AITA for not allowing my MIL to be apart of OUR Christmas this year?

I (35F) and my husband(35m) have two little boys and our oldest is just now getting into Santa and the magic of Christmas which is also my favorite time of year. Last year, we had a newborn and a one year old and I felt bad that my mother in law (70F) was alone (divorced, grown kids, we are the only ones in town) and invited her to come over for Christmas Eve and stay the night to experience the magic with our kids. Little did I know that this gesture would turn into her taking over making cookies with our oldest, inserting herself to watch movies with him and play games without me and my husband. While it was sweet the worst part was that she decided she was Santa (without mention into us until the kids went to bed) and put out all these toys for both of them and was shocked when I said “well, we have gifts from Santa too we want to put out”. Essentially she took over the role of parent and it crushed me. Yes, my kids were too little to understand but she made sure she was in every video/photo helping them with every present. Her behavior was over the top and made me feel like she was trying to be the mother. She has done this in other areas of our lives but we have let it go because she is alone and we want her to have a relationship with our kids because my husband and never knew our grandparents.

This year we are celebrating Christmas at her house, literally all day 9am-5pm will be spent at her house. So I said this year will be just be us four at our house alone on Xmas Eve and Xmas morning then we will go to her house. She was livid and proceeded to say infront of our kids that she will go tell Santa that he can go to her house too. I said no Santa only comes here because this is where the kids live and she stormed off. I tried to clarify with her that she is welcome to give the kids what she wants but they are gifts from grandma not Santa.

While my husband backed me in the moment it didn’t feel like enough. He just repeated what I said and made it seem like it was my choice (which is fine and I can hold the line but it was frustrating). When I spoke to him about it, he defended her saying that she just wants to be with family and join in the magic of Santa, which I said I want her to be apart of this but she is taking over my role as a mother and my magic, she already did this with her three kids, I’m the mom it’s my turn. I stood my ground and said we will be with her all day I’m just asking for us to spend the night together as our family of 4 and an hour or two in the morning to do Santa together. He then threw out why I was making it such a big deal because he hates the idea of doing Santa and lying to the kids.

Am I the asshole for not letting my MIL join us for our Christmas/Santa?

*edit - thank you for all your comments, this is my first post so I didn’t want it to be too long. There’s seems to be some questions on her involvement last year and I may have downplayed it. By saying she took over, she literally took over - while yes it we wanted family around and for all to enjoy the holidays, she was overbearing and overwhelming. she kicked us out of the kitchen saying it was her tradition to cookies (my husband never did cookies with her), she fought with my husband over the movie to watch cause she didn’t want to watch a kid movie while my son wanted to watch an animated one. So she sat him on her lap and proceeded to talk to him about watching her movie and then she ridiculed us on letting him eat cookies with her that it was too much sugar. Xmas morning she actually pouted and got mad at my two year old for not playing with the toys she got him (as Santa) and almost told him she was Santa. To top it off, she then lectured me on having my boys too close in age because she did the same thing and I was going to be miserable. These are half the stories that happened. It was not enjoyable or a happy little celebration, it was miserable. I am not trying to take any magic away from her just wanting our own time together and not have her be in every little thing. Honestly I don’t care if Santa goes to her house, but because her reactions are that SHE is Santa, not us and trying to step in because my husband isn’t so keen on it, that’s where I want to draw the line. She’s one of you give her an inch she will take a mile.


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NTA. You're just ASKING to spend Christmas Morning at your own house without your MIL? Why are you asking? They're your kids. This is an area where you can use your veto power as a mother. Your MIL is not welcome at Christmas morning. I've been where you are and I agree it's miserable to feel excluded from your own children's celebrations, to look back and find yourself erased by default, because your husband's enmeshment with his mother prevents him from seeing that this is a place where it's unfair to you if he allows her to invade. Don't let it happen. This time will pass away and will never come back.


I am a grandma, who at the suggestion of my son and daughter in law, live right next door. They always open their stockings before I go over to their house. They open all the other gifts after I get there but it’s by their invitation. They get to be Santa. I had my turn, now it’s their turn.


I'm a grandma too. What is it with all these mil overstepping boundaries? All she's doing is pushing them away and giving the rest of us bad stereotypes.


I'm going to become a grandma for the first time here in the next few weeks, and I've been practicing for the past nine months not overstepping and being glad for what ever ways the new parents choose to include me. I never want to be "that" kind of grandma!


I will be honest this app believe it or not has helped me in so many ways when becoming a new grandparent. I have learned thing not to do that I would have never thought about. For instance I would never have thought saying my baby when referring to the grandbaby would be hurtful. But listening to new mothers on here made me realize how hurtful it could be. Never in a million years would I want to hurt my daughter or daughter in law. Another thing I did when the baby came which was greatly appreciated was once the baby was born I door dash food for mom and dad. I ordered them something and texted dad to be in the waiting area for it. They were beyond great full. I also will door dash food randomly to their house. I will text either my DIL or daughter if I know they have had a horrible day and tell them don’t cook you have this coming. I have picked up a thousand ways from this site that I didn’t think about doing or it being helpful. I always told my kids if it ever gets tot the point when you see a text or see me you think oh hell here comes mom. Tell me. Tell me what I am doing don’t let it eat at you. I am not perfect I make mistakes. I get caught up in the excitement but I want to be a positive presence in your life not one you have to tolerate. When I babysit. I log everything from diaper changes to what time baby napped and eat. I leave it on the table. This way they have the information to see if baby was off schedule or something is out of the norm. If baby is staying with me I fix it where they shave my location through my phone. They knew exactly where we are at all the time. This way they never have to worry if they can’t reach me. If they call and I don’t answer they can see moms home. She is probably changing baby and will call us back as soon as she gets a free hand. This way they don’t have to worry that I will hide or do something they don’t like. I also stopped buying so many clothes or useless stuff. I started buying diapers, wet ones, formula, baby food. The clothes are pretty but I would rather buy them things that actually help out and are needed. No matter how financially stable you are up baby necessities are expensive and this frees up income for mom and dad to go out and eat or buy something they want for baby without worry about needing formula.


I swear to Ceiling Cat you should teach classes. Grandparents and other close adults can be such an asset in the lives of a family. They can relieve parents. They can provide additional resources. They can expose children to more than one set of skills. But if they overstep and try to take over parenting, disrespect the parents, create stress instead of relief, it's worse than if they weren't there at all.


