Sunday, December 23, 2012


Last week I found myself alone in the living room after everyone else had gone to sleep, slicing open Christmas gifts with an exacto knife. (Only about half were completely inappropriate.  One that wasn't was, however, low-quality plastic crap from China, which has already triggered fifteen timeouts for Bug not taking turns.  Yes, I love presents!!)

The next day, Dr. S said how he'd like to take the kids to his parents' house for Christmas one of these years.

You know what?  I would be perfectly happy for our kids to NEVER go to his parents' house for Christmas again.  And frankly, I would be happy for me to never go there again, either. 

I keep thinking that if only I could understand how I feel about them, I could get over it, and we'd get along better.  But actually that doesn't happen. If anything, I'm more annoyed.

They continue to be unable to follow even the simplest directions, and I continue to feel both unwelcome and disrespected.  Really: this year I sent them a link to a child's baseball cap in the correct size, Bug wants this one please, and they bought an adult-sized one instead.  My parents sent a couple rescue-squad adult-sized baseball caps but 1) we hadn't asked them for one, they just thought Bug would like them and 2) they don't make rescue squad caps in kids' sizes.

They do not respect any boundaries that we set for our children.  "But don't you want to give him some ice cream?" "No, he didn't eat any dinner." 

Last time I had Christmas dinner with them, mine consisted of potatoes that had been boiled and mashed, and some boiled green peas.  The only way to circumvent this is to buy and cook all my own food, which they find offensive, plus they have no spices or beans or even raisins usually, and they live in a small town with almost nothing pre-packaged I can eat - how much soybean fake-ham can one person eat?- and the nearest decent grocery is an hour away, so it's both annoying and expensive.

I don't want my children to go without me, because they'll have inappropriate places to sleep that have nothing to do with how Dr. S and I said it needs to be (last time I said they had to find a crib... and they didn't), end up packed full of sugar and Red #40*, and come home with a ton of plastic shit from China with tiny chokable pieces and batteries. 

The television is on all the time, even when no-one is watching it, which gives me a terrific headache.  Christmas breakfast invariably consists of 'puffy cheese bake', made from half-and-half, bread, and cheese, or pancakes and bacon, fried in bacon grease (I am not making this up).  And even though we've been married for seven years, they haven't seen fit to change anything in any way, because they've always done it this way.  (The kids used to wake them up at 4 in the morning for many years too, but don't re-enact that part.) Did I mention that I feel really unwelcome? 

And Dr. S gets really annoyed and irritated with me, whenever we discuss it, even though he feels the exact same way about his parents.  So.  Can I never go there again? 

Merry Christmas to YOU too.

*Which I abhor purely on principle, and not because I think it does anything specifically horrible.


  1. Anonymous1:19 PM

    I completely sympathize. This sounds like a terrible mix of the worst things about my family (excess of bacon) AND the worst things about my partner's family (TV - gah). Holidays sometimes suck my will to live for this very reason. But hey, cheers to half mostly appropriate gifts!

    1. The treif! The TV! The... amazing degree to which I feel Not Welcomed! Ah well. I hope that your will to live is intact and that you and your partner have found the peeeerrrrfect gifts in your traditional dash. :)

  2. Yes, indeed. I wouldn't ever want to go there again, either. At least my in-laws try to make food we like (and are able to eat!), because there is nothing like having a headache and being hungry to bolster holiday spirit. My in-laws also have the TV on ALL day. (Tom keeps it on the sci fi network, and watched a ghost show with C1, that is still giving him nightmares. We were there in April.) Actually, we've pretty much decided to never go to their house again, because off the fighting dogs who could kill my children. My parents are so much better.

    1. I totally agree: you should never go there again. Seriously. And... they'll be here soon! Yay! By which I mean AARGH.

  3. NYKaren3:01 AM

    I completely understand! And, here's a venue where I can vent anonymously about my in-laws. I married my husband three years ago and have been going to his family Christmas for 6 years. His father and his three uncles always get together for Christmas proper (although none are religious), which means we have not spent Christmas with my family in 6 years. This was ok because my family could be flexible and we would visit them between Christmas and New Years, but now we have a 5-mth old and we still have not been able to have a conversation that doesn't disintegrate into arguing about how we will plan holidays in the future. My main issue (aside from the fact that Christmas day itself will now have a greater significance to us, via the baby), is their copious gift giving behavior. Although we have tried things like gift lists, they still seem to think that half of Christmas day should be taken up by present opening. This means that they have to purchase dozens of gifts per person, and usually it is a bunch of random crap. I do not want my child growing up to expect that amount of stuff every year. Plus, my family is not as wealthy and will not be able to "compete" with that level of gift giving. And, I'd like us to start our own traditions, rather than spending 1K plus each year to battle delayed flights and crappy-weather driving just to spend three days sitting around (literally, we left the house one time, to go out to eat). Anyway, long story short is that I feel your pain!


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