Having my parents and sister here for Christmas will ruin it. How do I tell them? | Ask Annalisa Barbieri

Decisions around Christmas are evocative of early family dynamics. What were they like for you and your husband as children?

My parents and sister always want to have Christmas with us, because my husband and I have small children and apparently Christmas is “rubbish” with no kids (maybe I should charge an entrance fee … ). But my husband says, bluntly, they just ruin it.

My husband and I love Christmas, my wider family do not. He hates the way they never help out or appreciate our efforts; they criticise our gifts (what we get the kids or how much we spend), they judge our children (they open the presents “too fast” or forget to say thank you), and are just generally quite negative to have around. This is hard at the best of times but Christmas is one of our favourite times of the year. We always wind up feeling robbed of what should be a wonderful memory.

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