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Put the turkey down, Mom!

I’m not close with my family but they’re insisting on coming for Christmas this year. Even worse, my mom thinks she’s cooking for everyone! How can I tell them to stay away?

It’s hard, says our elder, but you need to put your foot down.

Dear EWC

Hi there, I have a problem with the holidays this year. I am recently married and live in state X with my husband. I had a rough upbringing and am not really close with my family. My in-laws (who I am very close with) live close to me and my husband. Because my family is spread out, we don’t really see each other for the holidays but my mom will randomly with a few weeks notice plan something and I’ll book a flight back. This Christmas my in-laws’ family is flying in from all over to spend Christmas here (as they did last Christmas). And now my mom tells me she is coming over for Christmas with my grandmother and brothers. My in-laws don’t get along with my family and frankly, my family just brings drama and fighting. I don’t know how to tell them they cannot come because it’s a holiday and I don’t spend any holidays with them normally and they are planning on flying in from other states and other countries. I told my mom we had plans and people staying with us and she just stole the spotlight and thinks she is cooking Christmas dinner for everyone now. I don’t know what to do. I haven’t told my husband yet because I know he will be furious.

Dayle replies

This will be hard, but you must put your foot down with your mother. Tell her again that your in-laws made their plans first. You committed yourself and your husband to their plans, and she will have to make other plans than to visit you. Remind her again (she may have to be told several times) that you will be with them. There will be no place for them to stay, nor will there be room for them to be involved in the in-laws’ plans. Then ask your mother what would be a good alternate time for you and your family to get together. You might suggest Thanksgiving or New Year’s. Or you might suggest that you fly to see them at a time more convenient for you and your husband. That will let her know that you have not forgotten her or the rest of your family and that you do want to have a holiday to celebrate with them. And remind her once more that Christmas is definitely out of the question.
Yes, there may be drama, and she may try to cut you off from the family altogether. You have to be ready for that, and be sure that you are willing to accept that. Be strong and firm. Otherwise, you will have to grit your teeth and let them come. However, if you do, you will be encouraging a pattern of behavior that will never end. What do you really want?

Letter #: 447273
Category: Family

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