Wedding Woes

Let her cancel Thanksgiving.

Dear Prudence,
Since getting married my husband and I have always spent Thanksgiving with his family. This year, for the first time, his mother asked us if “we” (me, since my husband doesn’t cook) would host since it is becoming too much for her. I said I would under two conditions: I’d ask a few other people to contribute dishes so I don’t have to cook everything, and I would not invite her racist, sexist brother. I’m not interested in spending Thanksgiving toiling away and being subjected to Uncle Bob’s gross comments on top of it. His mom is very upset and says I’m trying to destroy their family traditions and rip the family apart. I told her that if they didn’t like my conditions, I would help someone else host or help make an alternative plan (for example, booking us a restaurant reservation or doing a potluck at his mom’s house). They want everything to be the same, except cooked and hosted by me instead of his mom. She is threatening to cancel Thanksgiving, and my husband says I’m being unreasonable, but I want to stick to my guns. What do you think? (And yes, it is silly that this is already an issue in September!)

–Thankless Thanksgiving

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Re: Let her cancel Thanksgiving.

  • If I was LW my shit list would be ordered:
    1) H
    2) the ass uncle
    3) MIL

    That said I think her conditions were completely fair and I'd be frustrated too.  Sorry for the crappy situation, LW!  :s
    mrsconn23charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:
    I'd have a LOOOOONG talk with my DH if he felt that I was being unreasonable.  If he hasn't stood up to his uncle by this point I'd let him know where I felt his priorities were.  

    Regarding the 'everyone brings a dish' I'm somewhat on the fence.   I think it's great to offer but I also understand the feeling of not wanting it to be a potluck.  That said, the LW is giving her conditions.   If she knows that a full dinner with all things is too much for HER then she gets to place the limits on the dining.

    Regarding the uncle, the only possibility I'd say that allows him to be there would be one condition with the DH - he's allowed but it's brought to his attention well in advance that his racist sexist comments are not welcome on my property.   If he can't handle that then he's not welcome at the table.   If he DOES then he's going to be asked and expected to leave.   If DH can't back that up then he's welcome to go out for Thanksgiving.

    Telling DH to host Thanksgiving without me wouldn't be on the table.   It's my house too.   If you're my spouse and you basically say that you want to invite someone into OUR home who makes generally disrespectful comments but also comments that are disrespectful TO YOUR WIFE then no, you don't get to do it either.  Respecting the wife needs to come before the uncle.   If that's not something that you value then we'd have a major  problem within the boundaries of our marriage.   


    I don't consider a family holiday party or meal where you ask specific people to make and bring a specific dish a potluck, though.  A potluck is when people just bring random dishes and you have no idea what they are bringing. . . hence the "luck."

    My family and ILs do this all of the time to help share the costs of the meal; Certain relatives always bring certain sides or apps or dessert because they volunteer to do it, they are skilled at what they are making, and they like to cook.

    I'm just curious as to why now, after years of attending Thanksgiving with this relative, she can't deal with him if she's hosting?  Why?  Because now it's in her house?

    I get that dealing with awful people is awful, and everyone is free to make the rules in their own home, but it seems like it's a bit too late to be taking this particular stand.

    Presumably if he was so awful that LW couldn't stand to be in the same room with him she would have stopped attending Thanksgiving with her husband's family all together.  But she didn't.  Why?  Keeping the peace?  So why not continue to keep the peace and suck it up again, like you have been, even if the meal is now in your home.
    I can see both sides.   MIL used to say "Why don't you bring this dessert you make so well!"  And it annoyed the shit out of me.   Generally it was because I knew I was going to give up an afternoon to supply her with a dessert while I knew she wasn't going to put that much effort into the meal we were going to have.   If I said, "Hey can I bring something?" or volunteered to make pies it's one thing.   But I bristle at the concept that I'm extended an invitation only if I'm also going to take the time to cook too.   I don't want to be an ungrateful guest either.   It really depends on how the LW handles that aspect of the request.  

