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When did Christmas get to be so hard?

December 4th, 2016 at 09:07 am

I used to love Christmas. Now, the entire burden of everyone's expectations for a joyful holiday fall squarely on my shoulder.

I am santa for the kids. DH is a humbug and a bad planner, so without me, there'd be no cookies, no lights, no tree, no gifts. They still believe in Santa, so sadly they wish for mountains for presents without any concept of "mom and dad have to pay for these..." Hey, that's the magic of Christmas as a child, but boy, I'm hoping maybe next year they'll figure out the truth!

My child-free sister and mom celebrate with us. We have three days of traditions that I love, things we've been doing as a family for 46 years.... but....

-My sister, being child-free and unmarried, is still in the kid mode during Christmas, meaning she likes to wake up on Chrismtas morning with a ton of presents for her like when she was a kid. Her gift list was a mile long. Come on. We're in our 40s. Is there anything we really NEED at this point? (She was mad because I didn't have a list, then finally relented and told her ONE gift she could get me).

And, DH is an only child, ergo, he has no siblings for his parents to visit on the holiday. Just us. With the only two grandchildren. So, his parents are either with us or alone. They didn't really celebrate Christmas per se before I came along. Now they feel 'obligated' to, without any joy, mind you. They're the type who do things because "that's what people are supposed to do" rather than because they want to. They live a sad, joyless existence. And they look to us to give it all meaning. No pressure, right?

Round about September every year, the MIL starts war dialing us at 7 am. every morning, begging for an invitation, and she calls every single day, interrupting getting the kids off to school, until DH finally gives in invites them to come stay with us for Christmas. She's a bully. And it makes my blood boil.

So, they'll be here again for Christmas. Which would be fine if my MIl weren't incredibly critical and unpleasant (no friends, no life, no joy). Her sister told me she only knows how to relate to people in situations wherein she is in power, ergo she's constantly putting me down so she can be on top. Yay.

Long story, but it doesn't make for a pleasant holiday. They come and they sleep in my house. They stay longer than we ask them to. (If we say 3 days, they come for six)

FIl is fine, but MIl complains about all of my family's holiday traditions --so only I can hear-- and makes it all miserable. I'm already dreading christmas because she'll be here.

DH asks me what I want for Christmas, and I'm thinking I want your parents to stay home so I can actually enjoy the holiday. I do all the work. All the shopping. All the cooking. All the housecleaning, wrapping, and coordinating, and none of it is ever good enough for the MIL. She's a dark cloud over all of it.

2 years ago, she insisted I spent $160 on a standing rib roast for the family for Christmas. It was her tradition. So of course I said yes, even though I couldn't really afford it. Then, she complained about the quality of the meat all during Christmas dinner. Meat I spent nearly $200 on.

So, last year, I served a $20 ham. She was livid. I told her I cancelled the roast (I had ordered it, but remembered her complaining), bought a ham, and I donated the extra $100 to the food bank. We get to eat well every day. We don't need a $200 roast for Christmas. It was true. We have so much. With so many kids and families going without in the U.S., I can't stomach complaints about a $200 cut of meat. She was angry about it.

So, she's already called saying she's bringing the roast. It's like she's trying to make this a power play with me. Just like everything else.

I've put up with her slights and criticisms, and bullying and stepping all over me in varying ways for 15 years.

But this year, I fear I will no longer be able to bite my tongue. I fear she'll be getting an earful for Christmas because I no longer will tolerate being criticized, and her constant battle to be on top. I'm afraid I'm going to explode and make Christmas miserable for everyone. HELP!!

30 Responses to “When did Christmas get to be so hard?”

  1. snafu Says:

    Thrift-o, I want you to have a wonderful holiday season. Some changes are needed so that you keep the best experiences and drop the negative, unhappy times that repeat and repeat. Blame it on me, cyber friends at SA, religion, the weather...whatever you like but I hope you can turn this Christmas into a magic, milestone year. A bit of research can be enjoyable and uncover low cost concerts, community sponsored events, outdoor time or even a quiet, AM hour at the mall to enjoy the best decorations and music. These all have potential to off set the hard work that goes into Christmas celebrations for all.

    In some families repetition overtakes spending. Gifts are limited to one item from 'Santa,' one game and one toy from parents, new pjs and one needed item of clothing. In our family the adults 'draw names' and we were expected to 'make' something as our gran insisted if you made even a part, there was love in each step.'

