Wedding Etiquette Forum

Holidays with Divorced In Laws

I haven't posted here in a while....got married a while back and have just been enjoying marital bliss :)  with the holidays coming up i've had some uncertainly with regards to dealing with divorced inlaws....this whole territory is new to me, so i thought you girls might have some insight that could help me understand how best to handle some situations that are very new to me.....below are a few examples that i'm trying to figure out how to handle along with the situation in general....

Christmas Gift Budgets for Families:
MIL: $200, SFIL: $100 = $300 total
FIL: $200, SMIL: $100 = $300 total
My mom: $150, My dad: $150 = $300 total
*This was the budget DH gave me.  He thought this was fair since he sees us as having three families.  Each set of parents gets $300.  I think it's unfair that each of his biological parents get $200 while mine only get $150.

Holiday Get Togethers:
Hubby has 3 family get togethers he wants to attend the day of Christmas: breakfast at MIL's, brunch/lunch with his extended family and cousins, and dinner with FIL.  I only have 1 family get together I want to attend since my family combined our get togethers to make it easier on DH and me.  Hubby suggested we go visit my family that afternoon (they live an hour away).

I feel like it's not fair my family gets 1/4 of the day while his family gets 3/4.  I feel like the time should be split more 50/50.  I know you won't ever get it exactly half way down the middle, but maybe a bit more halfway.  

There's no PC way to say this, but I feel like I'm getting the short end of the stick with regards to budget and allotted family time just because my family isn't all spread out.  We go to church and eat lunch every Sunday with my MIL and then eat dinner every Sunday night with FIL.  Hubby works with his dad and goes over to his mom's every morning before work to see his dog (MIL adopted his beloved dog bc I'm highly allergic...long story).....thus he sees his parents 6 days/week worst case scenario.  I only see my family 2-3 times/month.

Can I get some insight from others in similar situations out there?  I want to be sensitive to DH and his family dynamics, but also make sure that I speak up if things aren't being divided up fairly.  Thoughts???

Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws

  • rajahmdrajahmd Galifrey member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I think the present budget is a bit ridiculous. There's no reason why your parents should get less just because he doesn't want to give his stepparents equal money.  Honestly, that would bug me more than the time complaint.  His parents are not worth 50 bucks more than your parents and definitely not worth 100 bucks more than his stepparents. Talk to him about just setting a specific budget per household instead of per person.  If he wants to spend more on his parents than his stepparents, that's fine. But he shouldn't get to dictate that he can spend more on his individual parents than you can on your's. 

    As for the holiday time issue, I would voice your concerns ASAP.  I would worry that if you hold those feelings in for too long, you might begin to resent him.  See if you can't split up the time with his family over multiple days, so that you can spend more time on actual Christmas day with your family.  Just make sure he knows how important it is to you that you get time with your family.  I know how difficult it can be to split up time amongst divorced parents- mine are divorced. Sometimes it means celebrating the holiday on a different day.  Last year my fiance and I spent Christmas Eve with my dad, Christmas morning with my mom, and Christmas evening with his family. Overall we spent more time with my family, but each parent got about the same amount of time with us. 

    This is definitely a tricky issue. Good luck and I hope y'all can come to a compromise that you are both happy with!
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:3bdb827c-a572-48a1-a60f-9fb953f3087e">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think the present budget is a bit ridiculous. There's no reason why your parents should get less just because he doesn't want to give his stepparents equal money.  Honestly, that would bug me more than the time complaint.  His parents are not worth 50 bucks more than your parents and definitely not worth 100 bucks more than his stepparents. Talk to him about just setting a specific budget per household instead of per person.  If he wants to spend more on his parents than his stepparents, that's fine. But he shouldn't get to dictate that he can spend more on his individual parents than you can on your's.  As for the holiday time issue, I would voice your concerns ASAP.  I would worry that if you hold those feelings in for too long, you might begin to resent him.  See if you can't split up the time with his family over multiple days, so that you can spend more time on actual Christmas day with your family.  Just make sure he knows how important it is to you that you get time with your family.  I know how difficult it can be to split up time amongst divorced parents- mine are divorced. Sometimes it means celebrating the holiday on a different day.  Last year my fiance and I spent Christmas Eve with my dad, Christmas morning with my mom, and Christmas evening with his family. Overall we spent more time with my family, but each parent got about the same amount of time with us.  This is definitely a tricky issue. Good luck and I hope y'all can come to a compromise that you are both happy with!
    Posted by RachelBFMD[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Thank you so much for the feedback!  I voiced my concerns about all of this very gently last night so that it's already out in the open from the get-go, and we are currently talking through everything.  </div><div>
    </div><div>It's just that since I don't come from a divorced family I know I will never be able to truly understand the dynamics.  Yeah, the current budget seemed really weird to me, but I wasn't sure if that was just because I couldn't see it from his perspective.</div><div>
    </div><div>Thanks :)

