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Thanksgiving is coming up and - once again - we're joining my husband's family at his sister's house, a nearly two hour drive away.

So here's a thought - how old do you have to be before you earn the right to spend holidays in your own home, rather than have to shlep to somebody else's?

I like his family, and I'm not ungrateful for their hospitality, but I don't like being obliged to spend holidays with them. Espcially when it means the tedium of being stuck in holiday traffic.

He's over 60, and I'm getting there, and I really just want to stay home and have a nice dinner and a quiet day together, but I don't think his family would take that very well.

I'd appreciate any thoughts about this you might have.


Grace Rostoker
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Hi Grace, I suggest going to in-laws, it is a little late to make changes now. But do mention soon after the holidays, that you and your husband plan to stay at home for a relaxing Thanksgiving in 2014 so they don't assume and plan that you will be at their home for Thanksgiving dinner. If your husband is in agreement with you, perhaps he could break the news about next year. Explain about the traffic, the long drive, etc.

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Hi Grace. Thanks for a great post. So many of us experience the same feelings regarding holidays, extended family and in-laws.

I wouldn't mention anything directly to the in-laws about next year. You have to tread very carefully with your words here because in-laws can be overly sensitive and take everything personally. It is not a rejection of them or a matter of not wanting to spend time with them but that is how they will take it.

First, as Vannie suggested, see how your husband feels about this. Is this the only time you and he visit with his family? Holidays are so pressure-filled to be with extended family because these are the only occasions when people gather. Could you suggest meeting for dinner on another occasion or inviting them to your house later?

Then, you'll have no guilt about enjoying your own quiet holiday plans at home.

I would simply tell them that "we won't be joining everyone for Thanksgiving this year"..."that we're/he's/I've been feeling very tired lately and think it's best we stay home and rest this year." If pressed for further explanation, be vague: "I'm not sure what's going on. It might be a passing thing or maybe it's our age but we wanted you to know early enough that we won't be there this year. I'd hate to have to cancel at the last minute."

Then, mail a Thanksgiving card, dried fruit basket, flowers or centerpiece before the big day so they can share your thankful sentiments with the rest of the family. This lets them know you're thinking of them and appreciate their annual holiday efforts and invitations.

Then, have a terrific, relaxing Thanksgiving with just you and your hubby. Guilt-free. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thank you both for your words of advice. I think we'll definitely give lots of advance notice for next year's Thanksgiving.

I think what we're really doing is carrying on an old habit - we've only been married since 2011 and before that my husband was always the bachelor son/brother who needed an alternative to being home alone! He'd be happy for us to spend holidays together in our home, but is hesitant to change the old habit.

My parents-in-law are both very elderly and increasingly frail now, so we do see them regularly. They live just a bit further away, so sometimes my husband drives up for the day by himself, and other times we both go but for a shorter time so we're not leaving our pets for ages. The last time we all got together at my sister-in-law's, I thought it was too much for the parents to handle. Father-in-law is pretty confused now and after only about ten minutes he started saying he was tired and wanted to go home. All in all I'm sure it would be best to handle holidays differently.

Sorry to be so wordy, but thanks for reading! And thanks again for your input.


Grace Rostoker
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From what you say about the parents, they may like (or need) some quiet time at Thanksgiving as well. I wish you luck grace, I can see that you are in a difficult place.

What ever you do on Thanksgiving, I hope you and your husband have a wonderful day.

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I think this is the shortest post I've ever posted...

But the cut-off date of "have-to's," from what I've experienced is around the age of 13 wink

I've done the guilt trip, the expense of having to drive, the gas, the drive back, the nowhere to go for peace and quiet and it finally dawned upon me!

I'm a full-grown adult. And what can be found in the meaning of togetherness if it's all fighting up-hill, tooth and nail to the point you're completely exhausted and the memories are anything but what they should be.

And? Come next year or holiday there after, you get to do it all over again. You get together when you can. That's all there is to it! smile


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Thanks Karen. I suppose most of us do things we don't really want to for the sake of not rocking the boat, but like you say, we're adults and able to make our own decisions.

I don't come from a close family myself so it's always been preferable to me to stay away from family events. My husband's family is much closer. I wouldn't mind at all if he attended events without me, but probably most people would think that a bit strange!


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Once when I was married I faked a migraine just so I could stay home in peace. He went on without me and never knew the truth. I had a nice quiet day alone.


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Good for you, Debbie!

In the end, he did go alone and I stayed home. It was a joint decision because it just seemed that the likelihood of things going pear-shaped was too great, and indeed they did. There were all sorts of last minute problems and changes of plan, which meant my husband had to do a load of extra driving and didn't get home until late in the evening. If I'd gone too our animals would have been starving hungry in a dark house!

As it was, the dog, the cat and I had a nice quiet day, and husband is saying Never Again!


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Grace.....it's probably good the day went the way it did. Your husband will want to be home or at least be spending quiet time with you next year.


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