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Is it possible to cancel Christmas next year?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by woodstock, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. woodstock

    woodstock Active Member

    I love my family...really I do, but I'm done with them. Christmas was just not fun. My Dad, who wants to divorce my mom (they've been separated 16 years when my mom moved out and she is completely content never to move back but pitching a hissy fit if he even mentions divorce, both of them are completely dysfunctional) He spends the night rolling his eyes behind her back at all she says or does. She is oblivious to it all, and he can't deny her entry to the "family" house as her name is still on the mortgage, even though only he still lives there. Yes, they're a fun bunch at holidays (actually, anyday in fact). She is addicted to QVC shopping and fox news, has no friends anymore, and sits at home getting her brain beat to death with developed conspiracy theory's by the fox newscasters. Everything out of her mouth is negative. everything. Merry Merry.

    My uncle spent a good portion of the evening in the bathroom. To which my aunt said out loud, "he's in there texting his girlfriend, as if he thinks I'm stupid". Sigh. Sadly, she was probably right.

    My cousin....smartly got married and moved to another state and spent christmas with his wife.

    Me, stuck. I didn't want to be there amongst all their miserableness that they veiled with fake happines for appearances sake. And...I worked hard to find the right gifts for everyone, and my mom basically tossed mine in the trash (a card offering lunch and a shopping trip for me to buy her any microwave of her choice...as she said hers was getting a broken latch). She promtly told me she intended to use her microwave until it died and didnt want a new one. Um, okay, fine, I won't take you out shopping then. Fortunately my aunt pulled me aside later and said it was a nice gesture, even if the recipient didnt appreciate. so I felt a bit better. BUt still soured the whole evening, and to make it worse my mother gave me clothes, upon clothes, as she does every year. ANd about two months before christmas I ask her to not buy me clothes, every year. And every year insists on buying clothes, nothing fits right (which is why I despise getting clothes, I'm a hard fit). ANd of course, she refuses to ever put a gift receipt in the box with clothes, so I'm stuck. All the years before, honestly I've either silently dumped the clothes to goodwill with the tags still on, or just taken it back and only gotten back at the significantly reduced post-christmas price as I had no receipt. With her none the wiser. And I feel as if I'm ungrateful for being this way this year, but after her behavior with the microwave, and the fact that she always buys people gifts of stuff she thinks they should have, completely ignoring what they might prefer or like. So I opened the clothes, actually put one on this year out of the box since it was a zipper shirt....had it fit only down to my belly button (as I have a long torso) and couldn't fit the zip closed over my chest (as I'm a 34 DD). Maybe I just felt like being a bitch, but I was so done with it all. Showed her, and asked for a gift receipt for all the clothes. And she had a bitch fest all over me and said she didn't keep any of the receipts and that I should lose weight so it will fit. (because I'm apparently so fat at a size 8/10). So I have clothes with no receipt to once again dump elsewhere, which is such a waste of her money. I feel like an ungrateful bitch for feeling like this, as its the thought that counts in gifts, but I know with my mother, that is not the case, otherwise she would have cared about the fact that none of it fits. And I got insulted twice by her. Argh!

    Done, Done, Done. I am so frickin done. Done with the 60+ year olds in my family dumping their relationship problems on my (yes father, I don't need to hear about how you want to bring a 24 year old stripper by my house when I'm not home to avoid my mother using her key on your house and finding you-the answer is NO. Mother, I don't need to hear you tell me how much a bastard my father supposedly is, if he's such an ass, divorce him, he's already told me you won't sleep with him and haven't done so since 1994, aint no marriage left! THe man actually stayed celibate for the first 10 years of your separation, thanks to his oversharing. Aunt and Uncle, go do whoever you want behind each other's back, leave me out of it). And above all....I'm just the 30 year old "kid" in the family...stop sharing this stuff with me. I may be an adult now, but it's so innapropriate. soon I will start charging therapy fees.

    Honestly...the only part of christmas I enjoyed this year was going to church christmas eve (alone) and then hanging out with my boyfriend and his young son christmas morning at their house, sharing breakfast and watching all the excitement a 4 year old has with his santa gifts. None of the happiest parts involved any of my relatives. None.In fact, they made it miserable. And that's very sad.

    So, can I cancel Christmas next year?
  2. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Just don't go to family christmas if it's so stressful. We plan a vaction every 3 years or so and winter is the best time for us to do it, so we can't go back to family for Christmas those years (no one lives local)

    This weekend was essentially a 4-day weekend with a few presents (our parents sent stuff up). On one hand- it was really really nice and stress free, on the other hand I really really missed my family.