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  • I agree that the budget is a little off because his parents are getting $600 while yours are getting $300. It isn't fair that because he has 2 sets of parents, he gets to spend twice the amount you do. Can you compromise that you get to spend $200 for each of yours? Its not as though you're going cray cray with money- just $50 more pp. Or, can you get your parents an extra something for the couple? Maybe a GC for dinner on top of the present?

    Is there something that family does Christmas Eve? Can you host something that day? I think that because he sees his family much more frequently, he should be able to push one of his events to the day before/day after. I hate to say it, but maybe push FIL's dinner to Christmas eve or the day after Christmas? That way you can spend the whole afternoon with your family. OR, do your family Christmas eve/the day after if you can (I know work sometimes gets in the way). That's a lot of moving around for one day- a lot of traveling that will take away from family time.
    ^All of the moving around also depends on who will be at these events and how often you see the family, not just the parents. It's tough :/

    Sorry your in this situation!
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  • I would approach your FI with a budget that basically combines gifts for both parents.  They are a social unit and therefore can receive gifts as a couple.  Since you are their children, a small item that is personal to each might also be nice but with budgets that large, I would do a nice joint gift for each set.  As for breaking it down, unless they are going to see the gifts the other set of parents receive I would probably do 50-50 between your side and his, with maybe a slight favoring of his side since he does have two sets.

    As for Christmas day?  Oh no - that wouldn't fly with me.  You need to figure this out ASAP because what you do for your first few holidays together will inevitably start a "tradition" that you then find yourself stuck with until you are so tired of the whole thing that resentment bubbles up.

    FI and I plan to spend our first thanksgiving with his side/first christmas with mine, and then we are going to reverse our second year.  After that, we've decided people can come to us if they want to see us, and we are sure that some years they will.  We aren't as close as your FI is, but both sets of parents are within a couple hours of us, and they are only an hour and a half apart from each other so we COULD see both sets any given holiday.  We will probably do the same thing with each child we have - first thanksgiving with his/first xmas with mine, and then reverse.  So all told we might spend 4 or 6 holidays away from home over the course of our marriage.

    I am also sensing some resentment about seeing his family multiple times a week.  To be honest, I couldn't do it, especially the Sunday lunch/dinner deal every single week.  My FBIL and his wife live within a few minutes of my FILs, and they do the same thing - they have the obligatory sunday brunch every weekend and then they see each other through the week as well.  That's a major reason why we looked for jobs that were close but not too close.  I could be misinterpreting, but I think you have a right to be upset by this.

      
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:cff9e47f-3f07-4a1a-8bbb-1f0949901d8a">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]I agree that the budget is a little off because his parents are getting $600 while yours are getting $300. It isn't fair that because he has 2 sets of parents, he gets to spend twice the amount you do. Can you compromise that you get to spend $200 for each of yours? Its not as though you're going cray cray with money- just $50 more pp. Or, can you get your parents an extra something for the couple? Maybe a GC for dinner on top of the present? Is there something that family does Christmas Eve? Can you host something that day? I think that because he sees his family much more frequently, he should be able to push one of his events to the day before/day after. I hate to say it, but maybe push FIL's dinner to Christmas eve or the day after Christmas? That way you can spend the whole afternoon with your family. OR, do your family Christmas eve/the day after if you can (I know work sometimes gets in the way). That's a lot of moving around for one day- a lot of traveling that will take away from family time. ^All of the moving around also depends on who will be at these events and how often you see the family, not just the parents. It's tough :/ Sorry your in this situation!
    Posted by sydaries[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I suggested doing one of his family events on Christmas Eve last night and he is checking to see if that would work.  Hopefully :)</div><div>
    </div><div>PS With regards to who is at events and how often we get to see them: the extended family get together that he wants to attend is at his aunt/uncle's with his cousins.  When I mentioned we go to church and eat Sunday lunch w/ MIL I should have also thrown in that his entire extended family does the same thing and we all go as one big group.  There are 21 of us that go out to eat every Sunday and then he eats lunch with his cousins who own a business together 2-3 times/week.  