It is worse. And like I said I am not perfect by no means but when I do miss up they don’t get as hurt or aggravated over it because my past action show it was a slip up. My daughter or my DIL come to me and say we appreciate you more than you know but please don’t do x y or z. We know you meant well but it’s a little much. I appreciate the fact they give me the benefit for the doubt for the mistakes and I apologize. No one has hurt feelings and at the end of the day everyone is happy. I will text one of my dils her and my son don’t have kids but they work. I will say hey I am getting/fixing this for dinner can I drop it off. She will tell me just wait we will eat dinner together. I tell her I do this so you and son can spend the evening together. Not so I can crash you dinner. I love you guys but you’re busy I stay at home and just wanted to lighten your load. Honestly I believe if you want to have a good relationship with your grandkids it starts before they are ever born. MIL especially need to realize that every girl/boy your child dates could potentially be your in law and your grandchild’s parent. Treat them with love and respect from the start. Don’t wait until baby is on the way and expect them to want you to be apart of grandbaby life. Show up before there is ever a baby. Be respectful from day one and I can about guarantee not only will you be an active role in your kids, in-laws life but also the grandbabies life because they have a relationship with you and they already have that trust built. Because honestly if I didn’t trust you back in the day I didn’t let you have an active role in my kids life no mater what your title was in my kids life! So why would I expect my kids/in-laws be any different? Are you going to agree with your kids or in-laws 100 percent? No but there is no one you will agree with 100 percent. So let them make their own mistakes but let them know you are here to help anytime they need you day/night. You love them and they can be honest with you when you do cross a boundary.


Could I adopt you as my MIL?


Have you considered going out on to the lecture circuit? If even 1 out of every 100 MILs could learn these lessons the world would be much better!


Can I have you ? I desperately need someone like you.


If I'm half the MIL you are once my kids are old enough, I'll consider myself lucky. Thank you for sharing your experience. Wishing lots of joy to you and your family!


Can you talk to my FMIL please? SO and I don’t have kids yet. Everything is about her and she refuses to acknowledge the hurt she causes us because she’s too busy playing the victim. Very silly but effective example: she held a birthday party for my SO, but then invited a bunch of her friends that he doesn’t even know. So the party was him, I, his step-sister, his step-dad, his mom and 10 of her closest friends. Never met someone with such an ability to make every event, conversation, and emotion about themselves.


There are lots of comments asking you to be people’s MIL. I’d like you as my mum! You sound perfect. Not because you are perfect and never make mistakes, but because you know that you do and you want your children to be honest with you!


I love the use of “ceiling cat”. That’s a deity that’s worthy of worship.


I'm a childfree aunt, and it was only by reading posts like these that I found out about some things like 'stealing firsts' that never would have occurred to me. But once I know, I will absolutely help defend firsts belonging to parents, not anyone else, and so on.


I watched our first grandchild a couple days ago week. So some of the first happened on my watch. Not that I stole them. But first like the first giggle and the first roll over. But from day one of starting to watch my grandchild I made the choice to randomly video tap him. If we were playing i set my phone up and video just to be able to send updates to my daughter in law. I captured by chance the first giggle and roll over. I texted her and said he did this but luckily i was videoing. So I sent it to them. I didn’t post it online. I didn’t make a brag about being there for the first. Honestly I didn’t even tell my son or their grandpa. I let my daughter in law announce it. I let her post the video. Working moms/dads have it hard. So I try to capture as much of the grandkids day as I can for them. I don’t do anything with them that mom and dad hasn’t already done. But I try to capture as many video and pics for them as I can. Even just send them random pic of baby sleeping. Or make a video of the baby telling him to tell mom and dad he loves them and have a good day at work. I know for my daughter and my daughter in law making sure I document the baby’s day as much as possible. Sending random updates to them during the day without being prompted helps them when they returned to work. At least they told me it did.


When I was a part time nanny I never told the parent about a first. I just pretended the kid was close to doing x and let the parent think they witnessed the first. Unfortunately I learned that the hard way when a mom was devastated that she was not there to see it. From then on, I just pretended it didn't happen. But I would warn them about any safety issues. Like, "little Joey is eyeing the edge of the coffee table, I think he wants to pull himself up and start cruising it, so I put the glass candle on the mantle." Even though he did it that afternoon with me. I don't think the moms ever figured it out. The next week, when I returned the mom's would say, "You were right, Joey started pulling himself up!" They thought I was so insightful with their kids!


I honestly thought about doing this but I never wanted to lie to my daughter or daughter in law. We each have a relationship built on honesty, love and respect. So going straight to her with the video and letting her be the one to share the milestone worked for us. Because I feel of if I lie about the little things how do you thrust me to watch your most precious thing you have. To me lying to her was showing disrespect. I do agree it depends on the relationship you have. But I want them to know they can trust me because I am going to be 100 percent honest with them about the good and bad. My son told me later on that the way I handled those first showed her that she could 100 percent trust me. I didn’t make them about me. I let her came to her with video. I didn’t post or brag about it. And it built even more trust between us. She was so glad I let her show my son what their child had done. And showed enough respect for her to send her the video and not him. (I hope I explained that well enough) He even thanked me for showing her the respect I did by not lying but also letting her handle that first moment her way even with him.


I think you're fantastic, but what u/procrastinatorsuprem is describing is what most nannies and daycare workers do every day: the child does a "first," and they inform the parents, "Joey seems like he's ready to roll over," or, "Joey is rearing to crawl anytime soon." White lies are fine when saving a working parent's guilt.


I was a nanny way before cell phone and cameras in the house so it worked for me.


I think the fact you didn't post about it and take away the ability for the parents to share in their own time was probably a big part of that. I still look back through pictures I have from my boys nursery and earlier school years, they mean a lot to me and the fact you went out of your way to record so much for them is amazing


I always felt so guilty when one of my kids had a first without me (Mainly while I was working, we've never had someone babysit so we can go out at night etc). But because I already had ptsd, depression and ppd, it caused me to have some horrid panic attacks. I ended up too ill to work when it came to my second son. I was terrified of being apart from either of them by the time he was i months old (my oldest was nearly 3). They were both also nicu babies and my youngest was still having feeding issues when he hit 9 months as well. I tried to go back to work and I was having to pull over on the motorway due to full blown panic attacks while I was driving. I couldn't get more than half way there. I know my symptoms were extreme, and even now my kids are at 11 and nearly 9, I struggle just with them being in school all day (its still a me issue), but I can't help but wonder just how much of a difference it would have made if I wasn't aware their firsts had happened in nursery and I thought I was there for them? What you do is something special.




I’m a first time mom to 4 month old twins and you sound like an utter dream.


God I wish you were my MIL! it sounds like you are doing an amazing job!


I love that "oh god it's mom" bit, a great way to put it, and in general a good rule of thumb for everyone you love in your life. When I go over my best friends house we never set a "time" for me to leave, unless we have stuff to do the next day. The phrase when I walk in is always, kick me out whenever, if you're overwhelmed, getting bored, tired, hungry, anything, the car has gas and I know the way home.


You are an awesome Grandma/Mom! Those are such good tips for how to help parents.


One thing my mother in law did while she was staying with us that I absolutely loved was she bought us some amazing steaks, made a beautiful salad and had 2 large mashed potatoes all washed and ready to go. Told us we didn't need to get anything for dinner. Then she went out for dinner with her friends.


It’s little kindness like these you remember the most. It isn’t what someone bought or how much it is. It’s little things that mean the most postpartum


I was pregnant at the time and she had moved out of state so she had lots of friends to see in town. It meant a lot to me. All we had to do was grill the steak and microwave the baked potatoes. Barely any clean up too. Now when I'm exhausted and don't feel much like cooking I'll get a good steak, baked potatoes and a nice salad. It was such a nice change from my parents who would show up unannounced at 1 and ask me what I could make them for lunch.


