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Only either before or after. The holidays are reserved for spouses' families. My husband is in MC and no visitors so I’m alone now. When my LO was not sick with Alzheimer’s we had each other so it was better. My few remaining friends are with their own families. I feel totally alone on the holidays especially since COVID-19. As an aside, I have always been there both financially and emotionally when needed. Now I feel cast aside, not important enough to be considered.

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Have you shared your thoughts with your children? I'm guessing they have no idea how you feel. This year Covid has messed up pretty much everyone's holidays, so you are not alone there, but it sounds like this has gone on even before Covid, so it's up to you to get the focus off yourself and do something nice for someone else.

Many years ago, when I was a single parent, and had to share holidays with my ex, I would often feel down and depressed on the holidays without my children, so I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and do something good for someone else. I delivered meals on wheels one year, and volunteered at the local soup kitchen another. It was so much fun, and helped me put into perspective what life is really about.

So maybe it's time to change your perspective, and get out there and do something good for someone else. You may just be surprised how good in return it makes you feel as well. Wishing you a blessed Christmas season.
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disgustedtoo Dec 7, 2020
Definitely a positive way to tackle the issue. Giving of oneself can bring a sense of happiness.

Like you, the holidays had to be shared with the ex and his family. The MIL was one of those who couldn't get enough - all day every day wouldn't have been enough! Rather than stress the kids out, we adjusted and "celebrated" on another day, if it wasn't our turn. It stinks when one feels excluded, but perhaps these "in-laws" are more like my former MIL - never any thought about what SHE wants vs what others might want. Same went on for weekends, birthdays, etc.

Personally I am tired of the various "days" that occur in winter or soon to be winter (cold, potential for snow or ice here.) Multiple birthdays in Dec and Jan... I've been suggesting we have one big bash in July to celebrate all the winter holidays and birthdays!! Even when places I worked took away several holidays and gave us Xmas week off I was miffed. Most everyone else was working, weather is stinky so can't really have fun outside much, so a whole week off to share a day or two with others - GIVE ME THAT WEEK IN JULY!!!
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I so agree with Funkygrandma: make your feelings known, gently. I think if these are male children, my own experience is that the "girls" decide they won't change, Christmas is at their parent's houses. So perhaps the guys just follow along. For me, not much of a celebrator, I couldn't care less if I am Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, or even Christmas at all to tell you the truth. Perhaps the kids fall into my category of just not much caring, and mindlessly following along.
Do you live in the same town? Do you know and like any of the inlaws? I think if is often hard for the kids to come to familial peace not only with WHERE all this is done, but HOW. I come of a family that opened gifts one at a time, appeciating each.....to a family with too many gifts torn to pieces willy-nilly.
For me Holidays do nothing but burden people with expectations. I love the cards and connecting with old pals, love the lights, and that is ALL I love of Christmas. This year, in all my 78 years, a first for me. I will celebrate as I always wanted to, with NO PRESENTS (even the grandkids are now grown) and with gifts to Charities I love. I am having such a good time picking them out. And now I no longer have to worry about picking stuff for folks with too much stuff already, and opening stuff I have to figure what to do with as I downsize for the final exit.
We are all unique in our feelings about Holidays, especially Christmas. Books and movies are done on the subject. I would say make your feelings gently known. But understand while you try to change things that you are dabbling with "traditions" and there could be pushback.
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"a daughter's a daughter the whole of her life, a son is a son 'til he gets him a wife"

How true and how OLD is that saying??
I am BLESSED with 4 daughters who carefully split their time with their husband's families. I have one son who does what his wife wants and there's no discussing it.

They will blow into town for 4 short days and we will see them for 5 or 6 hours, then they spend the rest of their time with her family because "they are so much more fun". (read: alcoholics).

I never say a word to my son, there is no point. We are not close to their kids--now that the 2 oldest have phones, I can text them, but that's it.

I have learned, the hard way, that holidays make me crazy--like depressed, angry, crying crazy. Nobody did this to me, I did it to myself, by placing expectations on myself to make every holiday some kind of Hallmark movie.

