Christmas Ends Early UPDATED in Book Two: The Fifteenth Year of the Third Millennium of the Common Era

Revised: 12/23/2015 9:04 a.m.

  • Dec. 23, 2015, 4:19 a.m.
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For my wife, Christmas has been well and truly ruined.

As we had spent the last two holidays with my family; Wife and I decided to spend Christmas (or at least part of it) with her family. My wife does not like spending holidays with her family. It is a five hour drive from here (one way) and she says her family is boring. The family does nothing but chat about their respective farms and that is what they call a family gathering. I do not like spending holidays with her family. It is a five hour drive from here (one way) that I end up doing all of. The family does not plan or have respect for scheduling or hosting. Any event where 9 separate households from 4 different states are expected to gather… the schedule should be set at least a week in advance. That way, people know what to expect. That is NOT how my mother in law does things.

Today is the 22nd of December with Christmas a mere 3 days away… less, really. My mother in law only this morning told us what the Christmas plans were. They were considerably different than what we were expecting. Therefore, Wife spent an hour crying, two hours yelling, and the rest of the day (and likely the week) moping.

Typically… Wife’s family does dinner and presents around 5 pm on Christmas Day at my In Laws farm. That being the only information to go on before this morning… our plan was the following:
When Wife gets off work on the 24th (9pm)… drive the two hours to my folks’ house and sleep there. Wake up, open presents with them (and the dogs, and the baby), and then drive 3 hours to In Laws, where we would eat dinner and open presents with that side of the family.
Now… that whole plan is shot. And Wife is not a fan of re-doing plans without warning. What we have to do now…
When Wife gets off work on the 24th (9pm)… drive the five hours to her folks’ place and grab some sleep. Wake up, pile into a car, and drive to a small Church… where the family will be doing Christmas in the basement because my Mother In Law did not want to clean her house. So… now we’ll all be in a Church Basement at 1:00 pm… and I can’t fathom what is going to keep us occupied! Presents and food takes less than 2 hours with this family. Since the expectation is to meet at 1:00… even if there is an hour of prep… We’d still be eating dinner around 4. AND for an extra-special twist.... a mentally challenged man who sexually assaulted his sister was not allowed to have Christmas with his family; so my In Laws decided to invite him for their Christmas.

So instead of a little of my family and a little of Wife’s family… it is none of my family, all Wife’s family, plus a criminal, plus an environment without television, internet, or any “comforts of home.” Just a tiny church basement. And we can’t just bolt on Saturday and try to squeeze in some time with my family… because my Mother In Law, on Saturday, wants to take us to a different part of Iowa to see her sister. Frankly… I don’t mind. I mean… I mind the Random Criminal being at Christmas… especially since there will be children from 4 years old to 17 years old present… and I mind the location… because it is going to be soul crushingly boring… but not seeing my family doesn’t ruin my Christmas. It is a part of Married Life… some holidays have to be given to one family and can’t easily be shared. There’s a logic to it.

Wife… is… extremely displeased that we aren’t getting any time with my family. My family has dogs… hers does not. My family has a new little toddler that we are directly related to… hers does not. My family drinks, plays games, watches movies, and has revelries during Holidays.... hers does not. My family exchanges gifts with each other and has conversations and stories about the gifts… hers does not. My family has a rich history of traditions involving Christmas Morning Bible Reading, Egg Casserole Brunch, British Christmas Poppers and more… (according to Wife and my past observations)… her family has no traditions.

So… yeah. I can easily see why she is bummed. To put it bluntly… spending some of Christmas with my family and some with hers is the equivalent of getting your homework done AND attending the big party. Spending all of it with her family is… just a regular visit to her parents but with more hassles. So I get it and I’m trying to be understanding… offer solutions… make suggestions.

No. Had a good sad/mad cry. Yelled about her mother’s inconsiderate nature about “springing all of this” on us. And started making lofty long term statements about how she isn’t going to put any thought into presents anymore if she doesn’t get to enjoy watching them being opened. I’m mostly just letting her get it out… reminding her not to make any broad statements about future Christmases since we don’t even know where we’re going to be living next December........ but all of that said.... it still isn’t any fun (or easy at all) to see Wife hurt, upset, and unhappy. (Which is funny, you’d think I’d be used to seeing that by now).


While I was at work; I made “Options Cards” to help my wife. She is terrible with decisions, so I’m trying to work on ways of helping her. Instead of thinking about EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE IT IS TOO MUCH… I figured that packaging ideas together would help her. So I made one option card with the Original Plan, one option card with the Alternative Plan, and two that mixed those plans together.
Except… the cards weren’t needed, lol.
It turns out the actual FOOD part of the In Laws night will still be around 5 ish. While I appreciate my Mother In Law’s desire to see her only child; telling us that “we’re all meeting at the church at 1” wasn’t exactly the best way to indicate what was going on. So we shall still do our Original Plan and… if there are “festive activities” we’re missing with the In Laws? That will simply have to be.

Last updated December 23, 2015

Deleted user December 23, 2015

Don't go problem solved unless they support you financially you don't have to do anything

Foofah December 23, 2015

I agree with what the Karyn said.
Kindly apologize and tell them that since you hadn't been given any information about the plans, you proceeded to plan out the Holiday and therefore will have to compromise. Maybe then they will also be better at planning in the future?

stargazing December 23, 2015

I also agree with what Karen said. When folks won't make plans in advance, you don't have to accommodate their last minute changes. I'm good with going with the flow, but it's not like it's a quick trip and easy to change your plans. Go with what you were planning. Too bad to them for changing things at the last minute. Maybe next time they won't wait until the last minute to make plans.

stargazing December 23, 2015

Just saw your update. :) Excellent!

Always Laughing December 23, 2015

glad things worked out in the end, but yikes about the criminal I am pretty sure it's against the law to have him near children or at least it should be whether he is mentally ill or not. Unless I guess his sister was older than 18 when he did it.

Rhapsody in Purple December 23, 2015

I'm glad you found an alternative option.
I'm about to go home and clean my house for people coming on christmas eve and i'm starting to think a church basement isn't a terrible idea. Except our churches don't have basements. I guess i'll just have to do some tidying up.

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