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My Spouse Selling Point #1- No parent-in-law holiday drama

November 18, 2010

**Note: Readers who know me will not be surprised by this entry, but those who don’t may be a little taken aback by my brand of morbid humor.

A bit of Holiday drama from my favorite Christmas movie

I have often joked around with friends and my now-husband (who still needs a blogging alias– any ideas from my readers who know him?) that one of my biggest selling points as a fiance and spouse was that I did not bring parent-in-law drama to the table.  This is because both of my parents have passed away.  Now, obviously, losing a parent is a painful and personal experience that forever alters your life.  However, for anyone who has lost a close family member and had it come up in conversation, it is the biggest conversation killer there is.


Well intentioned new acquaintance:  “What do your parents do?”

Me:  “Actually, both of my parents are deceased.”

Now totally freaked out and apologetic aquaintance: “Oh, God, I am so sorry. Uh… um.. sorry…*crickets*”

There just isn’t a graceful way to work that one in.  So, I sometimes joke about it.  People either find it endearing or offensive.  You can take your pick.

So anyway, this is my spousal selling point: no in-law drama.  We didn’t have to invite relatives I had never met or heard of to the wedding, my husband never has to try to figure out what in the world to buy for a mother or father in-law, no super-awkward-shotgun-polishing “what are your intentions for my daughter?” speeches.  Also, it has given us a default for our holiday plans– namely that we spend major holidays with his family, and haven’t had to be separated or have fights over whose family we spend Christmas with.

While this lack of drama is great (and certainly helped with the stress of wedding planning from the stories I have heard from my married-friends-with-parents), it is also, of course, very sad and upsetting that my husband never met my father and that he didn’t get to know my mother all that well.  My parents were awesome people (not to mention that the shot-gun-polishing intention speech would have been hilarious to behold, I’m sure), and I wish that my husband, and all my friends could have known them.

But let’s get back to our holidays default.  First, let me say that I really won the in-laws lottery and love my new father and mother-in-law.  Spending holidays with their families for the last several years has been a lot of fun, they have great traditions (Christmas Eve Bingo = AMAZING!), and they have always accepted me right into the fold.  I really enjoy spending holidays with them, and as they both live out-of-state, it is often the only time of year we get to spend any significant time with them (we alternate spending thanksgiving with 1 parent and christmas with the other).  BUT, it does make it hard for me, since I do still have my own family (and family friends who are practically family) who we, by default, don’t see around the holidays.  After a few years of our zero-conflict holiday arrangement, I’m feeling a little less drama-free.

You see, I have a fabulous sister and niece who I would love to see at holiday times, as well as an extended family of aunts and uncles who often host family gatherings around the holidays which we can almost never attend.  I need to figure out a good solution to this so that my husband can get to know my extended family better (seriously, our wedding was the first time he had met some of them– I am a terrible niece and cousin), I can carry on some of my family’s holiday traditions (like Christmas morning brunch!), but we can still see his family.  Is there a solution that allows us both to see our families?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:05 am

    When you figure this one out PLEASE let me know! Divorced parents, step-parents, in-laws, 2 sisters and 4 brothers-in-law all in different states…friends aren’t even in the running, or trying to have a quiet holiday at home…forget it. I am learning that once you’re married, with family all spread out across the US, that you have to think about your significant other’s need for sense of family and past and connection…I bet your husband’s family would be more than understanding if you guys spent a holiday with your family.

    • Jennifer permalink
      November 20, 2010 11:37 am

      Then again, on a more selfish note, we can’t wait to see you guys Thanksgiving 🙂

  2. November 21, 2010 11:16 pm

    Looking forward to seeing you guys on Thanksgiving too!

  3. Meghan permalink
    November 22, 2010 1:54 pm

    Hey K — Can you elaborate more on the Christmas Eve Bingo? That sounds fun.

    • November 22, 2010 2:35 pm

      Meghan, I will elaborate with pleasure, because Christmas Eve Bingo combines some of life’s great pleasures, namely: Bingo, cocktails, finger foods, and a mixture of real and joke gifts.
      This is a tradition in D’s Mom’s family. On the night of Christmas Eve, the family gathers, pours some cocktails and sits down for an hour or 2 of bingo. Dan’s mom goes shopping ahead of time and wraps several gifts (number of gifts=number of games of bingo you play). If you win the bingo game, you get to select a mystery prize from the gift pile. Some of them were gift cards and other good stuff, some were hilarious gag gifts.
      SO much fun.

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