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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:82db9f52-610e-4469-9f2d-d6de044166c7">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]In order of importance: You are getting the short end of the stick. My parents are divorced, H's are not, so we go to two of my Christmases and one of his. That means last year he spent more time with my family then his own, but it keeps me from picking which parent I see for the holidays. This year, we are going to my dad's family's Christmas separately, so he can spend more time with his family. Maybe spending some time separately is an option for you guys? Why not get each family what they want for Christmas instead of spending an arbitrary amount? Last year my mom really wanted a Coach purse and then her TV broke, so we got her both. This year we got her a sweater, but it is what she wanted. I don't know how you do money, but we each have our own account and one joint account. I usually pay for all the gifts for my family and he pays for his, but they are from us. It is easier and then we don't have to argue about how much to spend.
    Posted by Liatris2010[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>We talked about just getting everyone what they want, but price points were all over the board so we just decided to stick to a budget.  Plus, we're trying to stick to a budget in general since we're a young married couple and income is limited :)  Oh the joys!!

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    IDK - I think $300 per houshold is reasonable, but I see your point.   What is your counter-offer?   Lower his parents to $150 or raise your parents to $200?   There is certainly room for compromise.  I would approch it like this "I feel like we should give each of our bio-parents "x" amount and steps "y" amount.  Leave out the household part of the equations.



    As far as time, I think it's unreasonable for your DH to want to attend 4 celebrations on Christmas day (3 of his, 1 of yours).  I don't care it's the breakdown, 4 celebrations makes my head spin 

    However,  I think it's unrealistic for you to think it's going to be 50/50 when there is a divorce situation.    Again compromise is in order on ALL sides.   My sister does our side one year, his side the other year.   The one who doesn't get them this year gets to see them on another day.   

    Suggest something like that, or moving FIL dinner to xmas eve or another day.  In my family brunch with grandma was moved to the Saturday between xmas and NYE.  That was our new tradition and one that I loved very much.     








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:bd2952f9-6d58-46d3-86b2-51be2015bd55">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would approach your FI with a budget that basically combines gifts for both parents.  They are a social unit and therefore can receive gifts as a couple.  Since you are their children, a small item that is personal to each might also be nice but with budgets that large, I would do a nice joint gift for each set.  As for breaking it down, unless they are going to see the gifts the other set of parents receive I would probably do 50-50 between your side and his, with maybe a slight favoring of his side since he does have two sets. As for Christmas day?  Oh no - that wouldn't fly with me.  You need to figure this out ASAP because what you do for your first few holidays together will inevitably start a "tradition" that you then find yourself stuck with until you are so tired of the whole thing that resentment bubbles up. FI and I plan to spend our first thanksgiving with his side/first christmas with mine, and then we are going to reverse our second year.  After that, we've decided people can come to us if they want to see us, and we are sure that some years they will.  We aren't as close as your FI is, but both sets of parents are within a couple hours of us, and they are only an hour and a half apart from each other so we COULD see both sets any given holiday.  We will probably do the same thing with each child we have - first thanksgiving with his/first xmas with mine, and then reverse.  So all told we might spend 4 or 6 holidays away from home over the course of our marriage. <strong>I am also sensing some resentment about seeing his family multiple times a week.  To be honest, I couldn't do it, especially the Sunday lunch/dinner deal every single week.  My FBIL and his wife live within a few minutes of my FILs, and they do the same thing - they have the obligatory sunday brunch every weekend and then they see each other through the week as well.  That's a major reason why we looked for jobs that were close but not too close.  I could be misinterpreting, but I think you have a right to be upset by this.   </strong>
    Posted by hoffse[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Not gonna lie, it was a bit much to get used to.  Before his grandmother passed away he also did lunch with her and the cousins/aunt/uncle/mother on Saturdays every week as well.  We talked A LOT about this before we got engaged so he knew where I stood.  It had nothing to do with me not wanting to spend time with his family, but three obligatory meals every weekend was just too much for me.  It's still not my cup of tea, but we are very slowly transititioning into taking some Sundays off or doing other things.