    But it sounds like it could be a good option for you. "I'd love to join you for Christmas, but unfortunately, I'll be on a cruise"
  3. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    i tell the relatives i'm at a skating competition and then eat with my jewish friends
  4. woodstock

    woodstock Active Member

    Oh, I so wish I could. I did holiday vacation for a few years when I had more single friends. And the economy was better for all of us. But lots of folks are married now with little kids, and stay around for the holiday. And those that don't, are working like mad to make ends meet. A vacation alone just sounds so sad. If my boyfriend and I get married, well he won't want to be away from his son for Christmas, but I also know his ex won't allow us to travel away with their son for the holidays, so we'd be here at least until his son is much much older and can voice his own opinion.And my family would expect us to come around for part of the day. Sigh.
  5. Nora_Charles

    Nora_Charles New Member

    woodstock - I'm sorry Christmas was so stressful for you! It's supposed to be a happy time. I'll tell you my experience, and you can take from it what you will. I'm not going to tell you to just avoid Christmas with them, because sometimes people just don't feel like they can do that, but....(FWIW, my family also "expects" me to come around. But because I don't need toxicity in my life, I politely decline. I figure they'll start bickering so quickly that they won't notice my absence for too long!)

    My family is a mess. My mom is the only person in the lot of them (including my dad and siblings) who I get along with. She's not dysfunctional, she doesn't judge, we have a great time together, etc. She and I used to go to family (holiday) functions. Then she stopped going, and I would go. I felt this sense of obligation, because...it's waht you DO, right? I mean, everywhere you look, something or someone is reminding you that HOLIDAY = FAMILY!!!!!!!

    And then, one year, something magical happened. I grew a spine! lol I decided that there really was no law that stated that I had to spend MY holiday (because, yes, it is MY holiday, too.) with people who make me feel awful by the time I go home. Awful about myself, about them, and about the world in general. *I* was buying tickets to the "Guilt/Blame/Dysfunction Lighted Extravaganza", and every year it featured the same awful actors, same tired dialogue, and same horrible ending, complete with me leaving the "theater" in tears.

    I spent that Christmas with just my mom. We slept in. We ate a late breakfast. We opened gifts, and then played board games and watched movies and had snackies. We made a ham and scallopped potatoes and creamed peas/carrots, and ate them in our jammies for supper. No one cried. No one asked me when I planned on doing something about my weight, lack of husband, and lack of babies. No one acted like they're superior to me just because she got married at a really early age and has 4 kids. No one argued. No one placed blame on my mom, his kids, and pretty much anyone he'd ever met for the breakup of their marriage even though he's the one who abandoned us. It was just peaceful.

    It was....the best Christmas ever.
    Beefcake, laurenannie, dbell1 and 4 others like this.
  6. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I have not spent Christmas with my family since 1992. My relationship with my mother in particular has improved dramatically since then and I don't think it's a coincidence.

    Nora Charles: :respec:
    and I just wanted to reiterate this:
    because that is such a healthy realization/attitude on family holidays.
  7. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    I'm with Skittl. Don't go. Ignore all their calls. Or just flat out tell them you won't go, no way no how. F them. If they can't comport themselves together like civil humans, don't oblige their behavior by attending these events. If you're saying to yourself "well, doesn't that make me a bad person?" to that I say, not at all. They have a choice whether to be pleasant or bitter/obnoxious, and they choose the latter. Your attendance year after year just tells them its ok to be that way. You, as a 30 year old grown-up, also have a choice. To be there, and miserable, or somewhere else, and happy.

    I have no such problems with my family, but we all live in different parts of the country, and don't celebrate Xmas. We got together for Thanksgiving, though. Yesterday I stayed home alone and played online, caught up on sleep, watched Precious on Netflix, etc. I was fine with that. Some days, entertaining yourself is better than dealing with the BS.
  8. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    And you can. Once you come to the realization that you own your own body. :blah:
  9. woodstock

    woodstock Active Member

    Thank you! It is good to know I'm not alone. I'm just stuck though, so long as they are technically married I know my mother will force a "family" holiday. But honestly, I hope my Dad forces a divorce soon, so at least he can escape the limbo that my mother so happily exists in. THe quandry, he has friends and relatives that still talk with him. My mother, has no one. She chooses to have no one but me and my father. And even if I escape and marry and make my own family holiday....as negative as she can be I can't abandon her (and honestly...shes one of those nasty people that truly doesn't really she is nasty...the few things she has been called out on, she cries about later, completely clueless about her behavior). I could only see cutting her off if/when she starts nitpicking on my future children or stepchild. I know my Dad would be fine, he'd have people and wouldn't be alone. She would have no one.
  10. Squibble

