MIL ruins Christmas again...and has set the stage for a terrible Christmas in 2020 as well.
My MIL (and the rest of DH’s family) manage to turn me into a Scrooge every year for Christmas.
Up until this year, DH had to split Christmas with BM, meaning he didn’t have his kids until 10am on Christmas Day.
In 2016, MIL insisted on having her family Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve (when DH’s kids weren’t around). Then told us we needed to drive down to BIL’s house on Christmas Day, so they could all see the kids. When we got there, BIL’s wife was annoyed to see us and after letting us stay briefly shuttled us out the door when her guests arrived. MIL then claimed she just misunderstood and BIL's wife thought that Christmas Eve was our family Christmas celebration. Despite all the misunderstandings, MIL insisted upon arranging an awkward gift exchange, where I didn't receive any gift because the person assigned to me (BIL's MIL) either forgot or didn't know they had me. I should also mention that this person had only briefly met me once, so maybe she just didn't get anything for me, because I'm basically a stranger to her.
In 2017, MIL wanted us to bring the kids to her house after picking them up, instead of ours, because she wanted them to have breakfast with her. Fortunately, I convinced DH to say no, mostly because SSs need to know that DH is their parent, not MIL, but also from a logistical perspective it was good that I said no, because then MIL wasn’t even ready to do anything until noon. We then went back to BIL’s for an awkward Christmas where as part of MIL’s newly revamped gift exchange, we didn't pick names, but rather everyone was supposed to bring a gift. Only half of the people actually brought gifts and then SIL told her father which one to pick, so he would get her gift, so DH and I just ended up taking our own gifts home with one another. This white elephant gift exchange was completed with all the enthusiasm of an awkward, forced, office Christmas party.
In 2018, we were supposed to host Christmas, but again, MIL made plans without us and expected us to also celebrate Christmas Eve (again without DH’s kids) with BIL’s in-laws (yes, my in-laws, in-laws, because dealing with your own in laws is not enough). When I suggested that maybe SIL’s family wanted to have their own celebration, MIL got upset with me and then got upset that DH and I didn’t go to Christmas Eve. Then BIL’s MIL didn’t come to our house because she was offended that we didn’t come to her house the night before. Because it was at my house, I included a note saying that there would be no adult gift exchange.
This year, DH finally revised his agreement with BM - through a legally binding mediation - so he could alternate holidays - meaning that he won’t have his kids at all on Christmas (and we can finally see my family!!), but will have them next year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He has been pushing for this since his divorce. BM agreed to this because she wanted more money and then immediately after the mediation told DH that she never intended to follow it anyway. DH told MIL and BIL about the agreement and asked them to support him in holding the line with BM. When MIL made some comments about Christmas he again reiterated that he would like her to stay out of it and not plan with his BM, who regularly uses MIL and BIL to try to force DH to do things that he has told her that he won't. Just last week, DH gets a long email from BM about how she’s planning with MIL for the kids to spend Christmas Day with her (because really she’s angling to demand the kids on Christmas Eve next year and also she couldn’t resist telling DH that MIL was going behind his back). DH texts MIL asking her to explain the email - she says “yes, I reached out. You’re going to be away, so I figured it wouldn’t matter.” Then he talks to MIL on the phone and at first she denies asking for the kids on Christmas Day, then later she kind of admits to it, but glosses over it. She also tells DH that he won't have to worry about next year, because he has an agreement with BM, so he will still be able to have SSs on Christmas Eve...why thanks for that observation MIL, will you be reminding BM that she (and her lawyer) signed a binding agreement stating that she and DH alternate Christmas holidays? Will you be the one telling SSs that they are now alternating Christmases, since they have already started crying to DH about "why are you trying to keep us from mom's family at Christmas next year?!" Yes, that's right, folks, BM has already started talking to SSs about Christmas Eve 2020. She has already threatened DH that she will make sure that SSs resent him for alternating Christmases. In her email to DH, she told him that she was planning with MIL for her to see SSs on Christmas Day in 2019, 2021, and 2023. When SS found out that DH and I were going to see my family for Christmas he wanted to come with us, so really, not sure he's really all that sad about missing time with BM's family.
Mind you, we had already planned to have a family Christmas with her, BIL and family, and DH’s kids on December 22nd, but apparently that is not enough!!! You would think these people were all religious meaning the actual day of Christmas was important to them, but no, they are not. I think BIL and his wife are atheists. Also, if MIL is still going to see SSs on Christmas Day, why do I have to spend December 22nd celebrating Christmas with her?! Can't I alternate Christmases rather than allowing her lack of boundaries and judgment over what constitutes an "acceptable Christmas" to dampen my Christmas spirit, yet again.
Yesterday, MIL sends out a group email to us, BIL and wife, SIL, BIL's in-laws (including wife's parents and brother and his wife) about the Christmas Gift Exchange. She tells everyone on the list that DH and I will be out of town, so we won't be participating, but wants to know what everyone else would like to do. Why couldn't we do a gift exchange on the 22nd, since MIL has said that will be our family Christmas?!! Just because BIL's in-laws won't be able to participate? I don't see her reaching out to my mom asking her if she wants to take part, so why do we have to include SIL's mom? To make matters worse, MIL is having surgery on December 19th and she told DH that she won't even be going to BIL's for Christmas, so why is she even trying to arrange a gift exchange that no one wants to participate in?! No one has replied and no one will reply. MIL regularly sends messages to which no one replies. I can't tell if she's just looking for attention, but really, if you repeatedly hear crickets in response to your inquiries, wouldn't you stop? She periodically will reach out to yell at DH about not replying (once she sent him a text saying, "didn't you see my emails?! Am I on your sh$t list?!" DH just replied, "No", because in all honestly, he had not seen her emails), even though his brother and sister don't reply, either. Since DH is divorced and has "brought shame upon the family" (according to MIL), she can pick on him apparently.
I now understand why there are so many movies about people dreading holidays with their families because I dread Christmas with DH’s family. In addition to MIL, BIL is a total snake, BIL’s wife has spoken to me once in 5 years (MIL says she’s just a “bad communicator”), and DH’s sister is nearly 40, but gets treated like a pampered princess. In 2016, I had purchased Christmas Day evening movie tickets for me, DH, and his kids. MIL got mad at DH for not buying a ticket for his sister, so he gave up his ticket and I took his sister and his kids to the movies, while he pretended to be too tired to go (really, he just didn’t want to hear about it from MIL).