Every year my DH and I dread coming to my parents house for Christmas. I love the lead up to the holiday, and my mom LOVES Christmas, but so much pressure gets put on the holiday that I just wish the actual day would never come. My parents are super generous, but the entire day becomes a power trip and a carefully orchestrated performance art, and I think I have finally gave myself permission to admit that I absolutely HATE it.
This year we had a horrendous family meltdown with screaming and crying because we didn't start Christmas at 9 am. We were ready at 9:30 am instead which was a huge sign of disrespect and brought Christmas to a screeching meltdown crying halt. All the "kids" are now in our 30s, and we will do nothing but sit around doing nothing for the rest of the day, so it is not like we kept youngsters waiting, or threatened other plans. My sister thinks it is because my mom spends so much time and energy on Christmas that if we don't start at a set time it means we don't appreciate the effort she put into it. My mom also had a very crappy childhood, and Christmas was her only happy time of the year. Still, the fact that we weren't ready on time became a huge referendum on all the ways in which my parents just can't accept me (didn't finish my Ph.D. program, don't like my career, don't fundamentally like who I am and think I need to be more serious in life). My mom literally told my sister that I should not have children because of this (since I obviously can't or won't keep a schedule, even though I obviously do this for work).
I now have the distinction of having ruined Christmas. It feels surreal and insane. I think next year we may very well just skip it all. I don't even want presents. I just want to spend the day in an enjoyable way where we aren't bored and miserable and feeling like we are trapped in a living Ibsen play.
We used to talk about the fact that we couldn't wait to have kids so we could choose to do things our way, but given how unsuccessful we have been at getting pregnant so far, I think we are just going to make sure we will be out of town next year.