Life Advice



Ask Amy: Estranged daughters mess with Christmas

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Still, I feel like whatever I do, I’m the bad guy.

How should I handle this?

– Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: You should not give in to your oldest daughter’s demand. If you do give in, then next year she might decide that she wants to “have you all to herself” on Christmas Day.

You don’t say specifically, but your middle daughter does not seem to be placing these specific demands upon you. If her older sister showed up for a holiday meal, I assume that she and the kids would find a way to handle it.

You are not the “bad guy.” You are the mom, and you should do the mom thing: “I don’t play favorites. I’m hosting Christmas dinner, as usual, and – as usual — I would love for you to come!”


You might add that a great Christmas gift for you would be for these two sisters to reconcile, at least to the point where they can be peacefully and respectfully in each other’s presence during holiday meals.

Dear Amy: I try to be a good friend. I've been told by many of my friends that I'm a good listener. I’m supportive and helpful.

I'm happy to do this for my friends, as it's how I would want to be treated.

I'm fortunate that many of my friends reciprocate.


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