    As far as the dining with the uncle I do wonder where she stood all those years and if she remained silent.   Did she mention anything to her DH before now? Did she shut up and just go with it? 


    charlotte989875sparklepants41
  • I think the LW's conditions sound perfectly reasonable.  To be fair, if the MIL doesn't like those conditions, she is also allowed to reject them and look for other alternatives.  But she can't be mad about it!!  Yes, MIL, people are allowed to refuse or set conditions on being volun-told what to do.

    I've always assumed most families have various people contribute to big meals, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Not nearly as extreme, but I was invited to a 4th of July party at a previous boss's house.  It was not potluck, but I contacted his wife and offered to bring something.  She sent me TWO recipes and asked if I would bring those.  One of them for lemonade and one for potato salad.  Ummm...WTF?  Not what I had in mind!  I replied back that, unfortunately, I couldn't prepare either of those two recipes.

    I explained I didn't have a juicer for the lemonade.  I guess I could have bought lemon juice, but I didn't think of that.  I also explained I'd never made potato salad and just wasn't comfortable doing that.  Really, though, I'm not spending two hours skinning and boiling potatoes.  I told her I was thinking more about bringing my tortellini salad.  Gave a brief description and asked if that would work with the rest of her dishes.  She replied back that it sounded great and thanked me, so at least she didn't push it, lol.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    PrettyGirlLostOliveOilsMomSP29nightnerd
  • banana468 said:
    I'd have a LOOOOONG talk with my DH if he felt that I was being unreasonable.  If he hasn't stood up to his uncle by this point I'd let him know where I felt his priorities were.  

    Regarding the 'everyone brings a dish' I'm somewhat on the fence.   I think it's great to offer but I also understand the feeling of not wanting it to be a potluck.  That said, the LW is giving her conditions.   If she knows that a full dinner with all things is too much for HER then she gets to place the limits on the dining.

    Regarding the uncle, the only possibility I'd say that allows him to be there would be one condition with the DH - he's allowed but it's brought to his attention well in advance that his racist sexist comments are not welcome on my property.   If he can't handle that then he's not welcome at the table.   If he DOES then he's going to be asked and expected to leave.   If DH can't back that up then he's welcome to go out for Thanksgiving.

    Telling DH to host Thanksgiving without me wouldn't be on the table.   It's my house too.   If you're my spouse and you basically say that you want to invite someone into OUR home who makes generally disrespectful comments but also comments that are disrespectful TO YOUR WIFE then no, you don't get to do it either.  Respecting the wife needs to come before the uncle.   If that's not something that you value then we'd have a major  problem within the boundaries of our marriage.   


    I don't consider a family holiday party or meal where you ask specific people to make and bring a specific dish a potluck, though.  A potluck is when people just bring random dishes and you have no idea what they are bringing. . . hence the "luck."

    My family and ILs do this all of the time to help share the costs of the meal; Certain relatives always bring certain sides or apps or dessert because they volunteer to do it, they are skilled at what they are making, and they like to cook.

    I'm just curious as to why now, after years of attending Thanksgiving with this relative, she can't deal with him if she's hosting?  Why?  Because now it's in her house?

    I get that dealing with awful people is awful, and everyone is free to make the rules in their own home, but it seems like it's a bit too late to be taking this particular stand.

    Presumably if he was so awful that LW couldn't stand to be in the same room with him she would have stopped attending Thanksgiving with her husband's family all together.  But she didn't.  Why?  Keeping the peace?  So why not continue to keep the peace and suck it up again, like you have been, even if the meal is now in your home.
    I think it's different if you're attending a dinner hosted and planned by someone else and there's someone there you find offensive or if it's in your own house where you are hosting/serving a meal to this person. If I'm out in public sure I have to tolerate people, but in my own home, nope I don't have to pretend for anyone that sexist, racist beliefs are acceptable. 

    I think LW is setting boundaries for future interactions here. Thanksgiving tradition is changing because MIL no longer can host. If LW is going to take over hosting I think it's the ideal time to set new boundaries on what's acceptable or not. 
    Sure, but 1st she needs to get her husband on board because it's his family that is causing these issues.  If he doesn't back her up, that's a problem on multiple levels.

