I screwed up; how to minimize the family drama at Christmas?
December 21, 2007 1:18 PM Subscribe
I missed my two brothers-in-laws' birthdays, and one of my sisters is mad at me. I'll see everyone at Christmas. Help me make things right and prevent family drama.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total)
My sisters have been with their husbands for ~10 years. Most of that time I was poor and single and living far away, so I wasn't expected to get anything for their husbands birthdays, and I'd usually only get my sisters a card for their birthdays. The older sister always remembers my birthday, but the younger one rarely does. I am not hurt at all by the forgetfulness of the younger sister; that's just how she is. I'm really not very close to either of them, but of the two, I'm closer to the older one.
I've been with my boyfriend for a few years, and the older sister has gotten him something for his birthday each year since we became seriously involved. The younger one forgets his birthday as well as mine, but we've all exchanged Christmas gifts. This year, I forgot the older sister's husband's birthday, which is 2 weeks before mine. Apparently the younger sister also forgot his birthday. Everyone was supposed to come to our parents' house for dinner to celebrate my birthday, but older sister refused because we hadn't acknowledged the husband's birthday. They did send a gift. This was ~6 weeks ago. I am so afraid of confrontation that I've since failed to acknowledge 1) his birthday and 2) their gift to me. She indicated in a passive aggressive email to all of us that she is still upset. I don't know if her husband is actually upset or if she is fueling all of this.
I've also missed the other sister's husband's birthday, ~2 weeks ago. I doubt anyone is upset about this since we don't talk much to begin with, but it wouldn't surprise me if the older sister was upset that I forgot another family birthday. I have the reputation of being somewhat self-centered, which is not the case really - I'm just awkward and forgetful and not naturally a warm, fuzzy person. I live a very different lifestyle than they do and I think she perceives it as arrogance (but I never, ever put down their tastes).
Anyway, I am wondering what to do. Should I give the guys double gifts at Christmas time and tell them that one is for their birthday, and I'm sorry I missed it? Should I talk to the upset sister alone, since she is likely the only one really bothered by this?