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Disengaging…and the holidays

Bamb's picture

For those of you who have disengaged, how do you handle holidays? Do you still celebrate with them but keep a distance or do you skip any festivities involving them? My adult SD usually just makes an appearance to gather her gifts on Xmas but we no longer wait for her to Grace us with her presence since we have young kids too. I have recently disengaged even further from her and from arranging any events. How does it work in your family?

tog redux's picture

We usually don't see SS21 at all, or if we do, it's after Christmas. I leave it up to DH and what he wants to do. He doesn't get SS a lot of gifts and doesn't really care to see much more of him than I do. Thankfully SS isn't greedy about gifts and doesn't invite himself over. BUT, there is a history of alienation in our situation, so they have a superficial relationship. And SS isn't vaccinated last I knew, so this year we likely won't see him at all. 


Kes's picture

I live in the UK so we only have Xmas, not Thanksgiving as well, fortunately. Last year the UK was in lockdown at Xmas and all we were allowed to do was meet up with limited immediate family on Xmas Day.  So the SDs came here in the morning and stayed for a few hours, then left to have Xmas dinner with NPD BM.  It worked quite well, and they asked to do the same again this year, which suits me fine!  I can put up with them for 2/3 hours.  

Bamb's picture

So when you do spend time with them, do you engage? Or do you keep yourself busy with other things while they visit? 

Kes's picture

Yes I do engage for the short time they are with us - it only now happens once or twice a year so I think going off and doing my own thing wouldn't be appropriate. 

CajunMom's picture

DHs kids have not been welcome here, going on 4 years. 12 years of StepHell was enough.  An event in 2018 sent me "over the cliff" and I am completely separated from DHs kids. He sees them outside of our home, including holidays. Which is rare because all but one of his kids lives across the country. And the local one rarely even calls his dad, so there's that.

While I am in a better place and am considering letting the local one visit here, it will be civil and superficial. If I'm even here when he arrives, he will get a "hello" and I'm out to my studio or to meet friends. Holidays are completely out of the question for a LONG time. Christmas is my favorite holiday (its about the only time I get both of my kids home) and DH's kids ruined that for me/my family for a long time. 

The sad part about this is, with some better parenting, we would not be in this position. So, I have zero guilt. I tried for 12 years, only to be "kicked" at every opportunity and I'm done. I told DH we'd end up here if he didn't change his ways. Well, he didn't so here we are. And I'm not the one suffering anymore. He and his kids get to live with what they created. Complete separation.

Bamb's picture

That actually sounds wonderful. We have always revolved our holidays around her and of course, everyone else takes priory to us. So we would sit and wait for hours with the little kids begging to open gifts. We decided last year not to wait for her anymore but what I struggle with is, by the time she arrives, I am ready to nap/chill/whatever but now I have to sit and watch her greedy ass open gifts. I would prefer not to have my holiday tainted at all by her. Every single year we have fought over his daughter and it almost ruins every holiday. I wish I never had to see her. 

CajunMom's picture

DHs kids were famous for being LATE and not by just a few minutes. It was hours sometimes.  But NEVER for Christmas. That was the cash/gift grab holiday and they weren't going to miss out on that plus a delicious meal prepared by me. To combat lateness on other times during the year, I started being very specific with times. We eat at X. We leave at X. If you can't be here, meet us at the venue. So, by putting some specific times and clearning saying we aren't waiting, it helped alot. Only one time did they have to re-heat food because they were late. 

So, I'd do just that. Get your DH to relay the schedule. We eat at X, we open gifts at X. If she's a no-show or late, then when she gets there, I'd let DH sit with her to open gifts and I'd have some excuse, or the truth..."I'm tired from the day's work, so I'm going take a nap and let your and your dad enjoy some time together." I would not let her or anyone disrupt my day when the person well knows the schedule. 

Bamb's picture

I love this idea. Last Xmas, I was resentful because just as I wanted to lie down and take a short nap, of course here comes SD to collect her gifts ! So I sat and watched with resentment inside. I think next time I'll just leave them to themselves. 

Ashleytenorio17's picture

I'm exactly where you are ! Today was ruined by BM almost every holiday is ruined by either BM or SD which results in DH and I have a huge blow up fight 

JRI's picture

I commented on your other post anout how we handle gifts.  Like you, I have the super greedy SD60.  I could give you sickening examples of her holiday gift grab but you get the picture.  Basically, we give each of our 5 kids the same amount in cash.

As far as holiday events, we have tried a number of things.  For years, I hosted Christmas with all the decorating, food prep, gift buying, etc, all the while working a demanding full time job and going to night school.  At some point, I realized it was too much so slowly cut back til BD took over for a few years.  She would host everybody, we would go and I'd get thru it ok.  At some point, it got too much for her, too.  I know I must sound like I pick on SD60 but she always showed up late, caused some kind of strife while she was there, always managed to get into BD's medicine cabinet and packed up as many leftovers as she could carry.

SD60 hosted Christmas one year.  We always gave the host food $ and gave her some, too.  I won't say she served bologna sandwiches but she economized.  After one year, she must have realized how much work it was.

Since then, there have been various arrangements.  One year, I must have gone crazy because I felt sorry for SD60 because none of her kids were seeing her at Christmas.  So, I hosted "UnChristmas" for her and her kids, meaning no gift exchange (because SD had no $) and unconventional food, pizza. They showed up (probably to get our $ envelopes) but whatever, she saw her kids at Christmas. 

Last year was heaven because we had an excuse to stay home, I'm hoping for the same this year.  The other 2 kids who are in town are introverts, like me, and also prefer to avoid any gathering that includes her.  The other 2 are out of town.

I certainly understand where you are coming from.  I'd go ahead with whatever you plan for the younger kids.  Whenever she shows up, say "Merry Christmas" and hand her your envelope.  Done.  Listen to some chit chat but I'm sure with younger kids, you will have some cleanup to do then zone out and drink some wine.  Good luck!

ESMOD's picture

With adult skids... you just pretty much leave it up to their parent to coordinate any visits etc...   Depending upon the relative animosity.. your partner should have a fairly good idea whether the parties would be up for dinners together.. or to just see the child outside of the home without their partner.

I mean, if you and your DH typically host the extended family in your home... it's probably difficult to not extend an invite to the adult skid but you don't have to go out of your way to entertain them at the event... just be cordial like they are just an office coworker or whatever.. not your relative. If the reason for the estrangement is the adult has been violent or is prone to scenes.. well.. you have to work that out with your spouse... 

But the short answer is you don't have to do anything.. no gifting.. no scheduling meetings etc.. BUT.. your partner and you should have a good idea of both your schedules so he doesn't overwrite something you have planned in errror.