Starting from the beginning… my MIL has three sons. Obviously I (30f) am married to one of them (30m). Her and my husband’s father have been divorced since the sons were little. Christmas for them would be to be with mom, go to dads for a few hours and then go back to mom.
On and off for the last 10 years my MIL has decided to hold a formal Christmas dinner with extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. So our Christmas Day would be to travel to see my family in the morning, see husbands dad in the afternoon and have Christmas dinner with his mom.
We wouldn’t get to open gifts from each other until usually like 11pm Christmas Day. This is an air tight schedule too. We could manage to spend about 3 hours at each house. Over the 10 years everyone started having kids. Cousins and aunts and uncles stopped coming to Christmas dinner about 5/6 years ago because their families got too big.
One of my husband's brothers moved and stopped coming to Christmas because it’s just too far to drive with the kids. Christmas dinner was down to us, the other brother’s family and MIL and stepdad. A few years ago we moved to a more central location between all of our families (still quite a bit of drive time between houses though).
We continued with the Christmas schedule, but this time instead of going to my parents, we hosted my family in the morning. Without getting into too many details, my parents are older and our house is less of a drive for my childless siblings so this is just easiest for everyone.
Here’s the AH part- for the last three Christmas we have not been able to have our kids (3, 2 and 3 months) open Santa presents on Christmas morning because our schedule was just too tight. It wasn’t a huge deal for the kids because they weren’t really aware of what was going on yet but now the oldest is SO excited for Santa.
We expected this and gave a warning last Christmas (also knowing that I was pregs with #3) that we don’t know the details of what Christmas would look like but we were hoping to stay home all day. We even offered to make Christmas dinner if things panned out that way.
We had some push back but nothing serious. Fast forward to this Christmas, husband and I decided that we would stay home and open our doors around noon to anyone who wanted to come.
This way the kids could have a “Santa morning”, get naps and still see some family. It would also save husband and I from bickering by the end of the travel day (iykyk).
This did not sit well with MIL and husbands brother. They both literally screamed and cried on the phone when we told them. They said that this came out of nowhere. They claim that I am manipulating husband, that I am trying to accommodate my family only and they are comparing me to a very hated ex-girlfriend from the family.
Now MIL will not speak to me and this has been going on for a couple of weeks. My husband tried to tell them that we decided this together but they think that he is just being too stupid to see that I am manipulating him. The problem is that they are actually very big manipulators and now husband is feeling very guilty about not going out.
I feel like if we cave to their temper tantrum we’re doing a disservice to our kids and we will also never be taken seriously when we try to make a decision for our family in the future? Am I the AH for holding our ground on this?
Since a lot of people are suggesting doing a different day, we already are. “Here’s the kicker: we are all going to her house for a gathering on Christmas Eve to do presents and what not.
We have been for the last 3 years because there’s not time for Christmas dinner AND presents on Christmas Day because of our tight schedule. We will literally be doing Christmas on Christmas Eve, she just also wants to see us ON Christmas Day too.”
You are NTA. This holiday is about your kids, not your inlaws. Stick to your guns here!
My wife and I stopped the traveling for Christmas when the kids got old enough to really enjoy it. It was the best decision we could have made. NTA, you all have to come first.
NTA. Your in-laws have had things their way for 10. 10 years of you traveling and running around to accommodate and be fair to everyone. You now have young kids you want to have time with to actually enjoy the holiday and all the magic that goes with it.
You aren't denying time with anyone. You're opening your home to all. It's about the kids. If a bunch of adults can't/won't or otherwise can't see that, it's a them problem. Stay home. Enjoy your Christmas as planned with your family at home. If your husband's family makes the effort to join you, great. If not. That's fine too.
Christmas isn't only about your MIL and BIL and it's ridiculous and selfish of them to expect to be the main characters over your family and children. I hated traveling from house to house on Christmas as a kid.
It was much more enjoyable to stay home, open presents in the morning and have Christmas dinner after a few hours of naps and enjoying my new stuff. Once kids come into play, it's time for MIL to realize she's not the best option anymore and what's best for the kids is not to spend Christmas driving between houses all day. If they don't like it, they can stay home by themselves.
My grandma used to have her big dinner on Christmas Eve and those were some of my favorite memories with my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Christmas Day was spent at home. Maybe MIL can move her celebration to another day.
NTA gotta cut the apron strings sometime, even MIL did it at some point if she was hosting Xmas at her house instead of running from house to house.