Dealing with Loved Ones and the Thanksgiving Menu


By Jodie Lynn Parent to parent

Q: We have Thanksgiving with about 12 other parents; it’s a big crowd. There are a few people who still make horribly sweet desserts and other dishes that no one eats but them. I feel bad, but it’s pure sugar. We drew short straws to see who could explain this dilemma to them yet again, but also to spend some time helping them find something with less sugar. I lost, so I have to fix the problem. These women are over 80 and I would like advice on how to approach them without causing friction or hurtful feelings.

From a reader • I had to laugh when I read this question because my sister-in-law and I went through this same challenge a few years ago and practically lost. Our elderly aunts totally rejected our suggestions and were both angry and hurt enough that we dared try to change their recipes. We won’t try again. Good luck. —JM in Dayton, Ohio

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By Jodie Lynn • The short answer is: there will most likely be hurt feelings and at least some resentment, just like in the reader’s situation above.

However, you never know. This will greatly depend on how you approach the subject. The first thing is to mentally put yourself in their shoes. How would you take it if someone approached you and mentioned that no one liked your casserole of green beans (or whatever) and that you had to stop making it and bring it for Thanksgiving? You’d probably be a little surprised and a little angry, and maybe even a little hurt because you thought everyone liked him.

One thing you have on your side in this dilemma is that most people really try to cut back on their sugar intake, especially during the holidays, to stay healthy and avoid gaining too much weight. You could approach it from that point of view.

You can also tell them that you’ve found some recipes that look really delicious and wondered if they’d be interested in using them for Thanksgiving if you bought the ingredients.

That last tip might do the trick since you don’t mention anything about their own dishes, at least for this year. Maybe they will get so much positive feedback that it will become their new item to bring every year.

PLEASE NOTE: I have received several emails stating whether or not grandparents are allowed to answer parental questions. Yes, you are more than welcome. I appreciate your advice and responses.

Is there a way to keep an eye on my 16 year old daughter while she is driving the family car? She seems to take longer when shopping for granny etc. We think she’s going to other places she shouldn’t be.

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email: [email protected]or go to, which offers an easy and secure way to send advice or questions. All tips must have the city, state, and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother of three. She and her family live in Wildwood.

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