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ASK MERRILY/ Look Who’s Coming to Christmas Dinner?

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Dec 10,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Photo by FLICKR/bpc009/3131953686/<br /> <br />A Bratislava Christmas Market. <br />
Photo by FLICKR/bpc009/3131953686/
A Bratislava Christmas Market.


The holidays are almost here.  But my family situation has reconfigured, as my daughter and I are now estranged.  I find myself with no blue print for how to approach Christmas dinner.  I have sent a card inviting my daughter and her fiancé, but I don’t think they will come. But I want the door to always be open.  I asked my wife if I should still invite my daughter’s mother.  (My Ex has often spent holidays with us, and we all get along very well.)  I feel strongly that an invitation should be extended, as it has been for years.  My wife says this is not a good idea as it will complicate the situation, and my motive might be to force a move.  What should I do?
Dear Holidays,
It will indeed by a different celebration without your daughter.  Her presence will be sorely missed at your Christmas table.  
Your wise decision to invite your daughter via card gives her space to consider the invitation.  She will know that the door is open and she is welcome.  But she may not be ready to come back.
Consider your wife’s caution concerning your motives for inviting your ex-wife.  Look for manipulative overtones.  Are you hoping she will encourage your daughter to come and to end the estrangement?  Would you expect your ex to attend even without your daughter?  Or are you wanting to value your ex’s presence itself, rather than as a tag-along?  
It’s ok for your decision to differ from your wife’s advice as long as she is authentically at ease with your ex’s presence in your home.  Be sure about this one.  
If you invite the ex, send a brief, informal invitation.  This will give her the same space to make a decision that you gave your daughter.
If you uncover manipulative tendencies, be kind to yourself in realizing that you long for the estrangement to end.  But, you will have to await your daughter’s readiness.  She may still need time/space to heal a tender issue.  Her process cannot be rushed.
Holidays can be difficult.  Please keep in touch.
Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks. Email questions to, or use online form at

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