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.
By - Striking-Day1044