How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC Your Own ...

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
54658078
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

This year I have agreed to celebrate Christmas with my own

Resolved Question:

This year I have agreed to celebrate Christmas with my own children, my fiance and his extended family at my house. They have all said yes and I am looking forward to it. I really like them all.

My children (in 20s and still studying) are especially looking forward to celebrating according to our own traditions. We live abroad and my children are bicultural, so we celebrate a Danish Christmas Eve (i.e. church, roast duck afterwards--but no presents) then an American Christmas Day (with early morning stockings and presents). In particular one son is looking forward both to the traditions and particularly the timing (i.e. Christmas on the 25 not the 29th or something), because it will be the first Christmas in 3 or 4 years that does not require (for them) major concessions.

However, it may fall apart :-(. There is an upcoming negotiation to try to save it and I would like advice on appropriate responses.

The problem is that my fiancés two nephews (also late 20’s) wish to celebrate Christmas Eve their way. This means to them the same Danish Christmas eve meal, but no church, present opening Christmas Eve and then staying up all night playing computer games, drinking beer, and generally enjoying themselves.

This is a big thing to ask. It means that we cannot really have an American Christmas at all. The presents will have been opened, but their is more to it than that. We will not be able to sleep the night before Christmas, the house will be a big mess with no real point in having stockings and no real way to make brunch without cleaning up all over again plus nobody will want it as they will only have gone to bed at dawn. Then the presents will have been opened.

I had hoped that they would regard themselves as guests at an anthropologically interesting event in a "foreign culture". That is what my children did last year. Last year I and my children celebrated with his family at his house according to their traditions. It was very nice, except that present opening was unexpectedly painful. My fiance's nephews got so many presents from their own parents, that my children had to sit for two hours and watch, and in fact had been forgotten by them. But the point I wish to make is that my children were gracious and so was I. Our view was that a) this is their Christmas and we are invited to experience how THEY do it. b) when we are guests we pass over painful experiences graciously--because other people's feelings and experiences matter and complaining is negative.

The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that their parents (my fiancés sister and BIL) would like to negotiate some compromise but they imagine this to be that their boys (in early 30s) open their presents Christmas eve. Otherwise they say the boys won't come. And if they boys do not come, their parents, my fiancés sister and BIL, will not come. At that point, my fiancé has indicated that he may not want to come.

I want to be dignified and gracious, but I feel shocked hurt and trampled on. What is an appropriate way to tackle this? I feel it is my house and they have no right even to ask, never mind make demands. I also feel that I do not want to compromise really, because of the cascade of effects.

I am prepared in theory to brainstorm so we both can be happy but I see problems. Could the boys and their parents not go to church? I had hoped they would share because it is a romantic tiny country church—very film—like-- and their parents agreed. But they could open their presents then while the rest go. The main thing for me though is then the living room will be littered with paper and they will want to proceed to enjoying them and partying, etc. while we others are at the night before anticipation stage. Could the boys instead stay at a bed and breakfast and retire there to party all night?? but I doubt noise all night would be accepted there, assuming a B&B is even open??

Should I say you are warmly welcome, but if you cannot come I will understand? Or should I graciously compromise and risk my son’s wrath and disappointment? What are some appropriate principles to use?

Thank you for your help.

Little Mermaid in Denmark
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It sounds like your fiance's family want to do things their way. And if it doesn't go their way, they get upset and refuse to compromise. This is very self centered behavior and it is very natural that you would feel shocked and upset by it. Most people are willing to compromise, especially if they are invited to someone else's home.

 

When you invite people to you home, you are only expected to be a gracious hostess. By that I mean you make them comfortable, offer them a place to sleep and meals if needed, and you treat them with respect. But your invitation does not require you to give up your home and allow them to overrun your holiday traditions. This is your home, not theirs.

 

Unfortunately, their point of view seems to be that it's their way or the highway, at their home and yours. This puts you in a bad position. They are being inflexible and not offering to make this easy at all.

 

A good way to approach this would be to have your fiance deal with his family. He should talk to them, explain that you are happy to have them in your home and that you will be following your family's Christmas traditions. If they refuse to come, then he should let it go.

 

However you indicated that your fiance is siding with his family. This makes it very difficult for you. Although he should take your side in this situation, he has not so you will have to make the choice of what you want to do. Offering to compromise on some things is a good idea, but not on your family's traditions. Let them know you are sticking to your family's holiday traditions. Let them know you will assist with any compromises they need to make (sleeping elsewhere for instance) but you will not be changing your plans. Then let them decide if they want to come over or not. It is up to them to decide if they can handle being good guests. Giving up your family's traditions will only allow them to feel they can bully you anytime. Then it will set a precedent for years. Stand your ground now and let them see you deserve respect as well.

 

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Mental Health Professional
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Mental Health Professional
5559 Satisfied Customers
Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.