Thursday, December 2, 2010


After 25 years of doing Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for my family, we've canceled doing the Christmas dinner for this year. We are uncertain if we will ever do the dinners again. It's upsetting and heartbreaking.

We have a rule here that there is no hateful talk nor any arguments. We can't take the turmoil that some families seem to relish during the holidays. That's all we ask is that we have a peaceful day of visiting with each other and enjoying lots of moms great recipes. It seems like a reasonable request. Well it just didn't happen on Thanksgiving.

We started off okay and then one family member came in a bad mood. We tried to get things calmed down, but it continued to escalate until both hubby and I said, "That's enough." Well apparently they had had enough too. They got up right before dinner and left. And never came back. And never called. Nothing.

Hubby and I brooded about this and the hateful things that were said and decided to cancel Christmas. It's not fair to penalize everyone else, but we just aren't in the mood for this at all. We finally decided to let this family member know they were no longer welcome in our home. Of course they know why.

I'm hoping this can resolve itself in time, but I don't know if hubby and I can get over this one. I'm hoping we will. We don't wear our feelings on our sleeve, but this was way over the top.

The thing that I keep going back to is the rule that it's not okay to come here during the holidays to argue and upset everyone else. We have said this more than one year.

I'm really big on Christmas. I always have the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and you know it's Christmas at our house. I've not touched a thing and have no intention of putting up our tree, or any other Christmas decorations.

Have any of you had a similar problem?
What if anything did you do?
Any advice since I've not done anything like this before.
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  1. It is really hard to imagine that after celebrating this special seasons for 25 years, then now you come to say that you will not do it this time. I know that you have a deep reason maybe, but at least take this chance as your inspiration instead.

  2. Don't cancel Christmas, honey. For one thing, it's coming whether ot not you celebrate it! You've already told this person they're not welcome back. Don't let this person ruin your holiday festivities.

    Every family has one (or some) family member(s) just like that, Sandee. Some people just seem to thrive on negativity and discontent. If it doesn't already exist, they'll be sure to create it.

    Or sometimes you have someone who isn't normally negative or argumentative but just feels strongly about their politics and their opinions just happen to be the polar opposite of yours or another family member. Such is the case with me. One of the people at my Thanksgivng Day gathering is one such person. Think patriotic and strongly politically opinionated - like Sarge - only a Democrat. Years ago we agreed to disagree on politics and religion. Years ago I told this person it was never OK to discuss those topics at my house during one of my family gatherings. Nor was it ever OK to say hurtful, hateful things in my home. Ever. Or they would never be invited back. So far, so good.

    Big hugs and lotsa lovies :]

  3. We had drama happen at the girls' thanksgiving celebration. The family patriarch said he wasn't traveling anymore and put the girls in charge of Thanksgiving.

    Grampie and Grammie are too old to make the long trip to Illinois for the shin-dig. This is THE holiday for the kids' mom's family. It's a really big deal.

    One of their uncles got his panties in a wad about the change. He and his wife were the ones previously put in charge of the holiday. Both he and his wife were being asshats, with snide comments thrown around here and there.

    The girls were upset, but like they say. Grampie rules, so it will stay in TN until he deems it so. The uncle and his wife need to deal with it. They said they weren't coming next year... We'll see.

    No, it's not the same as it was before, but the kids did an excellent job planning and hosting the event.


    I'm sorry this happened to you all. HUGS to you both. I would be heartbroken, too.

    Sometimes you have to insitute "tough love" and set the boundaries on how you and your guests are treated in your home.

    You did the right thing by asking this person to leave.

    Please don't let this person steal your spirit.

    Not knowing the full breadth of the siutation, I say continue with your celebration, but with those who love and appreciate the family tradition, holiday spirit, and house rules.

  4. I am so so sorry to hear this. But, I also know how coll tempered you are. You are always so so forgiving and have always only been so with me.

    For that reason alone, I know if this bothered you this much it must have been really awful. What a shame because you were so excited about the day.

    I understand how you feel. And, yes, of course, we too have had the same experiences. As said above,(every family has at least one)!

    Sending you big hugs and I hope your heart will mend soon and you will go ahead and have Christmas.

