The best Carolyn Hax columns about the holidays

(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)

Advice columnist Carolyn Hax’s specialty is relationships of all types: romantic, familial, platonic. During the holiday season, and all the pressures it brings, some of these relationships are tested more than usual.

We compiled a list of the most memorable columns about this season, touching on Grinchy spouses, pressured cooking, and painful absences from the traditional holiday hearth.

We’ll update this list periodically, so if you think we missed a holiday-themed column that should be included, let us know here.

Searching for the formula for holiday time with family

A grandma wants her son and his family to sleep over for the holidays, but the son and his spouse disagree on whether that’s “fair.” Instead of giving advice on how to deal with Grandma, Carolyn zooms all the way out and gets to the crux of the issue: their marriage.

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Is there a way out of always being the holiday cook for the in-laws?

This column about a letter writer whose in-laws always want him to cook during the holidays — even when he’s not hosting — includes a three-course metaphor and some tasty verbal concoctions.

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A blue Christmas — and Thanksgiving — without extended family

Carolyn asks the letter writer — whose sister just broke the news that she won’t host the family’s usual holiday gatherings — to pay their 30-year tradition forward instead of wallowing in the disappointment.

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When loved ones act as if they don’t give a lump of coal

A letter writer is tired of being married to the biggest Grinch, which makes the holidays feel like “trudging uphill with him on my back.” Carolyn suggests bringing the same Christmas spirit as always this year, but donating it to a more receptive audience instead of watching it fall flat at home.

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A girlfriend gets left out in the cold for the holidays

A reader isn’t ready for the expected family pressure from bringing a girlfriend home for the holidays, so she’s not invited — and not too happy about it.

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A Jewish colleague and the gift of understanding

A boss who enjoys giving gifts to employees at Christmastime is stumped by how to handle a gift for a Jewish assistant. Carolyn and some of her readers suggest some more neutral and sensitive ways to show employee appreciation.

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As holidays approach, mom shares her grief with son

Just a few months out from the death of her father, this letter-writer struggles with how much she should share with her 4-year-old son and whether her tears will wash out his joy.

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