    Squibble New Member

    She'd still have you. She might be alone on Christmas, but that would be an outcome of her own making. You can still be with her on other, less emotionally fraught days. And she might find some other way of celebrating.
  11. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    Woodstock, hate to be a Debbie Downer, but your parents have made choices and those choices don't fit you anymore. If you continue to allow yourself to be bullied into participating in these events, you are responsible for the outcome. I know it's hard to withdraw, but start with "That doesn't work for me." It's not about them, it's about you and it doesn't work for you.
  12. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

    No, Woodstock. You're not alone.

    My family pissed me off before I could even get out of the house and go to dinner, so I refused to go and sat home and watched television and read and knitted and it was the most relaxing Xmas that I've had in years. Wait, I take that back. Last year was cool because I spent it in Los Angeles with my sister--it was 80 degrees and I didn't have to deal with my father's wife's family. Yesterday, I didn't have to deal with my dad trying to appease me and my sister and his wife and her family and it was such a relief.

    I'm already making plans to go on vacation by myself next year. Hopefully I can manage to get to someplace sunny and warm and drama free. Wouldn't that be fabulous? I've decided that being miserable is not part of the Xmas spirit, and if that means I have to leave town to be merry, than so be it!
  13. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    My sister did not come to Christmas because we politely asked her not to bring her Rottweiler mixed dog. We have a cat and it was terrified the last time it was here. Dog growled and lunged at my husband. Jumped on the furniture and peed in the house. Yet I am the unreasonable one... bah humbug.
  14. Nora_Charles

    Nora_Charles New Member

    Just wanted to say one more thing. It's not always fun to think that somewhere, my family is celebrating together, and I'm either alone or with "just" my mom. It would be nice to have a decent family. But the reality is that I don't have that, and being alone or with my mom is FAR better, and far less depressing/saddening (is that a word? lol) than the alternative.
  15. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

    I can totalllly relate.

    Like some others I spent Christmas with my mom this year too. I was going to see my dad this year but decided not to when he told me two days ago I might I have step brothers and sisters soon, implying he's getting married. I never even met this woman he's been dating (didn't even know about the children she has until two days ago even tho he told me about her this summer!!!!), and he has been with her for 8 months at least and everyone else met her this summer. He even told me he doesn't understand everything she says because she doesn't speak English so you know this isn't about her personality! I have no idea why he hasn't had me meet her yet but he wanted me to meet her for the first time on christmas. It's just too much for me on such a holiday because my dad divorced my mom cuz he thought she was 'too fat' at 150 lbs. I just get too upset about it all still.

    My dad also told me he's thinking of moving across the country with this woman but he's still debating it cuz he might not get to do all his favorite outdoor hobbies in the new climate. I guess the fact that he'd be thousands of miles away from his daughter wasn't a factor. He's just such a jerk there's so much I haven't even said. Ohh and then there's the fact that he wants to take this woman around the world on trips etc, and he never took me outside the city EVER! It's just so obvious to me he is interested in his love life and not his family life.

    People really shouldn't be so mean on Christmas. It's best just to stay at home if you're too upset.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  16. Satellitegirl

    Satellitegirl New Member

    Well after reading your story about Christmas, I don't feel as bad about mine, but I can relate.

    My Dad has been drunk so much and got his sleep schedule switched around so much, that he slept 3/4 of the time the family was there....he doesn't bathe like he should, so I blew up at him Christmas Day(my dad is 69 years old) and told him to get moving, as my brother and his family would be there soon. I am so SICK of dealing with him. I know he's depressed, but we have tried EVERYTHING to get him to get help, and he is so arrogant he won't do anything at all to help himself. His biggest habit is saying he's going to do something and then not doing it. He sleeps downstairs in the basement on the couch, with the gas fireplace on high because he 's so cold all the time due to not ever moving.