    Her husband should also talk to his mother and Uncle and tell them that unless Bob can get his shit together and be appropriate, he's not welcomed in their home, Thanksgiving or no.  Honestly, this is a conversation that should have happened a long time ago.  Sure, it's unlikely that Bob would have changed or is willing to change now, but who knows if he would be willing to make an effort to STFU for a single meal since no one has ever said anything before. . . as far as we know.

    This is one of those letters that I'd love to see an update and see what the resolution is. . . because it's one of those tricky family dynamic issues that could go multiple ways.
    Yup completely agree. Her H needs to support her, and I do actually think she can/should give a Uncle Bob an opportunity to cut the shit at her house, while reserving the right to put a stop to it if it continues. 

    I have very little patience for the idea that people have to put up with racists/sexist/homophobic relatives just because they're family. If she doesn't want that in her house (and yes husband needs to be on board) I don't think she should be pressured into this. 

    Or she should decline hosting all together. 
    PrettyGirlLostsparklepants41
  • I think the LW's conditions sound perfectly reasonable.  To be fair, if the MIL doesn't like those conditions, she is also allowed to reject them and look for other alternatives.  But she can't be mad about it!!  Yes, MIL, people are allowed to refuse or set conditions on being volun-told what to do.

    I've always assumed most families have various people contribute to big meals, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Not nearly as extreme, but I was invited to a 4th of July party at a previous boss's house.  It was not potluck, but I contacted his wife and offered to bring something.  She sent me TWO recipes and asked if I would bring those.  One of them for lemonade and one for potato salad.  Ummm...WTF?  Not what I had in mind!  I replied back that, unfortunately, I couldn't prepare either of those two recipes.

    I explained I didn't have a juicer for the lemonade.  I guess I could have bought lemon juice, but I didn't think of that.  I also explained I'd never made potato salad and just wasn't comfortable doing that.  Really, though, I'm not spending two hours skinning and boiling potatoes.  I told her I was thinking more about bringing my tortellini salad.  Gave a brief description and asked if that would work with the rest of her dishes.  She replied back that it sounded great and thanked me, so at least she didn't push it, lol.

    My aunt hosts Thanksgiving and often people will bring a dessert.  I've offered stuff as well. She never expect people to contribute but accepts from those who offer.  Ditto to my parents for Christmas.  At no time have either of them said that they expect help for those holidays.   It makes the attendance of the guests seem contingent upon their assistance.  

    My point with the "people need to contribute" is that the LW would need to manage her expectations.  Now that we have kids I'm no longer asked to make a dessert to attend a meal at the ILs.   We'll still bring a bottle of wine and sometimes I'll offer to make something.   But your reference @short+sassy
    is exactly what I mean.   Will the LW say, "I was thinking it would be great if you could make the candied yams and your sister is making the mashed potatoes," or will she just accept what's offered and fill in the rest?     There needs to be some finesse in how you do that with guests so it doesn't come across the wrong way. 
    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:

    I think the LW's conditions sound perfectly reasonable.  To be fair, if the MIL doesn't like those conditions, she is also allowed to reject them and look for other alternatives.  But she can't be mad about it!!  Yes, MIL, people are allowed to refuse or set conditions on being volun-told what to do.

    I've always assumed most families have various people contribute to big meals, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Not nearly as extreme, but I was invited to a 4th of July party at a previous boss's house.  It was not potluck, but I contacted his wife and offered to bring something.  She sent me TWO recipes and asked if I would bring those.  One of them for lemonade and one for potato salad.  Ummm...WTF?  Not what I had in mind!  I replied back that, unfortunately, I couldn't prepare either of those two recipes.

    I explained I didn't have a juicer for the lemonade.  I guess I could have bought lemon juice, but I didn't think of that.  I also explained I'd never made potato salad and just wasn't comfortable doing that.  Really, though, I'm not spending two hours skinning and boiling potatoes.  I told her I was thinking more about bringing my tortellini salad.  Gave a brief description and asked if that would work with the rest of her dishes.  She replied back that it sounded great and thanked me, so at least she didn't push it, lol.