    </div>
  • Explain to him that you see his family every week and if you miss it on Christmas day, you'll see them the following Sunday anyway! lol Can you just make the 3 events? Xmas eve with FIL, breakfast with MIL and Afternoon with your family?

    And I agree with the "getting everyone what they want" idea- sure price points will be mixed, but can you add an extra to bring the costs close together? Like within $30-$40 of each other? OR get each set a really nice couples gift?- Massages? Dinner and wine? Weekend away? TV? Something else new for the house?

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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:b0742614-0aee-443c-8f04-6cbc586e1b71">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]IDK - I think $300 per houshold is reasonable, but I see your point.   What is your counter-offer?   Lower his parents to $150 or raise your parents to $200?   There is certainly room for compromise.  I would approch it like this "I feel like we should give each of our bio-parents "x" amount and steps "y" amount.  Leave out the household part of the equations. As far as time, I think it's unreasonable for your DH to want to attend 4 celebrations on Christmas day (3 of his, 1 of yours).  I don't care it's the breakdown, 4 celebrations makes my head spin  However,  I think it's unrealistic for you to think it's going to be 50/50 when there is a divorce situation.    Again compromise is in order on ALL sides.   My sister does our side one year, his side the other year.   The one who doesn't get them this year gets to see them on another day.    Suggest something like that, or moving FIL dinner to xmas eve or another day.  In my family brunch with grandma was moved to the Saturday between xmas and NYE.  That was our new tradition and one that I loved very much.     
    Posted by lyndausvi[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Your first suggestion on the amount of gifts spent on bio-parents was exactly what I suggested.  We're going to talk more tonight, but I think that's what we're going to go with.</div><div>
    </div><div>And I totally realize it's not going to be 50/50, which is what I mentioned in my OP.  There's just no way, and if I insisted on this I would drive myself crazy.  We live 2 min for both sets of his parents while mine are 1 hour away.....spending the same amount of time with my side is NEVER going to happen and I knew that when I moved here.  </div><div>
    </div><div>Thanks for the feedback....just trying to get this from different perspectives....

    </div>
  • I'll agree that the way he's divided the money is unfair - we create catagories and everyone in the catagory gets the same budget, regardless of how many people are in a catagory. So, you'd decide all parents get $200, all stepparents get $100, rather than dividing how much you spend per family.

    However, I'm (kind of) on your husbands end of the family-sharing issue - my husband was raised by a single mother who hosts every holiday, with the same guests every time  - so he sees his whole family at once on a holiday. While my parents aren't divorced, I still have my dad's side and my mom's side to account for, and not everyone is at the same place at the same time. We've been alternating holidays between my family and his, but this means I haven't had a holiday with my cousins on my dad's side in 2 years, whereas he sees his entire family twice a year.

    That said, we once (and only once) attempted visiting both our families on a holiday, which was absolute madness. I'd say suggest you two pick two places and limit it to that - perhaps one with your family and one with some cousins, aunts/uncles he hasn't seen in a while. And let him know that while you love his family dearly, you simply can't enjoy the holiday with all of the rushing around, etc.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:0e2b1ebc-d820-412b-b081-aabe5cd3dc99">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'll agree that the way he's divided the money is unfair - we create catagories and everyone in the catagory gets the same budget, regardless of how many people are in a catagory. So, you'd decide all parents get $200, all stepparents get $100, rather than dividing how much you spend per family. However, I'm (kind of) on your husbands end of the family-sharing issue - <strong>my husband was raised by a single mother who hosts every holiday, with the same guests every time  - so he sees his whole family at once on a holiday.</strong> While my parents aren't divorced, I still have my dad's side and my mom's side to account for, and not everyone is at the same place at the same time. We've been alternating holidays between my family and his, but this means I haven't had a holiday with my cousins on my dad's side in 2 years, whereas he sees his entire family twice a year. That said, we once (and only once) attempted visiting both our families on a holiday, which was absolute madness. I'd say suggest you two pick two places and limit it to that - perhaps one with your family and one with some cousins, aunts/uncles he hasn't seen in a while. And let him know that while you love his family dearly, you simply can't enjoy the holiday with all of the rushing around, etc.
    Posted by krizzo17[/QUOTE]

    OP's husband see's his entire extended family on a weekly basis though- he sees them all at once at one of the family gatherings on Sundays...
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:3892ebaf-daab-479f-898b-7bc33268c91a">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws : <strong>OP's husband see's his entire extended family on a weekly basis though- he sees them all at once at one of the family gatherings on Sundays...</strong>
    Posted by sydaries[/QUOTE]