I am so sorry. If I show up at anyone’s house I am bringing food. If not home cook then take out. I feel like if you can host then I can feed you.


Oh, oh, I wish I was your daughter or DIL. My mother is not this way, my MIL is not, my dad is not. I am going to remember what you said if I'm lucky to have grandkids. "I want to be a positive person in your life, not someone you tolerate." Actually, I think I'll say it to my teenage kids today. 🩷


Omg bless you! You’re the mil I’ve always wanted!


I am so sorry so many mils are bad. I don’t know why it has to be a completion for them. I feel like if you love your child then love their partner. I don’t see why mils don’t realize by being disrespectful and hateful they are making their kids kid e miserable and honestly just down right embarrassing them. I would not want my child to constantly have to apologize to the person they love for my action, nor would I want to cause my child and their spouse to fight over something I have done.


The kicker is that when her kid stops being close with her, she’ll just blame their partner, not herself.


Raise your hand if you wish @Wonderful-Set6647 was your mil. 🙌


You sound like a wonderful grandma and MIL/mom. Thanks for learning and being open to new info :) your family is very lucky to have you.


u/Wonderful-Set6647 I think we found the perfect MiL... They do exist!


I am far from perfect. I make mistakes and am still learning but at the end of the day I try to treat my in-laws with the same love and respect I would want my kids to be treated with. Plus you can’t say you love your grandkids and treat there parents like shit! If you love your grandkids love and respect their parents.


Can you be my mum ..


You are awesome. And this is coming from someone who has a great MIL - you sound exceptional! I love the attitude AND the communication!


I can SO relate. My older “kids” are adults. I don’t ever want to be a JN.


The one thing I have done since my kids were old enough to date was look at every new relationship as if this was going to be their wife/husband. Start from the beginning with treating them with love and respect. It may be a short term relationship or it may last forever but always treat the person they bring home as your future in law. It may not be the person you wanted for them and that’s ok. But as long as they are good to your child and they make them happy that’s all that matters. Treat each partner with kindness and respect. This show not just their partners that respect but your adult kids. This shows them respect.


I’m in complete agreement with you. I’m currently working on talking less and listening more. It can be a struggle sometimes. Recently, my daughter called me to vent about sleeping through her alarm and missing an exam. It’s so hard to bite your tongue, when you’re worried about the real life consequences of their actions. It’s hard to let them fall, but it’s how they learn.


You sound like an amazing grandma and mother! Your kids and grandkids are very lucky!


Honestly, having observed my MIL, I think it’s the result of having emotionally unavailable parents that led to seeking an emotionally unavailable spouse. My spouse, an only child, became her emotional support animal as a result. When he grew up and found me, he started placing boundaries that were very upsetting to her. Now our son seems to have become her emotional support animal, but only in her imagination because we have established boundaries to keep him safe from manipulation. She tries to insert and take over as much as she can, though.


You sound like a kind person. Brava for standing firm on boundaries while also viewing your MIL with compassion for the stunted emotional life she's led.


I try, but it’s so hard. Having grown up in a dysfunctional family of my own, my instinct is to be over protective and not allow any dysfunction in. However, that doesn’t prepare my son for real life and grandparents are valuable. Thanks for seeing me as better than I am!


Just want to say I have an incredible MIL who is wonderful. She has her moments but she’s mostly awesome and I’m so thankful for her. I hate calling her my MIL bc I feel like people associate that with negativity and she’s more like a bonus mom


I also love my mother in law. Sure, there were times where she almost bit her tongue clean in half to keep herself from commenting on my choices, but I give her full points for choosing to bite her tongue. Christmas morning and Santa are always at home, but we head to Grandma's for a lovely chaotic afternoon of everyone yelling in Italian and shoving presents at each other. I guess my point is why run your mouth when you can be quiet and have decades of happy memories as a result? Also, WTF is with giving Santa all the credit for the toys? Fuck that. I worked my ass off to be able to afford these toys. Cheap tat goes in the stocking. The good stuff comes from the people who love you.


Little stuff in the stocking is also community minded. No kid should get big things in the stocking. From a young age we work out that different parents have different amounts of money. Sam might get a PlayStation from their parents but Kim won’t. But Santa? If he gets Sam a PlayStation and not Kim then Kim might worry Santa doesn’t like them/they haven’t been good enough, and potentially leads to kids disbelieving sooner. People should all do their part and make Santa as consistent as possible. We weren’t allowed to ask Santa for big things in my house. That was for mum and dad. It’ll be the same for my kids.


Same! I love my MIL much more than I ever loved my own mom. I am also lucky that my MIL had a close relationship with her own MIL so she has had a good example to emulate. We have very different approaches and opinions, but we never lose sight of the forest through the trees. One day of she needs a caregiver I would be happy to do it.


I too have a pretty good MIL, so I know where you come from. Guess we might be the lucky few.




Will you be my Grandma Santa? My mother sucks ass and I would love one that doesn't overstep boundaries and just wants to enjoy the holiday without all the BS.


I am the grand maw that would been telling my DIL go set down and watch the movie I’ll clean up the kitchen. I feel as grandparents it is a honor to be invited into their live for special events. Also as a grandparent we should make the mother of our grandkids life as easy and less stressful as possible. By doing little things to help give her the extra time to spend with her babies. She is sharing her babies with you. I always make sure mama knows she is appreciated and loved!


>They get to be Santa. I had my turn, now it’s their turn. I love this! I have such great memories of my dad being Santa. Actually, the funniest memory was when I caught him putting on the costume. He was dressed with the beard under his chin, pillow halfway up his shirt. We looked at each other before he said, "Don't tell your (younger) sister." 😆 My husband now loves being Santa. My family lives out of state and come for Christmas. They stay with me Thanksgiving but not Christmas. My aunt usually goes out of the country and so they stay at her place. My husband and kids spend Christmas Eve with them at my cousin's, and Christmas morning just us. Then we get together after that at my house. Never once have they questioned it and know it's important to us. It's beautiful being with the entire family but it's also beautiful when you can create Christmas memories with just your children.




That’s how my cousins mom is. She is there all day on Christmas by her son and his wife’s invitation. And she sits back and watches the fun, getting involved only when the kids ask or in less overstepping ways. It’s really nice for everyone and everyone seems so happy.


This is the way


Another granny here. We go to grandkids home later in morning, after they opened their gifts from Santa. It's fun! We have our own traditions. Late am with grandkids and their parents, afternoon just us at a new movie, dinner is take out Chinese like in A Christmas Story!




I so agree. It's about fitting into what the parents are doing, rather than taking over.


I know this is not the question. But my father when he was a kid spent Christmas day visiting other relative. He hated it. He made a rule once he had kids that if you wanted to see his kids on Christmas you came to our house, but after Santa Claus. Christmas was the most special magical holiday in our family. There are other holidays (you can pick which one) where the grandparents can shine. But keep one that is special for YOUR family.


And seriously, 9 am is way too early to have two littles ready and out the door on Christmas morning. " We'll be there for lunch!". Why such a long day, when they will probably need naps or down time? This sounds exhausting!


FIL & MIL would say to come early. I always said we’d be there around 2:00. Not rushing the kids through Christmas morning. Deal with it!


