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Who Gets Grandma for Christmas


My mother has five children, thirteen grandchildren, and a few great-grandchildren. Everyone wants her to join them for their Christmas dinner. Now there is some conflict surrounding Mom’s destination as our families plan for the holidays.

My brother feels entitled because he is the oldest and lives closest to Mom. My sister, the youngest, feels she is the favored child and should always have Mom. Another brother thinks he should get her because he has the newest twin great-grandchildren. Now everyone is a bit annoyed over a joyous occasion. 

I would like your advice on how to manage this situation.


You cannot see me, but if you could, you would see a big grin. With five children there was likely a bit of competition in your home growing up. I bet that a bit of sand was flung-about in the sandbox also. Squabbles are quite normal in childhood, and often times we bring those behaviors with us into adulthood. As siblings, we never really let go.

Now it is time for the five of you to channel the adults within yourselves and create a little bit of compromise. If your mother is smart, she is staying out of it. Since you completely skipped over her wishes, I’ll bet that she is remaining silent on the entire issue and is letting you sort it out. One of you needs to step forward and force a resolution, because the reality of December 25th is coming whether or not you come up with a fix.

So, this is what you do. First, ask Mother how many homes she is willing to visit on Christmas.  There is only so much you can ask of one elderly mother. Next, ask the siblings, "Who wants to host Mom?" Place their names in a hat have a third party pick the names. Voila, this year is resolved. Now when next year comes around, ask Mom again how many homes she is willing to visit. Remove any home that she visited last year, and place the remaining names in the hat. Again, have a third party pull names from the hat. If you run out of names in the hat, you may re-add all of the names you set aside and draw again.

Of course, there are other ways to handle the situation. You can see that I am going for a fair and unbiased approach. I recommend you share my thoughts with your siblings and enjoy the holidays, being ever-so-grateful that you have a mother to share in the first place.

I wish you the best with your situation.

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