    <div>This.  He sees both parents on a daily basis and his entire extended family every weekend for lunch on Sunday.  If he never got to see them I don't think I would even be bringing this up....</div>
  • I definitely can understand why you're feeling slighted here. On the budget issue I think setting one pricepoint for parents and a separate one for step parents is fair. I mean; I don't spend less on my cousins who have three siblings and more on the cousins with one sibling to keep the 'family' budget the same. At the same time we spend more than twice our budget for my parents on MIL, but she's a widow and H is an only child, so we're the only ones spoiling her at Christmas, whereas my parents buy for each other and my grandparents are still alive and buy for them and I have a brother, etc. I would be super pissed if H wanted to spend 3/4 of a major holiday with family we see weekly. I get that you have to split MIL and FIL, but there's no reason the cousin thing has to be separate. And there's also no reason it all has to be one day. I'd do FIL xmas eve, MIL in the morning, cut the cousins or invite them to MILs and then your parents from midmorning through the rest of the day. Like PPs have said he'll see them all Sunday anyway.
  • My parents are divorced and FI's aren't, but I think your H is being ridiculous. He wants to attend 3 of his own Christmases, then squeeze in a fourth for you that's an hour away? You're going to see your family for like an hour tops. That is completely ridiculous, especially if he sees his extended family weekly (I would not be able to survive that; good for you). Obviously you know things won't be equal, but I think you deserve a full day with your family, since you see them infrequently. If he is content with a 1/4 of a day with his family, he can do that, but it isn't fair to expect the same from you.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I agree that you are getting the short end of the stick, both in terms of the budget and in terms of how much time is spent with whose family.

    I think you need to sit him down and explain that sorry, the budget is not reasonable because it allocates 2/3 to his family and 1/3 to yours, and the scheduling is bad because it allocates 3/4 to his family whom you see every week and 1/4 to yours whom you don't.  Even though his parents are divorced, he needs to stop expecting you to spend significantly more time and money on his side than he does on yours.  At the least, he has to stop expecting you to go along with him to every single family engagement on his side if he's only going to spend 1/4 of the family time with your family.

    If he won't budge, then I think your problems are bigger than how much time and money go to each side.  I hope that's not the case!
  • I was going to try to respond to several good points from several posters individually, but there are so many I thought I would do just one general follow up at this point.  

    The good news is that DH and I have just had one short convo about this and much more conversation will be had tonight.  I definitely don't mean to imply that the situation described in OP is set in stone.  I briefly but firmly voiced my concerns last night, but it was so late we figured we'd continue the talking tonight.  

    DH is trying to figure out if we can do Christmas with his dad and stepmom on Christmas Eve.  However, this would still leave us with 3 get togethers to attend the day of (2 of his, one of mine).  We had previously tried to get his aunt/uncle to move their Christmas brunch to the Sunday before, but aunt refused.  I feel like if she's going to be difficult we should just not go...spend the morning of by ourself at home, go see my family for the afternoon and then do Christmas with his mom that night.  We all have lunch together on a weekly basis anyhow.

    The good news is that my DH and I are able to have open and honest conversation.  While I think his proposal is a bit ridiculous it's not like I'm afraid he'll put his foot down and refuse to talk it through and come to a compromise.  

    I always heard that family, money and sex were the most argued over topics in a marriage and boy is that right :)  Geez.
  • Why not just do $150 for each person and call it a day.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:34b0a758-25b1-4a2c-b6ba-21dff1d6b8d7">Re:Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]For the record, I think you need to divorce the holiday issue from the "we spend too much time with your family" issue. We live down the street from my parents, I see my siblings and grandparents weekly, and I can tell you right now that if DH ever even HINTED that it wasn't important for me to spend the holidays with them just because we see them more often, it would NOT go well. You have two separate issues here, spitting up the holidays among family and your H's desire to spend a ton of time with his family in your day to day life. Treat them as such and you'll likely get a better result on both.
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I agree that you shouldn't try to tackle both issues at once, but I'm not saying that we should spend LESS time with his family because we see them all the time.  I'm saying that we shouldn't spend 3/4 of our holidays when them, espcially considering we see them multiple times a week and he sees them daily.  My point is that it's not like he's asking to spend 3/4 of the holiday with them because this is the sole time each year that they're in town.

