Dear Annie: My in-laws celebrate every Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Both are heavy smokers, and the house smells extremely bad.
There has been chatter in the family about moving the Christmas Eve celebration to a nonsmoking house because there are some newborn great-grandchildren. We don’t want them exposed to the secondhand smoke, although Grandma and Grandpa smoke outside when there are guests. I am all in favor of this. The problem is, word got back to Grandma and upset her so much that she cried thinking we would abandon the long tradition of celebrating at her home. Now, no one wants to discuss it because we are afraid of hurting her feelings. However, some of the in-law children believe that in order for change to happen, Grandma needs to know we are serious, and the subject should be broached by one of her children. What do you think? Should we do it? What if Grandma doesn’t budge? Is it OK to boycott and not attend? That may cause a rift between some spouses. – Smokeless in Seattle
Dear Seattle: We understand your concern, but this visit is only for a single evening once a year. The children should be OK. If you are worried, open some windows, set up a fan, wear your warmest sweater and wrap the kiddies in lots of blankets. Christmas Eve is fraught with meaning for Grandma. One of her children can gently explain the problem and see what she says, but demanding a change will cause major friction. By all means, move the other family gatherings to nonsmoking locations, but let her have this one. There may not be too many more.