How do you all handle Christmas?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Naina, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. Naina

    Naina New Member

    I personally have grown to have a real dislike for this holiday. I try to be understanding and realize it is a difficult time for our children, but darn, every bit of joy had been sucked out of me through the years.

    While my children were young I made the holidays as festive as I could while attempting to minimize my daughter's nasty behavior as much as possible. Looking back, the most peaceful holidays were when she was hospitalized.

    As my children grew into adulthood, my middle son has estranged himself from our family gatherings due to my daughter's erratic behavior. . It hurts like hell, but I really don't blaim him. Each holiday is like walking on pins and needles. I have made a point of hosting as I wanted my mother to have a nice holiday. Now that she is no longer with us, I just want to give up celebrating. I have begged my husband to go with me out of town. He will not.

    This year I attempted to make this as simple and stress free as possible. My middle son is out of town on holiday. I invited my other son and his girlfriend along with my daughter to dinner on Christmas eve. I asked that we not do gift exchanges, just have a nice meal.

    So there would not be any hurt feelings, my daughter who lives on SSD and has limited income came over today. I always attempt to help her out a bit more. I asked if she wanted to open a few of her gifts. She began opening them, and said they were all too large. Never even tried them on. Threw them aside, had a melt down and stormed out of the house along with her $100 gift card. She did call later and apologize, which means nothing to me, because in the end it is all my fault.

    This whole event has just ruined my day. I am so upset, I can not even move. I am just so over Christmas. Never again will I give her a gift. Next year, I'll throw her a 100 dollar bill and call it a day. My plans from here on out is to be out of town for the holidays. If I have to go by myself, I will. I just can not take another year of this.

    I have so must resent towards her. No one wants to be around her as we are all afraid of what she may say or do. How in the world do the rest of you handle the holidays?
     
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I dont have a child nobody wants to be around that lives near me. I am grateful that this one son, who has been mean to his siblings, is not livinglaround here.

    But if he were and did not behave well at family gatherings, I would not invite him. I would not make my nice kids feel that they couldnt come because he is 40 and cant act his age. And I wouldnt punish myself either. Im not young anymore. I earned peace and happy holidays.

    If my son wanted to exchange presents, it would be alone in a crowded restaurant so that he had to be pleasant because of the crowd. Fortunately he lives five hours away and is phobic abouf driving so he wont drive up here and I like my holiday in my area. Im not leaving the rest of the family to see just him.

    To his extreme credit, he doesnt care or get angry about it. He would rather spend Christmas with just my grandson. He is a big loner and doesnt expect me to make a special trip for him. It works out as everyone else gets along great. And I always talk to my son and grandson on the phone to wish them Merry Christmas.

    It sounds as if your daughter is challenged. That doesnt mean she cant be pleasant. If your only way out of a nasty holiday is to travel, by all means do it!

    In my opinion it is time to take care of yourself first and let your adult daughter be nasty somewhere else. You cant fix her and she has to learn to take care of herself without you. You wont be here forever. Enjoy your golden years on your terms!

    One last comment. I am not as nice as you. If any of my kids or my husband or aunt or friend or kissing cousin EVER complained about a gift to me, they would never get abnother one. I am not rich enough to tjrough my money around and would never myself not be gracious about a gift. Even my reclusive son is polite when he receives gifts. Your daughter not thanking you was very rude. How old is she?

    Are you doing the hosting this year? How does your adult daughter behave that puts off your son?

    Love and light!
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  3. Naina

    Naina New Member

    Thanks for your response SOMEWHERE. I so agree with you, I need to start taking care of myself. I am not quite sure how things will go from here out, but I do know I will not go through this again.

    My daughter is quite bright. Has ADHD, bipolar, PTSD and some type of personality disorder. This all came to a head in her teens. She was loud mean and obnoxious. Stole my car, did drugs..... my younger son was completely embarrassed by her behaviour. All my attention went to her. My younger son grew up quite, reserved, studios, and I'm sure he felt neglected. When he moved out, he is just reluctant to be around his sister. I know he is embarrassed of her, and just does not want to be around the drama that follows her.
     
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmm.

    I would have my main celebration with the son and the restaurant with the daughter. Your son is a good person and in my opinion should not feel he has to refrain from showing up because she may act up.

    Thats jmo though.
     
  5. Naina

    Naina New Member

    Yes, I am hosting this year. You are correct in not accepting this ungracious behavior. This is the first time she has done this. She lost her job a few months ago and I have been supplementing her. I believe she has gotten some entitlement issues going on. She realized it and did apologize, but this has made me rethink my behavior towards her. She begins a new job next week, and there will be some changes.
     
