I know it’s a little early for this, but it’s starting already. My parents have been divorced for a very, very long time and both live near me. Even though they broke up many years ago, they still hate each other and do not speak under any circumstances. In the past we have always spent half of Christmas Day with my mother and half with my father and his wife and her children. So my mom just informed me that this year she does not want me to split the holiday; I think it’s because she got hurt and upset last year because she had cooked a big meal for us and no one was hungry. I can usually avoid these problems with my parents, and I hate the dynamics of the holidays, and I do not want to choose, but I feel like I have to. To complicate matters, my mom offered to have us over only for Christmas Eve and once my dad got wind of this through my brother, he decided that this year he does not want to do visits on Christmas Day, only Christmas Eve, so I would end up leaving her alone if I went to see him. What do I do?
Go to Hawaii.
We had a situation around Christmas a few years ago in which a variety of people (including, possibly, myself, but probably not since I’m a mature adult and would never do that kind of thing), announced self-righteously that they would not under any circumstances go spend Christmas with the rest of the family for a variety of reasons–some valid, some insane, and some that I’ve completely forgotten because the passage of time inevitably proves that all the things we get upset about regarding our families are bullshit 99% of the time.
Anyway, it was a disaster on all accounts, and everyone was mad, so we just completely changed our plans at the last minute and went to New York and had a great time and ate our way from one end of Manhattan to the other.
You’re not leaving your mother alone on Christmas; your mother is choosing to be alone on Christmas. I don’t even quite understand who wants who to be where when, but the gist of it is that you offered to come visit on Christmas Day, and no one appears to be available that day, which seems terrible but is actually really nice for you because it clears up your schedule to go to Hawaii and wear a coconut bikini top and drink pink things with umbrellas in them. You can go to your mom’s house on December 20, and you can go see your dad on January 3, and you can give each other presents and eat ham and throw snow at each other and get into Merlot-fueled fights over who’s going to host Christmas next year. Enjoy your husband and children (or whomever makes up your immediate family) and leave it at that.