Family Christmas... with a Twist
September 6, 2004 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Let's say you are a 21 year old female, senior in college, with a 23 year old sister who is a grad student. The two of you are quite close but have very different interests. You're into Five-Eight for the moment and she's been into Tim McGraw for about ten years now. You have a steady boyfriend while she spends more time with her friends. Your mom and dad are divorced but that's ok cause they are better apart anyway. Now your mom wants to start her own Christmas tradition that doesn't involve your dad. She wants to take you, your sister, and maybe a couple of friends on a trip every year leaving on Christmas Day or maybe the day after. Her budget is $4000. Any suggestions on how to make everyone at least 90% happy?
posted by oh posey to Law & Government (21 answers total)
Spend Christmas day with your dad and go away the day after with your mom etc?
posted by penguin pie at 7:51 AM on September 6, 2004

OK, sorry about that, but maybe (surprisingly!) a little more info would be helpful. How far apart do mom and dad live? Is it possible to visit both within the span of a few days? A week? How far away are the two siblings from each other/the parents?
posted by tss at 7:59 AM on September 6, 2004

I think oh posey might be looking for vacation/activity suggestions as well (to do with Mom, Tim McGraw-loving sister and assorted friends).
posted by fionab at 8:04 AM on September 6, 2004

Response by poster: Exactly right fionab! Thanks! But if it helps everyone lives within a 50 mile radius of each other.
posted by oh posey at 8:11 AM on September 6, 2004

I would think the girls would enjoy time anywhere with you no matter if it were here or even here. Anytime spent with you would be a great gift no matter where you decide to go. I wouldn't even give them a choice as to where. Plan a trip, tell them when you are leaving and go have a fun time. They both like music, different styles yes but no matter where you go good music can be found. The best place to go should be a place YOU think would be fun. Maybe go here. A cruise would be very fun as well though with 57.
posted by BMF at 8:31 AM on September 6, 2004

A spa! Or a cruise, or Paradise Island or Atlantis, or some place somewhere else--i think an all-inclusive might work well, with lots of activities, so there are things to do apart--and together.
posted by amberglow at 8:38 AM on September 6, 2004

I think the person paying should be the person choosing. Assuming you all are fond of each other, fun will be had regardless.
posted by konolia at 9:02 AM on September 6, 2004

Make everyone 90% happy? I suggest you establish your own Christmas tradition with your boyfriend, and leave your family to do their own thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2004

Do a couple of days in Vegas, there'll be something to do that everyone likes. Don't turn it into a big production, just light out and have a good time. Turning something like this into a major undertaking runs the risk of it becoming non-fun for everyone involved.
posted by majick at 9:37 AM on September 6, 2004

Mom expects this to become a tradition? For how many years?
Does this include future husbands? Future children? Future in-laws?

This reeks of post-divorce manipulation. To make everyone at least 90% happy, abort this now before it gets off the ground.
posted by mischief at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2004

Jeez, you people are crazy. When the time comes that you -don't- want to spend Christmas with family, don't. But it's silly (fff) to assume that a tradition such as this one couldn't be rewarding, and great fun.

oh posey, as different as you think you and your sister seem, the two of you don't sound like opposites to me, and I think that the challenge of your question is a little overstated. Pick somewhere cool, with many different things to do - a city abroad, a cruise, etc. The possbilities are endless. Avoid doing something where you'll be forced to be doing the same thing as each-other, 24 hours a day. Vegas is a good idea. And I'd recommend Montreal, too - it's like a northern NYC, and although it's cold here in wintertime, it's still hospitable. And $4,000 would go a very long way in Canadian dollars, at winter rates. You could eat very very well, see theatre/opera/music, go dancing, or even out for a ski.
posted by Marquis at 9:41 AM on September 6, 2004

I agree with mischief.
If my daughter told me that my ex [her mum] wanted to do this, I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't be happy either, if it was intended as an annual tradition, not as a biannual or occasional thing.

