Here’s a recent Christmas-themed letter from Dear Prudence you might enjoy, with my advice to follow:
Ahhh… the thought of having less time with your grandchildren makes you extremely sad? That’s too bad. You know what else is extremely sad? BEING BANNED FROM YOUR OWN MOTHER’S HOUSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Shame on you. You’re a disgrace. Why “Gertrude” (such an uglier name than “Ivy” and “Holly”!) even bothers to maintain any contact with you at all, let alone come visit you on multiple weekends, is surely a testament to the solid foundation and self-esteem-building love her father must have given her because I can’t imagine it’s a reflection on YOU, the mother who bans her own daughter at Christmas for no other reason than because her presence is inconvenient.
If you want to take advantage of Gertrude’s seemingly warm feelings for you and avoid a change of heart on her side, start behaving like a loving mother and open your home to her whenever she would like to visit, holidays included. Tell those other daughters of yours that starting immediately — yes, NOW — Gertrude will be invited to all family gatherings since she is, after all, family. If they have a problem with that, they don’t have to come. Or they can pick up the phone and work things out with their older sister, either agreeing to be cordial to each other or choosing which holidays to alternate their visits with you. They’re all adults, so let them work it out amongst themselves. Your job is simply to open your home to all your children and to never exclude one, especially, ESPECIALLY when you don’t even have one solid reason why her presence would be unwelcome. (And if you cared at all to know, you could just ask your two younger daughters — the ones who seem to have a problem — what the problem actually IS. And then you could even go a step further and discuss their feelings and try to reason with them why it’s important for your sake that they at least try to put their feelings aside during the holidays and make an effort to tolerate their older sister. But I suppose that would take effort on your part and why would you want to expend any effort when you already have “picture perfect” holidays without your oldest daughter and you’re so busy baking pies).
If your decision to welcome Gertrude to your home during the holidays means you’ll miss time with your grandchildren, you’ll just have to find some other time during the year — like maybe the weekend before Gertrude comes or the weekend after — that you invite them to visit or you go see them. Not all grandparents get to see all their grandchildren at every holiday every year. Most don’t, actually. That you apparently have had the honor to spend so many Thanksgivings and Christmases in their company is a rare privilege — one I would hope fills you enough with the spirit of the season to throw some compassion, love, and respect to poor Gertrude, your one daughter who doesn’t have her own family to spend the holidays with. If you’re lucky, she might just have enough compassion and love for you to overlook your appalling indifference to her emotional well-being.
You can read Prudence’s advice here.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.