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Christmas dilemma

(20 Posts)
LeslieBgran Thu 25-Nov-21 20:41:37

Hi all you grans ,need a bit of advise. I’ve been hosting Christmas for my family since I got married, 41 years, alternate years for in-laws and my family as my 3 kids have grown, moved out, mostly come to us for Christmas 4 grandchildren later they still all come to us, we have never been asked to their homes at Christmas, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day, or any other day for a meal come to that, they’re at ours. My health has not been great this year, just had a new stent fitted due to artery blockage. I found doing Christmas Day 3 course diner for 9 adults and 4 children quite stressful last year and realised that none of my children were ever going to take a turn of hosting or inviting us for Christmas Day. Much as I love seeing them all and feel lucky that they want to come home , we would like a more relaxed time with them, time for a blether and time to play with the children so decided this year would do a buffet instead of a sit down meal. I’ve let them know, My daughter has just told me that she’s doing her own Christmas dinner this year, first time ever ! She’s 35married for 9years and 2 children and won’t be at ours at Christmas. I feel so hurt,I thought it’s about being together not what we eat, am I being unreasonable not providing a sit down meal? If my son and family feel the same we could be sitting on our own on Christmas Day . What should I do .

Oopsadaisy1 Thu 25-Nov-21 20:45:36

Well you can either wear yourself out as you have in the past, or have a rest.
Your children might find out how much work it is if they don’t come to you this year, and appreciate the enormous effort it takes.
I would stick to your guns and have a peaceful Christmas, its only one day after all.

seacliff Thu 25-Nov-21 20:46:47

Tell her, and your son, that you really aren't up to hosting. You've done more than your stint, and ask if you can come to hers this year.

Jaxjacky Thu 25-Nov-21 20:49:57

Accept that your daughter wants the day with her own little family, she may well have realised that it’s time you had a break.
Enjoy the day spending time with your OH, possibly your son, but if it’s only the two of you, how lovely, you’ll have time to indulge each other

Madgran77 Thu 25-Nov-21 20:52:45

I think there needs to be a family discussion about what you all would truly like at Christmas. An honest discussion.

So - you would like to see them all but not do all the hard work and hosting. And you are sharing your difficulties re health that are slowing you down. That is ok to want

Your daughter maybe fancies a family xmas at home, just their nuclear family unit, and finally having a go at doing their own xmas dinner...or there may be another reason ?

Your son - who knows unless you ask him

Once everyone is clear about what each of you would really like then as a family (and don't forget the needs of your sons/daughters in-laws, they will need to be thinking about in-law needs) then you can all agree a way forward that suits everyone. It might be that you have xmas day just the two of you then produce a buffet on boxing day/new year. It might be that you are invited to one of their houses on one of the days. It might be something else.

But unless you all sit down and talk, and be honest, rather than just trying to keep things the same or change everything without really saying why, then things will get messier/upsetting/worrying/filled with potential misunderstandings!

Good luck flowers

Coastpath Thu 25-Nov-21 20:55:28

You are definitely not being unreasonable to not provide a sit down Christmas dinner. Perhaps your daughter senses the burden on you and is trying to take some pressure off. If I were you I'd tell her what you've told us. Perhaps she will enjoy cooking Christmas dinner for her family after all these years and could maybe come to you - or you go to hers for a buffet and some fun family time on Boxing Day.

Breaking family traditions at Christmas is fraught with difficulty, but if change is never made then you can all end up celebrating in a way that you've all grown out of an nobody enjoys.

Nonogran Thu 25-Nov-21 21:00:29

Jaxjacky above, is very wise. Time to relinquish some of the traditions & take life a little easier. Have everyone over for open house/tea on Christmas Day, brunch on Boxing Day or something over New Year?
Perhaps your family have felt obligated in the past? This is their unspoken chance in light of your health to give you a break. Maybe you and DH could go out for Christmas lunch? You might enjoy it?!

Edge26 Thu 25-Nov-21 21:22:20

Why can't one of your children invite you to their's for your Christmas Dinner especially as you have had health problems, if not cook for yourself and your husband and have a stressless day.

Ladyleftfieldlover Thu 25-Nov-21 21:31:18

My mum did Christmas every year. Then one year, when my children were small she simply told me she wasn’t doing it any more and was handing the baton to me! Fine, I said. My elder son did it one year but otherwise I have done Christmas for the last 30 odd years for anything from 2 to 14 people. All the OP has to do is talk to her children and explain the situation.

Hithere Thu 25-Nov-21 21:35:32

This may not have to do anything about sit down meal vs wanting their own family traditions.

Forsythia Thu 25-Nov-21 21:49:26

I always did it every year but I realised they have to be allowed to make their own Christmas traditions so now it’s just the two of us on Christmas Day. Boxing Day, we usually see DD2 and partner, lunch, a walk and then back home. We fit in round them. Our oldest DD lives abroad with her family so we look forward to seeing them after Christmas. Times change, the older we get it’s not all about us. It’s their time now.

