Surviving the In-Laws for Christmas

The chestnuts are roasting on an open fire now! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so I’m sure many of you are already with or on your way to be with your family and friends for the holiday; which brings me to my subject matter for the night, “the in-laws”.

For those of you that have great relationships with your mother and father-in-laws, where the sun is always shining, the bees buzzing and birds chirping, this post is not for you. You don’t need help impressing or getting on the good side of your spouse’s family because apparently they already love you or are just doing a marvelous job of fooling you.

This post is for my readers who have to deal with those nagging, unimpressed, overly critical, “nit-picky”, hard-to-please, mumbling insults under their breath about you type of in-laws that make Christmas or any holiday gathering your own personal cross to bare!

SOOOO, Dr. O is here to help (with a little humor) but hopefully one of these suggestions or tips will help make your in-law encounter a little easier to get through or at least help you to maintain a plastered smile on your face by thinking about this post.

1. If you’re hosting Christmas Dinner at your house this year, at the VERY least make sure it’s CLEAN! That way when your mother in-law comes through the front door her first mumble will be something along the lines of you being able to keep a clean house.

2. IF YOU CANNOT COOK, DO NOT OFFER TO COOK CHRISTMAS DINNER OR TO BRING A DISH; your family folk will never let you live that down. Nothing ruins a party faster then horrible food, especially on a big holiday gathering like Christmas. My suggestion is to compensate somewhere else. Maybe let your father-in-law cook the meat (fry a turkey, BBQ, etc) and beloved mother-in-law make a few side dishes. Since the kitchen is not your area of expertise, put your focus somewhere else, maybe by dressing up more then usual or redecorating the dining area for dinner. A good presentation can go a long way! 3. Let’s say it’s your husband and father who don’t get along. Try this, every time you get a whiff off a brewing argument between the two, interrupt with something family oriented. Bring the kids in for a spontaneous talent show, start playing the piano and singing Christmas carols or shout its time to open the presents like its a Bingo night at the rec center. Anything to diffuse the situation at hand into something lighter. It may seem a little random to guests but at least you’ll be keeping the peace.

4. This one might give the impression that you’re trying to suck up to them,  but technically you are so you might as well try it anyway. Buy your in-law(s) a really nice gift, something they would never give you. An all expense paid weekend get-a-way, expensive jewelery, antique piece or something that you’ve known they wanted but wouldn’t get for themselves. The two of you may become best friends after this, or least until the gift jitters wear off.

How do you deal with your family coming to town? Do you have some special tactics to help you make it through?

Dr. O

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