It's been said, but it was my first reaction, so I'll say it again:
Choose YOU. What do YOU want to do? Where do YOU want to be? Who do YOU want to be with the most, and when?
You need to address the guilt trips directly: "Please don't try to make me feel guilty for choosing how I spend my own time. When you give me guilt trips, I feel like you don't respect my needs."
If you have Christmas traditions, explain them to the other people. "This is a Christmas tradition. We've done this every year that we've been together. Tradition is important to me. Perhaps you and I can start a tradition on a different day near Christmas?"
Explain to your boyfriend that you can't spend all day at his family's, but that you'd love to join them for lunch. Have him explain to his family that Christmas is the day when you make most of your money, and that yes it sucks, but money has to be made. They'll get over it.
What do we do? Something different every year. Last year, my husband spent Christmas with his daughter in Mexico. I went back to my home town to spend Christmas with my parents. Even that was sub-divided. My parents split up 17 years ago, so "where do I spend Christmas?" is not a new question for me. This year, my husband and I didn't want to travel, so we're staying home and my mom is coming to stay with us. My girlfriend has an annual solstice party on the 21st, and my husband and mom will be coming with me to that.
Christmas isn't about December 25th. Christmas is most of December. There's lots of time to spend with people. If they can't suck it up and deal with it like grown-ups, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate those relationships. Do they value you? Do they value your time? Do they respect your needs? If not, start making changes. If they won't change, then think about whether it's worth being in a relationship with someone who doesn't respect you...
Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).
The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 12-20-2012 at 03:34 PM.