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It's that time of year again

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Georgia
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    2,527

    It's that time of year again

    when we all look forward to/dread the family get-togethers for whatever reason. A niece whose kids are brats, an old aunt who no longer has all her marbles, a brother whose wife just can't resist snide remarks about the food/company/décor, the relative who drinks way too much, the teens who are sullen and hostile at being required to put their phones away at the dinner table, the self-proclaimed vegans who only seem to adhere to a vegan diet when it's convenient (and this particular occasion isn't convenient). The list goes on!



    Has your family mellowed over the years so that holidays are peaceful and relaxing or is it still a battle of wills and politics?

    I had a friend years ago who had no family so every year she'd host Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's for anybody. Anybody. She'd tell her friends that while it wasn't required, everyone was encouraged to bring a guest or three who would otherwise be alone. Guests brought guests, sometimes wine or a side dish, sometimes (yet another) dessert. She always had fun holidays.
    Retired. Nowhere to go and plenty of time to get there.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Scotland
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    1,430
    Neither myself nor Mrs.L have had any contact with our relatives for many many years. Our son and elder daughter will be with us at Xmas, and our younger daughter + partner will be here this year too. (alternate years they visit his parents). So that's it - 6 of us, a turkey , a slow roast pork joint (from a pig that we raised ourselves) and a well stocked wine 'cellar'. No religion, no carols - just a good time. (I bought 5 litres of red wine in France to make mulled wine)
    We're not here for a long time. We're here for a good time

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Near Mount Pilot
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    2,862
    My paternal grandmother was the glue that kept our family together for functions and holidays. Some showed up out of fear and others out of respect but they all came and they all behaved. When she died everyone focused on their own immediate families and we went our own ways. I suppose that is the natural progression of things. These days I spend the holidays by myself or with another orphan or two, it sounds pathetic but it is my normal and it works for me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Buffalo,NY
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    188
    When I retired in 2011,my brother asked if I wanted to come and spend Thanksgiving with him&his family,they live downstate in Rye,NY{Westchester County}.It felt strange but in a good way for me to be with them. I say this because when I was working,I could NEVER get the day after off, all went by seniority in our dept The 3 people ahead of me seniority wise always got the week of Thanksgiving,Christmas,Easter off. My family could never understand this
    Every Thanksgiving I fly to NYC except last yr,didn't feel up to it.
    My brother,JOhn&wife,Suzanne have 4 adult kids,Suzanne's sister Carolyn&her husband,JOhn&their 3 kids will be there with their mom,Rose. I stay for a couple days,great way to see family.My older sister,Mary lives in England,they don't celebrate Thanksgivng,but every yr she has a 'feast'. She cooks part of the meal,has a lot of friends over to celebrate.She had 20 people last yr. Sue
    Walkers Take It All In Strides

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    I think I'm in Florida, but I'm not sure any more......my GPS blew away.
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    5,721
    I look back with great longing at the holidays of my youth and early/middle adulthood. Slowly, though, large gatherings in my family became less pleasant. The main cause of this is alcohol. There are a few members of my family who are not fun to be around when they are schnocked. Since I have no control over their alcohol consumption, I choose to absent myself from these events. It is what it is.....
    If we're ever in a situation where I am "the voice of reason", then we are in a very, very bad situation.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    212
    I've lived a lifetime of pleasant family gatherings. To this day, we all gather a few times during the year for holidays of just "get-togethers". Some folks have mentioned alcohol problems. Never an issue in our family as whenever we gather, winter or summer, there is never any alcohol amongst us. The great part of our family don't drink at all and the few beer or wine sippers never partake at family parties, or in our presence. No smokers either, which is pleasant.