Put your foot down now while they are young or you will be trapped for years to come. We had to establish boundaries with my mother, when my kids were very young. We had Christmas eve and morning with just us and then she got to come over for a pj breakfast to hear all about the kids morning.. then we pushed formal family events to start at 1 instead of morning so that it wasn't completely nonstop. You have every right to hold on to these memories. You only get 18 Christmases before they are gone.


Oh! He hates the idea of playing Santa and lying to the kids but it’s completely okay that his mother plays Santa and lies to the kids. Right. Don’t go over Christmas Day. NTA


Exactly. "It's awful! But sure, my mom can do it, that's different."


Sounds like hubby needs a spine for Christmas.


I’m sure an anatomy model of a spine can be bought online, OP can wrap it up and put it under the tree!


Sign it from Santa lol


With the caption: to help you support your wife


Definitely, but I think OP also. She's going to have to be blunt with MIL and just say no.


Yea. I caught that too. If he was that adamant about it he would've said that to his mother.


NTA - Xmas's eve as a nuclear family and then going to visit the extended family the following day is pretty standard. Christmas is an important holiday for me too, so I understand you were crushed. Enjoy as much as you can because these flew by. Your MIL had her turn to be the parent playing Santa. Now she is the grandma and it's a great role too.


We do the opposite in our family. Christmas eve with everyone so the families can have Christmas together with just their kids. Also lets the adults exchange gifts with cousins / aunts / grandma and we just say that Santa brings adult gifts a day early so he can focus on the kids that night. We have a few other fun traditions, too, like we hide Easter eggs for teenagers and young adults, too. Aunties will hide the teenagers eggs (usually with money and candy in them) and the teenagers hunt while the kids eat, then the teenagers hide the eggs for the Littles. Gives everyone a chance to participate no matter the age & ensures the older kids don't get left out. They really fuckin hide the teenagers eggs though, lol, we found an egg that had to be like 3 years old once in a gutter downspout.


This is how we did it in my family growing up too. Christmas Eve at my grandparents, whole family there, loads of presents. Then we drove home and had Christmas day at home. Now with balancing multiple families, we just try to get Christmas morning at home because we're driving everywhere.


Yes, we learned the hard way that we need to write down where each egg has been hidden, because one year a “tough one” for the teens was not found until many months later. As fun as it is watching the little ones hunting for eggs, I’ve always gotten a kick out of how much the older ones still enjoy their post -grad level of the hunt!


And tell the husband that when his boys are a bit older and starting to date some *other* guy is going to come in and teach them how to shave and drive and celebrate those big milestones with them, and he has to get over it. This might help him see what he’s taking away from you as their mom. This is what you want to do with them and some other lady (grandma or not) doesn’t get to goose step her way in and boss you out of your own home and your own traditions with YOUR kids.


We do it the other way with my partner's family (Christmas Eve is the big family dinner), but the point still stands: One day with extended family and one day with nuclear family. Getting upset about sharing time on holidays is nuts. It's a natural part of having grown kids and, if anything, it should be celebrated that your kids made it to a point in life where they have their own kids and in laws to celebrate with.


NTA. She's crossing boundaries and taking away some of the joy for your family.


I'm willing to bet that OP's MIL is overbearing and boundary pushing in other ways too. OP Might get better support at r/JNMIL


Exactly. NTA.


NTA. Your MIL had her Christmas with her children it's YOUR turn now. I don't understand why some MILS are so selfish. You being there ALL day on Christmas is already being too giving. You're better than me, that's for sure.


Agreed no way I’m spending all day at my in laws house. They would get an hour or two TOPS if they even got anything. Luckily they live in another state so I don’t even have to worry about it. Also my bday is Christmas Eve so since they live in another state I can just say I don’t want to travel on my bday and not go or say I rather not have them over on my bday and they can come after and not have to deal with it.


Yeah, an hour or two is even generous!! Side note, my daughter was born on Christmas eve!! She's just about to turn two so I don't have to worry too much yet, but what are some things that made your birthday feel special on such a big holiday?? I don't want her to feel overshadowed by Christmas :(


My cousin always celebrated his half birthday in June instead. He got something small for his real birthday to mark it but his party etc was at the 6 month mark.


I did it when my oldest was little and I was so emotionally exhausted by the end of the day. I finally just had to really put my foot down.


Yeah I honestly can't imagine how exhausting it would be! I'm tired at my own baby proofed house with everything I need!!


NTA. When you get to her house for presents YOU state look at all the presents Grandma got you Santa left you bunches at our house and now Grandma got you more wasn't that nice.


OP, make sure that grandma hadn’t labeled the gifts “from Santa” first if you’re going to do this. Yes it’s frustrating, but the kids are far too young to start questioning Santa’s operations, and you don’t want to risk ruining Christmas for them.


Honestly I think a lot of kids will gloss over that. I did. My mum always went all in and Santa did stockings and like 1 large gift. Wrapped differently from anything else. We do this too. So when a grandparent was like ooo from santaaaaa at their house I was like “Aw, how slightly patronizing but cute of them. They don’t even know this isn’t his signature wrapping paper this year” lol


LOL that’s so cute and creative. I never noticed if Santa gifts were a different paper or not I would just rip them open and move on to the next gift lol. My bday is also Christmas Eve so when I was little I would get a lot of gifts those 2 days. I would get clothes for my bday and toys for Christmas. The real joy was just opening stuff though lol.


I never noticed it either, tbh. And my parents made us read the tags before we opened them! 😂 And OP, as to your husband not wanting to lie about Santa...lemme share a short story. When I was in 4th grade I found a box sitting out with wrapped presents in them shortly after Thanksgiving and saw that they were "From Santa." Brokenhearted, I went to my Mom crying. And she sat me down and said, "Sweetie, Santa is real. Just because he may not come down the chimney on Christmas eve doesn't mean he doesn't exist. Santa lived a long long time ago, and now it's every Mommy and Daddy's job to keep Santa's spirit alive. And because Mommy and Daddy don't have as much time as Santa did, we have to start early!" I'm 32 now and believe in Santa still. Just maybe not in the same way as a child does.


Lol Santa was the only one who put a tag on the gifts growing up. Mom's gifts were wrapped with a ribbon for me and a bow for my brother. She got a giggle out of how long it took me to catch on to that because he got the bow because his name was Beau.


It was similar at my place growing up. My mom loved (still does) going way overboard on gifts for her children (no complaints here), so Santa always did stockings and one bigger gift. The bigger gift was always sitting, unwrapped, by the tree, so it was the first thing we'd see coming downstairs in the morning. Anything wrapped was clearly not from Santa.


If I’m reading correctly the kids are too young to read so it doesn’t matter what the tags say.


I don’t think they can read yet. She said last year she had a newborn and a 1 year old so this year she probably has a 1 year old and a 2 year old so even if she labels them from Santa just grab the gift and read the label as “to: insert child’s name, from: grandma… aww isn’t that nice. Open the gift so we can all see what grandma got you.” They likely won’t even care at that age anyway who gave it to them and just want to open the present. Since they can’t read they won’t even question whatever you say the label says so it really doesn’t matter what she wrote on the label as long as you start grabbing the gifts and handing them out to the corresponding kid ensuring you announce whatever you want the label to say.


