Mom supports despite son’s girlfriend to keep tradition of Christmas hike going

A mother is praised for continuing her family’s Christmas tradition of a morning hike, despite her son’s request to ‘downgrade’ her for his girlfriend.

The mother, u/ViolinistOk9892, shared her story with the popular Reddit forum r/AmITeA****** and received 13,100 upvotes and 2,500 comments for her post in two days: “[Am I the A******] for not downgrading the family hike ahead of the Christmas feast for my son’s friend?”

The original poster (OP) states that their son “Porter” is bringing his girlfriend of six months “Emily” for Christmas this year. The OP is clear in saying that they “don’t have time” for “all the fuss about the [mother-in-law]/[daughter-in-law] dynamic” and thinks Emily is a “great addition” to her son.

When they had a Skype chat on Thanksgiving and made plans for the Christmas vacation, the OP mentioned that they would bring walking shoes – adding that they would “have plenty of Yaktrax when the trails are icy,” which refers to a brand covered by handles that can be attached to boots that give the wearer extra traction.

Emily wasn’t sure what the OP meant, so she explained that her family has a centuries-old tradition — when she was a girl, her family made the trek, as did her husband’s family. Many of her friends even have a similar tradition.

“She went quiet and asked if she had to. I said no, of course she doesn’t have to, but we always did and I was surprised Porter didn’t mention it,” wrote u/ViolinistOk9892.

Porter called the next day and said Emily would have trouble keeping up even on the easier trails. Instead, he suggested the family take a “nice short family walk around the neighborhood” to make Emily feel like part of the family. The OP instead suggested that he and Emily stay home that morning while the rest of the family goes on the hike.

“I remember being young with Porter’s dad and how special those early Christmas mornings always were. Also, this will be her first time with family and it’s going to be a lot,” she said.

Porter resisted this suggestion, telling his mother she “don’t hear him” and that they should go on a smaller hike or something else entirely. She countered that it wasn’t fair to the rest of the family to change years of tradition for one person. She also offered that if they stayed behind she would be happy to take the two for a quiet walk later that day, but he reiterated that she “didn’t hear him”.

christmas hike family tradition reddit aita
A mother is supported for sticking to her family’s years-old tradition of a Christmas morning hike.
iStock/Getty Images

Hiking is a wonderful way not only to exercise but also to see some amazing views. However, problems can arise when an individual is not as hardy a hiker as the rest of their party. Wesley Trimble of the American Hiking Society gave news week a set of tips for the novice hiker.

Trimble said that even with the Christmas hike a month away, it’s possible to train for it. The first step is simply to get out and walk—starting with shorter, slower walks and gradually adding more time to walking each day.

“People should listen to their bodies. Everyone is different in their base fitness level, medical history, and attitude toward training, so people should adjust their training accordingly. As a basis for walking, regular walks throughout the week with maybe one longer walk each week is a good start, and remember to put in rest days when your body is in pain and needs a break,” he said news week.

Once walking becomes a regular routine, Trimble says the next step is to train for specific trails. For example, if it’s a steep walk, he says, try to build more hills into your daily walks. If someone wants to hike uphill but lives in a flat area, don’t despair! Trimble suggests climbing stadium stands, stairs, or inclined treadmills.

“With shorter days and colder temperatures this time of year, it can be harder to get outside, so running on a treadmill might work for some people, but if the planned hike is on rougher terrain with a bumpy path, that’s it also a good idea to get used to walking on uneven surfaces,” he said.

Even with these daily hikes, it’s best to use the hiking shoes, along with a backpack with the gear needed for the actual hike, to get used to the extra weight and shoes. Shoes should fit well and have good traction and support.

“Your feet are literally your foundation, so take care of them as best you can. Happy feet make for happy hiking,” said Trimble news week.

In terms of useful tools, Trimble says that in addition to traction devices like Yaktrax, trekking poles can also be helpful because they “provide extra points of contact with the ground and can help with balance.”

“The biggest advantage of trekking poles is that they reduce stress and pressure on the knees, especially when descending steep sections of trails,” he said, but added that when it comes to one’s fitness versus equipment goes, fitness is the most important thing is time.

Trimble also recommends taking a few minutes to read the American Hiking Society’s tips on etiquette and the principles of Recreate Responsibly. But he also had some advice for the OR and the rest of the family.

“I encourage groups to let the slowest person set the pace. If that person isn’t comfortable setting the pace for the group, it’s a good idea to take frequent breaks and allow everyone to catch up and regroup. Ask how everyone is doing and rate the group’s morale before proceeding. Calm hikers may not talk about how they are feeling because they may not want to disappoint the group, which can lead to exhaustion and other serious circumstances and a less than pleasant hiking experience.

“If the group decides to split up, make sure there’s a clear plan communicated to the whole group so everyone knows when to turn around and where to meet,” he said news week. “The Christmas hike tradition sounds great, and I hope some of these tips will get the family and new girlfriend up for a fun hike.”

Redditors has sided with the mother in the debate.

“He can also take a shorter hike with her. While it would be nice for her to join the great trek, he can also take her on a shorter and much easier one,” said u/Alwaysaprairiegirl. “It’s nice that he wants to accommodate her, but it shouldn’t be at everyone’s expense. You can have a quiet time together. She will probably be grateful for that. If I could have skipped church and the in-laws could go back then I would have been a lot happier just being alone for an hour or two.”

“They could make it a winter picnic – and if that’s their plan all the time it wouldn’t be embarrassing as they wouldn’t finish the trek because she couldn’t keep up but would instead have a cute little outdoor date on their first together.” Christmas party. Just dress warmly, bring a thermos and blanket, and drop them off at a lookout point,” suggested u/Meriadoxm.

“[Not the A******]! My family also hikes during the holidays and I’d be really surprised and maybe a little defensive if one of my sisters tried to switch things up for a new boo,” u/sunfloweries said. “But I suppose Porter is fair in trying to stop any embarrassment or fear from Emily’s POV. it’s cute, just misguided. he wants to protect her from being seen as an outsider! Just make sure they know it doesn’t affect how you feel about them.

“[To be honest,] you sound nice [mother-in-law] and I’m sure you’ll be able to connect with Emily in your own way!” they added.

news week asked u/ViolinistOk9892 for a comment. We have not been able to verify the details of this case.

Did you have a similar Christmas dilemma? Let us know at We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work, and your story could be featured news week“What should I do?” section. Mom supports despite son’s girlfriend to keep tradition of Christmas hike going

Rick Schindler

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