    </div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:06bfa6e5-02f0-4f89-aa22-4c17629419c9">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]I was going to try to respond to several good points from several posters individually, but there are so many I thought I would do just one general follow up at this point.   The good news is that DH and I have just had one short convo about this and much more conversation will be had tonight.  I definitely don't mean to imply that the situation described in OP is set in stone.  I briefly but firmly voiced my concerns last night, but it was so late we figured we'd continue the talking tonight.   DH is trying to figure out if we can do Christmas with his dad and stepmom on Christmas Eve.  However, this would still leave us with 3 get togethers to attend the day of (2 of his, one of mine).  We had previously tried to get his aunt/uncle to move their Christmas brunch to the Sunday before, but aunt refused.  I feel like if she's going to be difficult we should just not go...<strong>spend the morning of by ourself at home</strong>, go see my family for the afternoon and then do Christmas with his mom that night.  We all have lunch together on a weekly basis anyhow. The good news is that my DH and I are able to have open and honest conversation.  While I think his proposal is a bit ridiculous it's not like I'm afraid he'll put his foot down and refuse to talk it through and come to a compromise.   I always heard that family, money and sex were the most argued over topics in a marriage and boy is that right :)  Geez.
    Posted by Abs211981[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I think the bold here is a super important thing to remember. </div><div>
    </div><div>I'm more in your FI's position when it come to the divorced family, and it hasn't been easy (and until this year has involved just splitting up), but since we moved in together 2 years ago, the thing that's kept us sane has been the time we have together once we get home from my dad's on Christmas Eve, watch a movie, relax on the couch with our Christmas lights on and some hot chocolate, and then the next morning when we wake up and open presents with each other before we head to my moms, then his dads, then my grandmothers, then his grandmothers (thankfully, all 4 of those places are about 2 minutes from each other). </div><div>
    </div><div>I honestly teared a little just thinking of it, because I've loved that time with him more than anything at the hollidays. So don't forget that time with just you 2!

    </div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:0caac4ef-c2ef-4db3-8725-1e68e7773f46">Re:Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re:Holidays with Divorced In Laws: So you're not saying you should spend less time than he wants with his family because he sees them every day, you're just saying you should spend less time than he wants with his family ESPECIALLY since he sees them every day? See how that sounds exactly the same written out? It's how it's likely to sound to him too. Hence why I advised that you leave that part for another day and focus on why spending the majority of the time with his family and squeezing yours in as a side visit is unfair to YOU and YOUR FAMILY. You have a very valid argument without ever bringing the other stuff into it. Make it about YOUR FAMILY instead of about HIS FAMILY and he's much more likely to compromise rather getting defensive.
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]

    Okay, I see what you're saying.  I guess I should have clarified that I was sharing that information with you guys.....but it was not being used in my reasoning with DH.  I haven't said that to him...I've just thought it. 

    I thought it was important to include that when explaining the situation to you all.  I mean, if we never say his family and they flew in once a year then I could see how you all would not get why I wouldn't want to allocate 3/4 of our holiday to them.

    Sorry for the confusion.
  • How ridiculous is that? Sounds like you two spend more time with family than you do alone, enjoying your marital bliss! I am very lucky by some grace of God my divorced parents invite each other to all family gatherings on both side and we see them together most of the time on these large holiday events. DF and I take turns holidaywise. We celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents last year and hit both of them for Christmas. This year, due to our honeymoon being closer to his parents, we are doing our remaining days on our week off to see them, and back to my parents for a day or two before the new year. You have to figure out something that works for both of you. Good luck and I'm sorry you're in this position!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:a6e29a53-eba9-41a0-8032-17c51a67bf12">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am going to give an answser that is different then most.  <strong>My fiance and I pay gifts for our family's separately.  It is so much easy for us.</strong>  And you need to give your fiance's family more time since they are two different groups. There is no way I would visit with my dad's family and my mom's at the same time.  I would see seeing his family about 2/3 of the time and yours 1/3 of the time for that day being fair.  Granted throughout the year we see my fiance's family more often since they leave 45 minutes away and all of my family lives 2+ hours away. So that does make a big difference and we spent Thanksgivinwith his family and not mine.  Maybe you should split other holidays to sides of the family to help make it more fair. Before I was even with my FI, I had one event on Christmas eve and 3 on Christmas (mom's husband's family, mom's family, and dad's family). 
    Posted by snippet17[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>This would not work since we have joint banking and I don't work.....plus, we like to have th gifts for everyone come from both of us, and not just as individuals</div><div>
    </div><div>

