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Dear Harriette by Harriette Cole

Interference with Christmas tradition

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m excited to visit my family this year for the holidays, especially since last year’s quarantine prevented us from being together. My problem is that the only affordable flight I could get lands me at home on Christmas Day. My family has a ritual on Christmas Eve where the adults wrap gifts together, and the kids get to open one gift the night before. I so want to be there for that, but I couldn’t make it work. Am I wrong to ask the family to delay that until Christmas afternoon when I arrive? — Nostalgic

DEAR NOSTALGIC: You cannot ask your family to delay this tradition. That would be unfair to them and awkward for all. What you can do is suggest that they include you using technology. One thing that most of us experienced and many mastered for this nearly two years of quarantine is how to use digital technology to stay connected. Now is the time to use videoconferencing. Ask your family to set up

a computer or other device so you can FaceTime, Zoom or otherwise connect to each other on Christmas Eve. In this way, they can go about their normal activities and include

you in the process. You do not have to miss out, and all they have to do is set up the device so that you are in the mix with them! Problem solved.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got my first wedding-related disappointment the other day. I asked my eldest sister to be a bridesmaid, and she said no because she was going to be out

of town during the exact date of my wedding. She offered to help my bridal party plan my shower as a consolation. I can’t imagine what she would possibly think was more important than her youngest sister’s wedding. The two of us

are super-close, and
we always talked about being a big part of each other’s weddings. She has apologized hundreds of times. Should I move past this? — Sister Bailed on Wedding

DEAR SISTER BAILED ON WEDDING: Let’s unpack this. Did you check in with your sister about her availability before you secured the date? While you don’t have to check

in with everyone on that,
it would make sense to speak to your closest family members and potential wedding party before finalizing the date.
If you did, find out what happened. This is worth investigating before you drop it — for many reasons, including getting clear on your role in this hiccup.

Ask your sister what
she has to do that will take her away from your wedding and if there is any chance that she can change her plans. From there, you have to let it
go. Accept her conciliatory offers and forgive her. You may also need to forgive yourself if you did not check in with her before setting your date. Wedding planning stirs up lots of emotions. Do your best to stay calm and celebrate the little victories leading up to your big day.

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