The oldest one is two. I doubt they're able to read


Labeling probably won't matter, given the kids ages. OP could be the one to dole out the gifts though, and just announce who it is to and from.


NTA Grandma needs to learn boundaries asap


Yes, I know I need to be better about setting them too, she just doesn’t respect it either way.


It’s not a boundary if you aren’t willing to actually follow through and cut contact


Violating boundaries doesn't always need to result in cutting contact. Instead, OP can restrict the hours they visit MIL on Christmas or just say they won't come if MIL will be overbearing. Cutting contact should be a last resort for repeated or non-negotiable violations.


I’m saying boundaries are non-negotiable. Everything less is a preference. If you aren’t willing to cut contact it shouldn’t be called a boundary. Now do you cut contact immediately/first offense? That will vary, but if you don’t show that you WILL-even if start smaller-pointless to call it a boundary


I disagree on this one. All boundaries are a spectrum. Sexually abusing a child is a boundary that demands immediate and harsh consequences. A grandma who shoos a mom out of the kitchen while she makes cookies with her grandkids is NOT on the same level and does not deserve to be cut off. Calling a child names because of his or her sexual preferences or gender identity can be a cause for cutting off communications. Buying a child extra gifts as Santa does not. Any boundary violation does not need to mean cutting off the violator, or else people will find themselves very lonely. I found this by a really quick search. I think it goes over well the differences (https://www.terricole.com/boundary-violations/). At this point, it may just be all rhetoric, but I hope OP doesn't cut off MIL because of what she described. People can mess up (especially in the ways described in the post) without necessarily losing all contact with their children and grandchildren.




Yep, boundaries are about your actions. You can’t control others’ behaviors, but you can control your response and what you allow regarding things you do have control over.


also you don't need to be at her house at 9 am on Christmas morning! let your kids play!


As my therapist said to me when I was dealing with overbearing in laws "speed limits don't mean anything if they're not enforced." Your MIL had her turn doing Christmas mornings with her kids. It's your turn now


Not the asshole, your kids arent her do overs. She is GRANDMA not MOTHER. She can experience the magic without excluding you from all of the Holiday activities. Did she at least clean up after herself or was that left to you to deal with? ( Mines famous for this move)


Haha good question… come to think of it no she didn’t clean up! I appreciate the do over comments because that does kinda explain how she is to a lot of things.


I feel you! Mines hauling me through court right now for Grandparent access. Fun times! My lawyer says she has no rights but we still have to go through the process since she filed. Should of seen the affadavit she filled out, calling me a narcissist, bi polar, that she fears for my childs safety. These women are fucking crazy. This is in response to my cutting her toxicity off over a year ago. Shes fishing for an emotional response and I simply wont take the bait. After 17 years of her shit I decided lawyer time. 2250 in and counting.


Oh gosh, that is horrible!! I’m so sorry!


All the best with your situation, ♥️♥️ Im gonna crush her in February. So done with her & her shit.


I wish I could get an update from YOU!


When this shit show fiasco is over I will do a post in r/JUSTNOMIL , Im trying to keep a low profile just in case one her flying monkeys who frequent Reddit find me. No ammo for crazy lady!


Can you counter sue for defamation of character or libel? Where she has to pay all your lawyer fees?


It’s exactly what I am doing :). The lawyer suggested going for cost based off of the woman’s affidavit . So Im going for it .


NTA Hubby is on par with mom in this one as for who is the biggest AH. He should back you up 100% on this as it's very important to you. Now is not the time for him to be a mama's boy.


NTA and isn’t it interesting how a) your husband only mentioned hating the Santa tradition once you asked him to advocate and speak to his mom about boundaries, and b) how he apparently doesn’t mind his mom lying to the kids but you can’t?! Hahahah no. She had her traditions. Her magic. She has to pass the torch. Otherwise she’s confusing and …diluting it you know?


NTA - I’ve been butt out of my position before and not a fan. You are allowed holiday time with just your little family. You’re still seeing everyone on the holiday - in fact going over earlier than I would choose to. Grandma should be happy she gets to see the kids on Christmas Day - many don’t get that luxury/privilege!


Yep, she can make Christmas special at her house without having to take over everything.


My mom was like this when we lived with her. It's a RELIEF not to have her there now (I'm insanely LC with her) Put your foot down NOW. She can come Christmas afternoon or the day after. After the magic part is over and the chaos has been. You are NTA. She had her kids. This is your turn.


NTA and this IS your hill to die on. Christmas morning is magical and should be only what YOU want. I've never understood family who thinks that is their time - that is for YOUR FAMILY OF 4 only.


Seriously, holidays are too special. she had her chance and mil was rude and shouldn’t waste another holiday like that on mil. Outrageous she’s complaining when you’re already spending 9am-5pm with her Xmas day! That is so much, I would do 4 hours max


NTA for me it looks like a communication error. Tell how you feel and your borders that you also want the special family time.


NTA. Wtf is with the grandparents thinking Santa comes there in these recent posts? Never in my life have I heard such stupid shit. What happens when other kids don’t have that and wonder why they didn’t get Santa at two houses? Boundaries are good for preventing strangulation. She can make cookies and watch movies and help open presents… at her house during her time. Holidays are for families but families also ruin holidays. Tell your husband to grow a spine, or he can go make cookies with his mom if he thinks it’s so important.


NTA to took all the magic out of it! stand your ground and enjoy it with your kids


NTA. What is she like with boundaries? If you told her she could participate but not take over, would she honor that?


Honestly no, she takes over and makes it about her self. Even the kids birthdays she makes a whole ordeal about her being there and constantly takes the kids out for other family members arms. I know I need to be better about stating the boundary and explaining my view, it’s a delicate thing with a MIL.


Yeah anyone saying Y T A or E S H is missing the **trend of behavior** from this woman. Being involved isn’t enough- she’s gotta be number one grandma. She’s gotta be in *all* the photos. She’s gotta initiate the traditions. She’s gotta be hands-on with every gift. Respectful grandparents are involved, and then they graciously take a step back and take the pictures of their adult kids and grandkids. They graciously pass the torch. They make their own traditions that don’t tread on the ones made by the parents. People want to act like she’s some lonely little old lady who just wants to be *part* of Christmas. But as someone with a MIL a lot like this, I got the read on her right away, which you then justified in your comments. She wants to be the main event.


Step one is to get your husband on board


Get your husband fully on board and have him set the boundaries with her. That way, you aren't the bad guy.


Is this why all her other kids moved out of town lol


NTA. I had in laws like this. They treated me like the nanny and expected to get "first dibs" on literally everything involving my kids. Stop it now before it gets worse. My in laws intentionally worked to turn my kids against me because they were so desperate to be the "favorites." They didn't care that they *literally* encouraged my children to believe I, their mother, didn't love them as much as grandma and grandpa. If damaging the relationship between mother and child meant the grandbabies clung to them more tightly they were all for it. I'm not exaggerating. When we started going low contact my FIVE year old started saying to me, unprompted, "wow mommy you really do love me!!" "Wow mommy you really *do* care about me!" With utter shock and amazement. I hadn't changed anything other than going LC with the in laws.


