Life Advice



Ask Amy: Estranged daughters mess with Christmas

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am a widow with three adult daughters, all of whom live close by.

My two oldest girls stopped speaking to each other shortly after my husband died eight years ago.

There was no big falling-out — just a slow simmering of resentments.

My youngest daughter and I spent years imploring them to work things out, to no avail. It’s an upsetting situation, but, ultimately, we realized that this is not something that we can fix.

After the older girls stopped speaking, my oldest daughter declined to come to any family event that her sister was attending.

Consequently, she has not shared a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with all of us in years.


I have continued hosting these events as usual, stressing that everyone is invited. Nonetheless, my oldest has opted to visit me on Christmas morning rather than share a meal with her sister and she spends Thanksgiving with me only on the rare year when my middle daughter is not in town.

Here is my problem: Two weeks ago, my oldest daughter told me that she doesn’t think it’s fair that her sister gets Christmas dinner, and she only sees me in the morning. She is insisting that I swap them this year.

This puts me in a terrible position. I don’t know how I’m supposed to tell my middle daughter and my grandchildren that they are disinvited for the latter part of Christmas and need to be out of the house by noon.

My youngest daughter tells me that this is an unreasonable request, that this is not my problem, and I should continue to stress that I will host as I have always done with everyone included.


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