    I lost it again today, because he sat down to eat dinner(leftovers) and had just brought firewood in...on top of not washing his hands ever...and he picks up the ham plate and starts moving pieces around WITH HIS HANDS looking for ham. I said "are you done playing with the ham yet?" to which my Mom said my name with a "how dare you" tone. I said "well he's putting his dirty hands all over the damn thing." His response was "I'm sorry I don't live in your perfect world" to which I wanted to say "perfect? you don't even live in reality, let alone anything normal or CLOSE to perfect"

    Then my Dad always starts in with "what is your favorite thing you ever got for Christmas" or "what is your favorite Christmas memory?" which he does ALL the time. It's like he can't do anything but wallow in sadness, and says his family is the most important thing to him, yet he is asleep half the time we're there, and drinking the other half. I want to say "if you really care, show it...don't feed me sentimental self absorbed bullshit"

    I only tolerate the holidays now. It's a bunch of overly sentimental stuff that makes everyone more aware of their mortality than they need to be, and you're forced to spend money you probably should save, just so people feel comfortable and get gifts. Can people knock off their identity crisis long for family gatherings and just try and enjoy things? UGH.
  17. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Sounds like the start of a nice tradition to me. You don't have to make or participate in a large family production at the holidays. Nor do I think you have to antagonize anyone in your family if you choose a more low-key approach.

    Do you still live with your parents? Get out of there if you do. If you live alone, then you can avoid the unpleasantness by simply dropping by for an hour or two for dinner or dessert, drop your gifts off, then leave when you want to leave. Don't host anything. Offer to see them before or after Christmas for dinner, lunch, breakfast because you've made other plans for Christmas (whether it's with the boyfriend, a vacation, etc).

    Gift giving: consider moving to a one person gift policy whereby your family pulls a name out of a hat and only buys for that person. My family started that years ago and we've enjoyed Christmas a lot more since then. At first it was weird not to get a gift for my mom and dad if I didn't happen to get their name, but we all adapted and stuck to the one person gift-giving process.

    Or better yet, give them a card telling them the charity you donated a gift to in their name. If they are going to bitch about what you give them anyway, then you might as well make someone happy through a charity you support.
  18. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Woodstock - I really feel for you.

    Xmas is actually the worst time of the year for dysfunctional families to have the biggest fights and arguments. Particularly when alcohol gets involved.

    From my experience, I just hated Xmas so I stopped doing it. It made me stressed and I just don't like it nor believe in it. I could write an 10 page essay on why it is a problem for me. And for a month before I would get incredibly depressed which was the catalyst.

    So I bit the bullet and just told my family that I am not doing Xmas anymore. It p*sses off my sister as every year she cynically still ask me if I am coming. She thinks I am making some political point. My family is not dysfunctional and I actually don't mind sharing time with them. But I just hate Xmas so much.

    However from what you have written it sounds as if you don't mind Xmas but it is just the family thing that is stressing you out and understandably so. So just don't go. There is no law saying you have to. Just find other things to do.

    Good luck!!!
  19. Civic

    Civic New Member

    How would a vacation alone during the holidays be any sadder than what you described in your first post? A week relaxing on a sunny beach somewhere or skiing sounds a lot more fun than Christmas with your family. Some of my best vacations occured when I was alone. Among other things, I was able to do exactly what I wanted since I didn't have to factor in someone else's wishes.
    Why can't you and your boyfriend spend Christmas with one another where you live? He drops by to see his son and give him his presents on Christmas morning then spends the rest of the day with you. In the meantime you turn on the Christmas carols and make a nice meal for the two of you. Afterwards, the two of you watch a movie, go for a walk, cuddle by the fire, etc. Nice, quiet, no drama. As for your family...you're an adult, you don't need their permission to spend Christmas elsewhere.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  20. overedge

    overedge Janny uber


    And ^^this.

    (and if the clothes don't fit you, they will make someone shopping at the goodwill store very happy....)
  21. SoNaoWat?

    SoNaoWat? New Member

    Feel for ya! My family's not too messed up, though. My biggest thing is that one of my sisters only has one kid (to my three) and the other sister has none. Yet they and everyone else in the family seem like they are ALWAYS telling my kids what to do and criticizing their behaviors, either directly or indirectly (like by throat clearings, eye rollings, and heaving sighs) which drives me berserk. I am always on edge when we're having a full-family get-together, because I'm always afraid every little thing my kids say or do, someone's going to have a problem with it.

    Maybe I'm just the one with the problem? Oh well. Fortunately not too many occasions require us all to get together for extended periods, except for the upcoming family vacation I may start another thread about.

