If given a choice, would you spend holidays with family or good friends?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm reading a book called "Forced to be Family." It's kind of funny. Most people spend holidays with their family, but also most don't have a good time. It also talks about all the rivalries in families and makes me wonder if I'd have more fun if I just picked out who I wanted to spend my holidays with. In my case, we have a very small family so it is usually cohesive--just me, hub, ex, four kids (and SOs) and grandson. Sometimes my dad pops by, but rarely stays long. Still...I tend to relax more when I'm not with the family. I had a lot more fun with my kids before my son got married. My daughter-in-law is nice, but she can also make me feel a little uneasy, although I'm not sure why. What about you?
  2. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I come from an extremely dysfunctional family. Holidays were never fun - Just lots of stress and pain. So, for me, it is an easy choice - I would definitely choose to spend the holidays with good friends. WFEN
  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    MWM, my holidays were always full of fighting and tension between mom and dad. It trickled down to the kids. Not fun and friends were a relief and more enjoyment.
    Over the years 4 of the siblings decided to change how we were to each other despite how parents set it up. It was a gradual change from bickering, gossip, jealousy and laziness to a more positive attitude.
    As adult children we are very close. My mother is still sort of unsure why she can't pit us against each other but she isn't that self reflective. As years goes on she takes credit for her children being close to each other. rofl.
    We look for opportunities to comment on positive accomplishments, actions and relationships. Empathize with the difficult parts of life(like new babies, money worries and concerns about elderly parents).
    Now we would rather spend time with each other and have visits from friends.

    by the way, there are still occasional flare ups between sibs but it is not more that emotional release from something else and is quickly forgotten.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    It doesn't matter to me. It used to be family as I was lucky to have a close one for many years. When dad died, Idivorce d (and later remarried into a step family who hasn't fully accepted me) and mom remarried into a huge stepfamily it changed. This year manster was with his dad so it was very strange. I have developed a "love the ones you're with" mentality and will just try to make the best of the day and stay open to the good things that come with change. Sorry for the convaluted answer :) ML
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My situation sounds very similar to yours, Fran. Our family was rife with alcoholism and dysfunction when I was a child...just a lot of stuff going on that wasn't very fun.

    However, as adults my siblings and I have found a way to not feed into the dysfunctional behaviors that were put upon as children. We're also very well spaced apart so we all tend to have a different perspective about life growing up, which makes it less likely to fall into that trap. Also, we've all done the counseling or AA thing. Funny, Fran, my mom takes credit for all of us being close as well - Haha. Once in a while one or two of us will have a 'thing' but it's just in passing and then it's over. One of my sisters is still trapped in the alcoholic behaviors; after years of being sober, she went back to drinking, so it's difficult to be with her and her attitudes.

    Generally speaking, I would prefer to be with my family over my friends on the holidays. It's usually enjoyable. You can let your hair down and laugh at things more easily. It's nice with friends too, but not the same.
  6. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Holidays were always tense as a kid. Dysfunctinal would be a mild description. All mind mess ups were open.

    Ironically when I was married to easy child's father and we lived too far from family (he was in the Army) and we spent the holidays with one or other or a group of other military folks we had so much fun. Since we were from all parts of the states and such different backgrounds that we all tried each others ways without judgement. It was great.

    Now with this husband we have a pretty loose idea of how holidays should happen. When it gets close we decide what we want to do. We know most everyone elses plans and we usually do quiet stuff here at home and occaisionally spread out a bit. Just depends.

    Funny as I was getting ready to close this post I thought of another holiday. It was Thanksgiving and I was married to husband #2. His family had made plans to go away and didn't say a word to us. Then my family made plans to do things that didn't include us. We both had our kids for that particular holiday and we were dumbfounded. We had always had our families pulling to see which way we were going. So this year left with no family plans we had made plans with the family that babysat for us. After we had everything ironed out (what we would bring and what they would do) we were looking forward to eating and playing cards and the kids playing all day. Suddenly the couple days before the holiday both his parents plans fell through as did mine. Both called expecting "since we didn't have any plans" that we would come with them to the alternative plans they each made. We at that point said nope. You all made plans so we did. We both got the family guilt trip and we both through it right back that until all of their plans had failed they didn't seem to notice our part of the family. It was very interesting from then on when holidays approached. They actually took the time to ask us if we were making plans etc.

    So I don't know if that answered your question or not. It was interesting reflecting on it though. thanks

  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Actually, as I've been thinking about this since I posted, I've realized that my favorite holiday is spent with ONLY my immediate family and my brother's family the most. I could do without spending the day with my local sister, though I do love her and we've grown a little closer this past year while dealing with my mom's issues. I'd pass completely on spending it with my alcholic sister. I'd love to spend some time with my oldest sister, but this year will be the first year in many that she's actually coming the day after to visit with us. I'm excited about it, but also glad that she will split her time between our home and my local sister.