    What can husband and kiddos do together?

    He will need to step up and lay out new protocols for his mom. She will need to leave her negativity at home and offer only positive statements for example. One obvious line of support is outreach to FIL who needs to hear how you feel and who may have some effective coping techniques. I used to teach a course called 'Coping Effectively with Difficult People,' and there are lots of ways to quiet obnoxious, mean spirited bullies once their 'style' is identified.

    Since DKs are still Santa aged, would you like to introduce some other 'traditions,' like working together to make [age appropriate] cookies, and flavoured popcorn as gifts. The concept of sharing can be presented as fun and children over 4 y/o need to be involved in choosing clothes for donation or sell that are in good condition but outgrown and/or rationalization toys they no longer play with and enjoy to 'share' with others who are cold, sad and need a happier holiday. It frees up space for new stuff.

    just some random thought

  2. Bluebird Says:

    Oh my, I really don't know what I would do with a MIL like that. My usual strategy is not to engage in confrontations with people like that because it will not solve anything. They thrive on that, and I won't do it. Can you ignore her comments and just walk away, have a glass of wine or two and focus on how much the kids are enjoying the holiday? My boys are a little older than yours, enjoy it while you can, even though I know it's a ton of work. I do 90% of the Christmas stuff too, so I get it. That was a great idea with the ham. You're the hostess, so you can do, and serve, whatever you'd like! Can DH take the inlaws out for the day so they're out of the house? Wishing you the best, don't let them ruin your holiday, life is too short dear!

  3. Laura Says:

    We should start a closed group on FB where we can support one another. My situation is similar but my kids range from 18-12.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    I'd say the confrontation needs to come now...not on Christmas Day. And your husband needs to be supportive and help the situation by calling his parents. I'm not sure how close you live, but it may not be a bad idea to tell them no for Christmas, and then visit them for two days some other time of year.

    And yes mothers tend to do the bulk of Christmas. I have found in the last three years that having fewer people we buy for, doing less, and planning further ahead has helped lessen my stress at Christmas. I don't send Christmas cards, I shop for as much as I can online, We have six gift recipients, and we decorate and bake in stages (and we chose these because we like to do them).

    As far as Santa...even if the children think Santa can bring everything the reality is he cannot. If they have come to believe that, then it might be because that is what happened in the past. I would reduce the gifts from you and Santa and know it will likely be just fine. It can be a good teaching moment to be grateful for what they do receive even if it is less than expected. I found this article that may help; http://psychcentral.com/lib/managing-childrens-expectations-a-key-to-happy-holidays/

    Hang in there. Put your feet up and enjoy some tea or a glass of wine!

  5. Laura S. Says:

    I too, was wondering the distance. If possible, I would have separate "celebration" with the inlaws. You should be able to relax and enjoy your children at Christmas while they are young. It goes by so fast.

  6. Carol Says:

    It would be great if the in-laws could stay at a motel and just come for the afternoons. It would also be great if your husband would say " lay off my dear T." However, in the real world, what you can control is what you yourself choose to do. So only do what you like. Let the kids make a list a mile long. Put it on the frig and after a few days, ask what one thing do you want most? If it's doable, let it go. If not, say Santa has too many to take care of, that's too big. What one other thing? Get them used to the idea, that you prioritize your desires.Same for your sister.
    There are three other women and two men. Ask for help with meals or better put them each or as couples in charge of a meal..Accept the roast with thanks,and let MIL cook it ( so she's happy with how it comes out. )
    Take time for yourself in your room with your feet up and a good book.
    Good luck.

  7. PatientSaver Says:

    First, I wish you would have written this post before you agreed to have MIL stay with you. Becus I would have tried to talk you out of it. At this point, though, I would encourage you to sweetly accept the pricey roast and not think of it as her rubbing it in. It's just a piece of meat.

    But hey NEXT year, if she can afford to buy a $200 roast for Christmas, she can afford to stay at a local motel near you. Surely, she must feel the tension between you, right? So why would she insist staying where she isn't welcome?

    I guess the die is cast for this year as far as them staying over, but after 2016, I would urge you to set down new ground rules that make it possible for you to enjoy the holiday, eg she stays at a motel.

    And make a one gift rule or something like that to keep things sane. But since your husband and kids have allowed you to orchestrate the whole holiday in years past, it's up to you to tell them specifically and exactly what you want them to do.