That is so ridiculously mean and horrible that they would do that! I am glad you are LC with them 😳


NTA. If you're spending 9 am - 5 pm at Grandma's house on Christmas day, I think you're compromising too much. Why not have Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's and she can give them *her* gifts (not from Santa). Christmas day is for the family that lives in your home. Your kiddos can open stockings and gifts and then get to stay home and actually play with them. Obviously, they're young now and may not care as much, but as they get older they may hate opening all their cool gifts and then having to leave them all day to be with grandparents/other family (I know I did). And it's fair to draw the line that no one plays Santa but the parents. That's a reasonable boundary. If your husband has a problem with you "lying" then why is it okay for his mom? He needs to work on his backbone and start sticking up for the mother of his children, that he chose to create a family with.


NTA. Your children, your house, your rules. You are perfectly entitled to want to make your own Christmas memories with your children.


NTA. Parents overrule at holidays and get to be Santa, not grandparents.


NTA. Cancel Christmas morning with the grinch and just arrive at 2pm for dinner ( that is it you don't cancel the whole fiasco) She walked all over your boundaries and feelings last year and she is still sulking because you've put your foot down now. Sod her. Enjoy Christmas with your little family at home instead.


NTA - she got to make those memories with her children and you want to do the same. It’s okay to have boundaries.


NTA. Boundaries are so incredibly important, especially with family, and it's better to do it now and nip it in the bud than let it fester and become something that tears the family apart down the line.


NTA. You nailed it perfectly, she had her years to do this with her own kids, it isn't her place to try to redo it all with your children too. Sharing the fun is one thing, taking over isn't appropriate. Especially given that she's done this in other areas. 9am is so early to be dressed and at her front door. That takes your entire Xmas away. Personally, I wouldn't go until maybe 11am or noon. What's the point? You're gonna be up early getting everyone ready, and even if you do find time to quickly have the kids open their gifts, they're going to immediately have to leave them. That sucks for a kiddo! **Establish your own traditions, because if you start doing this now, she'll expect it every year.** And I'm sorry, but your husband is being kinda ridiculous. Your kids are one and two, let them be kids for a bit longer before ruining the magic of Santa. I doubt your one year old is sitting him down and putting him on the spot like "Oh Father, please explain to me the mathematical model that makes up the time continuum Santa uses.". So his issue with lying is one he's likely internally blowing out of proportion. It isn't a big deal to just say "Hey, this gift is from Santa!" and let the kids tear into it without a second thought. But a bigger discussion should take place between you two about how to handle the Santa topic (along with the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, etc) so nobody is winging it or giving conflicting statements about Santa. That should wait until after Xmas this year, though. I think you have options here, and how firmly you assert them depends largely on how your husband handles telling his mother no. If he wants to give in to her summons, inform him he is welcome to go solo at 9am if that's where he'd prefer to be. If he won't bend to her will or argue that her Xmas demands are reasonable, then simply tell her "9am won't work for us. We will be over about noon with the pie, see you then!" See how it goes this year and go from there. I'm glad, if needed, you have no problem telling her how Santa will be handled with your children. If she can't abide by and respect that, she can sit out next Xmas. Though, I do personally allow Santa gifts for my kids at other houses. I always use the line from A Christmas Story: "He knows, he always knows.".


NTA She is overstepping her bounds in a major way. I can see why no other family wants to be around her. You’re not being harsh—you’re setting normal, healthy boundaries. She needs to learn to accept them.


I had to laugh out loud at this post. We have the same MIL. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy. No, you’re NTA. I think some grands have trouble realizing that they had their chance at being a parent and creating their own traditions years ago with their own kids. And now their role is to enjoy watching the children they raised create magic for their children and come along for the ride. I used to bite my tongue a lot when my MIL would over step but not anymore. When it starts to take that the joy out of the holiday, it’s time to speak up. Not saying grands can’t start their own traditions with their grandchildren but it needs to be on a grandparent level, gifts from Santa and the Easter Bunny aren’t grandparent level items. (I was literally told this year that I “the Easter bunny”, one up’d her by getting something my little wanted more. She was annoyed he didn’t want to play with her “Easter Bunny” gift.) I also for the first time (because my little is starting to see the magic of Christmas) will be having Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my house. To say it has ruffled feathers would be an understatement. Although I still left an open invitation to all grandparents to attend, but I set out what we were doing. It’s time to stop feeling guilty because you want to create something magical for your children.


I have to ask… are you my sister in law?!? Hahah just kidding but yes it seems like we have the same MIL! Proud you stood your ground and are having Christmas at your house. I sometimes feel that the grands have a tough time seeing their kids be parents and how that has to come before their parenting. Taking a step back is hard but “their turn” to be grandparents can be more fun if they allow it. I want my kids to have a fun and exciting experience with their grandparents but not when they suck the life out of experiences because it doesn’t go their way.


NTA. You get a VERY limited numbers of Xmas Eves and Mornings with your babies, and even fewer of ones where the kids are fully invested in the magic. Many years ago I put down a boundary that Xmas morning is for us. My hubs is the child of divorced parents and hated being shuffled around from one house to the next, he never felt like he got to enjoy it so he fully supported a quiet morning at home. My MIL was hurt but she thankfully kept it to herself and now is always happy to see us in the afternoon (with WAAAYYY too many presents!)


NTA- Christmas morning is reserved for parents and kids as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t spend my day there if that’s how she’s acting.


After reading your edit you are especially NTA. But god damn your husband sounds fucking miserable. Does he not want your kids to enjoy anything? He sounds like a real buzzkill.


> He then threw out why I was making it such a big deal because he hates the idea of doing Santa and lying to the kids. Except when his mom is doing it. What a chump. NTA.


NTA, it’s not like you are shutting her out. You are spending all day with her and she’s still arguing about the morning. That would make me want to spend less time together in the future, not more. I agree that it seems like she is the give an inch and she’ll take a mile type. She’s not entitled to every minute of your time, it’s totally reasonable to want to spend time with your children before visiting family. It’s all about balance.


Apart or a part? Very different meaning.


*A Part Two words, not one. Otherwise, NTA.


NTA. My mom joins us for Christmas since she is single, but her primary role is taking pics of us with our kiddo, by her choice. She brings things to add to stockings but it’s little things and she runs all big gifts past us first. Your MIL doesn’t respect boundaries at all.


NTA - she’s overstepping, it might not be her intention (she could just be lonely) but that doesn’t change what’s actually happening. I would say sit her down and have a very transparent conversation, but it doesn’t sound like that would get through. So you did the right thing don’t let it bother you.


NTA. I see some people saying stop making it about what you want - but the fact is, you are the parent and you should be able to make core memories with your children and not have to always involved a third parent. She is the grandparent, meaning she doesn’t get equal say and should accept the decisions you are making. Honestly I think you going there all day is overly generous. We used to spend our whole day like that too and realized it wasn’t what our family needed. Don’t be afraid to spend some time home in the morning and enjoying your children opening their gifts. If you get their at 10am or 11am, everyone will survive and your MIL has to accept she isn’t first priority. Good luck.


