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In-Laws V. Out-Laws


Several years ago, after holiday festivities had stretched into week after exhausting week once we’d celebrated with both sides of our families, The Daver and I looked at each other all blearily and spent and made an executive decision: we were going to start combining our familial celebrations.

The way we saw it, ANYTHING was better than having to celebrate 14 Christmas’s (each sect expecting us to be pissing cheerful rainbows and sunshine) stretched out over the course of several months weeks.

As it turns out, we were horribly mistaken. The only thing worse than celebrating Thanksgiving 57 times, choking down approximately 408 pounds of dry turkey and greasy stuffing, was doing it just once. All together.

Now, my in-laws have never been overly fond of me, be it because I am loud and obnoxious, rude and horny, or just because I don’t care one way or another about my socks matching; I don’t pretend to understand the whys about the whole shebang (mayhap showing up to their home the first time I met them wearing a patent leather corset was a bad fashion choice. Who knew?).

And my own parents have (I believe) rewritten history so that they actually birthed The Daver and not me, so great is their love for the guy (hey, at least we agree on one thing, right?). My dad often references the shrine they’ve built to The Daver in their home, where they pay tribute and light candles under a framed picture of Dave for marrying their daughter and taking her out of their care, and just because I’ve never actually seen this shrine with my own two eyes does not mean that it’s not there. I’m pretty sure it is.

So it appears that the only common ground that we all have is our love for The Daver.

Unfortunately, this does not translate well into comfortable family gatherings. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year were so excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable that all I wanted to do was to go and hide in my closet with a bottle or three until it was all over.

Thank the stars in Heaven that the major holidays are over for a year, but the minor ones are starting.

Like Easter.

Which both sets want to celebrate on the same day (but not Easter proper).

And we’re at an impasse: do we try (in vain, it seems) to get our families together yet again, thereby ensuring another day filled with discomfort and awkwardness, or do we split it up somehow?

(My love for the holidays, including Easter, nearly rivals my love for Diet Coke, and the fact that they have been reduced to misery really upsets me. I can get over the fact that my in-laws would prefer I was someone else, but I can’t get over that ruining my holiday. My priorities are skewed, I know, but I have no sure fire way of making them like me.)

Shit, I guess we could just change the focus of the holidays entirely to Let’s Pamper Daver And Profess Our Undying Love For Him Days, and maybe we could unite under that guise. I’m sure Dave would like that.

So here’s where I turn to you, Dear Internet, who never leads me astray…whose beauty is unrivaled, and wit unmatched. Those pants look great on you, by the way, have you lost weight? You look amazing today. Seriously hot.

If you were Aunt Becky and The Daver, how would you handle this? Or, if you have nothing substantial to add, tell me an in-law story or three.

29 Comments to

“In-Laws V. Out-Laws”

  1. On February 20th, 2008 at 1:07 pm Tony Says:

    My wife’s family drives me nuts. They are about as stiff and un-fun as you can possibly get. My family, on the other hand, becomes a drunken, riotus (sp?) mob any chance they get. Getting these two together happened exactly *once* at our wedding, and shall *never* happen again.

    We alternate holidays – Thanksgiving and christmas alternate between the two groups every year.

    and one more thing: if they come to my house, its on them to pretend they like me. Its my house damn it. if they dont like it, well…they can have the holidays at their place next year.

  2. On February 20th, 2008 at 1:39 pm Chris Says:

    As I have a rather large family and we have a lot of in fighting (and Bones’s parents are divorced and happily remarried, which leads to a lot of competition about WHO IS MORE HAPPILY REMARRIED), I have found only one solution to this, which you may not like:

    Upon entering my house, each guest is given a glass of very good wine or very good beer. Then they are assigned a small task. “Can you check the lasagna? Would you look for something? Can you help bring up chairs?” By the time they’re done with this task, they are–um, what’s the word? Lubricated?–and ready to party.

    The other one that works well is–and this is so lame, but so worthwhile–to get a game like “password” and bust it out. They get involved and forget that they’re fighting.

  3. On February 20th, 2008 at 2:02 pm Joann Says:

    I know how you feel. What we use to do is have brunch @ my in-laws & then dinner with my parents. We were doing that way for about
    8 years @ first, then we had our last son & after he was born we had all the Holidays @ our house. ( do to my son’s illness). and it has been that way sense.
    Weel GOOD LUCK….

  4. On February 20th, 2008 at 2:11 pm Pauline Says:

    Here’s what we did: We told everyone that we were celebrating X Holiday at our house this year. If they wanted to come, they are more than welcome. If not, not. That way, you’ve invited everyone and you just put the ball in their court.

  5. On February 20th, 2008 at 2:12 pm Kristen Says:

    Gawrsh. We have similar issues, each of us has divorced parents so there are a lot of people to make happy.
    My idea is to have an open house at your home and give each side of the family staggering times. If they want to show up fine, if not, let them do as they like. I would suggest having an end time of around 6 pm so that you have your evening for a real party with friends and fun people or just you and your crew and actually enjoy yourself. Maybe you can even pull that ole corset out of retirement!

