Article posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 1:46pm

Dear Mary Pat,

Holidays are coming and I am nervous. Last year, my two oldest daughters came to dinner in terrible moods (one had gotten in a fight with her husband that morning, and the other thinks she does all the work during dinner) and ruined the afternoon for the rest of my kids (everyone left early). Is there anything I can do to prevent that this year?

Family Matters

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Dear Family Matters,

The holidays can be stressful and they are also a lot of work. This can cause people to be short tempered and feeling overwhelmed. I’m hoping that one of your daughters having a fight with her husband was an isolated incident. No need to think that would happen again? Hopefully?

As far as your other daughter, does she do more work than others or does she like to play the martyr? Take a moment to think about this and really be honest. If she ends up doing more than her fair share at family gatherings, you could encourage others to pitch in. Many hands make light work as they say. If she likes to complain for the sake of complaining, you can gently call her on it. Maybe a brief word with her before a family dinner would be all it would take to head this off before everyone has to listen to the whining.

The snow falling early has brought with it lots of complaints. Let’s all try to be more cheerful this winter and holiday season and adopt an attitude of gratitude. It’s sometimes a tall order to fill, but so rewarding when we focus on all that is good.

Good luck,

Mary Pat