    </div>
  • H and I originally did 5 Christmases between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Both parents are divorced and his father's whole family gets together at his aunt's house. Family allocations aside, 4 Christmases is way, way too much. When we got married, we realized that at Christmastime we were constantly rushed, staring at our watches, exhausted and sick. We celebrate with one of each of our families each year; this year we will visit with my father and his family Christmas Eve and H's mother on Christmas Day. My mother will be doing "Christmas Eve" the Saturday before Christmas so that we can make it, but even with it being a few days before Christmas we're not looking forward to it because we want to relax. We've both had to give up a number of Christmas traditions we've treasured with family, but it's worth it to save our sanity. Plus, as my father points out, you've got a new family now, and it's important for your family to have its own traditions and its own Christmas. He completely understood that we would not be seeing him every Christmas, and we do try to see parents that we didn't see at Christmas around Christmastime to exchange gifts and visit.

    I guess I would try the time approach, you two won't be able to relax if you're running around all over creation, but I will say this as a child of divorced parents: there may be more parents/families but it does not diminish their importance. If there is anything I think you guys should definitely skip, it's the big get together, or in our case, we frequently just tell my FIL that we'll see him at his sister's, rather than doing Christmas alone with FIL. From my perspective, your Christmas visiting time should be split into thirds: Christmas Eve at his father's if that's a possibility, Christmas morning at his mother's and Christmas afternoon at your family's.
  • I have a stepsister who, due to parents and in-laws stubborness, tried to do the multiple families all in one day.  She had her mom, her dad and my mom, her FIL, and her MIL.  She was able to sort of pull this off for the first few years, but as the kids got older it became more and more difficult.  I watcher her break down one time after a fight with her H because they needed to go if they were going to see X parent.  We talked after that and I told her that her kids didn't need to pay the price, she didn't need to pay the price, and her marriage certainly didn't have to pay the price of adults who acted like children and insisted that they had to be seen on that certain day. 

    So she stopped trying to see everybody on the same day.  They started switching holidays, going days before or after, and hosting at their house.  Her in-laws still can't be in the same room together, but she see's it as their loss, not hers.

    My mom even came up with the idea of "Second Sunday."  As all of us got older, getting married, having kids, she started to see the stress of trying to please everybody.  So her Christmas is the second sunday of December.  We get together, have dinner, open gifts, enjoy the holiday. 

    Start taking turns, or limiting how many places you visit on a certain day.  If the extended family refuses to celebrate on any other day, let them know that you will be happy to see them next year, but unfortunately you won't be running ragged this year.  
     
  • I think your primary conversation for this year, being your first married Christmas together should be about what YOU AND YOUR H want your holiday to be.  Where is the time for YOU in all of this running around?  The time to set the precedent of you two doing your own thing is now, or everyone will expect you to continue to cater to them and their plans.  Family is nice for the holidays.  It's great that they're close and easy to get together with them, but don't let that make you feel obligated.  My grandma told me once that she stopped hosting on Christmas day when my cousins were little because she over heard my younger cousins talking in the back room about how they didn't get to play with their toys they'd just gotten/opened cause they had to go to Grandma's.  We only went there every few years cause we were 20 hours apart so when we were there, we went for a whole week and did our whole Christmas there, but my aunts and uncles all live within an hour or less.  She now usually goes to one of her kids houses (including my parents some years) for the actual holiday and they do a family get together for the relatively local family on one of the weekends right around Christmas.  
    H and I spent the first 8 years of our relationship doing Christmas Eve with MIL (we were local to her) and then getting up early Christmas morning and driving 8 hours to my parents in order to be there in time for dinner and stay for a few days.  Even with just two places, it was rough.  And to be honest, I used to LOVE going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and driving around looking at the lights, but when you're aiming to be on the road by 6:30 on Christmas morning, midnight mass doesn't work too well so H and I have never gone.  Things are changing this year.  For one thing, we moved so we're not 20+ hours away from both sides.  For another I'm not able to travel for the holidays this year, it's too close to my due date.  But we talked about it and decided we'd try to do a 3 year rotation (his family, my family, home) for Thanksgiving and other than the years when the whole family plans to all get together for Christmas, we're staying in CO, doing our own Christmas, and our door is open to our parents/siblings if they'd like to come join us.  We'll see how well that goes over, but we're sick of running ourselves ragged to make it convenient for everyone else.


