Carolyn Hax: Sister wants guests at family’s annual beach vacation


Dear Carolyn: My sister and I live in different states but our families spend every Christmas together and take a beach trip to the same beach every year for the past 16 years. These occasions are the highlight of our and our kids’ year. Sometimes the beach is one week, sometimes two. This year it’s one because of college schedules and the soaring cost of vacation rentals.

My sister mentioned that she wanted her best friend (who lives in her same town) to come for a night. I said sure — it will be my sister’s birthday that night as well, and we have one extra bedroom. Then she mentioned that it’s actually her best friend plus the friend’s college friend and his daughter, who are going through some sort of tough time. When I said we wouldn’t have enough bedrooms, she said her best friend planned to camp on the lawn.

I am trying to succinctly identify what about this bothers me most so that I can try to address it, but am struggling. I am pretty sure I can shut down the camping on the lawn, as I’m confident it’s a violation of the lease agreement I signed — the friend can sleep on a couch or something if this all transpires. I think what probably bugs me most is that my sister is choosing to spend time with her best friend (and two complete strangers?), a friend she sees nearly every day at home, during a short window we have for our families to be together.

I think maybe a lesser concern is that I know the burden will fall to me to cook for and clean up after these people. When I asked my sister exactly what the plan was, so

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