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Woman Refuses To Go To Christmas After Mother-In-Law Rejects Her ‘Cookie Sample’

Woman baking cookies
Mike Kemp/Getty Images

Every family is unique and has its own history of traditions and practices.

But some of those family traditions are bullying tactics more than anything else, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

But Redditor user119975444 didn’t think so, even as he looked at his wife, who was upset that her baking had been rejected by his mother for family Christmas.

When his wife said she wasn’t sure about attending family Christmas anymore, though, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do to salvage the holiday.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for calling my wife unreasonable for backing out of spending Christmas with my family after my mother rejected her cookie sample?”

The OP’s mother had an unusual family holiday baking competition.

“For every holiday, my mother would ask the women in the family (my sisters, sister-in-law, my wife, my female cousins) to send ‘samples’ of the desserts they plan to bring to the celebration for testing and to see if these desserts could make it to the ‘food menu.'”

“My wife has been complaining about my mother deliberately rejecting every dessert sample she sent.”

“So many times, my mother has told her that she’s being honest and keeping the guests’ best interest at heart.”

“Yet my wife still thought that my mother was deliberately excluding her since two of her dessert samples were rejected.”

The OP’s wife participated in the context again for Christmas.

“For this year’s Christmas, my mother is doing the same thing but this time, she told every woman who is participating to make a ‘cookie sample’ and send it to her for testing.”

“My wife took it as a challenge and to be honest she worked really hard to make a good sample and sent it to my mother days ago and the results just came in yesterday.”

“I came home from work and found my wife upset. I asked what was wrong and she told me that my mother rejected the sample she sent and decided to exclude her baking from the food list/menu for Christmas this year.”

“I didn’t know what to say but she then told me she was backing out of the invitation to attend Christmas with my family.”

“For anyone curious, my sister and two cousins were included on the menu. My wife, sister-in-law, and younger sister were not.”

The OP was furious.

“I was stunned when I heard her make this statement. I tried to talk to her but she said ‘it was done.'”

“I called her unreasonable to decide to bail on the whole family over some cookie sample… that’s just freaking crazy and quite unreasonable.”

“We had a full-on argument about it and she stated that my mother caused this, but I told her that my mother is pretty serious and careful about the food she offers to the guests since we are going to have relatives coming from all sides of the country.”

“She told me to stop mentioning it.”

“Later, I heard her crying despite telling her that her baking is amazing and people have preferences; that’s all.”

“AITA for insisting that her decision was unreasonable?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some were sure they knew who the OP’s favorite woman was.

“YTA. Why haven’t you defended your wife’s baking to your mom? You are choosing your mother over your own wife.”

“Step up and tell your mom that you don’t appreciate the constant insulting of your wife, and accept that if she doesn’t feel comfortable going to Christmas at her house, that she has every right not to. And you should be supporting her decision.” – ItsSublimeTime

“YTA. Your mother has a god complex about her holiday menu and your wife is being hurt by it. This goes beyond preference. Your family is a bunch of AHs if they go along with it.” – Ok_Surround6561

“‘That’s just freaking crazy and quite unreasonable.'”

“Do you know what’s crazy and unreasonable? Your mother’s weird bullying food sample power trip.”

“YTA and your mother is too.” – Forsaken-Breakfast75

“Aside from the obvious bullying power trip by the mother, it is insane to me that the preferences and food options of people across the country are restricted to the taste buds and preference of one single person. Especially with an individual dessert like cookies, where guests could sample as many or as few different ones as they chose.”

“Why restrict cookies of all things to just one or two types at a big gathering?”

“My church has a cookie service every Christmas eve where anyone who wants can bring cookies and there’s a big cookie buffet and it is great. There’s something for everyone and new things to try without pressure and lots of color and texture.”

“This woman is not only a controlling, misogynistic beeyatch but not actually as considerate or brilliant a host as OP thinks, either.” – IndependentBoot5479

“It is time to start Your own tradition, invite whoever you want and tell them to bring whatever food they want. You, as hosts, will appreciate their contribution and not make them feel miserable and undervalued for their effort.”

“Maybe then your mom will understand how bad she is, a bully, and how she insults and underestimates others.”

“And you know, that when your mom insults your wife, she insults you too. Maybe it’s acceptable to you, but it shouldn’t be acceptable to your wife. Maybe you’re used to it over the years, but it’s wrong and rude behavior.” – Constant-Brick3213


“Your mother is a holiday tyrant.”

“You are married. Your place is SIDING WITH YOUR SPOUSE!”

“You chose to condescend and gaslight your wife’s feelings!”

“Year after year, you have seen this tradition hurting your wife. You should have stepped in long before and told your family that you and your wife are having a private family holiday at home alone!”

“This is more than about cookies or dessert, it’s about feeling truly accepted. The fact that your mom only holds a ‘contest’ over the holiday dessert and not any other dish means that she is making dessert have extra meaning, and your wife knows it.”

“Being never picked tells your wife that on a very deep level she’s not really accepted as being good enough in your mother’s eyes.” – Betrayed_Orphan

Others were glad the OP’s wife was setting a boundary for herself. 

“I have never heard of such a ‘freaking crazy and unreasonable’ holiday power trip tradition that everyone’s just cool with participating in.”

“That woman would never have tasted a sample of anything of mine, she p**sed me off right out of the gate by limiting the cooking/baking to the wives and daughters.”

“I’m amazed at OP’s wife’s patience and graciousness that she played along for so long.” – whererugoingwthis

“I bet if someone else from the family would send your wife’s sample as theirs, they would get approved.”

“This isn’t about your wife’s baking. She knows that. I know that. Everyone in AITA knows that. Everyone in your family knows that. Your mother knows that. Even you know that.”

“YTA.” – VallisGratia

“YTA. Your wife has been telling you for years that your mother has been rejecting her. She has gone out of her way to make something good and your mother’s pretentious Christmas menu leaves her out every year.”

“And now you can’t understand why she’s devastated and doesn’t want to go to Christmas with the people who make her feel so bad. It sounds like you just said, ‘Guess my mother just doesn’t like your cooking. Deal with it,’ instead of you dealing with your mother.”

“What kind of Christmas requires samples to be sent for approval in advance for the menu? Your mother sounds controlling and frankly, I wouldn’t want to go to family Christmas there either.” – Natural_Garbage7674

“I feel like OP doesn’t realize this ‘tradition’ is completely abnormal.”

“He thinks it’s unreasonable his wife wants to bail but what’s unreasonable is all the women in the family participating in some kind of f**ked up ‘Bake Off’/’Squid Game’ mashup.”

“If this was presented to me by my partner, I’d bail too and spend Christmas getting drunk in the Bahamas by myself.” – maybenomaybe

“The easy fix for this would be for OP to invite his brother and younger sister and their families over for Christmas. Then they can still have a family Christmas, but without OP’s foodfuehrer mother.” – daquaoO

The OP later posted an update and clearly was not happy.

“Great! I just got off the phone with my brother and he told me that his wife is doing the same thing as my wife and that she has decided to back out of the invitation to spend Christmas with family as well.”

“Turns out my wife must’ve told her about her decision and she decided to follow her lead. My brother is pissed saying my wife is encouraging his wife to do this.”

“I see that the problem has just gotten bigger now. Who knows, my younger sister might join in and decide not to go as well.”

“I don’t know how this got out of control so quickly. I guess we’ll try to have a discussion with my mother about this soon and see how it goes.”

After this latest update, the subReddit was surely sitting back, completely understanding how this escalated so quickly. Because really, this problem had been burning in the oven for a long time.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit