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DEAR CHRISTINE: Dreading in-laws’ visit for Christmas


Dear Christine

DEAR CHRISTINE: Dreading in-laws’ visit for Christmas

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Dear Christine,

FIRST LET ME take the time to wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous and blessed New Year.

Christmas is just around the corner and I am dreading this season when I should really be looking forward to it.

My husband informed me just last week that his parents and my sister-in-law – his sister – will be spending the holidays with us. Please do not get me wrong. I love my in-laws, even though I do not think they like me as much I like them. I have no problems with my sister-in-law, but I had them visit on a few occasions and some visits were disastrous, in my opinion.

They sit around, do nothing, “complain” about my cooking at times and never help around the house.

The last time my in-laws visited they stayed for three weeks. Now, I am being told they will be spending five weeks, while my sister-in-law will be spending two.

I am not sure how I will get through this period. My husband is not a Barbadian and as far as he is concerned, long visits are acceptable in his culture.

When they visited two years ago, I was so exhausted, depressed and frustrated that I could not wait for them to leave the house. My husband and I have two children – both teenagers – and their grandparents dote on them, but they don’t really seem to appreciate me.

My husband is aware that five weeks is long, but for him, it’s like being “home” away from his place of birth, because he can inculcate some of his family’s culture and celebration into our Christmas traditions.

Would it be wrong for me to insist that my in-laws stay at a hotel at least for a week or two – even if I have to pay, and simply tell them it’s my gift to them for the holidays? Do you think it would appear too obvious that I do not want them around? My husband works very long hours and I cannot imagine being around them all this time. He is not happy with my suggestion.

Please advise me. I am close to tears right now. By the way, my husband and I are both in our late 30s.

– F.L.P

Dear F.L.P.,

There is a saying that blood is thicker than water, and I do not see your husband agreeing to pack his parents and sister off to a hotel – especially at this time of the year. You’ll have to live through the five weeks and do your best to be the gracious host and daughter-in-law.

Christmastime is family time. If they “disliked you” as much as you have alluded to, I don’t think they would wish to be around you for the holidays. There will always be differences of opinions but don’t allow their visit to take away your joy.

As far as the cooking is concerned, if your mother-in-law does not enjoy the local fare, let her prepare the dishes. That should give her something to feel good about and keep her occupied.

You can also take the time your in-laws are here to spend more time with relatives and friends. That way, you do not have to be in their presence longer than you desire.

It’s the season of “peace”. Whatever you do, make them feel welcome. Five weeks is not five years, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly this time will go.

– CHRISTINE

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