    I do remember for many years, my mother, my sister and I continued an orgy of gift giving that was a holdover from when we were little kids and my grandparents spoiled us. I think all the gifts was something we did to make ourselves feel loved. That one day could not really make up for the rest of the year, but we did it just the same, til my sister started saying let's not do this.

    I feel bad you're sounding so stressed out and it's still 3 weeks away. Take a deep breath; maybe a sit-down with family about expectations vs. do-ability is in order. You are not Super Woman. I think it would be healthy for you to communicate your feelings to MIL however you can. Give her that one chance to really speak candidly and get things out in the open between you.

  8. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I definitely think you could easily give up cooking the meat because MIL didn't like the way you cooked it. Instead of passing the duty onto her and requiring a difficult conversation, just pass that responsibility on to your DH. If he doesn't want to do it, he can get MIL to do it. You have enough on your plate. As for them staying in a motel it's possibly too late this year but certainly next year you should be able to ask them to seek alternative accommodation; perhaps bring the subject up this Christmas. You can definitely do a lot less. In the bigger picture, Christmas is only about the kids anyway. All that matters is what they think of Christmas, not the nasty MIL. Don't waste your time trying to impress someone who clearly has it in for you. Life's too short.

  9. CB in the City Says:

    I had an MIL who was a bit of a bully, too (not as bad as yours, though!) I had two strategies to deal with her. Maybe they will help. I learned to "agree" with her, as in "Yes, that's a good idea, but I'm going to do it this way." Firmly and kindly. No argument. Then DO IT YOUR WAY. The other one was not to answer her criticisms -- just let them hang in the air and completely ignore them. (You can do it -- outwardly, at first, but you'll get the hang of really ignoring them.) It's amazing how powerful this is. It seems it's no fun to criticize if you can't get a rise out of the target.

  10. ThriftoRama Says:

    Thanks for being so supportive and listening to me guys. To answer a few of your questions:

    -They live 1,000 miles away.

    -We've tried offering them an alternative to Christmas day proper, but no, as I said they have no concept of "we could do 'our' Christmas together after actual Christmas day." We tried that once, and it was a disaster. They just can't think creatively that way.

    -I said No to them coming, but my DH has no spine. He and his dad bow to whatever his mother wants. They always have. It will never change. I'm expected to just put up with it lest I hurt her feelings. Ergo, why they invade our house instead of staying at a hotel. Guilt. He caves. I'm stuck. Then, they make me feel like I'm a bad person.

    -DH also does not believe his mother is mean to me. He thinks I'm imagining with it. Oh boy did we have a fight about that! She's not dumb. She lets the worst go when it's just the two of us, knowing it'll be my word against hers. But, MY MIL's own sister called her out for it, so I know I'm not imagining.

    -I have gone through all the stages. I tried directly addressing her concerns even when she was clearly overstepping her boundaries and was trying to run my life like it was hers (I was young. Big mistake, I know now.). Then, I moved to phase two: ignoring her criticisms, and not responding. That has made her more aggressive toward me.

    In phase three, I've removed myself from her as much as I can. When she comes to town, I try to go out on my own and leave her at home with DH, since, ostensibly she came to see him (They don't sight see or do anything when they're with us. They just SIT in the house all day. Ugh.). When DH takes the kids to their house to visit for a weekend, I stay home.

    All of this has made her more aggressive toward me when I do see her. the FIl thinks it's my fault. They have told Dh that I am "Notoriously difficult" to get along with. Hah!

    The last time we were in person we were on a trip to Arizona, that of course was her grand idea for a family adventure and DH caved even though we didn't want to go...long story.

    Anyway, we were camping with the MILS' sister and children, DH's cousins, and frankly, all of those people are lovely and fun and it was a great time. But, I guess she had bad mouthed me to them before I arrived, and then did her best to loudly put me down in front of them once it was clear they liked me and we were all getting along.

    At one point, she wanted a ride to her hotel, I offered to drive her, and she accused me of being drunk and trying to drive her drunk, and I should feel terrible because 'mothers shouldn't drink' and I clearly had an alcohol problem. Okay. I had one beer that day. At lunch. 8 hours before she asked for a ride. Sorry, but one beer with food isn't enough to make me drunk for 8 hours!!

    Sadly, she convinced someone who was ACTUALLY buzzed and who'd been drinking all day to drive her, just to make her point.

    After that incident, MIL's sister pulled me aside and apologized and said she was sorry she was my MIL, and she's just like their dad, who has no people skills, and anyone or anything she doesn't understand makes her angry. She also reminded me that my MIL has no friends and never has, because the only way she knows how to relate to people is when she's in power and they bend. Those words made everything that happened between us make sense.

    She has no friends. She needed me in her life more than I needed her. Which, you know, I didn't want this. I wanted a MIL I liked and could be friends with. But she's never been that. She's been a busy body woman who tries to insert herself in my life as an expert so that she can feel valued. Also fine, except it's come out as she's stepping in to RUN my life because I don't know better, she does.

    She doesn't know what to do with me because I won't play her game. She will never have power over me in the way she wants. Never. I'm not made like that. And she's losing her marbles over it.

  11. debt-free by thir-ty Says:

    My goodness, your story makes me all the more grateful for my own mother-in-law. I sometimes which we were closer, but as it stands, we have a perfectly cordial relationship, and she's very generous and kind towards me.

    I'd offload more of the responsibility to DH. Maybe have him run interference or at the very least, be present in those situations where she and you have to interact.

    Good luck with everything, and I hope you manage to find some joy and happiness in the holidays.

  12. elitaylor646 Says:

    The joys of in-laws. I have experienced this both with my own and my mother's. It wasn't until my grandma "got old" and lost her filter to wait until everyone was out of earshot that they realized that my mom wasn't lying about all the things she had said and done to her.

    Random thought: if FIL isn't so bad, maybe take him out and about with you. You could get to know him without her, and he you. Then maybe he could slowly turn MIL's thoughts to "well, sure, she's not great, but hey, she's not bad."

    Keep your chin up! It will be over soon! Just look at how this year is flying.

  13. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I am so sorry that your christmas doesn't sound joyful. Trust me mine isn't a picnic either.

  14. Butterscotch Says:

    I think you should book a trip for net Christmas for you, DH and the kids. Something MIL can't get in on. When my mom got sick of hosting everyone for the holidays she started book cruises that went over the holiday. But she wouldn't mention it until close to the holiday and by then it was too late for anyone else to get in on it. Book a cruise! We didn't even go on fancy high end cruises, just cheap rooms on a boat that would be away over the holiday. It made my mother so happy to get those breaks and actually enjoy the holiday.

  15. ThriftoRama Says:

    Butterscotch. I kind of tried that last Christmas. I can't miss Christmas eve or actual Christmas because we have traditions that mean a lot to my mother, and I don't want to mess with that because she's 70 and life is short.

    So, DH and I left for New Orleans on Dec. 26th, thinking, well this is a clear deadline for the in-laws. They know they have to leave then. We have plans. OMG. It was a nightmare.

    For the entire month of December, the MIL called us every day "worried" about our trip and telling us we needed to cancel it. What if there's snow? What if the in-laws can't leave on the 26th before us, etc.? Any excuse. I told her we weren't worried, and if there was a storm and they couldn't go home, they could stay at our house without us until it cleared up as long as they fed the cat and locked the door when they left.

    None of this was good enough. of course, the weather was fine, and she didn't quite even when it was clear the weather was fine. So this too was about something else, like control, and her expectations of what We SHOULD do over holidays.

    I think maybe the undercurrent of all of our years of conflict is that they live their lives very differently than us. They are all about appearances. Being perceived as classy. Doing "what everyone else does" or following imaginary sets of social rules about this or that.

    Dh and I are very make our own rules. We don't do things because we're 'supposed to'. We do things because they make us happy, or they are the right thing, or they are fun. We don't play by social rules and we could give a crap about acting like we are a certain social class.

    We're a mystery to them!

  16. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Wow. I'm sorry you're having to deal with all that.

  17. MonkeyMama Says:

    I have the same MIL. Ugh! It's complicated. She shows up uninvited every year for Christmas. My husband *does* have a spine, but she just doesn't give a flip. I think Carol said it best. Christmas week is the busiest work week for me all year and so if she INSISTS on showing up, whatever, but I wouldn't lift a finger for such a rude, uninvited guest. We don't change anything for her.

    I think if you want to do all the Christmas stuff and it makes you happy, then you just have to own it. If not, let some of it go.

  18. ThriftoRama Says:

    MM. Word!

