The Sunday Post (Inverness)

How can I make my husband tell his mother she should let me make the Christmas dinner?


Looking for practical advice, relationsh­ip help or emotional support? As a mum-of-four, grandmothe­r-of-eight and dear friend to many, Margaret’s years of experience make her the ideal person to turn to with your worries

Dear Maggie

Every year we go to my mother-in-law’s house for Christmas dinner. She insists on it.

She’s a good cook and she does it brilliantl­y. The food is beautifull­y cooked, the house is decorated very tastefully and she has lots of little treats and surprises for our three children.

But last year I noticed that, although she enjoyed it, she looked a bit frazzled and I suggested that this year she come to us for a change.

She didn’t like that one little bit. “No, it’s a tradition” she said firmly. “I’ve always done it and I enjoy it.”

I’ve asked my husband to talk to her about it and he’s reluctant to do so.

He doesn’t want to upset his mother, but I think he needs to take a stand.

Why is he being so timid about this and what can I do to make my mother-in-law admit it’s too much for her?

Maggie says

Clearly he feels talking to his mum about this would undermine her confidence and upset her.

She still wants to believe that she’s the capable, efficient woman she always was.

It’s very difficult for people to accept their limitation­s as they grow older.

It’s admirable in many ways that she doesn’t want to “give in” to the limitation­s of the ageing process.

At the same time I understand you are doing this from the best motives – you want to make life a bit easier for her and to host Christmas at your house and let her relax.

So I suggest you pay a visit to her yourself and sit down and explain exactly how you feel. She may well have organised everything for this Christmas day – but gently suggest that next year you’d love to celebrate the day at your home, with her as your guest.

Assure her that you admire the way she has done it so capably for years and ask advice about planning the menu and you may well find that she comes round to seeing things differentl­y. Traditions can change over the years – but it’s best if everyone understand­s the reasons for the change.

Your mother-in-law is hanging onto her pride in her capability to entertain her family.

You want your chance to do Christmas your way. Nothing wrong in that.

I do hope that it works out well for you and your family and that you have a very happy time together.

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