The last 2 years, I was dealing with cancer and completely unable to do up any holidays in the 'normal' manner, and guess what? They all came and went and it was FINE. One Christmas I went to bed after gifts had been opened and slept all day.

This year, I am better, but with COVID, we're struggling to find a way to all be together and it's not going to happen. We will have to 'round robin' the families and since my DH and I are both high risk for COVID, we can't even be around one of our families. Will the world END because of this? No, and I doubt the grands will even really notice.

I've already done a lot of service projects, and will be doing something of a service nature from now until Christmas. Our church has encouraged us to reach out past the Christmas season with service and care.

Scaling back the holidays is good for the soul, I think. So many years I would go into a deep blue funk in January b/c I was so burned out. That's just not possible this year, as I am cutting back so much.

And as far as telling your kids you'd love to be involved and see them on the holidays, asking them can't hurt. Maybe they have reason to believe you don't WANT them to come over...who knows what they are thinking?
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PeggySue2020 Dec 8, 2020
From roughly 2012 to 2019, I insisted that we go to my parents for Thanksgiving.

This was for reasons.

1) My sister had a child in 2011 and my other sister had her children in the oughts. Of the holidays, T-giving and Christmas would be when I saw all of them in their childhood. My whole family is rather spare about doing the holidays, and in the best of years, we'd see them on a quarterly basis.

2) SO's parents, conversely, have always seen their children almost daily. That's because we happen to live so close to them. She gets her way this year because my whole family blew up Christmas due to Covid, and because we've all been taking care of them of late.
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I have a mixed bag of emotions during the holidays.

I refuse to place pressure upon myself or others. To each his own. Live and let live.

I love the lovely spirit of the holiday season and I detest the commercialism of it.

The only thing I expect from others at the holidays is to do whatever they wish to do. That is what I want from them in return.

I’m not a full fledged Scrooge. I don’t go bonkers with the holidays either. It’s like everything else in my life. I don’t lean heavily one way or the other.

I have a really good friend that has a very crappy family.

For years she has told me something she learned from her therapist, “We can’t pick our family. We can choose our friends. Good friends can fill the void of not having close family members.” So true! I agree with her.

My friend hosts a holiday dinner for her friends every year and considers her friends her family.

It will be a lonely year for many people this year, due to Covid.

Wishing everyone who will be alone this year peace and joy.

On the up side, Covid will not last forever. Have faith that there will be happier days ahead.

I don’t place enormous importance on certain days. I love surprises in life.

Many years ago, my boyfriend, now husband picked me up from work.

He had a beautifully wrapped gift for me, lovely French perfume!

I was so surprised and wondered why was I receiving a gift.

It wasn’t my birthday, nor Valentine’s, an anniversary of any kind, nor was it Christmas...so I asked my boyfriend, “What’s the gift all about?” His response, “It is an I love you gift, it is not about a ‘special’ occasion.’

I adored that gift for what it represented, pure love!

Any day can represent the spirit of love, peace and joy.

Welcome the beautiful surprises in life.

Don’t pigeon hole it to specific days of the year.
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InFamilyService Dec 7, 2020
Beautiful and well said.
All the commercialism takes away from the joy of just being with people who care about you. If family is not a good fit then friends and neighbors.
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Sounds like your kids have reformed around their new families. I have seen it happen with my own siblings. I am single with no kids so unless I am invited, or invite myself, I don’t seen them or their kids on holidays. In the past it has been me and Mom but now she too is in MC.

My sister's first grandchild was born on her own birthday. She thought all the attention will now be on him so the weekend before their BD she organizes her own dinner event.

So may I suggest, when Covid allows, you set up your own holiday before or after the official one and invite your kids that day. This year I plan on finding a way to volunteer somewhere to keep myself occupied.
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I was really struck by Geaton’s comment about how difficult and expensive it makes visits from children and their families when parents move away to retire. DH and I are in the process of organising a new house 1000 miles away, to retire to. I’ve realised that part of my ‘budget’ will need to be susbidising air fares for visits to us – something I’d never considered!
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Tothill Dec 8, 2020
Margaret you will also have to accept that even if you offer to pay the airfare, with limited vacation time, your kids and grandkids may decide to do different things for their holidays.

