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Let sister live her life on her terms

Hi, Carolyn: This time of year is all about family and tradition. It’s not really about convenience.

I am 48 and the youngest of four children. We each have children, some have grandchildren, plus our father. Before our mother passed, Christmas dinner was held at our parents’. Now three of us rotate having Christmas for 25-28 people (one sibling lacks the space to host).

Last Christmas there were some difficulties with communication. My eldest sister ended up hosting, per my suggestion, out of turn, to settle the matter. This appeared to be the best solution at the time; however, at the end of the gathering she stated “it was just too much” and she is done.

Three weeks ago, I emailed the whole family inquiring about date, time, etc. A few days later, my brother-in-law sends a very curt, one-line email only to me, reminding me they are not participating this year.

In all of my 48 years, and her 58, our family has been together for Christmas. Now she has her husband email me with a statement like that.

My other siblings and I, as well as all our children, feel hurt that she so blatantly chose to carve us out. 

Yes, it gets stressful for me too, but in a good way because I know it’s temporary. I don’t expect my sister to keep up with me, but her complete lack of effort and commitment is really disturbing and I don’t know how to move on without being bitter. – A Christmas Challenge

Maybe your sister has simply had enough of being told where she must be, how much hosting she must do, and what the “best solution” is to suit someone else’s definition of what “this time of year is all about.” You are you, she is not, and why is that so hard to take?

Please, for the love of all things Christmas, let your sister live her own life by her own terms. In her 58 years, and your 48, that also might be a first.