Christmas Holidays

A selection of our followers concerns over the holiday period. Each week we will be looking at a different problem


Week 1

I am dreading our family Christmas. Not least because my mother seems to lie in wait to criticise me and regularly loses her temper if I have a different view to her. She also gets very stressed over the meal and getting everything ready at the same time. The two particular issues this year is that we have a new baby who will obviously need a lot of attention and I know how hard she finds it to be flexible over timing. The other issue is that my husband and I have given up eating meat. I have already told her this over the phone but she abruptly ended the call by telling me I was the most ungrateful daughter in the world. I don’t know whether to call again and offer to bring something with me, just eat the vegetables, which knowing her she will cook in the same dish as the turkey. Or just stick with the smoked salmon starter and Christmas pudding. I am also thinking whether it would make things worse or better if, when we arrive, I said something along the lines that I know she doesn’t approve of us being non meat eaters but we don’t want to spoil her traditions and we are delighted to be with the family at this special time. We are not of course but I do want a peaceful day. As a last resort of course we have decided to use our baby as an excuse to go early but it’s a two hour drive each way so we’d like to avoid that if we can.

Our comments

It sounds like whatever you do your mother will get upset, so keep that in mind when you you’re your decisions. You are right to try and have as peaceful a day as possible, but you it may well be outside of your control. You decided to visit your mother and family so being as pleasant and reasonable as possible is important. As are your baby’s needs.

We think you should try to talk to your mother ahead of the day about timing, particularly of the meal. This will give you an opportunity to remind her that you and your husband will not be eating meat and to ask her about her preferred option. When you know roughly when your mother will want to serve the Christmas meal, you could try timing the baby’s naps around that.

Be aware that your agreed plans could get sabotaged. If your baby is fretful you could take it in turns to look after him or her so the meal is not interrupted. Your ideas for the starter and pudding could work well. Of course your mother might make unpleasant comments but your can’t do more than your best to fit in.

Festive meals can be a minefield and you may well have to cope with her criticisms and uncharitable remarks. Don’t blame yourself if this happens and feel free to leave if it gets too much. Maybe plan something special to look forward to when you get home.