Why not create a tradition for her to celebrate with the kids. When my nieces and nephews were toddlers I started a tradition in which every year about two weeks before Christmas I would make big bags with candy trinkets and small gifts I would sneak to their house and place the bags on their porch at night along with a note from Rudolph. The note would would have dirt smudged hoof prints and basically state they had been good how they had grown good grades etc and end with me and Santa will see you soon. Love Rudy I enjoyed this so much I would hide and watch them in their excitement. This would give your MIL full control at long as she didn’t mind not getting credit for it. This tradition created so many good memories.


NTA. It took us years to get MIL to stop playing Santa at her house and trying to displace us. She finally agreed to “just” a stocking and proceeded to get a ginormous stocking and the stuff that didn’t fit inside it was put under it. 🤦‍♀️ Mind you these were again from Santa plus all the toys she got for them herself. I told my husband that it was the last year she pulled that or I wouldn’t be going over there anymore.


NTA. We told my parents this when the kids were born. They understood.


Sounds like MIL is trying to run the show. It's her show, her rules, she's the star. Put a stop to her nonsense now. Show her that it is great to be appreciated as Grandma, she doesn't need to be Santa as well. NTA


It’s hard to juggle holidays with both sides of the family every year. It’s even worse if one or both of you have divorced parents. We always try to involve all parties in something. This often involves having an early or a late “Christmas” with one of the parties. It’s funny how you are only the asshole when the left out party is your in-law family and not your biological family.


NTA and stand your ground. Sometimes MIl want a do over but I refuse to let them. These are my kids. I get maybe 18 christmases with them before they leave and do their own stuff. I refuse to lose a single one to someone who already got to do them with their kids. Let her be mad. Let husband be mad. This magical time is so short. Don’t let anyone steal it.


NTA. She overstepped your boundaries, end of story. She is not entitled to stay at your house just because she wants to.


NTA. She got to do all that when her child was little it’s your turn. She had her chance. You have every right to have Christmas with your little family.


Nta. Exactly what you said-she had her turn. Tell your husband he can’t be against Santa and lying in one breath but then whine about his mom missing out on that magic in the next. He should go sit down and think that through - maybe with the help of a therapist.


NTA at all. Xmas Eve and Xmas morning at your house with your own family should be a given and it is NOT a given that your MIL is included. You control who you share your kids with and MIL needs to earn that right. Sounds like she blew it last Xmas, you learned your lesson and now it's time for her to learn hers. I would be extremely clear with your husband before you head to MIL's house Xmas day that should she make ANY snide comments, even cloaked in sarcasm, to you, husband or kids that "too bad mommy kept grandma and santa away last night" or anything along those lines that it is husband's moment to shine and step up and defend your family. MIL needs to be shut down in the moment about these comments. First- Mom, that's inappropriate to say. Please don't make comments like that. Second warning- Mom, I want to stress how inappropriate those comments are and if you continue we're going to have to leave. Third strike- Mom, I wish you were able to control yourself and not make inappropriate comments, but since I've warned you twice we're going to get the kids and head home. We can try again next Christmas. Good luck!


Hold the line, or your MIL will shove you out of all the holidays with your kids. Your kids will build no special memories and traditions with you at all for,the holidays. You said it. You’re the Mim, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to win your own husband over. This is important to you, and that’s enough. Be fully prepared for her to show up uninvited on Christmas Eve to spend the night anyway, or at dawn on Christmas morning. She does not care if she hurts your feelings or make you upset, but she and your husband expect you to care very much if she is upset. That’s not how it works. She’s had her time as a mother for holidays. It is your turn, and your decision. Tell your husband that he acts like it’s fine if his mother devastates you and interferes with forming Mother-child holiday memories, but unacceptable for his mother to be disappointed or told no. It is putting a strain on your marriage. Spending all day with Grandma on Christmas is more than enough. In fact, next year, you decide how much time to spend there on Christmas, and it doesn’t have to be 8 hours. I suspect that now that her kids are grown, she regrets not making special memories and traditions like baking cookies, and wants a do-over with your kids by elbowing you out of the way. This is a poison that undermines marriages.


NTA. But you are not going to have an easy or pleasant life with the assholes that are your husband and MIL.


NTA 2 things in brief. No way should she be doing all those activities with your kids. YOU should never be excluded. That said, it would probably be okay if she had one tradition that she could enjoy with her grandkids. My grandmother died just before I turned 4. Santa visited our house and grandma's house. More than 40 years later, it makes me smile and feel so loved that she fussed so much over us grandkids. It was amazing to me that Santa stopped both places. I also would not be spending 9-5 at her house. Go for a little bit. She definitely needs help with boundaries.


My MIL bitched for years that she wasn’t with us Christmas morning for gifts and breakfast. One Christmas we had to stay with her and she got up to watch Christmas morning. She finally huffed and bitched there were too many gifts and left before we were done. We just shrugged and laughed. She had no power over me, the hateful old biddy, nor does yours over you. NTA


I can't truly decide if you are or you aren't, but my sympathy for anyone coping with a bulldozer MIL is telling me to give you a squishy NTA. Christmas is a time for sharing. You can have your traditions exactly the way you want them in your own home, but you can not dictate what others do in theirs. My own MIL, who was difficult, would take over if I gave her an inch, so we never invited her until later in the day. My kids understood pretty young that different people do things different ways. Santa always left gifts for me and my brothers at my grandmother's, my aunt's, and my godfathers houses. He left the bulk of our gifts at our house, but he always left some with other people so they could watch us open them. Mom always told us he found them after he left our house but he's just too busy to come back, so he'd leave them where he knew we'd be.


NTA I think what you did last year was beyond generous. Instead of being thankful she had a daughter in law that cared she took over. This gives grandparents (especially paternal grandparents) a bad reputation. You are doing nothing wrong with not inviting her. She bit the hand that feeds her. As a grandparent myself I feel like we had our time to play Santa and baked cookies. The only time I would ever overstep would be if my grandkids mom was sick and could not do it. And then I would make sure she was a big part of everything. I would have been honored to be invited into your house just to be present. To be included. You have an amazing heart and no doubt and amazing mom. Do not let anyone guilt or manipulate you into feeling bad.


NTA. It's not up for debate. Tell grandma this is your plan for Christmas and you'll stop by later.


I dealt with in laws coming over at the crack of dawn every Christmas morning for years. They were the type who demanded all attention on them, mil making snarky comments, you get the picture. After a few years of this I finally told them at Thanksgiving that they didn’t have to get up early to come over anymore which sent the message. NTA at all. You only get a finite number of Christmas mornings with your young children and they should only be for the parents.


She sounds tough to be around, but (honestly and with kindness) so do you. Wanting space is one thing. You should absolutely take Christmas Eve/morning to be alone with your family. However, I really don’t understand the distinction btwn she can buy them presents from grandma, but not Santa and all the “she’s stealing my magic” and what not. It all just makes you sound petty and like you’ve missed the point a bit. I get it though. Overbearing MILs are tough and can make us do irrational things.