    As a child, I spent nearly every Christmas or New Years or BOTH in the hospital. Seriously. And my birthday is two days after Christmas and I was often in the hospital on that day as well. With asthma. On the years when the entire family was together, I'd spend at least 3 nights in the ER with a wicked asthma attack. Just try and tell me that emotions aren't part of the asthma equation.

    So I change my vote to "It depends on which family". LOL:tongue:
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I would choose to spend Christmas with my husband's family, which we do every year anyway. husband's mom is a delight, and he is very close to his brother and sister.

    husband's other sister, who was a major difficult child, died earlier this year (from complications related to alcohol and drug use), so the main source of drama and tension is no longer around. Sorry...that came out sounding terribly cynical. I don't mean it that way, just that the tension level at family gatherings has been much lower since J died.

    As for my family, after my difficult child-father tried to drive me to suicide several years ago, I broke off all contact with all of them. As the expression goes, I wouldn't spit on them if they were on fire...so spending Christmas with them is totally out of the question.

    Much as my friends are dear to me, I find other people's traditions unsettling at Christmas time (I guess that's the Aspie), and find that spending time with friends makes me tense. At any other time of the year, yes, but not Christmas.

    MWM, I'm going to try to find that book. It sounds very interesting.

  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We usually have a really good time when we go to husband's folks for a couple of days at Christmas (they are only an hour away but like to have us come and visit for at least overnight). Going to visit and stay overnight REALLY makes things easier with the kids. They don't get as overwhelmed, and when they do get that way they can go upstairs and watch TV or go outside.

    We have a pretty good time with my family, though my bro and his refusal to think anyone else's time/plans are as important as him getting all his chores done/plans done, even if we wait 2 hours for dinner or whatever DOES put some strain there. But we still have fun, esp watching all my kids together.

    I really don't think I would have more fun anywhere else. I know holidays when my parents would come visit us in OH could be terribly stressful. Mostly because then the extended family had to be included and it just didn't work well.

    Oh well, we have a good time mostly.
  10. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    With family, always. I'm pretty family oriented, and get along pretty well with all my family. A couple family members can be emotional when too much alcohol is involved, that is when fights or something might occur, so we've come to not have a lot of that around. But all in all we're pretty good together. husband's family are pretty good too. Though husband is not a get together with family kind of guy, when we go there we all get along and have a good time.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    With family - I only have my Mom, one sister, neice, son and DF left. It's no a lot - but it's quality - and except for little jabs and inuendos from my Aspie light sister considering I've learned how to let her words fall to the ground and not over me? I enjoy being the the snow with my family!

    Neat threat MWM - thanks for asking!
  12. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    When I was growing up, Christmas with my family was magical. I don't remember a cross word being spoken from either side of the family and it was wonderful. Of course, I was an only child and an only grandchild on one side of the family and the only grandchild within 300 miles on the other side of the family so maybe that had something to do with it. But it was great.

    When I was grown and on my own I spent my first 10 or so Christmases traveling. I've spent Christmas in Bethlehem, Switzerland, Istanbul, Morocco, etc. and I think I may go back to that. My mother is 94 so I will stick around as long as she does but after that I may hit the road again.

    When I was a kid we always had a wonderful time on Christmas eve before the big day. After I got married, I don't think I ever spend a Christmas Eve while I was married without diagnosis coming home drunk and ruining it. My kids fought the whole time, I spent money I didn't have to buy things they didn't appreciate, and a worked my tail off and nobody noticed. I would have rather spent my Christmases with the cows in the field at that point.

    Now my kids are grown and it is a little better and I do love to see the grandkids but I'd still pick friends over family. This year there is a good chance difficult child 2 will be in jail for Christmas; if not, difficult child 1 still does not enjoy him. difficult child 1's girlfriend is the ex-wife of difficult child 2's wife's brother (can you say redneck Christmas?) and they don't get along.

    I love my friends and we usually get together sometime during the holidays. I look forward to that much more than being with my dysfunctional family.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    For me, it would be both. My family is pretty small -- my mother and my daughter. When my father was alive and mom and dad were together, Christmas was always magical. Lots of love and friends dropping by non-stop on Christmas Eve and Day. After they divorced, I'd spend Christmas Eve with dad, Christmas Day with mom. Friends still stopped by at both of their homes. It was kind of fun to see the same people on both days. So, my vote is to have both family and friends around.

    Where I'm living now, that is harder to do. Most people here are with their families -- either visiting them or the family visiting here. Even so, my daughter and I have fun together. For me, Christmas really is the most special time of the year.
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Friends. (No choice available.) Actually, the Grinch was on TV last night. I found myself relating much more to the Grinch in the first part of the story than the Grinch in the last part of the story.
  15. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    being an only child I am still very close with my parents (too close right nw being I am living with them) but none the less dysfunction aside I couldn't fathom not spedning the holiday with them.