Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
My husband and our two young children rotate every year going to my parent’s house and my in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Easter has been more a year by year decision. The issue I have is my in-laws are not religious, and I see Easter as the biggest religious holiday of the year. We have the “Easter Bunny” visit us on Easter morning, but we take the religious aspect very seriously. Growing up my family has always gotten together with extended family after Easter service, and will celebrate with a festive lunch, after 40 reflective and prayerful days of the Lenten season.
My in-laws think we that every other year we should go to their house after church on Easter Sunday, so they can have an egg hunt with my kids. The two sets of parents live one hour away in the opposite direction of my house, so seeing both is unrealistic. I have suggested that we go to my in-laws the day before, or even the Sunday before Easter, but they complain that the cousins, aunts, etc… want to see the kids too. How can I explain all of this to them, without sounding as if I rather spend time with my family, just because they are my family? Thank you.
Dear Sally D,
Holidays with the relatives are one of the trickiest issues that people have as married couples. I would start with getting your husband on board with why you would like to focus on the religious aspect of it, and how your family also shares your values. If he could fully support you on spending it with your family, then you could speak to your in-laws together. If he does not want to communicate with them about it, then you will have to stand up to them and explain to them what you did to me.
I would turn it around and invite them to church with you, and then your parent’s house. Tell them that this is what you and your husband are doing to celebrate and teach your children about your faith, and they are welcome to join you. If they say no, then tell them you are sorry that they don’t want to spend it with you, and that the offer is open any year that they may change their mind.