The Sage is on holiday for the next week or so. However, since the Minions have gone to such trouble to make the Mystic Cave festive for the occasion, here are this week's Seekers:
1. The Sage understands that you do not wish life to change beyond what existed when you were a wee tot, and are justifyably angry that your sister-in-law dare wish to be with her own original family while including her husband's original family. The Sage can only comfort you with the thought that sometimes, entire households are erased when travelling during the holidays, particularly if conditions are poor or if the driver or a driver encountered has been imbibing excessively.
V. The Sage womders why you would care so to get the entire family together, when by your own admission, none of you get along. Rather than trying desperately to have someone invite the combatants - or rather your relatives - drive across town to descend upon a single individual's home, locate a restaurant which will be open on Christmas Day and which will tolerate the lot of you occupying a reasonable section of the establishment for the short time in which all parties will be able to restrain their impulses to quarrel.
2. The Sage recognizes that many families have one or more member who simply refuses to get along with the others, and that this person may later seek forgiveness from those whom he or she has wronged. You are not evil to wish to avoid contact with this person. However, you cannot accept his largesse silently. If you intend to maintain your concerned distanced, you must return the gifts with a polite note that you prefer not to reignite this relationship. Keeping them only tells him that you are both rude and avaricious.
3. The Sage too wonders why your entire family must be dragged to a religious service twice a year, when not even your hosts take their religion seriously. However, you are not free to change the habits of anyone but yourself and any minor children you happen to have brought along. Infrom your family that you have made other plans during this time slot. You may imply that you will be meeting with an old friend, even if your plans consist entirely of driving around the block until they are gone and returning to read a good book.
4. The Sage is please that around the age of thirty, you and your sister are finally adults. Your aunt and uncle care about you, but acknowledge that they do not know you well enough to select a gift which would be meaningful to either of you. The Sage continued to receive two small bills in a birthday card every year from a sainted grandmother until the day the grandmother died. If you feel silly accepting the checks, write an equal one to the charity of your choice.
(The Lesser Advisor also gave excellent advice to this Seeker.)
The Sage will now retreat back into the Mystic Cave to continue holiday festivities, and hopes to re-emerge in or about the new year. May all Minions, Acolytes, and Seekers have a safe and pleasant year's end.