Ask Kari: Can I limit my family’s holiday dinner to immediate family only?

Dear Kari,

I am planning my family dinner for the holiday, and I am concerned that the number of people coming to my home is too much. My mother asked me to invite extended family members including my aunts, uncles, and cousins, but I just want to keep it to immediate family. I volunteered to take over Christmas dinner for her this year, and she feels that we have to keep her tradition of inviting everyone we know. I feel that we can limit the number of people now that we are changing the location of the celebration and that people who I don’t include will understand and make their own plans. What do you think I should do?

Holiday Hostess

Dear Holiday Hostess,

It sounds like you are making new holiday traditions by moving the party, while also still celebrating with close family members. I feel that it is fine for a hostess to adjust the party in accordance with what feels right for them (time of party, number of people invited, food served). You can probably match your wishes with your mother’s by asking her to name a few traditions and people that she most wants to be part of the celebration. Gently remind your mom that having a smaller number of people may allow for a more intimate and genuine exchange on this special day.


As published in the December 2014 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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