    My aunt hosts Thanksgiving and often people will bring a dessert.  I've offered stuff as well. She never expect people to contribute but accepts from those who offer.  Ditto to my parents for Christmas.  At no time have either of them said that they expect help for those holidays.   It makes the attendance of the guests seem contingent upon their assistance.  

    My point with the "people need to contribute" is that the LW would need to manage her expectations.  Now that we have kids I'm no longer asked to make a dessert to attend a meal at the ILs.   We'll still bring a bottle of wine and sometimes I'll offer to make something.   But your reference @short+sassy
    is exactly what I mean.   Will the LW say, "I was thinking it would be great if you could make the candied yams and your sister is making the mashed potatoes," or will she just accept what's offered and fill in the rest?     There needs to be some finesse in how you do that with guests so it doesn't come across the wrong way. 
    This is definitely a family by family thing. My mom hosts everything because we have no other family in town, just her, her H, her kids, and possibly their SOs, MAYBE a friend who has no where else to go. But DH's family is bigger, I wouldn't even say large. The host will get a count of who is coming and then depending on the number will put out a list of things they want contributed, veggie side, starter, bread/rolls, dessert, salad... whatever, then people sign up. Normally, the host is just in charge of the main/ meat, drinks, and venue. Everyone else chips in for everything else.
    short+sassyOurWildKingdomPrettyGirlLostOliveOilsMom
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    banana468 said:

    I think the LW's conditions sound perfectly reasonable.  To be fair, if the MIL doesn't like those conditions, she is also allowed to reject them and look for other alternatives.  But she can't be mad about it!!  Yes, MIL, people are allowed to refuse or set conditions on being volun-told what to do.

    I've always assumed most families have various people contribute to big meals, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Not nearly as extreme, but I was invited to a 4th of July party at a previous boss's house.  It was not potluck, but I contacted his wife and offered to bring something.  She sent me TWO recipes and asked if I would bring those.  One of them for lemonade and one for potato salad.  Ummm...WTF?  Not what I had in mind!  I replied back that, unfortunately, I couldn't prepare either of those two recipes.

    I explained I didn't have a juicer for the lemonade.  I guess I could have bought lemon juice, but I didn't think of that.  I also explained I'd never made potato salad and just wasn't comfortable doing that.  Really, though, I'm not spending two hours skinning and boiling potatoes.  I told her I was thinking more about bringing my tortellini salad.  Gave a brief description and asked if that would work with the rest of her dishes.  She replied back that it sounded great and thanked me, so at least she didn't push it, lol.

    My aunt hosts Thanksgiving and often people will bring a dessert.  I've offered stuff as well. She never expect people to contribute but accepts from those who offer.  Ditto to my parents for Christmas.  At no time have either of them said that they expect help for those holidays.   It makes the attendance of the guests seem contingent upon their assistance.  

    My point with the "people need to contribute" is that the LW would need to manage her expectations.  Now that we have kids I'm no longer asked to make a dessert to attend a meal at the ILs.   We'll still bring a bottle of wine and sometimes I'll offer to make something.   But your reference @short+sassy
    is exactly what I mean.   Will the LW say, "I was thinking it would be great if you could make the candied yams and your sister is making the mashed potatoes," or will she just accept what's offered and fill in the rest?     There needs to be some finesse in how you do that with guests so it doesn't come across the wrong way. 
    We're talking about family though, not co workers or acquaintances. 

    You should be able to say, "Hey Aunt Martha would you mind making the candied yams this year?  Hey Joe would you mind bringing the green beans?  No, how about the stuffing?  Great, thanks!" without people taking it the wrong way. 

    I'm with the LW on this one, especially since her MIL kinda sprung this idea on her.

    Yup completely agree. Her H needs to support her, and I do actually think she can/should give a Uncle Bob an opportunity to cut the shit at her house, while reserving the right to put a stop to it if it continues. 