Give dad a break!
posted by dash_slot- at 9:55 AM on September 6, 2004

Free trip? Every year? AFTER Christmas day? Am I missing something uber-complicated here? Maybe I'm selsfish, but sounds like a helluva deal. Plus, since it is only after Christmas Day, that does leave some time before Christmas Day open to spend with the dad. My my family's different, but we're still all about family tradition of spending the holidays together though my brother is married and such.
Anyways, I personally love cruises for family trips. Keeps things nice and simple. Can get away from the family on a whim, but also close enough in case anyone needs you.
BTW, you aren't from the Athens/Atlanta area by any chance (going by the 5-8 reference)?
posted by jmd82 at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2004

If this will be a tradition, there's a lot of leeway for pleasing everyone. Go someplace that your mom would love, and that you'll enjoy, be it Paris, Florence, Hawaii. Next year, let somebody else choose a dream trip. Visit National Parks, go skiing if you like winter sports or go to Key West and cheer the sunset. I've been on some family trips with adult sibs and it worked well to have dinner together, and some activities that everyone enjoyed, and also go seperate ways when our interests diverged.
posted by theora55 at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2004

we're still all about family tradition of spending the holidays together though my brother is married and such

Kinda screws-over your brother's in-laws, doesn't it, eh?

This FPP sounds all too much like Mom is trying to use the kids as a weapon against Dad.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:31 AM on September 6, 2004

Way to presume there, fff. I do suppose it helps that they don't know where his wife's dad is and her mom lives closeby and has nobody else except her daughter. Even if that wasn't true, there are still other days and even hours out of x-mas day if they she had Christmas-season traditions Also, some family traditions do involve in laws. I do know plenty of families where extended families will get together for the holidays renting out a house or something.
posted by jmd82 at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2004


It's the funest place on earth.
posted by Stynxno at 1:15 PM on September 6, 2004


Thirded. Obviously, you'll be able to say outright whether or not 'post-divorce manipulation' is a possibliity, but what this kind of thing says to the un-included parent is, "We are the family now, with our own traditions and our own happiness -- *you* are an outsider now." At least, that's what it says in my (divorced) family whenever this kind of thing is proposed. Years of experience have taught me that each person has to be able to maintian individual flexibility in divorced families. That means that each parent and each child is as free of obligations and 'traditions' as possible. This keeps the guilt to a minimum and let's everyone have a good time and enjoy each other's company without every vacation or event becoming a notch in the belt for the parent who gets to spend time with the kids.

Now, maybe your mom and dad are totally cool with everything, in which case I say, go stay in one of the National Park lodges at the Grand Canyon -- cheap and amazing. But, if *I* were in your shoes, and if this was proposed in my family, I would say: let's make it a tradition to go on a trip together somewhere, at least once a year -- maybe at Christmas this year, but maybe in the summer next year. Maybe next year your dad will want to have you over for New Year's Eve, but you won't be able to without disappointing your mom.Everyone will end up unhappy. To avoid that, you should just keep this flexible and easy. And, weird as it may seem, you may need to just establish that as the game plan right now, before things seem more set in stone.

Just food for thought -- a trip with mom and sister sounds awesome.
posted by josh at 2:23 PM on September 6, 2004

I didn't see that at all. It looks to me like a girls' week out, in which case a cruise or a big city like those listed above would be great. We don't know if she has other siblings, like a brother, either. Sure, maybe if the right moment comes up, the motives should be gently teased out, but at this point I suggest just having fun.
posted by calwatch at 3:05 PM on September 6, 2004

Unclench, jmd. That wasn't a presumption.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:10 PM on September 6, 2004

I missed 'the day after'. That would be alright. However, I am still skeptical about the 'tradition' part of it, since you and your sister are of the age to start thinking about starting families of your own.
posted by mischief at 9:25 PM on September 6, 2004

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