My husband and I have two grown daughters, “Holly” and “Ivy.” I also have another much older daughter, “Gertrude,” born during my brief first marriage. Holly and Ivy are both married and have small children. Gertrude never married and has no children. Holly and Ivy have never been particularly close to Gertrude, but in recent years, their relationship has deteriorated to the point that Holly and Ivy have told me that they do not wish to visit my house if Gertrude is there. While I don't know exactly what caused the rift (Gertrude claims to have no idea) I suspect that Gertrude, who unfortunately inherited my ex’s rather difficult personality, has said or done something to deeply offend her sisters. Holly, Ivy, and their families spend Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. We decorate the house, bake cookies and pies with the grandchildren, go sledding or for walks in the woods, and generally have a picture-perfect holiday. Gertrude usually comes to visit for a few weekends at other times of the year and we have a lovely time together. Gertrude has recently informed me that she is very hurt that I do not invite her to my home for the holidays. While it’s too late to do anything about this year since Holly and Ivy have already made travel plans, I wonder how best to handle subsequent years. Should I maintain the status quo and tolerate Gertrude’s hurt feelings? Should I start a schedule of alternating holidays, for example, hosting Holly and Ivy next Thanksgiving, then having Gertrude visit at Christmas? The problem with alternating holidays means that my husband and I will have less time with our grandchildren, a prospect which makes us both extremely sad.
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