When we all started getting married years and years ago, we agreed to a simple Christmas/Thanksgiving plan. We would go to in-laws for one holiday and our parents for one holiday and then switch the next year. We've all been doing that for years.
Except my youngest sister. Her husband somehow (on purpose) always manages to plan something they “just can't miss” on the family holidays she is supposed to be with our family. Last year it was a trip to Mexico. This year it is a trip to her in-laws, since his mother is having surgery. But he has plenty of money. They could have flown in on Tday or after. He has plenty of vacation. They could have gone the next week. But they aren't.
My mom is furious and hurt. She says she isn't going to plan anymore family get-togethers. I told her it wasn't fair to punish the rest of us because M is such a control freak. S feels it is safer/easier to disappoint all of us than to tell M no. I think that's a bit scary. I love R to death, but if he were doing something like that I'd say, “Fine. Go visit. I'm going to my parents' like we said we would.”
My brother made his reservations only after making sure my sister was really going to be here. My middle sister made her reservations three months ago and made sure that M knew that she was coming and expected to see S for Thanksgiving.
All I can say is M is a jerk. If it would not make life worse for S, I would call and talk to him about rescheduling the trip. But I guess it would make it worse.