Holiday invitation doesn't feel 'fuzzy'
BY Ask Amy
Sunday, October 07, 2012
10/07/12 at 4:54 AM
Dear Amy: With the holidays approaching, I am once again facing the problem of how to deal with an unwanted invitation. My sister-in-law lives four hours away. We don't have much communication with her during the year.
She comes to visit my husband's mother several times a year, but she doesn't contact us when she's in town; we have seen her at a birthday lunch twice in two years. She's always very nice, but that's the extent of our contact.
I have nothing personal against her, but she expects us to come to her house for Christmas and do the big family thing as if we're all warm and fuzzy, and I just don't want to do that. I think if we had a true family relationship that included us having some communication during the year, it would be different. But to want us to adjust our schedules to hers so we can celebrate a "family" Christmas just doesn't sit well with me.
Additionally, we are on a tight budget and the expense of having to stay at a hotel is out of the question. Her mother, children and grandchildren stay at her house, so there's no room for my husband and me. According to my mother-in-law, she often says how much she loves us and how my husband is her favorite sibling. But to me it's just lip service. If we had a closer relationship, it would be different, but I don't see us making the effort to go there when she excludes us the rest of the year.
Am I wrong to feel this way? How should I handle this? - Dreading the Holidays
Dear Dreading: One way to build a closer tie to a family member (or branch of the family) is to spend time together during the holidays. This is how traditions are made. You seem stung by a lack of attention from your sister-in-law during the year, but you don't note making any effort to get to know her. She visits your mother-in-law several times a year. You could email her to ask if she could come to dinner with you and your husband during her next in-town visit.
You need only to respond to a generous and enthusiastic holiday invitation by saying, "We really appreciate the invitation but won't be able to make it this year." You don't need to make excuses or supply details, but sincerity would be nice - even if you have to fake it.
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