My father in law moved to the UK in 1992. In the early days he would fly out ever 18 months or so. But that got to be too expensive. I flew the kids out to see him in 2003 and 2017. My son at 24 has no real memories of his Grandpa.

I had it out with one of my ex’s cousins who complained that we travelled to the big city, but for the first time in 10 trips visited my side of the family, not hers. I explained in no uncertain terms that I was now prioritizing visiting my family as hers was far too demanding and dysfunctional. If she wanted to see my kids she could come to them.
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I can't tell you if you should feel neglected or not. What I CAN tell you is this:
Please talk to your children. Let them know exactly how you're feeling right now because they cannot read your mind. Especially if you've been a tower of strength all along and came across as their rock. Even rocks start to crumble after taking enough blows. Your kids may not realize that, however, so their lives are going on as usual. They may not be taking into consideration what YOU are going through now that your DH is in MC.

If your grown children are anything like my grown children, then they're self absorbed, especially if they're millennials. My son is particularly dense when it comes to his mother's feelings, while my daughter is somewhat better. I always let them know how I'm feeling and what I'd like from them, which is never money or 'stuff' but time and phone calls. There's nothing wrong with letting them know what YOU need nowadays, and what would make you happy. Don't use guilt-inducing tactics, of course, just truth & honesty. Let them know you're lonely and feeling unimportant and cast aside.

Last but not least, try to take the emphasis off of The Holidays and set up a regular routine of visits with your kids. Maybe once a week or even once a month you can have dinner together at your house (or whatever). We tend to put SO much importance on The Holidays that we wind up deflated and disappointed no matter WHAT.

Wishing you the best of luck making your wishes known, now. And getting through a difficult time with your DH in Memory Care. Sending you a hug and a prayer for peace
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As a former active duty soldier, reserve soldier, and wife of a soldier... we get used to having weird holidays. We celebrate whenever we can be together since so many holidays one of us was working or deployed. If you are alone for the holidays, check to see if there are any other "singles" that would like to get together virtually (FaceTime, Zoom...).Otherwise, make it a personal holiday: sleep in late, linger over brunch, read a good book or your favorite movies while noshing on goodies you like... no having to cater to others and no having to share goodies either. End the evening driving in the neighborhood looking at holiday lights while enjoying your favorite music... or a bubble bath with candles and soft music.

You have a choice to either feel sorry for yourself or enjoy the time - especially since your children see you "around" the holidays. My kids live in other states so we can only visit virtually for every holiday this year.
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Many years ago my SIL suggested that we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas twice, once on the actual day and once on the Saturday after with the other (my) side of the family.

This has worked out well over the years, especially when my mom was in a NH. We would book the community room for our party, mom could watch the grandkids and greatgrandkids open their gifts and could be wheeled back to her room when she grew tired.

Growing families require adjusting and flexible celebrations and traditions.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 7, 2020
Yes! We did that too. Separate days for each family.

We did every other year rotation for Thanksgiving and Easter. One year his family and the next year my family.

We did Christmas Eve with one side of the family and Christmas Day with the other.

We could have never eaten two big meals on the same day! Yuck!
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I have no children. For years, I worked in a hospital and always offered to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day so someone with children could be off. It was no sacrifice for me, because we always tried to have a festive atmosphere for patients. Trying to think of ways to make the day special for them made the time special for me. I didn't have time to feel lonely.

If you are able, I'd suggest you volunteer to help serve a dinner for the homeless or spend time with veterans at the VA (even with a mask). See what's available and plan ahead. It may make your holidays more special than you can imagine.

This year may be different because of covid. I have a nephew, but he always spends holidays with his wife's family. So I may be alone. But I will plan something special, even if I have nobody to share the holiday. I will arrange a special meal for myself, watch a video of a favorite Broadway musical, enjoy a rich egg nog... Important thing is to plan ahead something special even if just for yourself.
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