Life Advice



Ask Amy: Christmas Eve brings on competing traditions

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My late first wife has a sister who hosts a Christmas Eve dinner.

I remarried after my wife’s death, and three of the five boys in our blended family, ages 18 to 27, attend their aunt’s dinner. (The other two boys, their stepbrothers, are also adults.)

The event tends to go past 10 p.m., resulting in tired participants for our Christmas morning, as well as no Christmas Eve together for our blended family.

My wife of seven years and I attended with the whole family the first year we were married, but have not attended since (the house is small, and we are trying to move forward with our own family traditions and create new memories).

We asked the boys’ aunt a few years ago whether she would be willing to host her event on December 23, so the three sons could attend with less impact on our own Christmas.

The response was, “Absolutely not, Christmas Eve dinner is our tradition.”


The three boys who attend are old enough to make their own decisions, but they have expressed that they are caught between competing Christmas Eve events (we have even had negotiations about this event in family therapy).

We do not know whether to drop it or continue to express regret about this competing annual Christmas Eve event and increase the volume.

Your advice?

– Half a Family on Christmas Eve


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