6-8 wks before is rule of thumb, but that puts it right at x-mas. maybe they are going pre- t-day to avoid the holidays all together.
you know there are always going to be people in your life (family relations..) that are going to rub you the wrong way. I don't believe you can really change anyone, so it is really best to do what you need to do to get along, and if that is avoiding them all together, then you better move
Otherwise you just need to grin and bear(sp) it. If you get in a fight, people are going to see a fight. If you hold your head up, keep an emotional distance and do what you gotta do, people will admire your grace. If they are really mean and vendictive vs. just plain rude and clueless, you may need to cut them out of your life.
I once took a corporate training class on negotiation and conflict management that had a lesson that really stuck with me. The instructor said if you don't want to get in a fight - don't pick up the rope - it takes two people to play tug of war. no matter how many times the class went at him with horrible stupid mean people we had run into, he just kept repeating the same thing - don't pick up the rope. Now if someone's life is at stake or a crime is being committed that is differnt story. It is hard to do, but there are some people you just can't argue with, so 'don't pick up the rope' is a mantra I use from time to time.
good luck with everything, my fingers are crossed for you to join the morning sickness thread I was on earlier!!!!!!!!