    As for you, Woodstock, I'd say spending Christmas with just your boyfriend and his family or off by yourself somewhere sounds perfect!!! Go for it!
  22. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    Woodstock --

    I know someone who has a pretty toxic family for the holidays -- she instead volunteers every year at the community Christmas dinner for the homeless and folks living in shelters. She really enjoys it, and just tells her family that these folks need her -- "so sorry I can't be with you!"

    I know I'd have a hard time looking forward to Christmas as you've described it.

    There's no win on the presents front. My mom used to buy me clothes -- she especially liked yellow, a color which inevitably makes me look like I have severe jaundice and need immediate hospitalization. I gave up -- she was going to buy yellow clothes -- because she liked yellow -- and I just gave them to the thrift store. I liked to think that there was a black woman out there walking around looking gorgeous in my yellow clothes. She also bought me a never-ending supply of crafts kits -- and I do NOT do crafts. I think it comes under accepting what you cannot change. (It doesn't mean that I'm taking up mosaic ashtrays any time soon, thought.)
  23. woodstock

    woodstock Active Member

    I'm seriously considering bailing on my family next year. But I also know it would hurt and alienate them to the max, have to decide if it's just better off to suck up a few hours of side comments/looks or just plain tension. My boyfriend already offered that I could ditch and be with his whole family next year, but I wouldn't feel quite right doing that until we were married. It's one thing for my cousin to ditch on my family when he's six hours away, another for me to bail when I'm a 20 minute drive distance.And to bail in order to spend christmas with people I am not even related to in any blood or legal way. At least I spent most of the day-time with my boyfriend and his son (he has primary custody). He offered his ex the opportunity to come by for the morning to be with their son as he opened gifts under the tree, but she declined (guess she decided she had better things to do :rolleyes:). So I got to be there and enjoy their company instead.

    As for the clothes, I guess I'm channeling some of the frustration onto objects. Still, I hate that she spends her good money for me to have something, when all I'll do is give it away behind her back. I know that she would have a fit if she knew I did that each year. She literally expects that I will wear everything, its why she won't provide gift receipts. I'd rather have one simple well-thought appropriate and meaningful gift from her, showing that she took consideration and understanding of me as a person, than a million meaningless pieces of clothing from her given to me just for the sake of making sure she gave "the most" and outdid everyone else in volume-as if it's a contest. I'd rather she keep her money in her pocket, if she chooses to not give from the heart.
  24. PeterG

    PeterG Well-Known Member

    When my sister doesn't want to be part of our family Christmas dinners, she volunteers to feed people at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Maybe that's something you could do, focus on providing for those less fortunate. Take some time and think about whether it would be a good idea for you to invite your family to join you in doing this. Or do it alone and tell them you are not available for Christmas dinner as you already have plans.

    One year I just told everybody that I was taking the year off. On the 24th, I bought some 2-4-1 pizzas and I had a bunch of DVDs from the library and spent the 25th watching movies and eating pizza. It was a great Christmas. :)
    pat c and (deleted member) like this.
  25. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

    My sister in law traveled here with her three Siberian huskies from six hundred miles away and tried to impose them on us, on my stepdaughter and on her parents. Then the car she drove up in died, and while she did get a local kennel for the three dogs, my stepdaughter was badgered into transporting the three Siberian Huskies (!!!) to the kennel in her fiance's 2008 Prius.

    We all told her not to bring them.

  26. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    Ugh Toxic Christmas. Find a way out!
  27. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

    Some people just think funny. Or are stinkers. Or they don't listen. Or maybe they even get off on not listening to you.

    My stepmother used to get me daily calendars featuring the Far Side comic every Christmas. The first few years it was all right, but I don't do daily calendars very well. I don't change them for weeks or even months at a time. And I was getting bored with the comic - I'm not that big a fan.

    So one year when I provided her with a list of things I wanted for Christmas. I wrote down "NOT a Far Side daily calendar please." What did I get?

    A Far Side daily calendar AND a Far Side monthly calendar.
  28. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    My holiday was horrid. I won't go into details but I ended up spending it alone, not with my insane family.
    For several years now I have said that I should take a vacation during Christmas. I am actually going to do it in 2011. I swear.
    If anyone is interested in an FSU anti-holiday group tour, I say we should get something organized. We can all go somewhere voidy, drink lots of alcohol, and watch skating DVD's together.
  29. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    i think the person that organizes the fsu anti holiday tour will make a fortune

    and by tour, all you would have to do is get a tv, a stack of skating videos, alcohol and a pile of take out menus and people will flock to you
  30. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    True, but the tour should be someplace warm, I think. And have lots of chocolates.