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Manners Matter: Family Ties

Dear Mary Pat,

My son wants to invite his girlfriend over for Christmas. They are 16 years old and have only been dating since Homecoming. I think at this point, I’d like to reserve Christmas for our family only. We’d like to get to know her better, but if she were to come over to our house on the 25th, she’d have to meet not only our immediate family but 19 other relatives. My husband says, “Who cares? The more, the merrier.” I think they can see each other on the 26th and if they are still dating by next Christmas, we can cross that bridge then. I don’t really know her parents, but I would think they would want her to be home with them.  We always do our gift exchange between dinner and dessert and I don’t want to include her in that since we’ve already drawn names. I don’t want to be a Scrooge or a helicopter mom, but I’m being accused of being both.  

Signed,

Family Ties

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Dear Family Ties,

They are fairly young and I’m sure they can bear to be separated at Christmas dinner. If your husband still thinks that it would be nice to include her, perhaps a compromise can be reached and she can come over for dessert, after the gift exchange. If you decide to include her, make sure that your son lets her know that she will be meeting the entire family. She might decide to stay home with her own family versus meeting so many members of her boyfriend’s family at once.

Good luck,

Mary Pat