  6. RPmom

    RPmom New Member

    Before my parents died they always hosted all the holidays at their home. Luckily my daughter behaves very well in social situations but of course the family knows her troubles and they do not trust her. My mother and father moved in with my sister years ago and after finding drugs in their house that my daughter had brought in they forbid her from coming there. This led to some family drama. It was made worse when on one occasions my daughter brought some man that she had just met into my sisters home in the middle of the night. My sister has young children and she already had my daughters number, if you know what I mean. My daughter was never allowed back to my sisters home. Soon afterwards, and because of this, me elderly and by then widowed father moved in with me and everything changed. My brother started hosting Christmas, but it was not the same. My daughter did go to their house where she was welcomed and she was very well behaved as she always is in the presence of others. But this year we are having Christmas at my sisters home again and my daughter will not be there. My daughter understands that she is not welcome there. My sister tries to be a good aunt to my daughter that my sister has made it clear that my daughter is not welcome in her home under any circumstances because she has young impressIonable teenagers now. There are some confused feelings about this but both me and my daughter agree that my sister has the right to decide who is welcome in her home. My brother my sister and her family tries to love my daughter they just don’t want her around them with a 10 foot pole if they can help it. We have spent Thanksgiving together and had a wonderful time but it was at a restaurant and a bowling alley and I think that made a big difference. So I guess I would say for those in a similar situation that I now find myself, celebrations With our troubled children should be held in a neutral zone, or a limited time, and if they don’t appreciate the gifts they are given they should not be given gifts at all. Again, I am learning so much on the site so I am reading what everyone else is on this issue. I will not be spending Christmas with my daughter this year. She Seems OK with that. We are going to beat up at a restaurant and I will give her the gifts I bought which are basically some shoes and a new hair straightener. She already told me she is grateful that I am giving her anything at all and I believe her. God I hope I am not wrong.
     
  7. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Holidays are tough. I’ve learned to keep things simple and keep my expectations low.
     
  8. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    The holidays make me sad and it has been that way for 3 or 4 years. Ben hasn't ever made a scene during them. But for the last 3 or 4 years he would sleep till I shook him out of bed. He would open his presents , always gracious, we would have lunch dinner around 2 then he would beat it out the door saying he was going wherever (who knows, it was most likely a lie). For the last 4 or 5 years he spent as little time around us as possible. Again, no idea why. I really wonder. Now he says, "it's all dad's fault." again..no clue what he is talking about. I have asked him to elaborate but he doesn't answer. I wish I could figure it out. Yesterday I texted him that I was baking and was there anything he wanted. He responded, "I would love some of your cinnamon rolls." I told them he could pick them up in the evening. He came by after work. I gave him the rolls and bag (I didn't wrap stuff) Under Armour Storm sweatshirt/hoodie, UA long johns and top and 6 pair of wool socks he like, also a card with a note that we put $$ on his credit card. Latter he sent me a text thanking me for the gifts. I responded and invited him to Christmas dinner and he texted back , "I told you I am not going to be any where he is and i will tell you one more time. No." He will take the gifts Dad's money buys ?????
    Every year I hope the next year will be better. Big sigh. Maybe next year?
    I am lucky though I have a wonderful husband, son, daughter and son-in-law. Maybe some day my daughter will have a baby. I doubt it though. She isn't interested in having kids. and with a brother like Ben who can blame her? It is hard to believe what a fabulous kid he was until about 13 years old then things slowly changed. I can hope someday he wakes up and they change back.
     
  9. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    This is a good question and I'm wondering the same. As the time to be at my mother's home I'm wondering what about my trouble son. My middle son is embarrassed of him and doesn't want anything to do with him. Then my brother and sister adores him. I am like yall I want peaceful gathering with my mom and siblings. I'm debating letting him ride to my moms house with us. My story is different. My son wont leave my house. I've kicked him out but he sleeps in his car on the curb in front. I don't get that. But anyway we all need to be merry and not give in to drama.
    Merry Christmas chins up smile on.
    Joysheph
     
  10. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I always have an early Christmas with my granddaughter and another one with my parents. On Christmas Eve I'm usually with family or friends- whoever is having a celebration, usually my son. And Christmas Day is MY day. I hang out with my dogs, eat whatever I want and usually go to a movie. I really enjoy the day, as it is just doing what I want and I don't have to host anyone or live up to anyone else's expectations. For a couple of years I tried to plan celebrations to include my daughter, but she would never stick to plans, so I just quit doing it. My Christmas is certainly not traditional, but it's the one day when I just indulge myself and don't worry about anyone else.
     
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  11. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    My younger two will not attend any event that my oldest attends. Right now he is on house arrest so he can't come so i will have Christmas with my youger two and my grandaughter and my hubby. I will take oldest a plate of homemade food when others are gone. He had to have a suit for court at the beginning of the month so i told him that was his christmas gift. I do not really like the holidays either. My youger sons live between 5 and 7 hours away and i believe they will not move back because of him.
     
  12. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Right now I am thinking the only thing I am making for Christmas next year are reservations. I am tired of working to get everything ready. Nobody cares. This year we are having friends for dinner. that will be nice (I hope) but until there is a child in the family I am done doing Christmas baking and cooking. I doubt I will live to see the day there is a little one in this family. So from ow on it is church and a restaurant for Christmas. Things will have to make a drastic change to change my mind on this.
    You would all laugh if you could see me right now. There is a cat snuggled up to each side of me purring loud at freight trains and one on my chair behind my neck with her paws on my shoulder. They love me. (don't worry I am not on heading for crazy cat mom. I only have 3 and no more coming.
     
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  13. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Family dynamics is complicated, even when substance abuse or personality disorders aren't at play. My dad and his brother cannot be in the same room together. They don't celebrate Christmas together anymore. Some years, they call each other, but some years they don't even do that.
     
  14. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    It wasn't. We had the same family (mom A, dad M, son) over for Thanksgiving and had a really nice time, that day they stayed 2pm-7pm. we chatted and laughed a lot. When I invited them for Christmas we talked about a couple of card games to play and evening snacks. I went all out the last few days getting things ready (much more than if it was just our nuclear family (me, hubs, Adam, Jill and hubby). Anyhow A texted at 1:20 said running late- I had everything ready to come out of ovens by 1:30 (eating scheduled for 1:30). They were only a couple minutes late. BUT in a mood..no clue what was up. ate lunch, I got desserts and put on pot of coffee, they got out their phones and started dinking. We had desert and coffee while they dinked. Then A said son has to babysit so we have to get going. I asked son who he was sitting. conversation..he said Alistair (that is a DOG) !! Then M said something about a movie time!!! OMG I went to all this work. A hadn't texted me in the last week that told me plans had changed. SERIOUSLY!!! Then as she was putting on her coat she asked what we were doing for New Years!! I said(without hesitation) "Going out".
    Sorry for the vent. Would you be ticked at this? If I wanted this treatment I could of insisted ben come and make my day miserable. at least with him we share DNA.
     
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Tired. Horrible. Completely rude. Thoughtless. Unforgivable.

    Even if it was left undefined: still bad.

    When you are a guest in somebody's home you owe them courtesy, attention, respect, consideration. You don't just eat and run.

    If they were going to do this they needed to cancel. That would have been less bad. But still bad.

    I wish you'd invited me.
     
  16. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Thanks Copa! I wish you didn't live 2500-3000 miles away! You could have came on over!
     
  17. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Christmases since I started dating my husband have been ultra simple. We exchanged gifts the first year or two, nothing lavish, and then we didn't actively decide not to, we just stopped doing it, because this is a financially hard time of year for my husband. We usually just hang out at home and then go to his brother's around three for the family gathering and dinner. It's usually pretty peaceful. This year was the first year that my son has been with us for Christmas since he moved to Chicago about three years ago. He came back (presumably to stay) right before Thanksgiving and we got off to a rocky start.....his ex in Chicago came down and they took a trip to Ft Myer (FL) where his family owns a couple of condos where they stayed. Of course drugs were involved and things got crazy between my son and the ex, and even after the ex had gone back to Chicago my son kept using. He even temporarily blocked me from Facebook and his life. I was dreading Christmas because if my son was with us things could go up in flames as we have a history of volatility, especially at a stressful time like the holidays. And if he was out of the picture, then I would not be in a celebratory mood and would probably be terrible company.

    But things have slowly blown over and for the time being at least we are pretty much functioning as a loving parent and loving but sometimes disinterested adult son. Hey, it's peaceful with very little drama and chaos, so I'll take it! I've learned that it's best to be an observer of my son's life from the sidelines (other than when it has a direct impact on me or my husband or our home). If he wants to share something with me, he will. If he wants my advice, he'll ask for it. The last thing I wanted to do was give him money or something of value he could sell or trade for drugs, so I ended up getting him a month bus pas and personal items like socks, razors, and toothbrush. And a couple of candy bars to add a little festivity. He seemed pleased with everything, especially considering that just that morning he had asked my husband if he could borrow a pair of socks!
     
  18. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Yes. This has been what I’ve come to as well.
     
  19. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Without going into a lot of detail I have decided to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year and ongoing - it's not about gifts or making everyone happy anymore.

    It's a simple meal and a few simple things and just spending time together as a family.

    Forget the Norman Rockwell stuff.
     
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  20. Naina

    Naina New Member

    Thank you all for your response. It makes me feel a bit better knowing I am not alone in this.

    Made it through Christmas with my soul intact and a few lessons learned. I will no longer host Christmas. It will be done on individual bases at a neutral location.

    All these years I wanted a fairytale Christmas. I believe it has finally sunk in that it will never happen. Why waste time money and energy on something unrealistic? No more gifts, just $$$ no more cooking. Lesson learned. Again, thank you all!
     
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