    The difference I think is my MIL comes and STAYS with us. Gar. There is no breezing in and out. It's "I'm going to sit on your sofa, I expect you to entertain me and give me all your attention because I traveled all this way, and I'm going to loudly and obviously huff when you do something I don't like."

    There's no way to avoid her, there's no way to shoo her out after a few hours. It's hell!!!

    And sorry to unload about my MIL. I feel like a ranting crazy person!

  19. LuckyRobin Says:

    I'm so sorry you have to go through this. My FIL is great, my MIL is generally decent and kind but does have moments, but my SIL is a piece of work. I see a couple of options.

    #1 Record her. When she starts in on her criticisms, record her. Play it for your husband at the end of each day. If you don't have the type of phone that you can record on, they still sell simple voice activated recorders.

    #2 Tell your husband that he can either have a happy wife or a happy mother for Christmas. If he chooses a happy mother, you're going to do what is best for you and go spend the holidays with your own mother. Then do so. Take the kids. Leave him with his parents for the holidays and let him listen to her complain the entire time about you. Of course tell him he is welcome to come see you at any time, sans parents. And he is welcome to come and get the kids for a brief visit with his parents as long as it doesn't interfere with any of the traditions you and the kids love. You've tried to get him to back you and he doesn't so it's time for tough love. When you take your wedding vows, a spouse agrees to forsake all others, and that includes Mama. And while that doesn't mean cut them out of your lives, it does mean wife and kids come first. I don't know if you are Christian or not, but if you are there are even verses that talk about it. A man shall leave his father and mother and cling unto his wife, being a primary one. That means you put your spouse first. Or not living with your in-laws or parents because it can divide your loyalty to your spouse. Go to a hotel in-laws.

    #3 Come down with something contagious and be put under medical quarantine. Sorry in-laws, you can't come. It's against the CDC's mandate. Shingles, whooping cough, or meningitis would do nicely.

    #4 Next year when they calling starts, if you are the one to answer the phone, say, "No, not this year. Good-bye." If your husband won't back you up again, then I'd say it is time for counseling. No one deserves to be torn down and not supported for Christmas every Christmas.

    #5 Insist you have Christmas at their house next year and be the exact kind of house guest your MIL is. Don't lift a finger to help, complain about the food, complain about her lack of traditions, complain that she doesn't have anything to entertain you, plop in the middle of the sofa, follow her around and be a constant presence. Give her a taste of her own medicine. If she complains, say, "Oh, I thought this was how you liked to spend Christmas! It's what you do every year at my house." Okay, maybe that's one step too far, but it is nice to imagine it, isn't it?

  20. ThriftoRama Says:

    Lucky Robin just gave me a good laugh.

  21. creditcardfree Says:

    Those are great suggestions LR, and the first two are really good ones!!

  22. Petunia in a Flower Garden Says:

    Lol LuckyRobin! Thrift, you could ease her in with #3, then work your way around to some of the others.

    I feel ya, Thrift. I also find this season to be a ton of work for me, with very little reciprocation. I have a family member who has basically been a butt every Christmas for most of the last 20 years. I dread the holidays, but I am stuck. Over time I have learned to do the absolute minimum with this family member. If I want to enjoy at least some part of the holidays I side step inviting them to different events and then go enjoy them with other people.

    To add to LuckyRobin's list, for every inappropriate comment - "Could you repeat that? I'd like to write it down." Said pleasantly and kindly, paper & pen in hand, could cause her to take a step back, so to speak.

  23. LuckyRobin Says:

    I came up with another one. The neighbors are under quarantine for ebola virus. They've told us not to bring house guests into the neighborhood until their quarantine is lifted mid-January, just to be on the safe side.

    Honestly, dealing with so much crap right now, I need the levity. I hope it does work out some way for you so that you aren't tearing your hair out all holiday long.

  24. ThriftoRama Says:

    It's been eating away at me. Making me crabby with the kids and not enjoying even the lead up to their visit. I have to find a way to let it go. I can't change her.

