Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Too much fuss over Christmas letter request

 

Dear Carolyn: Each year, my mother-in-law sends out a (ridiculously braggy and self-righteous) holiday "letter" updating her friends and extended family members. She recently sent a group text to my husband, his sister and me asking for our favorite pictures from the year to include in her Christmas letter.

My issue isn't that she ignores the concept that our favorite picture would be used for our own purposes, it's that she insists on having us be a part of this letter. Since our engagement, my husband and I have sent out our own holiday card to friends and family on both sides. We're adults also —shouldn't we be treated like them?

I plan to call her and say that although I'm thankful for her thinking of us, we will again be sending out our own holiday card and do not need to be explicitly included in hers.

Our concerns, whether they come from my mouth or my husband's, are bound to ruffle feathers and create additional problems. Am I just stirring up unnecessary trouble?

Adults Treated as Children

I could spend days trying to figure out why the content in her Christmas letter and your grown-up holiday card has to be mutually exclusive, and why her request for your "favorite" picture can't be satisfied with your second- or fifth- or 19th-favorite shot from this past year (I won't tell!).

But while that sounds delightful, I'll pass, because it's beside the point. You aren't looking to present legitimate arguments against your mother-in-law, you're looking to present any argument against your mother-in-law.

Please trade that for a strategy of ruthless, don't-look-back sorting. Imagine a giant wheely trash bin —label it "Ridiculous." Imagine an old-school desktop in-box —label it "Real." From now on, you're putting everything your mother-in-law throws at you into one of these. Wants a photo for her insufferable annual brag rag? Ridiculous. "Here. It's of all of us on St. Crispin's Day." (Hook shot! Thump.)

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

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