    I have very little patience for the idea that people have to put up with racists/sexist/homophobic relatives just because they're family. If she doesn't want that in her house (and yes husband needs to be on board) I don't think she should be pressured into this. 

    Or she should decline hosting all together. 

    Yeah the bolded, 100%

    I don't think anyone has to put up with anything from anyone else, family or not.

    But I don't really understand putting up with someone for years, who is so offensive that you want to ban them from your own home, and never saying anything directly to that person or your husband prior to this point.

    So I can see how LW's husband and MIL might think, "Really? WTF?" if LW has been able to ignore or avoid this relative or has never told him he's being offensive for the past 5, 10, 15, 20 years or what have you.

    Shit that doesn't fly with me in my own home doesn't fly with me period, doesn't mater if I'm in my home, someone else's home, a bar, etc.  Banana mentioned finesse, and that can be applied to telling a relative he's being offensive, even if you're doing it in your MIL's house; I had to tell my aunt and my father they were being asses and disrespecting me in my aunt's house once.

    At the very least I'd ask my husband to ask his Uncle to knock it off- blood deals with blood, right?

    And again, the LW just sucked it up all those years because she was in her MIL's house and she was just trying to keep the peace, but now she's ready to establish a boundary and create a lot of drama just because now everyone will be in her house?

    To me this seems like she's just looking for a reason to not host Thanksgiving, without just being direct and telling her husband and MIL no and leaving it at that.


    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • banana468 said:

    I think the LW's conditions sound perfectly reasonable.  To be fair, if the MIL doesn't like those conditions, she is also allowed to reject them and look for other alternatives.  But she can't be mad about it!!  Yes, MIL, people are allowed to refuse or set conditions on being volun-told what to do.

    I've always assumed most families have various people contribute to big meals, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Not nearly as extreme, but I was invited to a 4th of July party at a previous boss's house.  It was not potluck, but I contacted his wife and offered to bring something.  She sent me TWO recipes and asked if I would bring those.  One of them for lemonade and one for potato salad.  Ummm...WTF?  Not what I had in mind!  I replied back that, unfortunately, I couldn't prepare either of those two recipes.

    I explained I didn't have a juicer for the lemonade.  I guess I could have bought lemon juice, but I didn't think of that.  I also explained I'd never made potato salad and just wasn't comfortable doing that.  Really, though, I'm not spending two hours skinning and boiling potatoes.  I told her I was thinking more about bringing my tortellini salad.  Gave a brief description and asked if that would work with the rest of her dishes.  She replied back that it sounded great and thanked me, so at least she didn't push it, lol.

    My aunt hosts Thanksgiving and often people will bring a dessert.  I've offered stuff as well. She never expect people to contribute but accepts from those who offer.  Ditto to my parents for Christmas.  At no time have either of them said that they expect help for those holidays.   It makes the attendance of the guests seem contingent upon their assistance.  

    My point with the "people need to contribute" is that the LW would need to manage her expectations.  Now that we have kids I'm no longer asked to make a dessert to attend a meal at the ILs.   We'll still bring a bottle of wine and sometimes I'll offer to make something.   But your reference @short+sassy
    is exactly what I mean.   Will the LW say, "I was thinking it would be great if you could make the candied yams and your sister is making the mashed potatoes," or will she just accept what's offered and fill in the rest?     There needs to be some finesse in how you do that with guests so it doesn't come across the wrong way. 
    We're talking about family though, not co workers or acquaintances. 

    You should be able to say, "Hey Aunt Martha would you mind making the candied yams this year?  Hey Joe would you mind bringing the green beans?  No, how about the stuffing?  Great, thanks!" without people taking it the wrong way. 

    I'm with the LW on this one, especially since her MIL kinda sprung this idea on her.

    Yup completely agree. Her H needs to support her, and I do actually think she can/should give a Uncle Bob an opportunity to cut the shit at her house, while reserving the right to put a stop to it if it continues. 