  6. On February 20th, 2008 at 2:19 pm TheRamblingHousewife Says:

    This makes me crazy! Every year we promise that we will NEVER celebrate 15 Christmases again, and every year we do . . .

    Until this past year . . .We decided if we were going to piss somebody off, we might as well piss everybody off!

    So that is exactly what we did. We stayed home, celebrated with our own family, (Mommy, Daddy, and the two boys).

    We didn’t invite anybody over . . .and we stayed to ourselves.

    Best Christmas ever, I might add! 🙂

  7. On February 20th, 2008 at 1:28 pm The Milk Maid Says:

    Um- Just make Dave do the holiday stuff. No one will realize you are gone (they’ve never missed me).

    Ohh- I’ve seen the shrine my parents made for Jef. It has his photo and dad’s words to Jef when he asked for my hand in marriage all etched in brass saying “There’s a no return policy on her, son.”

  8. On February 20th, 2008 at 2:52 pm Emily Says:

    Do it all at once. Get it over with.

    Or go to the Bahamas.

  9. On February 20th, 2008 at 3:33 pm Jenn Says:

    What I would do – honestly – is say FUCK EVERYONE and spend the holiday at home with just my husband and kids. In fact that is exactly what we did on Thanksgiving this past year. It was much more pleasant than any family get-together. 🙂

  10. On February 20th, 2008 at 3:08 pm Jerseygirl89 Says:

    I have no advice. We have two Christmases but all other holidays are divided up, since my in-laws live far away. (Don’t be too jealous, I like them and they think I’m okay, but their house is SMALL. And there’s no internet. And my MIL likes to change the tv channel as soon as I get interested in anything.)

  11. On February 20th, 2008 at 4:37 pm Five Husbands Says:

    I believe I probably have more in-law experience than anyone else on this blog unless Elizabeth Taylor will be posting.
    None of my in-laws liked me. I think the nicest thing Husband No. 3’s grandmother ever said to me was that I kept Son No. 2 “clean” – as if my lower social status equaled bad hygiene and dirty clothes. Mind you at this point I had graduated from law school, with honors, and passed the bar, all while pregnant.

    Didn’t matter; they didn’t like me and nothing would change their mind.

    From that marriage – one (only one) of the worst in-law stories is the letter I found on Husband No. 2’s dresser, open and obvious, from his Aunt the WEEK before our wedding urging him to call it off because I had a child from a previous marriage and he deserved to have the experience of having me alone, without the interference of children; as well as the experience of having a first born, only of his own.

    I married him anyway and you know – he had issues between the boys. I thought it was the step-parent thing but I was wrong.

    He treats his biological son this way.

    But the best of the worst incidents occurred when I was newly married to husband No. 4. His sister had the audacity to comment, to my face, while Husband No. 4 sat by dead stone silent, that her friends thought Son No. 2 – who, at the time, was an adorable loving 6 year old who worshiped the ground that Husband No. 4 walked on, because, at the wedding, he went up to every table to ask if anyone needed anything – this, in their eyes, made him the most obnoxious child they had ever met – and they pitied Husband No. 4 because they wondered if he knew what he was getting into.

    I went into the bathroom and threw up.

    Son No. 4 has grown to be the kind of young man who reads books, has a garage band, helps little old ladies with their groceries, hugs people he knows are lonely, works at a part time job rehabbing houses, has a 3.75 average and is an incredible athlete.

    What I have learned is that the family you make is the family you celebrate with, your husband and children.

    Your children deserve to see you happy and respected and loved everyday – but especially on holidays.

  12. On February 20th, 2008 at 3:38 pm Amy Says:

    We’ve tried both inviting everyone over and running around to 10 places in the past and it seems that neither one really works well.

    My MIL is not the easiest person to get along with (and on top of that she is really ‘out there’). Her and my mother had a blowout at the hospital when Grace was in the NICU b/c she wanted me to take this wool blanket (I’m allergic to wool) and rub my “scent” on it and then place it in the incubator with my baby(whose skin was at the time thinner than paper and translucent). My mother tried explaining to her that they don’t allow us to put items like those in the incubator but she took it personally and has since decided not to associate with my parents (then she decided to ruin my baby shower by bringing this up and printing out “evidence” that these types of things work and making a big scene about it at my shower and ruining MY day when I was already dealing with my baby being in the NICU for what they told me at the time would be a minimum of two months).

    Starting this year I have decided that I’m staying home on the holidays and people can come to me if they want to and if not then screw them!

  13. On February 20th, 2008 at 3:58 pm Heather Says:

    Well, I needn’t elaborate on my inlaw tales as you’re already privy to a few of them, but I will say that you should shake off the guilt and do your own thing. We still run all over creation for weeks on end at every major and minor holiday, but it’s generally on our terms and this last year we spent Christmas day at home with just the two kids. It was wonderful. I think both sets would now like to see us burned in effigy.

    My dad asked if he and my mother could came over that morning to watch the kids open gifts (and in the split second that I paused, I saw E’s life flash before his eyes and the blood drain to his toes), but told him we’d see him later — we were sleeping in :).

