Q: The holidays are here, and once again I'm dreading them. My husband's parents are divorced and each insists we visit them on Christmas. My parents are together and, of course, they insist we come to dinner so they can enjoy their grandchildren. My husband's brother always holds a big Christmas Eve bash at his house, which is two hours away. Any suggestion that we skip his party is viewed as an insult. My husband and I both work, and all this makes this time of year a nightmare. We have no time to plan for our own Christmas, usually end up fighting, and if we cut any visits short, our families lay a guilt trip on us. Help!
Mia: If you don't want to house-hop for the holidays, then don't. Tell all of your relatives that you and your husband are starting a new tradition. Then invite everyone to your house. Maybe you'll have open house on Christmas Day, or throw a party the day after. The point is that your relatives shouldn't be guilt-tripping you about your holiday plans. And you should woman up and stop worrying about what other folks think. I know the holidays are about giving, but if you don't make yourself happy, who will?
Steve: Mia nailed it. Holidays are supposed to be fun. Don't let others ruin it.
Q: I'm in a relationship with a nice guy, an out-of-work actor who picks up odd jobs here and there. I don't have a problem with that. I do have a problem with how, each year, he gives me lists of what he wants for Christmas. When I ask what he's going to get me, he always says he doesn't have any money. I wind up with dinky little presents from a discount store while he's asking me for sports coats, golf clubs and other expensive gifts. (I have a steady, decent-paying job.) I tried talking with him about it, but he falls back on the same tired excuse that he doesn't have any money. Other than that, we get along fine. Any advice for me?
Mia: Yeah: Dump that user. If he really cared about you, he'd get a job so he could buy you something nice. Or he'd take the time to make you something really special. He's doing neither. Instead, he makes excuses while expecting you to play Santa. Don't do it, girl!
Steve: Think of what you're doing as a sacrifice for art. If he ever hits it big, you'll share the red carpet with him. But tell him he has only two more years to do it.