Holiday Cheapskates and Freeloaders: 5+ Ways to Handle Them

6 min readDec 8, 2023

Recently, I read an article in The Atlantic, that I could relate to.

It starts:

Dear Therapist,

I have a situation with my brother-in-law. My husband and I have been married for 25 years, and his brother has been mostly single until recently. Because their parents are no longer alive, I have always made a point to include my brother-in-law for every holiday and have also included any girlfriend he has had at the time. He has come to my parents’ house out West, our vacation home down South, and our home here in the East. All he has been required to do is show up and take part. He has never had to cook, plan, or prepare anything.

Ok, first off, I can understand this. It seems every family has moochers who come out of the woodwork. It especially seems common for single men to show up to events, not bring anything, and leave early.

I remember my single uncle showing up for Christmas Eve dinner. He would not even bringing a bottle of wine or anything. After taking a smoke break, he would make an excuse and left early. Usually right after dessert.

We always thought it was for a date or something and it was incredibly rude. My grandmother would wave him off, trying to keep the peace “because it was the holidays” and let him get away with that garbage every year.

My grandmother honestly had a martyr complex in a way. She bent over backward for everyone, especially during the holidays. Her spic and span home was the gathering place. Plates were piled high with cookies and old-fashioned hard candy. A pretty Christmas tree sat in the corner, piles of presents under the tree. Holiday tunes played from the stereo.

She had worked hard to make the perfect Christmas every year and nothing was going to spoil it, not even her rude son.




New England born- now living in the Midwest. Blogger, author, influencer, history addict and genealogist in training