    We are blessed to have all of our family (our kids, grand-kids and great grands) live in close proximity to us and each other. We're spread over 3 states but here in our small New England states the furthest among us is still less than 100 mile drive. Only I grandson and his wife are away, and they live on the west coast. as we move through our 80's, having a social life within the family makes these years really golden.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    PA
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    2,942
    I haven't fully enjoyed the holidays since my Mom & Dad have passed away. I suffer from seasonal depression and usually find myself on my therapist's couch for a few sessions. It wasn't as bad when I was working, but since retirement, it's a real downer. I tell my kids, "Do not buy me anything, including gift cards. I don't need a thing." I don't even enjoy watching the Grandkids opening their techie toys and over priced merchandise. I just never got it. This is why the Grandkids only get a small gift from us and then we put money in their accounts at Fidelity. There's usually a houseful of people at my son's house for dinner, but after that, I'm ready to leave.
    "SEMPER FI"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
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    245
    We only see the relatives we want to see. Interestingly, that means my immediate family. DH prefers them to his own relatives, LOL!

    All of us love to cook so we do round-robin emails to decide on who's making what. We're currently working on Thanksgiving. Xmas is quieter; my nephew is the only one with kids and they fly East to be with his in-laws for Xmas. Nice for the kids since otherwise they seldom get to see their only cousins and the other grandpa.

    We invite friends who don't have family nearby, and usually have 5-6 of them celebrate with us.

    No presents except for kids, and I don't even bother with that. Those kids have tons of toys and don't need any more from us, LOL.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Ohio
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    6,872
    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgiaXplant View Post
    when we all look forward to/dread the family get-togethers for whatever reason. A niece whose kids are brats, an old aunt who no longer has all her marbles, a brother whose wife just can't resist snide remarks about the food/company/décor, the relative who drinks way too much, the teens who are sullen and hostile at being required to put their phones away at the dinner table, the self-proclaimed vegans who only seem to adhere to a vegan diet when it's convenient (and this particular occasion isn't convenient). The list goes on!

    Has your family mellowed over the years so that holidays are peaceful and relaxing or is it still a battle of wills and politics?

    I had a friend years ago who had no family so every year she'd host Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's for anybody. Anybody. She'd tell her friends that while it wasn't required, everyone was encouraged to bring a guest or three who would otherwise be alone. Guests brought guests, sometimes wine or a side dish, sometimes (yet another) dessert. She always had fun holidays.
    My relatives hardly talk to me at get togethers. I guess they are quiet people and so i am, too. Glad your friend had a nice holiday!
    The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched
    - they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Phila.Pa
    Posts
    4,041
    I always loved the family holiday dinners until both my children got married. Now because of my daughter's MIL I only enjoy the Holiday every other year. One year she has dinner with her daughter and then the next year with her son and my daughter. My daughter always wants me and my Husband and her brother (my son)and his family. Her MIL does nothing but pick on her own son,my daughter and her own husband.It makes me very uncomfortable but I still go. She is very lucky that I ignore her rude remarks.I wouldn't want to upset my SIL.I just hope she doesn't come up with all her crude remarks about Italians.I think she is annoyed that my daughter is half Italian because I am Italian . She treats my husband pretty good because he is Irish and she is OK with that.
    This is our year with her.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    5,279
    What a lovely idea Georgia, your friend must have spread so much happiness !

    I never waste a minute on anybody who causes upset and misery, my holidays are spent with the people I love most in the world, my daughter and her sweetheart, we have a great time and I’m looking forward to another happy Christmas with them

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    1,460
    I've always enjoyed 'family get-togethers' but they've always happened infrequently. They will be a gathering of the clan this Thanksgiving.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    N Carolina
    Posts
    252
    The holidays are normally very stressful for me. As I get older I've learned that being with family is most important. I will do what I can to prepare for the season but not knock myself out. I taught my kids how to create the magic. Now they can do it.......or not.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Mass
    Posts
    20
    My family is a mess, most of us don't talk to each other for one reason or another. It's sad because when my grandparents generation (all Italians) was still around our family was as tight as could be. The entire extended family always got together for the holidays and other family functions. Even if certain family members weren't getting along you never missed a family get together. As that generation has passed on so have the family traditions. Add to that the in-fighting between family members and we are all very distant if we talk at all. I never had any kids so I really don't have family here that I spend holidays with any longer. I used to think my family was the exception with all this hostility, but as I grow older and talk to others I find it's very common. Family values aren't what they used to be.

    My wife's family is better in this regard and we go to Canada a lot for the holidays to visit them. Last year we spent Christmas in Canada and we'll be there next week during US Thanksgiving.

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