DD and SIL. Chronic ill health makes it even more stressful and we have agreed to pare things down.
My other children, partners and grandchildren will pop in on Christmas morning.

The important thing is family, not a performance.

Grammaretto Mon 11-Dec-23 16:45:12

You need to be flexible. Things change, people change, children become adults, people die, others divorce.
I have done my share of big family Christmases. I've cooked turkeys galore and Christmas puds.
DH died, both his parents too, COVID came and suddenly it seemed like family members didn't want a big gathering any more.
I miss it in a way but not in others.
DD will celebrate with friends. DS3 will go to his in-laws. DS1 and wife have invited me for lunch so I shall go to them.
I'll see the others but not all together.

RosiesMaw Mon 11-Dec-23 16:51:38

What Baggs, Arewethereyet and others have said.
Christmas is nothing to do with competence or the lack of it - apart from burning the turkey!

AreWeThereYet Mon 11-Dec-23 17:21:18

Christmas is nothing to do with competence or the lack of it - apart from burning the turkey!

Been there, done that 😓 Some years my incompetence knew no bounds, from losing presents, burning the dinner, forgetting to cook some of the dinner, forgetting to buy the dinner...thankfully have a family that appreciate my incompetence, and talk about it for years to come😂

Elegran Mon 11-Dec-23 17:37:18

Christmas Day is one day in a year. There are 364 other days (365 next year!) to see everyone in. You don't need to see them all on the same day, in fact it is better to see them separately, without the hassle of someone having to produce a special meal to make it an "occasion".

This year two couples in my family won't be there, so there will only be five of us, the others are doing their own thing. I shall see them some other time.

Treelover Mon 11-Dec-23 18:29:36

yes thanks all. I am very grateful to have time with daughter and co on the day. Didn't expect son and family to come Christmas day...just some time over the period. I'm sure he'll let us know their plans soon. I'm just getting into gear. Dogs are brilliant they don't even know its Christmas. same jolly selves every day. and I forgot to mention the main problem...When they come the dogs have to not be there, because DIL doesn't like dogs. which is not simple.

Oreo Mon 11-Dec-23 19:19:08


Why don't you just accept your daughter's invitation to you and your dogs and have a nice relaxing day?

Yep, the best idea.
I think you prob have a normal family, there’s no perfection where families are concerned.
Up to your DD if she doesn’t want to host the lot of them.
Just accept your son and family are what they are and don’t stress about it.

Treelover Tue 12-Dec-23 12:29:04

thanks Oreo, you're right stressing or overthinking doesn't help. I wish you all a happy Christmas with love and fortitude.

Redhead56 Tue 12-Dec-23 18:26:31

It would be nice if all families could be together but it doesn’t always work out like that. Accept your invitation for Christmas and enjoy your day.