Bah -hum - holidays

I know this great guy who went WAY out of his way to make this Christmas less stressful for me. He went so far as to write a letter to lessen the usual holiday madness that is Christmas at our house. This is a man who would move heaven and earth to make me happy and often has, surprising me with his thoughtfulness and insight. Unfortunately his plan to alleviate the stress associated with the madness that is Christmas at our house backfired.

Actually, all the letter said was that we wanted to take a sabbatical from hosting Christmas for a while. We never said we didn't want to spend Christmas with all the same people, just that it wasn't going to be at our house next year.

Did anyone call us to say "No problem. We'll take it next year" or "Let's talk about it this year and we'll decide how to rotate it"? No. What did happen was this: one of the recipients of the letter took it upon herself to contact all the other family members (except our daughters) to express her outrage about our plan to "break up the family". Interestingly this person is the only person to have never hosted a family holiday because "my house is too small". Unbeknownst to RW or me there were a series of calls back and forth between the family members that resulted in everyone believing that we didn't want to see them at Christmas anymore (I think).

At the end of November I sent out what I thought was a cute Christmas E-invite to everyone with falling snow and music and everything. It requested them to RSVP if they were attending, and if they were bringing any extra guests. Nowhere did it say "Here's your invite but please don't come". Before today the only people who RSVP'd were our daughters and my older daughter's in-laws who are coming in from Scotland. We consider the Glasgow in-laws our "other" family and look forward to having them here since they can't do it every year. Plus it avoids our daughter having to decide who to spend Christmas with. Every year we have people spend Christmas with us that we've never met: boyfriends, girlfriends and strays without family here. Do we honestly sound like the kind of people who intended to "break up the family"?

Well. Here it is 4 days before Christmas. All the food shopping has been done. The order from HoneyBaked arrived yesterday: one whole ham and 3 boneless turkey breasts because God forbid we don't have enough food (which has happened before due to the "extra" guests who show up uninvited). The grocery list included ingredients for appetizers (including jumbo shrimp), side dishes, desserts and libations. All told, the food and drink total to date is about $550.00 for a projected guest list of 24 people. Today I received 2 replies: two of the families "suddenly" had other plans - 8 people not coming. Thanks for the prompt response! After all, everyone knows that Christmas is the one holiday of the year that people plan at the last minute. Besides making us out to be family-wreckers, they stick it to us financially

Is it coincidence that the people not coming are the ones who send out invitations to their kids' parties a month in advance with a request to "please let us know if you're coming"? Probably the most ironic thing here is that we never "uninvited" anyone. We didn't break up Christmas: they did. And my oldest daughter, who is really upset about the issue, doesn't even see that.

Well. If I try to look at the bright side we won't have to shop for food for a while. Thank goodness RW took cooking lessons because we're going to need help figuring out what to do with all that leftover food.


Geeky Tai-Tai said...

That is just so horribly wrong! I'm not sure I'd want to have anything to do with them again.

Do you have a freezer? Or maybe you can donate the extra food to a shelter or food bank?

I'm really sorry to hear about this. I hope that your Christmas turns out to be a good one in spite of all the turmoil.

Avitable said...

That's pretty recockulous. And while I would have told the family at Christmas that you guys weren't up for hosting next year, I can't imagine that the letter was anything other than extremely tactful and well-written.

RW said...

I dunno avi, I started telling folks it was coming a year ago. If I called people someone would have been pissed they weren't first. I ended the letter saying "let's figure out where we go from here."

Guess I was told.

Miss Britt said...

I'm really sorry this has gotten so out of hand for you both.

I know I'm one of those people who CLINGS to traditions (I was outraged when my Nana sold her house, and when my grandparents sold the "family" vacation home.) - but at the end of the day, the traditions don't mean anything without the PEOPLE behind them.

Dave2 said...

This is just sad. When I read RW's entry where he originally explained about the letter, I thought it was a pretty clear that it had nothing to do with not wanting to see family at Christmas.

Like I said then, "People you have cared enough to invite to dinner over the years are people who undoubtedly care about you and will understand... and, if they don't, then they're people you probably shouldn't be having to dinner anyway."

Avitable said...

Yeah, that's true. I'm just saying that's how I would have done it, but I think your letter idea was a very good way of clearly getting the message across. Well, "clearly" for people who actually read the words and didn't invent inferences to take offense at.

Mrs RW said...

Miss Britt/Avi/Diana/Dave: I think this is why people say friends are better than family: you can choose your friends. Can you guys be our "family"?

Miss Britt said...

Yes! Where do I sign?

(Does this mean I can have a doll for Christmas?)

Avitable said...

Sounds good to me. I'm just waiting for all of you to make it down this way so you can come over to the house for dinner or something!

Mrs RW said...

Britt: the doll thing: you do realize that it's freakin' 3 days 'til Christmas!!! Ok, I'll try, since I am the best grandmother in the world. Best mother? Not so much, I'm good enough.

Mrs RW said...

Avi: dinner sounds good. We're supposed to be coming to Florida in the fall. We'll bring the food. (how long does leftover ham and turkey last, anyway?)

Geeky Tai-Tai said...

Hey we're up for it! Hubby just said you ought to send that ham over here (he hasn't had his breakfast yet). :D

Honestly, friends have been our chosen family for a long time now. Yes, we still have our families in Indiana and Illinois, but we can't always go back for a visit at the holidays (such as this year).

Anonymous said...

Friends are better than family. I spend two Christmas celebrations this year with friend--both wonderful events. The time I spent with my family was nothing but stressful.

But I spent today with friends, so it was a great day.

Hope your day turned out well in spite of your family strife.

Merry Christmas to you and RW.