December 7, 2006


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Pinings: Survey says!
by Sherry Hughes

Dear Sherry,
There is a feud going on in my family. Two of my sisters are married with children. I’m not married, but I’ve been living with my fiancé for the last 2 years. We also have a brother but he’s not part of the fight. My sisters insist on staying at home on Christmas morning rather than opening gifts at my parent’s house the way we always have. We (my mom and dad, my brother and my fiancé) all want to be together on Christmas morning. My sisters say their kids should have time to do “the tree” at their own home. I think they can tell the kids that Santa stopped at Bumpy and Mimi’s house (my parents) instead and they can go there to do “the tree.”
My parents are in their 70s and won’t be around forever. They’ve never been invited to watch their grandchildren open gifts on Christmas morning. I know they feel hurt by this. My sisters have both invited their in-laws over to watch.
I think my sisters are incredibly selfish. They refuse to even discuss it with me. They show up mid-afternoon to exchange gifts with all of us and have Christmas dinner – and everyone else has to do all the work.
Am I wrong to feel angry? What should I do?


Dear Angela,
It doesn’t sound like your situation is a family feud to anyone but you. It sounds like your sisters are trying to establish their own family traditions. And it sounds as if that boundary isn’t working for everyone else.
What should you do? You should celebrate with your family and open gifts in the morning and then enjoy dinner with the rest of the family when they arrive. And you should ask your sisters to contribute to the meal in some way, whether they bring a dessert or have a ham delivered the day before. And you should let your parents handle their hurt feelings around not seeing their grandchildren open gifts on Christmas morning.
You are putting yourself in the position of taking care of everyone’s feelings. You can only take care of your own.
And remember that one day, when you and your fiancé marry and have children, you may have to make tough decisions about where to spend your holidays.

A note to readers: I received a letter from a reader that wanted me to remind everyone that lots of people have to work on holidays – particularly those in the service-industry, such as restaurants, convenience stores, hospitals, etc. The letter went on to suggest that we all need to remember that – and stop complaining that our holidays aren’t going the way we want or there’s lots of traffic or there isn’t the right cranberry sauce at the grocery store because some people aren’t even able to celebrate during the day because they have to work.
So there.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers at

Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at

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A Few Words From Sherry

A LIttle Joy, A Little Heartbreak
Abusive Relationship
Abusive Relationships
Advice to young mother
Annual Tips For Avoiding The Holiday Fight
Any Way To Return To 'Just Friends'?
At The Women's Expo

Back In The Same Place
Back Off, Buddy
Bad Breaks
Being Patient
Blog, Blog, Blog
Broke up

California Dreaming
Changing My Mind
Clearing It Up
Cooking Help
Confused and Angry
Consumed By The Internet
Crying All The Time
Dating Again
Falling Short
Family Friction
Friend, With Benefits
Friendly Secret
Gift-Giving Season
Go to Funeral?
Hunting Season
In Love and Confused
It's the most "beautiful" time of the year...
Keeping Things Secret
Just Sex
Lying, But Not Cheating
Might Get Married
Move Back Home?
My Boyfriend's Computer
My Roommate's Family
Mutual Intrigue
Needs Support
Newly Single Mother
No Explanation
Nosy Neighbors
Nothing Happened
Oh, Grow Up

On Her Way To 'Trouble'

Our Pal Al
Pretty Tight
Publicity Stunt?
Quiet, Please
RSVP, Please
Ruthie's Secret
Should I Stick or Should I Run
Should I Tell Him
Shy Girl
Splitting and Sharing
Stuck In A Sticky Situation
Sucky Gifts
Taking advantage
The Boyfriend & The Friend
The Difficult Coworker
The Letter
The Pain In Spain
The Sad Bride
The Ultimatum
Two Men At The Same Time
Vacation, Not

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