Goodbye, Thanksgiving!

Dear K&K: My brother’s wife just announced that they were not going to come to our parents for Thanksgiving anymore but instead travel with their kids. They invited everyone to join them. My mom handled it so politely and said they appreciated the invitation but they couldn’t join as they were going to host a traditional Thanksgiving. Umm??? In what world, is this okay?? It is taking every ounce of willpower for me not to write her a nasty email. Please walk me back. Signed: Apoplectic in Atlanta

Dear Apoplectic: Something tells us this isn’t about saying “Goodbye, Thanksgiving!” Perhaps you and your “brother’s wife” don’t get along? First clue is that you don’t refer to her as your sister-in-law or heaven forbid, your sister! Obviously, the second clue is you even contemplating writing a nasty email. Take three deep breaths.

Kelly just heard how a mom friend does this sort of trip and even though Kelly likes her family (usually!), she thought this was a brilliant idea. Holidays with relatives who don’t like you (& vice versa) can be MISERABLE. As times change, more and more people are going to fly the coop rather than put up with it. And even if you DO like your family, Americans get such little vacation time to travel why not take this extra time to go somewhere fun instead of cramming into a relative’s house??

Our best recommendation is to skip the nasty email. Then call your sister-in-law and see if you can come up with a compromise. Maybe you guys all join them on their trip one time as a show of solidarity and then they join in the traditional way every so often. Our extended Breckenridge clan stopped doing family Thanksgiving when it got too complicated. Now, we do a family reunion at a different time of year.

Compromise is hard but it’s the key to happiness and unity. If only politicians understood this verity. 😉 All our best, Katie & Kelly

How You Politely Say, “Your Apartment Sucks.”

Illustration available at BreckWorks on Etsy

Illustration available at BreckWorks on Etsy

Dear Katie & Kelly,

My in-laws live in a two bedroom in Florida and want our family to stay with them over the winter holidays to get away and relax. Although it’s a really kind offer, we’re a family of 5 and this place is way too small for all of us. It will not be relaxing. How do I politely decline their offer without hurting their feelings?

Signed,

Dreading Daytona

 

Dear Dreading,

Well, there are two ways to go about politely declining the offer. Okay, maybe three. First, you lie. You tell them you already have plans. I’d go with this plan if it’s a good lie as in you know telling your in-laws you don’t want to stay with them in their tiny apartment will hurt their feelings. The second way is to tell them the truth: It’s such a kind offer, you would love to see them, it’s just too small of a space for you guys to truly relax, etc… If you think they’d understand the honest approach then I’d go this route for sure. People often smell a lie and you’ve got to keep stories straight. The third option is a hybrid. Accept the offer to visit them but get your own place nearby that you feel is big enough. Obviously this entails being a little truthful about their place. We’re not in college anymore and unless someone has a big pile in the country, technically, you don’t have to stay with them. It’s all about the finesse, say it kindly and any normal person will understand. If they do have a problem with it after you use your best finesse then it’s their problem not yours.

Happy Holidays!

Katie & Kelly

How to Wow on Christmas Gifts

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Illustration available at BreckWorks on Etsy

Dear Katie & Kelly,

My wife insists that I buy her gifts every year that she has specifically requested because she hates being disappointed when I don’t get her the right thing. So I gave up years ago and buy her what she wants. Great. Everybody is happy. Trouble is, the other day she complained that I never buy her gifts from the heart anymore. It seems that I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

Any advice?

Signed,

Aggravated in Annapolis

 

Dear Aggravated,

You are ALMOST damned either way … but not quite. If someone asks for a specific gift you would be a fool not to get it for them if you want to make them happy. BUT, nobody minds a little bit of extra sparkle or effort after they’ve received everything they want. Now, don’t get us wrong, she could still easily return or not like whatever extra gift you get her. But the way to have more hits than misses is to take note of where she likes to shop whether a boutique or a catalog — seriously write it down somewhere you will be able to refer to frequently — and pick something from there. This goes for any gift, wherever someone is naturally drawn to purchase things for themselves is bound to have other things they’ll like. Another way to get it right is to use a personal shopper or a stylist.

