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Mom Bans MIL From Opening Christmas Gifts With Kids After She Made It About Herself Last Year

Child hugging her grandmother in front in front of a Christmas tree.
pixdeluxe/Getty Images

While Christmas is usually a day everyone looks forward to, others are somewhat less excited.

Owing to the fact that they have no one to celebrate Christmas with.

While many people will often open their homes to those who have nowhere to go or no one to celebrate with, some are a bit more hesitant.

As they like to celebrate Christmas their way and don’t want other people getting involved.

Since she would have been all alone, Redditor Striking-Day1044 welcomed her mother-in-law (MIL) to spend last Christmas with her and her family.

A decision the original poster (OP) swiftly regretted owing to her MIL’s behavior.

As a result, the OP made it clear that this Christmas Eve and Christmas morning would be her family only.

A decision the OP’s MIL did not appreciate one bit.

Wondering if she was being unfair, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

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

The OP explained why her MIL was not welcome to spend Christmas morning with her or her two sons this year:

“I (35 F[emale]) and my husband( 35 M[ale]) 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 (70 F) 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 playing games without me and my husband.”

“While it was sweet the worst part was that she decided she was Santa (without mention to 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 in front 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 a part 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.”

“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 for 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.”

“Am I the a**hole for not letting my MIL join us for our Christmas/Santa?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for forbidding her MIL from spending Christmas Eve or morning with her family.

Everyone thought that the overbearing behavior of her MIL was more than enough reason not to include her, especially since the OP and her family would be spending the majority of Christmas day with her, with a few even questioning how good an idea that was.


“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 on 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.”- Reasonable-Sale8611

“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.”


“Don’t go over Christmas Day.”

“NTA.”- Professional_Ruin953

“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.”- Timely_Proposal_1821


“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.”- loglauriey

“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 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?”- Ladyughsalot1

No one wants to spend Christmas alone.

However, when someone has the generosity to invite you to share their Christmas with them, it’s probably wise to be their guest and go along with everything they have planned.

Perhaps if the OP commandeered her MIL’s Christmas day, her MIL might reflect on her previous behavior and learn not to make the same mistakes again.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.