    Big big special hugs for you today!!
    Jackie xoxox's

  5. Sandee, that is so sad to hear. I hate to see you cancel Christmas for you and your husband. That doesn't seem right for that one person to control your life like that. There are so many reasons to be thankful and happy about, all of us animals just think you should have your very own quiet Christmas. Do something special for someone who needs it. Like bring a shelter animal home for the day. Just something fun that you would enjoy.
    I don't have much family except one sister and she doesn't even send a card, so I know how you feel. Take care Sandee and hope you will reconsider.

  6. I am the oldest of 4 brothers, and 3 girl cousins, and grew up with every holiday at our Grandmothers house.
    She passed a few years ago, and I have done my best to at least keep the Christmas dinner together with the family, and there has been more than one occasion that I have had to step between adults and remind them why we have gathered in the first place.
    We did have a Christmas where one of the cousins decide that she would not attend due to an ongoing argument, and the rest of the family went on ahead with our dinner. Before the night was over, she appeared, and we got our family Christmas
    I think some time out in the cold for them may send them searching for some shelter, so go ahead and get those decorations out, and get your tree together.
    Merry Christmas, and God Bless

  7. Whatever it was must have been major. And your decision to ban this person justified. BUT...

    Why deny yourself the pleasure of the holidays? You are going to let one person suck the joy out of everything for you?

    Let it sit for a few more days and then let the joy back into your heart and home.

    As for Christmas Day - let folks know you are celebrating as usual and, with one exception, all are welcome.

    Hey, it's YOUR Christmas too!

    (I know all about holiday dramas, believe me. They stole all holiday cheer from me, don't let it do the same to you! {{Huggiez}}

  8. Hi Sandee,

    You do what you gotta do. I haven't had a tree up in 5 years and I'm no worse for the wear. The tree, the dinner, etc. are all part of an unnecessary ritual unless you like doing it. If that's the case, who cares about the other person?

  9. O Sandee, I am so sorry to hear this. I could have written the same post as yours today. HUBS said the same thing to his sister.

    THe bad thing is I don't think the offenders even know what upset us.

    It would seem the holidays some times brings out the worst in families.

    I hope you and Zane will celebrate, if only for yourselves.

    Lots of love to you.
    And to think I thought we were the only family that had issues.

  10. aw hugssssssssssssss...get duct tape for alla them girl..That should solve the prob!

  11. This is terrible! We all have family "issues" and personalities, but most of us know to act in a civil manner in groups, especially at the holidays! Something tells me an angry alcoholic is behind all this. In any event, I'm sorry this is happening to you.

    I understand from experience in our own family how one person's "over the top" offensive comments can really hurt and upset me. I don't like giving anyone that much power over me, but some people know how to press my buttons. After that, it takes time, reality checks from my trusted others, and then healthy boundaries. It looks like you're doing the same thing.

    Someone else can host your family's Christmas this year, and I think that's just fine. It helps send the message that certain behavior is just not accepted in your house. So that means your Christmas will be different this year. That's okay, too. You and Z can create a more personal holiday this year, maybe with new activities that may become new traditions. I do hope you can at least regain some measure of a peaceful Christmas spirit.

    I congratulate you for setting healthy boundaries. We can't change crazy people, but we can do certain things to stay away from them, even if they are family!

    Big, huge hug, Sandee.

  12. Hi Sandee,

    Yes, it happens in other families too.

    A few incidents absolutely divided my family for almost a year. Lots of harsh damaging words back and forth and a seemingly insurmountable wall built between siblings and spouses.

    Fortunately, time seems to have healed much of the damage that was done and slowly the family has been re-bonding with the understanding that the recent bumps in relationships were not really big enough to throw away many years of happiness within the family.

    I hope things work out and your Xmas is Merry after all!

    Take Care,

  13. My opinion, for what it's worth.

    The person that caused all this hurt, will probably be having a great Christmas, while you suffer. They have already caused you and yours, a great deal of upset. Don't let them cause you even more, by taking your Christmas away too!

  14. Personally, if you let the negativity of one person cancel your celebrations of long history, then your allowing negativity to rule the day. Please don't, let the bad go, and embrace the good. Enjoy the season for yourself and those who wish to join you. Don't let one person ruin your holidays.

  15. We have tried for at least a decade to let all the family know that disruptive and agrumentative/combative behavior is not acceptable in our home.

    Darlin and I both have prior lives where angry discourse and worse seemed to be the norm.

    Ours is a very peaceful home and we intend by all means possible to keep it such.