    I have very little patience for the idea that people have to put up with racists/sexist/homophobic relatives just because they're family. If she doesn't want that in her house (and yes husband needs to be on board) I don't think she should be pressured into this. 

    Or she should decline hosting all together. 

    Yeah the bolded, 100%

    I don't think anyone has to put up with anything from anyone else, family or not.

    But I don't really understand putting up with someone for years, who is so offensive that you want to ban them from your own home, and never saying anything directly to that person or your husband prior to this point.

    So I can see how LW's husband and MIL might think, "Really? WTF?" if LW has been able to ignore or avoid this relative or has never told him he's being offensive for the past 5, 10, 15, 20 years or what have you.

    Shit that doesn't fly with me in my own home doesn't fly with me period, doesn't mater if I'm in my home, someone else's home, a bar, etc.  Banana mentioned finesse, and that can be applied to telling a relative he's being offensive, even if you're doing it in your MIL's house; I had to tell my aunt and my father they were being asses and disrespecting me in my aunt's house once.

    At the very least I'd ask my husband to ask his Uncle to knock it off- blood deals with blood, right?

    And again, the LW just sucked it up all those years because she was in her MIL's house and she was just trying to keep the peace, but now she's ready to establish a boundary and create a lot of drama just because now everyone will be in her house?

    To me this seems like she's just looking for a reason to not host Thanksgiving, without just being direct and telling her husband and MIL no and leaving it at that.

    ***STUCK IN THE BOX**

    The big thing IMO is what if someone says that they just can't?  I completely get it.   It's a big holiday with a ton of food.  I just hope it's handled well so that guests don't feel like they have to help cater the Thanksgiving meal.   It's really all in how the family does it and who it involves.   Depending on the year I may have answered that I was really sorry but I just had no time in the schedule to make the stuffing/yams, etc but I'd throw in a bottle of wine or a pie.     
    OurWildKingdom
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    My parents now host Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas because their house is "the only one big enough for everyone." Yes and no.  

    Part of it is bc certain relatives refuse to seat ppl in the living room and basement, like they used to, so we can't all fit in their dining room.  

    Part of it is bc we have family friends and ILs who have been coming to certain holiday dinners for over a decade, but now so and so in my family wants to host that dinner and do "family only." Mom said Oh hell no, to that idea. . .well actually she told so and so, "Go for it! But I'm staying here and celebrating with the friends and ILs. . .I prefer their company."

    I was like, go Mom! She's usually passive aggressive.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
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    In my family, everyone volunteers for what they want to bring and there's kind of a list and people pick from what's left. If no one wants to bring cranberry sauce, well, there just won't be cranberry sauce. 



    OurWildKingdom
  • When we lived in Philly, MIL used to share hosting duties with ySIL and ySIL's MIL. Had we lived in town longer, we would likely have gotten on the rotation for holidays that we weren't visiting my parents. 

    Typically the host would prep most of the meal, but everyone would bring at least 1 or 2 side dishes or desserts to share. When MIL hosted at her house, we'd usually make one of the main dishes at our house since we lived so close, and it would free up some over space for her. (Usually she'd do a ham, a turkey, and a veggie lasagna since OSIL's exH was a vegetarian.) 
  • I'm not a potluck fan but the idea that the host must prepare every single dish at Thanksgiving and can't even ask people to contribute lest they feel coerced is just plain un-American. 
    MesmrEwe
  • I'm not a potluck fan but the idea that the host must prepare every single dish at Thanksgiving and can't even ask people to contribute lest they feel coerced is just plain un-American. 
    I'm open to the idea of potluck.
    I've gone to dinners where my dad prepared the turkey/stuffing because he was just better at it and enjoyed cooking.
    I've also gone to dinners with M's family that we offered to bring something and that sparked potluck.

    Depending on the amount of people, sometimes potluck is easier.
    cat animals pallas cat GIF
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216
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    I think this would be the year I’d say, “Screw it,” to everyone, including the H, and go volunteer at a community meal for Thanksgiving.
    eileenrob
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