I don’t mean to be ungracious but every year my mother-in-law gets me the worst gifts. It’s like she goes out of her way to hurt my feelings. From a Cooking for Dummies book (p.s. I went to culinary school) to clothes that are at least two sizes too big. Every present is a slap in the face. Any advice how to get her to stop or how I should react on Christmas morning when I open an insult disguised as a gift.
Signed, Dreading Christmas morning
Right off the bat, many people would tell you that your husband should put his big boy pants on and tell his mother to stop with the hateful gifts or that you need to have it out with your MIL. To that I say wrong and wrong. First, men just plain ole stink at telling their mothers off (I have first hand knowledge of this) and second no good ever comes from a holiday screaming match with a relative. The key here is to not let your mother-in-law get the upper hand and by that I mean you don’t want to give her and her mean-spirited gifts any kind of attention whatsoever. File this away – if she gets attention she wins. You also don’t want to give her the pleasure of seeing that she’s hurt your feelings. This means when you open these so-called presents you must smile like you’re trying to win Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant and sell it, really sell it that you LOVE the gift. For example, if she gives you fat clothes again just say, “Wow, this is great. I love the fabric and the color will look sooo good on me! It’s perfect. Thank you.” This reaction is a twofer. One, you squash your mother in law’s hope that she’s hurt your feelings and two everyone else thinks you are the most gracious person on the face of the earth. You know what that makes you? A much better person and there’s a gift that keeps on giving.
*If you need advice from Dear Snarky email her at firstname.lastname@example.org