  25. laura Says:

    This has been on my mind as well. My mother-in-law is very judgmental and negative and self-righteous; all those traits rub me the very, very wrong way. It would be so much easier if my husband wasn't an only child and I could "share" my inlaws with other relatives. I also have my own mother who is afraid she will miss something and likes to stay way too long. I changed everything up this year; I'm hosting an open house and I put an invite out on FB for everyone to read - that if they don't have a family or friends or a place to celebrate, they are welcome to come to my house. No sit-down dinner this year with the Christmas china and Lenox tablecloth - think lots of crock-pots and a buffet and Christmas-themed Chinette products. We'll spend Christmas morning as our nuclear family (we do Mass on Eve) and after that its going to be low-key, Xbox games and eating with all welcome. I heard that my MIL was surprised by this, but husband stopped at adding anything perceived as critical. Smart on him. A new outlook and taking back the power to bring joy was liberating. (I did have a slight diversion and descent into the negative with an issue with my SIL, but I decided to let it all go). Merry Christmas to all the SA family. Smile

  26. ThriftoRama Says:

    Laura, that sounds like a wonderful Christmas!

    We do something similar for Thanksgiving. Our friends come, and they bring their parents and we all have a really good time.

  27. ThriftoRama Says:

    Looks like I'm getting some silver lining. My novel is a finalist in two contests hosted by the Romance Writers of America. Nice news right before the MIL arrives!!

  28. Petert0204 Says:

    Have a wonderful holiday, buddy. And yes, you can figure it out. When it’s Christmas, nobody should be unhappy!.

  29. Buendia Says:

    I don't have any suggestions, but I wanted to commiserate! My MIL is great, but my SIL... I can't even describe her (although she is a lot like your MIL). She is threatening to come visit this summer or next fall, so I am reading everyone's suggestions with interest! Good luck, and we'll all be thinking about you! Hang in there, and you can always get online, put up a post and get some support when you need it!!

  30. livingalmostlarge Says:

    I just posted this. My DH hates me bad mouthing his parents but honestly they are the most dishonest terrible people ever.I do not exaggerate but tell the truth.

    So I might as well post it here because I can't throw my hands up anymore. My DH's uncle died in July. He died without kids or wives or heirs. No will appeared. My FIL thought he would be named executor but the court said no one not an American Citizen. That was October so DH agreed to be executor. I argued against it but he insisted. I said don't do it and was pissed.

    So DH was just named the interim executor. He won't be named until January 11th at a court hearing. But in the interim as of last week he managed to get documents allowing him to talking to mortgage/bank, insurance and leasing company.

    So the leasing company tells DH that the leased car payments have lapsed since August. They say that it'll be repossed or can be assigned to someone else if they take over payments. The lawyer at the meeting in August told my FIL to return the car in August. But he refused because he was so cheap he said "i am going to use the car rather than pay for one when I come to stay and clean the house." Of course no one gainsayed him because he was supposed to be the executor.

    So until now nothing has been done or cleaned. My FIL stayed for a month and rode his bike and vacationed. My in-laws have now been down since December 4th enjoying the house and using the car and vacationing but not cleaning the house. DH finally went to see the house and nothing has been done.

    Basically I told him that he's an idiot. I told him this would happen. His parents always try to take advantage of everyone including us. And apparently the plan has alway been to leech/mooch off the estate and live there for 1 year. Sigh.

    I guess the moral of the story is that people who are selfish, narcissitic, moochers will never change. That how much money you have means nothing when you are so cheap and miserly that you make my DH pay for his own birthday dinner out. Yes he flew down the day after his birthday December 11th and paid for dinner out with them and his brother. Yes in July after his uncle died and he saw his parents the day after our DK2 birthday they didn't bother acknowledging DK2 birthday. Why am I surprised? They came to DK2 1st birthday and didn't bring her a gift. Oh no gifts are needed but most social protocol would say even if not family you might take a token gift to a child if you were invited and showed up to a birthday party.

    But maybe I'm crazy. I just had to get this off my chest this holiday season. If you had any ideas I'm open to listening. My in-laws also for the first time in 15 years we've been together gave my DH a birthday present and my kids first time in 7 years a christmas gift. Did I tell the story how last year we visited them the day after christmas and they my kids into the store to buy a "christmas" present on Boxing day. And my DK1 picked out a $20 gift and they said it was too expensive so to put it back? I ended up buying it because I was appalled. And no these cheapos are not broke or poor.

    Trust me I've gotten so sick and tired of being abused that I've started to take the kids and leave their house when we visit and DH has a choice of coming or staying. He's come but I'm just as happy to leave him behind.

    I wonder how deep are we getting into this craziness? I knew he should never have agreed to be executor and we fought a lot over it. But it's too late now.

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