  14. On February 20th, 2008 at 5:58 pm Tracy Says:

    You could always dress in a fuzzy bunny costume, and wear that patent leather corset with it. Everybody loves a fuzzy bunny.

    I think you just have to stake your claim on some part of the day for yourself (but to them: for the sake of the children!) and let everyone else work around you.

  15. On February 20th, 2008 at 6:55 pm Rebecca Says:

    I’m all for the Bahamas idea.

  16. On February 20th, 2008 at 7:00 pm baseballmom Says:

    We got really sick of running all over the place to accomodate everybody, and after my inlaws passed away, we told my nosy aunt who loves to be the pageant director for Christmas that we’d be spending every other Christmas at home. We LOVE it, and they end up going to their vacation home on the years that we don’t go to their house. It’s awesome, and for Thanksgiving we always go to my mom’s.

  17. On February 20th, 2008 at 7:49 pm Jenn Says:

    God, when I was married to my first husband, we did the running around town thing. We then merged our families and did holidays together. That seemed to work for a bit, but it was still a pain in the ass to get the boys ready, go to someone else’s house. We did Christmas at our house, and I found that I preferred someone else cleaning up the mess. The best suggestion I have is to alternate holidays with your family and The Daver’s family, and maybe make Christmas a go nowhere day.

  18. On February 20th, 2008 at 8:06 pm becky Says:


    What an amazing idea!

  19. On February 20th, 2008 at 11:06 pm shay Says:

    We host…a lot. At Christmas we just suck it up and do it twice. It’s just too hard to combine that one, luckily my parents are pretty flexible and aware that they don’t mesh well with hubbies family.

    Easter I host. AND I invite loads of other people and have a huge candy hunt and bbq, that way it’s about the kids. Who wants to ruin it for the kids?! not me! lol.
    Plus with lots of people, there’s always bound to be someone the difficult ones can corner and talk at (read: it will NOT be me!)

    I might invite you if you wear that bunny/corset combo someone else mentioned lol. I’m not sure how we’d explain it but I could try.

  20. On February 20th, 2008 at 11:46 pm Lindz Says:

    I say ( for the million it’s worth) I AGREE, AGREE, AGREE, with Tracy and Jenn.

    You have enough to do with the 2 kids, and a husband to take care, and try to please alone.Don’t add others to the mix. Do your own thing.

  21. On February 21st, 2008 at 1:12 am Jenn Says:

    Oh yeah – and birthdays…..Do them somewhere else – you know a neutral public place where people are apt to act normal. That and you get the added bonus of not cleaning up!! We’ve done bowling parties, McDonalds, Chic-Fil-A and even A.D.D. Hell – Chuck E. Cheese.

  22. On February 21st, 2008 at 9:26 am Kim Says:

    I would do easter brunch someplace public *hoping they will all half way behave….* then do your own thing with your immediate family *4 plus pets*…..let the rest of them sort it out.

    good luck!!

  23. On February 21st, 2008 at 8:28 am Victoria Says:

    Self medicate and do it all in one day.

    Or leave the country – that’s what we do. We moved 12 hours from our families and *that* wasn’t far enough. So at Thanksgiving, we leave for the islands. Christmas? I self-medicate. Easter?? We usually skip it.

    Or self-medicate AND leave the country. In a bunny suit.

    And post pictures, k?

  24. On February 21st, 2008 at 10:23 am Karen Says:

    I don’t have inlaw per se. I have my ex-bfs family, with whom I am still very close. I was the Daver in that family. They loved me more than they loved him.

    My brother’s wife’s family sort of hates me – as I am wild, crazy, debaucherous, unmarried and whore-like (apparently). But they are not MY family and I can avoid them.

    Sorry I have no good advice.

  25. On February 21st, 2008 at 11:20 am Ahuva Batya Says:

    The best holidays we’ve ever had were the ones where a) we we living too far away to see anyone. “Gosh, we’re so sorry but we just can’t afford the plane ticket or the vacation time” or b) the ones where we finally said “screw you” the whole crazy mob and had our own holidy in our own house. I would highly recommend it; it was the most peaceful, lovely time just the two of us.

  26. On February 21st, 2008 at 11:55 am becky Says:


    I will somehow manage to find AND buy a bunny suit (hello, Ebay!) and then I will take pictures. And then you will all die laughing and stop reading my blog, because, well, I’d be the creepy bunny Aunt Becky.

  27. On February 21st, 2008 at 2:54 pm Kim Says:


    just cracked up when I searched it on ebay… gotta look

  28. On February 21st, 2008 at 3:28 pm becky Says:


    I cannot believe, however, that anyone would pay $100 for it.

    Strange days, indeed.

  29. On February 21st, 2008 at 7:24 pm ewe_are_here Says:

    Tell everyone you’re starting your own tradition at your place on the holiday itself, and if they want to come, brilliant, if not, tell them they’ll be missed.

    ~Then just do it and don’t get sucked into discussing their angst over your decision. You are entitled to your own holiday traditions and happiness for your family.

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