Young Widow Forum > General Discussion

Holidays and the Inlaws

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CJF:
Thought I'd put this out there and see how others handle this.
Do you still make a point of seeing the in laws on Christmas Eve/Day if that is what you did prior to your spouse's death?
Christmas Eve had always been an issue for us because both our families celebrated on that day.  It was a source of arguments for many years and most years I gave in and rearranged being with my family to accommodate his.  I have tried to continue at least stopping in to the inlaws celebration in the last six years since DH died, but it is getting harder, as my parents are getting older and my sister lives out of town.  I missed theirs two years ago, and cannot attend this year as they are planning it for the same time as my family.  This made me wonder what others do?  Thanks for any responses!

Captains wife:
I have a young child so I try and stay connected with my inlaws around Xmas - although I have decided as time has gone on (6 years now) that I also need to prioritize my (our) own happiness. At first my son and I went there on Xmas Day but now we spend Xmas with my family (who are in Canada). I do try and have a small present opening/Christmas celebration with my inlaws and my son either before or after our Xmas trip but that's it. My MIL isn't happy about this but this is what I want to do - and my son loves seeing my family including his cousins (which we don't get to see often). As an FYI - I don't include the guy I'm dating in anything related to my inlaws, including Xmas celebrations.

Trying:
I am recently remarried and we will all spend Christmas Eve with my late husband's family.  I have always hosted but asked my sister in law to take over this year.  Christmas Day my mom comes up and we just hang at home.  Current husband's parents have both passed and his 3 sisters spend Christmas with their own families.  It works for us.

twin_mom:
Like you,  where to spend Christmas was an ongoing argument for years until I finally put my foot down and said my kids needed to spend Christmas in their own house....

Now we go see MIL the weekend before Christmas. This year NG may go with me for the first time.

sojourner:
Twin mom, I sure wish I'd been able to set those boundries when my kids were little. That was really wise of you. I really wanted us to establish our own traditions in our own house on Christmas Day, and see extended family on other days. It's one of my biggest regrets, now.

My own siblings/parents were extremely flexible. Sometimes we'd even have Christmas on Thanksgiving. LH's  family- not so much... always had it Christmas Day, and Christmas Day only, at one of his sister's. Most of our life together, we drove hours and hours for this, often in crappy weather. Given that his mom was widowed, I always felt if I protested I'd be depriving her of her rare opportunity of having all her kids together. (She and I were widowed at about the same age of 50/51.)

We tried rocking the boat one year after she passed, and saw his siblings a different day... they didn't hide their resentment.  At 3 1/2 years out now, I haven't been since the first Christmas after his death. That was a real treat... the host BIL started on about what a GREAT year it'd been. After a moment of shock, I got up and left the room to compose myself, cursing myself for having made the 4+ hour trip by train with the kids, and was therefore trapped for a couple days.

Since then, I've excused myself... second year was an easy excuse, as I'd ended up with a knee replacement after failed meniscus surgery.  Last year and again this year, I've just said I was having Chistmas at home, which seems to leave them a little insulted. (I've made numerous suggestions we do it a different day, or even Christmas in July, when the weather's good.)

Unfortunately, my kids grew up with that tradition, so establishing a new one's an uphill struggle. Since my kids range up to 26, I just let them know I'll be hosting anyone who's available on Christmas, but let them decide what they want to do. This year, most of them want to go out of state to the inlaws, so I'll have Christmas gift opening on Christmas eve. Then any of them and any extended family that's available and I will be here for roast beef on Christmas, and it just is what it is. (In the back of my mind, tho, I'm thinking, Well, who's the widow *now.*  :o Where's the consideration for getting all of us together that LH and I gave MIL on Christmas  :o !)

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