Happy Shopping!

Katie & Kelly

Holiday Planning is SO Fun!

Illustration available at BreckWorks on Etsy

Illustration available at BreckWorks on Etsy

Dear Katie & Kelly,

I’m recently engaged and my fiance floated the idea of doing Christmas with his family and doing Thanksgiving with my family … every year. He says he doesn’t care about Thanksgiving. I shouldn’t have a problem with it — I love Christmas but it’s not the be all end all for me like some of my friends — but I do.  My fiance and I have never spent the holidays together. I guess the problem is that I’m close with my family and don’t want to never see them on Christmas ever again.

What do I do?

Signed,

Confused in Columbia

 

Dear Confused,

Welcome to the wide, wide world of super fun holiday planning. Not! If you were lucky, you probably never knew the tumult behind the scenes of holiday planning until the point you decided to get hitched. Holidays and newly forming families are a powder keg. To avoid lighting this fuse, they involve compromise (ah, the joys of marriage!) and finding what you can each live with and that your families can live with. Sometimes everyone is flexible and easy going about things. Sometimes they’re not. The latter is out of your control since you didn’t pick your family or your fiance’s. You’re your own family unit now. Go with your collective guts.

Just remember that no matter what your personality type, change is difficult. Give people time to adjust, including yourself. Plus what you decide to do now isn’t written in stone.  If you have kids one day, you might decide to shake things up or your siblings or parents might do it for you. We will say one thing for certain, the first holiday you don’t spend with your own family will be tough even if you like your in-laws. But, it gets better from there. Or at least ours did with a lot of good wine!

Merry Christmas!

Katie & Kelly

Baptism Gift Idea?

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Dear Katie & Kelly,

I am a godmother for the first time to my good friend’s daughter and I need to buy something for the christening. Help! What to I buy?? A silver rattle? A big ‘ol wall cross? My friend is either a Classic or an Organic Structure.

Signed,

Help Me in Helena

 

Dear Help me,

You can never go wrong with a traditional baby gift like a silver rattle or anything in that arena — silver brush set, silver cup, silver teething ring etc. It’s an heirloom, which is something multiple personality types value for their kids even if they’re technically useless.

As for a cross, it is more than okay to give it as a gift since it’s a christening a.k.a. a baptism, and the cross is a symbol of Christianity. Now whether it ends up being hung up on their wall is a matter of personal taste so don’t be offended if you never see it up!

One gift idea is to get something that could be a gift you keep giving every Christmas or every birthday. You could buy her a charm bracelet and have the first charm be a cross then spread out from there. Or if it’s a godson (or a goddaughter!) you could buy them books with messages you know their parents would like you to impart to them. If you’re rolling in it, you could buy them first editions.

Hope that helps!

All our best,

Katie & Kelly

 

Late Sibling Arrivalry

Dear Katie & Kelly,

Every year, my brother and his family show up late for Christmas dinner. Last year he was almost 2 hours late. I almost lost it last year on him but my mom begged me not to say anything and ruin Christmas. I don’t think I’ll be able to hold myself back this year. Is it fair that he is so rude and we all have to take it? I’m a Classic Structure.

Fuming in Phillie

 

Dear Fuming,

The fact that your brother’s tardiness upsets you leads us to believe you actually know people with brothers who show up on time for Christmas dinner. Who knew? Our beloved brother (an Organic Freedom) is always late but man does he feel bad when he is. He’s like a golden retriever; it’s impossible to be angry with him. Sounds like you don’t have a golden retriever but maybe a Smart Freedom or a Fun on your hands, so our best advice to you is to tell him dinner is about 2 hours earlier than you plan. This way he’ll probably only be 15 minutes late.

Merry Christmas!
Katie & Kelly