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November 14, 2012


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Smalltown Me

I had to deal with the "I will never make my kid feel guilty" this year when my younger son asked if he could visit a friend in New York. So of course I said yes, even though it's that horrible flying period into JFK of all places. He says he can deal with it. OK. If he can, I can, although his dad is escorting him to the airport instead of me. Having to get to LAX at 4 am would turn me into a quivering jellyfish.

We're going out to eat instead. Our holidays will be forever lacking our beloved life-of-the-party nephew, so doing something different helps.


I have always encouraged my kids to spend the Holidays any way they want. Our traditions have flowed from there, I haven't always been pleased but I always went along. I am the mother of sons. I learned long ago to be cheerful and stupid when it comes to Holiday decisions, that way I get along very well with my daughters-in-law.

gary rith

I know, its such a loaded question when as an adult, neighbors ask: are you going home for the holidays? Its like "well, I AM HOME" and I do not mention that I have the most UNclose relationship with my family as possible, and we had moved every year when I was a kid...so I never felt that anywhere except where I am with my wife is home. Plus the wife's sisters can come here. Anyway, as usual, Jen, you are a beloved mother as usual because you are not pushy or judegemental with your kids, just balanced and understanding :)


You're so smart. I'm going to need you to remind me of all these lessons when my son is older.

Jen on the Edge

I hope like hell I am adult enough to never put guilt trips on my kids when they're adults. After the lifetime of holiday crap I've put up with with my family, I'm pretty sure I can manage not to pass it on to the next generation.


When living with my ex, I suffered from the holiday guilts every year. He couldn't see himself spending X-mas anywhere else than with Grandma... I wanted to spend the odd holiday with my Mom and siblings or Dad and -B-, but that wasn't to be until I became single again 4 years ago.
Guilt-trips I've had enough of and I'll bend over backwards in trying to not put one on anyone else!


When my kids were growing up, I seldom had them on holidays, so I was often the Extra Guest at this or that family table. I've made a holiday dinner whenever and for whomever I had at home, now and then--and many years my mom and I would get two crabs to eat, then have coffee and pie. I'm happy enough either way--no guilt trips, no ironclad holiday timetables. The kids also chose to have Santa come before they left for Christmas break with Dad.

Cassi Renee

I'm all for no-guilt!

I do feel somewhat guilty, because we stay "home" for Thanksgiving and Christmas. At thanksgiving, we all just need those few days to relax and get enough energy to finish out the semester. Plus, thanksgiving has become a friend, rather than family, holiday for us. Our family is far away, while we can have thanksgiving dinner with friends and still sleep in our own beds that night.


As someone who is looking forward to clearing the air with my demanding future mother-in-law (AHEM!), I love that you go with the flow. My own parents have always encouraged me to do what I'd like, which means I spent more than a few Thanksgivings with friends overseas or across the country.

Aunt Snow

What a lovely time you will have. It's great to have a big gathering.

We are just spending it with the 2 of us. Our son is in London, and we'll see him there for Christmas. Family are all in distant cities. We'll have a relaxing time.


We don't have big, extended families to deal with. But we do have a MIL that is very concerned with other's perception of her and how her kids/grandkids compare to her friends. You know, everyone else gets together with family on holidays so we must, too. However, she won't just come out and directly invite us to their house. (Them coming to our house is apparently not an option). We have to play the "what are you doing for the holidays?" game -- fishing to see if we already have plans with my family. There are other mini-games that go along with this so it makes for a fun November/December.

So fun.

Green Girl in Wisconsin

You are good to make them welcome but not to demand their presence. There's a HUGE difference!

Karen (formerly kcinnova)

Smart of you to nudge MVP in that direction, even though I know you would love to have him at home. When we we lived in VA and our oldest was on the west coast for school, we didn't fly him home except at Christmas. I understand DB not coming home.
When my mom was alive (and we all lived in the same state) we alternated Christmas with my husband's family and my family. Whenever it was dh's parents' "turn" we still visited my mom a few days before we left and had an early Christmas. Now it is mostly his family that is around, but times have changed... kids grow up, parents grow older and become great-grandparents.
I've told the lovebirds they are welcome any time and I know they need to spend time with her family, too.
Perhaps it is different, sons vs. daughters?

Little Miss Sunshine State

I also vowed to never make my kids feel guilty about where they spend a holiday.
A. will be with her boyfriend. He isn't going home to Alabama but some University colleagues invited them to dinner.
T. is here for the first time in 6 years!
Instead of dinner for 3, we might spend the day at Disney.

Holidays should not involve any stress or mind games. Life is too short.

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