General Question

Seek's avatar

How can I save Christmas dinner from my lazy sister in law?

Asked by Seek (34805points) December 14th, 2009

I have a very… unique sister in law.
She hates entertaining – it’s so much work – but she loves the attention. So, every single family holiday must be spent at her house. This invariably causes problems, like this year’s Thanksgiving turkey having the taste and consistency of wet talcum powder.

Just as I was contemplating stealing Christmas away from her this year (I love to entertain, and am a fairly accomplished cook) I get the mass email she’s sent claiming Christmas dinner. This year, there’s a theme.

“Italian Fiesta”

I won’t even touch the fact that ”fiesta” isn’t an Italian word. I will state that in no way does overboiled boxed pasta and a jar of warmed over Ragu give me visions of sugarplums.

Where my SIL claims “comfort food”, I see an abomination replacing the only good tradition surrounding this commerco-religious holiday: turkey, cranberry stuffing, figgy pudding, eggnog, and wassail.


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23 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Don’t go. Do your own dinner with your own family. Then negotiate next year to split the holidays.

Edit: You are both adults on equal footing; you have no need to make any excuses.

Kayak8's avatar

If there are enough relatives, you could all volunteer to pitch in for it to be catered (or purchased from a local store like Fresh Market) and she can host the thing (which seems to be what is important to her) and you can eat well prepared traditional favorites.

You can use the excuse that since she did all the work at Thanksgiving, you’d just like to help out with Christmas dinner.

HighShaman's avatar

Just DON’T GO !!! You are an adult , aren’t you ?

Then put your own foot down and send out your own mass e-mails that YOU are entertaining at your home on Christmas ALSO… and anyone wishing to attend should RSVP .

There is no need to give in to an imature adult who THINKS that she needs to hog the spotlight…

fireinthepriory's avatar

Yes, email her stating what @Kayak8 said – that you don’t think she should do it, since she did all the “work” at Thanksgiving. Even if she throws a fit an insists Christmas dinner he at her house, insist that you do all the cooking.

randomness's avatar

Quick!! Send out an email also claiming Christmas!!! Make yours seem extra awesome, ask all attendees to RSVP as soon as possible.

That’s what I’d do…. but then again, I AM fairly childish….

If you want to take a more mature approach, you could offer to bring a dish or two with you. Cook a nice turkey and whatever else you’d like, and bring it along. You will have saved the day from the dreaded overcooked pasta.

Kayak8's avatar

A 20 pound turkey could just show up on her doorstep, but there is no accounting for the talcum like qualities she might bestow upon it this time . . .

Seek's avatar

Oh – don’t get me wrong – I’ll be doing plenty of cooking. I always do.
Someone has to bring something edible. ^_^

I would love to just not go, but this is one of three days out of the year that my husband gets to see his father. For some reason, no one will come to our house. That’s another ball game entirely – and we’re not sure what sport it involves.

butterflykisses's avatar

Eat before you go, Have a wonderful dinner for you and hubby and who ever else you wish to invite, friends family, and then go to her place take the left overs from your meal..LOL. Tell her you cannot eat much because you had a previous dinner already planned. =)

Kayak8's avatar

@buttkisses ooo I like that idea!

butterflykisses's avatar

@Kayak8 I have done this…LMAO I take the left overs from my yummy meal. I always make extra so there is enough to take. Awful huh?? LOL

PandoraBoxx's avatar

How big’s the family?

faye's avatar

I read somewhere that people create their own problems. I don’t understand why you can’t say no. Go over later with a dessert and liquer maybe but why does she get to rule?? NO

Cruiser's avatar

Time for your own family traditions and not put up with the abominations your SIL is having a midlife crisis over. Also time to do your brother a favor & knee him good for old times sake and remind him what it means to own a pair!!

Mavericksjustdoinganotherflyby's avatar

Forget about the dinner ! Save yourself ! I would just show up and bring plenty of booze and get my drink on, and tell her what I really think about her and her talcum powder turkey. Maybe you won’t get invited next year! Of course you could just do what Kayak8 suggested. But I think my suggestion would be more fun!

gemiwing's avatar

I feel that it’s just for a few hours and it makes her happy so why not relax a bit, eat beforehand, nibble a bit and just enjoy not having to do the clean-up. Or you can figure out another special day for your husband and FIL to have a get-together.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Ask her to have the affair catered even if it is a cheap local restaurant (everyone could chip in for the cost) anything would be better than the mess which you described or better yet just be honest and explain to her that holidays are a special time for you and you would rather spend them while happy.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It sounds like the real objective is to somehow “win” but it’s not clear what the real competition is.

lfino's avatar

Does the rest of the family gag over her food too? If they do, you really could just talk to a few of them and then tell SIL that you just don’t feel like she should have to do all the cooking this time again, and then tell her, “I will bring cranberry stuffing (or whatever) and Aunt Beth will bring…” Or even keep to her “Italian Fiesta” theme and bring dishes that go with it. And then at the very end of the dinner, thank her for having the dinner at her house this year, and then announce that you will host next year’s Christmas so she won’t have to do all the work next year.

Shemarq's avatar

I was reading through some of the other answers and comments. It sounds like your SIL might have an inferiority complex and likes to play the martyr (Its sooo much work, but dammit I’m doing it!) LOL!!! Its best not to feed into it or get into a competition with her—she’s not worth it. I saw your other comment where its one of the few times per year that your husband gets to see his father. For his sake, it would be best just to go and enjoy yourself. If she wants Thanksgiving and Christmas, let her. Start your own “thing” like Easter brunch or a 4th of July bash so you can get your turn playing hostess too.

YARNLADY's avatar

I like the suggestion that you eat first then relax and enjoy yourself at her house, with his family. What we used to do when I was little, go with Dad’s family on Christmas eve, and then Mom’s family parties on Christmas Day. You might consider a double Christmas.

Kayak8's avatar

Italian Fiesta? . . . meatballs in salsa might work or some pasta with cilantro, avocado, and diced tomato sauce . . . hmmm or use tortillas instead of shells for manicotti. I can just see the options . . .

Seek's avatar

We decided to host our own traditional dinner on Solstice, and invite all our friends that don’t have family in the area. Let julie have her garlic. :-)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, that sounds like fun!

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