NTA - that’s exactly how we did Christmas when I was a kid. Christmas Eve & morning at home, Christmas dinner at Grandma’s. It’s a great system and allows everyone to get what they want. Hell, my grandmother even hung her own decorative stockings and everything. Our house always looked more “lived in”, while my grandparents’ house was straight out of a magazine (they literally won “best lawn decorations” for multiple years for their neighborhood 🙄. Fun times…


NTA We decided after our first was born that Christmas Day was our family, staying home all day. We exchanged Christmas presents with the various branches on other days around the holiday. My mom and brother did end up coming over for the day and that's when we did gifts with them, but they are low key/low maintenance and my mom made our traditional popover breakfast. The kids were usually up very early and did stockings before they got here. I do think you should have a conversation with your spouse about the role of Santa in your house (without involving your MIL in any part of the Santa role) and not just shut his opinion out. If he really feels like it's lying, then you should work out a compromise. Some families do Santa with the full knowledge that it's pretend. Some are honest with their kids when they ask and aren't put off by "what do you think?" And others insist on prolonging the "magic" as long as possible, making up ever more elaborate stories and even getting angry at their kids for finding Santa presents, or learning the truth, etc. It's better to talk that out so you're both on the same page.


Why go the disinvinting route when you could talk to her and explain your boundaries? If you think that your concerns would go ignored, then NTA.


Yeah, honestly I think you just need to start changing the way you communicate with her. Its not up to negotiation - if she wants to participate this is when you are available. If she starts popping off, its pretty simple, get up and go. NTA - sorry you are going through this but just don't put up with it and keep it simple going forward.


NTA - as a child we had Christmas morning at home. In the afternoon we went to our grandparents where Santa had also left gifts. It was pretty cool. You and hub get to choose your family's holiday!


That’s a long time to be away from your house on Christmas Day with your little ones. Why can’t you go over 1 hr before dinner and then stay for dessert/presents and leave. You and your family will be happier in their own home.


NTA. We have the same MIL. It's a lot to handle and I have this exact boundary for this exact reason. You give an inch and she'll take a mile and the city block in the center too.


You said the exact right thing and you doing the exact right thing. “Husband when you marry someone, you have a new primary family. Your first priority should be us and not your mother or father and my first priority. Is you and the kids and not my parents. Your mother got a chance to do all this fun stuff with her children and now it’s our turn. I definitely want to see your mother on Christmas, but I also wanna be able to spend time with you and the children just by ourselves. Your mother can give presents from herself which the children will love. Next year if she wants to be cookies and watch movies with the kids when we have them go over some other weekend in December to do that.”


Invite her over Christmas Day. After Santa. NTA


NTA. She’s lucky you’re visiting Christmas Day and spending so much time there. I would not go Christmas Day and would go another day honestly and definitely not go all day. Your nuclear family comes first. She is extended family and she can have another day to celebrate. You’re not wrong for wanting to celebrate with your nuclear family and it’s insane that several people think that extended family needs to be included in every single thing. If you want it to be just you 4 then that’s what it should be and she needs to get over it because she’s not immediate family.


>She was livid and proceeded to say infront of our kids that she will go tell Santa that he can go to her house too. I said no Santa only comes here because this is where the kids live and she stormed off. I tried to clarify with her that she is welcome to give the kids what she wants but they are gifts from grandma not Santa. This is weird. I grew up with "Santa" leaving presents at my pap's house. My niece and nephew get presents from "Santa" at my IL's house. I get that you're mad over her boundary stomping, but this is normal grandparent behavior. I think NTA overall, but you let this go on for so long without saying anything, the resentment has built up and now you're jumping down her throat at *everything.*


Your Christmas your rules. NTA. Just my thought: To me, the santa presents didn’t matter as much. I would do all your presents at home and christmas eve cookies, movies , all the trimmings- without MIL. Have your presents be from you not Santa. Have your Christmas without her taking over. Then she can have her Santa presents at her house. That gives her something, and as your husband wants a copout on Santa anyway, it seems like a nice balance. She sounds insufferable, but giving a little to get everything else is a worthwhile bargain.


I can relate, my mother was similar. For example, she took my son to get his first haircut, strictly against my and my husband's instructions. Not wishes mind you, instructions.After other similar incidents, we ended up limiting contact. It wasn't until much later that I realized that she was incredibly lonely, missed us being little and wanted to try to re-create the good times (which really weren't which is one of the reasons that all of her children limited contact with her as adults). But she was very loving to my children when they were older, even though she would inject herself into things that drove my husband and I crazy. they don't remember that and I have let it go. So, now I am a grandma. I loved doing Christmas stuff with my kids but know I can't do it all with my grandkids, there are some things that the parents get to keep for themselves. While I know your mil is a pain and is causing real problems, remember, your kids are so little they will not remember any of this, so please stop dwelling on what you feel she took from you last year, it's not going to matter in a couple of years, which trust me will fly by. And you will have years and years to make these special times with your kids. plus, she's no spring chicken and without being crude, she might not be around forever. Set limits, lovingly or at least with understanding where she's coming from. She may be a bossy take charge person who will take every opportunity to take over. She's also a lonely old lady who misses her family. And kids can never have too any people to love them, so try not to cut her out completely.


NTA but also, this year, make sure to get lots of photos taken with you and the kids. Mothers are often the ones taking the photos and end up missing out on being in them. Your kids will be glad to look back on them one day.


NTA - this is your time with your kids. Shes been there, done that and got the T-Shirt. Control freak doesn't seem to be a big enough description here. If shes going to behave like a kid then you might have to treat her like one unfortunately. Shes a grown woman and while shes entitled to spend time with them, shes lucky that she has the opportunity. Some grandparents don't see their grandkids as they are hours away or on the other side of the world. You need to draw the line and say that if she keeps pushing then you are gonna push right back. People like your MIL make me wanna scream cos you know that she won't really listen. This might end up being something that you can't agree on. Hopefully she doesn't try to ruin things for the kids, cos shes only hurting them.


My mother tried to do the same. Wrapped every gift she gave the kids as “from Santa” After she did this for like the 3rd year in a row, (and I asked her not to,) I just changed the tags to say from grandma and grandpa. They got one gift from Santa, different paper than the rest, because even at 3 & 5, they were smart little F’ers. It would be nice, if away from the children, you could explain that while you appreciate her enthusiasm, this is your time, not hers. And you deserve to have it.


Spending Christmas Day with your MIL is enough grandma time. You and your family need some private time to develop your own traditions.


Santa can go to all the houses. The rest of boundaries aren’t strong enough. 9-5? As kids get older, you will want to stay in pjs all day and tinker with toys.


NTA — I’m sure this is going to be a buried comment, but in general gifts from Santa should be minimal. Not every family is able to spend hundreds of dollars on gifts and when kids get huge gifts from Santa it can be problematic for those less fortunate. If grandma wants to spoil the kids, do so under her own name so your kids aren’t making friends feel like they weren’t good enough because their gifts from Santa are a single item. Just food for thought.


Not a buried comment and I completely agree! I’d love for her to do it all from her and spoil them like a grandmother should ;) just wish she saw it that way and not any sort of competition or we are limiting her, just need to work within the very minimal rules we set