    Our actions have sent a very strong message. We will not tolerate this or similar behavior. If you want to argue, don't come here.

  16. I came back to read what others wrote and re-read my own comment. After reading it I'd like to clarify one part... The person with strong political opinions that I'm referring to is only like Sarge in that he has strong political opinions... However, the way this person expresses those opinions in my home is usually angry, loud, rude, and insulting... NOT like Sarge. I just wanted to make sure that was clear :]

    Big hugs :]

  17. Family can really be a pain sometimes. I'm with the others though that say don't let this spoil your Christmas.
    Whatever you decide to do, you and your husband can at least enjoy the day in your own special way. Big hugs to you and puppy licks from Duke. He wants you to have a nice Christmas :)

  18. i am SO sorry this happened honey. gosh we have a disfunctional family too but you wouldn't know it, would you? we actually have five children between us. three don't call. well ok but it hurts sarge i know. i just roll with it and hope for lovely days, one at a time!

    hugs and love, bee

  19. there are loads of fun Christmas things for volunteers, if you are inclined. Nursing home dinners, homeless dinners, churches deliver ot shut-ins, I mean, if that strikes your fancy. I gotta tell you, when I started to read this post, I kept waiting for the punchline, I'm so sorry there wasn't one, and I hope things get worked out

  20. have christmas,just don't do the dinner.have a quiet gretogether. tell everyone to leave the attitudes at the dor or don't both comming in.If they cant handle that the heck with them it Their loss not Yours.

  21. I wouldn't cancel your plans just because of them. If you do, then THEY win. Don't allow someone else's BahHumbug-ness pull you down. By giving in and giving up, their poor attitude becomes yours.

    Stand tall, choose to enjoy the holiday season, and have a merry Christmas despite them.

  22. I'm typing this on my iPhone so let me apologize in advance if it doesn't come out right.

    Please don't cancel a holiday that you love because someone else ruined your Thanksgiving. That gives that person too much power over you and it's not fair to you or to Zane or to other members of the family who are not asshats.

    Family can be so hurtful sometimes; don't let them steal your joy.

    Sending you and Zane both a really big hug and hope for a happy holiday season regardless.

  23. I agree with Linda above.
    Don't let them steal your Christmas joy.I hope you can sort something out.

  24. Yikes, I was reading this waiting for the punchline. I am so sad to realize its a real life post.

    We've had many problems like this in our family. MY dad and his brother do not get along. They faked it the last year my Grandfather was alive. And they faked it the year their only sister was diagnosed with Cancer. The tradition of Christmas Eve at my grandparents house fizzled because no one wanted to deal with the tension from those two. But here's the thing, we just started another tradition. Christmas Eve at my Dad's house. And its stuck and it works.

    My point is, don't ruin your holiday because of someone else. Start a new tradition. Just because there won't be a huge group of people to enjoy your tree, doesn't mean you should leave it in the basement. Enjoy it yourselves. Do what makes you and Z happy.

  25. So sorry your Thanksgiving did not go well! My advice is do what YOU and HUBBY want! If you love Christmas and want to celebrate it, do so WITHOUT those family members! If you don't care to celebrate, then don't. Just don't let others determine your actions. I've learned to rid myself of "TOXIC" people, relative or not, and it really helps! They are not worth it! Best wishes!

  26. Sweetie, you can choose your friends, but not your family...and I have a BUNCH of 'em I wouldn't choose because they are too much like your disruptive member.

    Like others have said, please don't let this one person steal your Christmas spirit. You can scale down, keep it simple, and rekindle your normally good feelings.

    We have those same rules in our household. Hang in there, both of you.

    Big hugs times two...

  27. Thanksgiving is in October for us so it isn't connected to Christmas the way it is in the US. I gave up Christmas for several years, participated in family stuff but did nothing of my own, after getting divorced. I still don't have the enthusiasm back for it, though it is almost ten years since now. I did quite well 2 years ago, got out the tree and decorated it all. Last year the tree had some lighting problem and I left it there, undecorated all season. This year it is in the garage and I don't know if I will drag it out or not.

    For yourself, I think you should still do Christmas for yourself and hubby at home. Put up the tree and have a Christmas dinner, maybe eat out somewhere this year. (I know there are places open cause I have worked many Christmas days).

    Good luck and good spirits, however you end up doing the holidays.


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