Madgran77 Thu 25-Nov-21 22:01:03

This may not have to do anything about sit down meal vs wanting their own family traditions

Which is why there needs to be a proper conversation

ElaineI Thu 25-Nov-21 22:23:39

You have to tell your children you are no longer feeling well enough to do it. They maybe don't realise or don't want to admit that their mother is getting older. Why don't you suggest that each family brings something/takes a course - one do the meat, one the veg, one desserts? When DH had his stroke in Feb our DC were great, brought meals, did manual jobs etc They still know that their Dad is not up to all the running around so step in before he does - he is stubborn but suffers after! Like doing things before he even gets up, removing the dishtowel from his hands and me asking them to do anything I think he can't manage. Sometimes they forget and need reminding but you need to have the conversation.

Deedaa Thu 25-Nov-21 22:37:57

Several years ago I suggested that I might do a buffet lunch for Christmas. The growing family was getting to be a bit of a squash and a squeeze and DH was ill. Shrieks of horror from autistic GS1 "It won't be Christmas if we don't have a proper dinner at Granny's" Ever a sucker for flattery I stayed with the proper dinner.

LeslieBgran Thu 25-Nov-21 22:47:07

Hi everyone thanks for the advise, I’ve been saying for years to the children that now they have their own families they should start they’re own Christmas tradition . One of the reasons I had my family at Christmas was so my children could enjoy Christmas day in their own home and not have to leave their new toys. They’re all aware of my heart condition. I have been hinting strongly that things could change. Whilst dishing up last year with my daughter she said to me “ I’m never doing this”. I think your all right I need to think about what I want to do in the future and discuss it with them . I’m sure it will all come out in the wash. I feel better having got this off my chest. Thanks again x

annodomini Thu 25-Nov-21 22:47:09

I'm one of the lucky ones. I haven't hosted Christmas for the past 17 years. After I retired and downsized to a smaller house, and my sons moved south for their jobs, it wasn't feasible for all of them to come and stay for Christmas, so I go to one or other of them. I've always been welcomed by their partners too and usually play my part in the preparation of the meal. This Christmas, I'll stay with DS2's family as they have a big house and DS1 will come with his teenage children and his partner on Boxing Day. They are all excellent cooks - far better than me!

SueDonim Thu 25-Nov-21 23:37:38

Do your family not help when you provide Christmas for everyone? I have four AC with three spouses and six GC between them but doing the meal, whilst busy, isn’t that difficult because everyone gets stuck into doing things to make it happen.

Someone keeps an eye on the GC while others do the veg, makes the accompaniments, lay the table, provide drinks and so on. When you think about it, it’s just a glorified roast dinner, anyway, it’s not Cordon Bleu cooking. smile

I think if family are not prepared to chip in like this and lend a hand, then given your poor health, it’s time for new traditions to be made.

Teacheranne Fri 26-Nov-21 01:21:35

I’ve never hosted the whole family! One year pre children, we went away skiing then one year when I had three children under the age of four we stayed at our house 200 miles from our family and hated it! After that, we and my two siblings descended on my mums house and she hosted for years, we increased in numbers over the years as another sister living in the US joined us, as did the odd girlfriend!

Now my mum is in a care home with advanced dementia, my younger sister has stepped up to host us all, she has teenage children who like to keep our Christmas traditions and also has a big enough house! My American sister is joining us again, my son has a new partner so there will be 13 for lunch.

But we split the jobs and the costs, I pay for the turkey ( my sister cooks it!), a ham for supper, make the special sausage meat stuffing and also the meringues with cream we have after our dinner. Everyone takes wine and Prosecco and we have a great time!

Even if my adult children start to alternate with the in laws, we still plan to have everyone together in one place every other year, I know that I will never be left on my own! But we do discuss things and start planning in October so everyone feels part of the family.

Talk to your children to see what they really want, I am sure they would not want you to be on your own if you don’t want to be.

Daisy79 Fri 26-Nov-21 01:35:10

Is it possible that their decision to host is only a coincidence to be the same year you decided on buffet?

When you say buffet, do you mean ordering in catering? Or simply setting it up at a secondary table for easier cleanup? (I’m in the US, so my apologies if this is obvious terminology in the UK.)

freedomfromthepast Fri 26-Nov-21 01:56:33

You definitely need to have a conversation with your family.

I too, am the family host. On my 15th year. I love it! But I do understand how much work it is. I am finally sitting down after cooking the last 2 days for our American Thanksgiving today. I could almost fall asleep sitting up right now.

You have hosted for 41 years. The family may have thought/felt, erroneously or not, that there was an implied expectation for them to all go to your house every year, so they never executed their own plans. They may feel that, since you aren't having the regular big dinner, that they have permission to do their own thing. They may also feel like, by staying home, they are giving you a well deserved break.

I am not saying that is the case, but I think it is worthy of consideration.

Daisy79, I am thinking by buffet they mean like our potluck where everyone brings a dish? That is how I read it but maybe I am wrong.