Skip to content
Home » News » How to Survive In-Laws for Christmas

How to Survive In-Laws for Christmas

Female santa holding christmas red cardDear Lynn,

My husband and I are going to my mother-in-law’s house this Christmas. I’ve avoided going there for several years because my mother-in-law is very cool and distant with me and in the past I haven’t had a good time staying there. This year I have to go – any tips on how I can survive the week without running for the hills?


The Runaway Daughter-in-law

Dear Runaway,

I hope these tips will help.

Tip 1: Give up the hope that you will have a good time. If you need a little motivation, promise yourself a special treat after you get back. If it’s really bad, throw in some more treats.

Tip 2: Understand that you are not the only daughter-in-law who gets the cold shoulder. It’s an absolutely textbook situation that the mother-in-law does not entirely approve of her daughter-in-law.

Tip 3: If you want to get in good with your mother-in-law, say “Why don’t you and (insert husband’s name) spend some quality time alone together?” Then, take yourself off to a movie, or a coffee shop to read your book.

Tip 4: If at all possible, have your own transportation so you can leave when you need to.

Tip5: While it may not be fun, it could be instructive to observe the type of mother your husband grew up with. Perhaps it will help you to be more compassionate about certain things that previously just annoyed or angered you.

Tip 6: Be prepared for your husband to revert back to childhood.

Tip 7: Take something with which to entertain yourself — for example, knitting, or crossword puzzles, or something like that.

Tip 8: Take a project for everyone to be involved with, like a new game, or a puzzle to put together.

Tip 9: Go on a walk and get outside and breathe the fresh air. Bundle up if it’s cold. Exercise makes you feel better and calmer.

Tip 10: Don’t be upset if your husband doesn’t “stand up for you” if and when his mother is not nice. There’s really not much he can do about her behavior.

Tip 11: Fail to understand that she is trying to be offensive. If she tells you you are fat, simply say in a delighted tone of voice, “You are so sweet to be concerned about my health!” Just don’t “get it”.

Tip 12: Be grateful she is not your mother. Be grateful you are just visiting and don’t have to live there.

Tip 13: Be grateful she raised your husband so that you could meet and marry him.

Tip 14: Be kind to yourself. Don’t make it your job to “fix” this situation. Accept your feelings; understand that you can’t change other people, and go on with your life.