  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_holidays-with-divorced-in-laws?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:35a6b43f-df8e-42df-ad52-e6127cfa7ce9Post:95c12fa6-6181-42ec-8606-c92f12f84216">Re: Holidays with Divorced In Laws</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think your primary conversation for this year, being your first married Christmas together should be about what YOU AND YOUR H want your holiday to be.  Where is the time for YOU in all of this running around?  The time to set the precedent of you two doing your own thing is now, or everyone will expect you to continue to cater to them and their plans.  Family is nice for the holidays.  It's great that they're close and easy to get together with them, but don't let that make you feel obligated.  My grandma told me once that she stopped hosting on Christmas day when my cousins were little because she over heard my younger cousins talking in the back room about how they didn't get to play with their toys they'd just gotten/opened cause they had to go to Grandma's.  We only went there every few years cause we were 20 hours apart so when we were there, we went for a whole week and did our whole Christmas there, but my aunts and uncles all live within an hour or less.  She now usually goes to one of her kids houses (including my parents some years) for the actual holiday and they do a family get together for the relatively local family on one of the weekends right around Christmas.   H and I spent the first 8 years of our relationship doing Christmas Eve with MIL (we were local to her) and then getting up early Christmas morning and driving 8 hours to my parents in order to be there in time for dinner and stay for a few days.  Even with just two places, it was rough.  And to be honest, I used to LOVE going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and driving around looking at the lights, but when you're aiming to be on the road by 6:30 on Christmas morning, midnight mass doesn't work too well so H and I have never gone.  Things are changing this year.  For one thing, we moved so we're not 20+ hours away from both sides.  For another I'm not able to travel for the holidays this year, it's too close to my due date.  But we talked about it and decided we'd try to do a 3 year rotation (his family, my family, home) for Thanksgiving and other than the years when the whole family plans to all get together for Christmas, we're staying in CO, doing our own Christmas, and our door is open to our parents/siblings if they'd like to come join us.  We'll see how well that goes over, but we're sick of running ourselves ragged to make it convenient for everyone else.
    Posted by Loopyseven[/QUOTE]

    <div>
    </div><div>All of this.  This is why FI and I are going to do two years of swapping and then we'll be done. OP  It sounds like you're basically not going to have any time to yourselves, and the holidays are an important part of a relationship.</div><div>
    </div><div>We're only about 2 hours apart from each set of parents, and we're just not going to play the holiday game year after year.  </div><div>
    </div><div>I do think that for this (delicate) conversation you need to separate the holiday thing vs. the seeing them all the time thing, but to be honest they are definitely entertwined.  I just think thats a conversation you need to open to the door to, because you need to address that to be happy.  It's something you've said a bunch, and believe me I get it.  I've watched FSIL just sort of turn into this silent shell of a person that appears at every Sunday brunch at my FILs.  She eats and basically doesn't talk to try to get out as quickly as possible.  Seriously, that sounds awful to me, and it's why I'm grateful for distance.  Since the closeness and frequency of your contact with them is driving this particular problem with the holidays I think it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.   It sounds like you are working on it, but establishing those boundaries will help disperse some of the resentment that's beginning to grow here.</div>
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited November 2012
    I understand why other posters are saying to separate the time you normally spend with your H's family from the holiday, but I have to disagree. Yes, it will suck for him to miss out on some of his holiday traditions, but that's what you agree to when you get married. We started an every-other year rotation where one family gets Thanksgiving, and one gets Christmas because we live 800 miles from our families (which are 400 miles from each oher) and can't do both. This was the first holiday I didn't spend with my family, and it really sucked.  But I definitely missed seeing them more than I missed the holiday celebration. And if we saw my parents every day and extended family every weekend, you can bet that I wouldn't insist on my FI only getting a quarter day with his family to be "fair", because it's just not. If his parents really want to celebrate with you and your H, they will find a way to do so, but them being unwilling to compromise is not it.  

    ETA: Also, make sure the two hours of travel to see your parents aren't being counted as part of your time with them. You agreed to live so close to your ILs (I'm assuming) for your H's sake. He should take that into consideration.
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