- Go for a walk. When you first arrive don't get right in your sister's face because this is like mad dogging. Don't start off BSing about the weather or asking "How's work?"...No. Go for a WALK. Yes! Get the heart pumping, body heat rising and walk the whole ENTIRE family (mother-in-law included) before Christmas dinner. Get everyone distracted and involved in a single activity. If its cold outside, maybe get people helping out in the kitchen...just do something to avoid annoying comments!
- Smell each others butts. Dogs only here folks. Hold 'em down and let them sniff. For your sister-in-law, go talk to her kids. Play a game with them...toss the ball around...trust me, your sister-in-law will love it. For your mother-in-law, eat her cookies, compliment the house...anything to avoid annoying comments!
- Short leash. We always let a short leash drag on the floor just in case they get into a little fight...makes it easy to separate. Obviously, we never let them interact unsupervised. BUT for my family, I always have a diversion comment ready to rock and roll when things get hairy. I pull out the "baby" card. As soon as the annoying comments start to roll, I change the subject and talk about babies! Works very well for mothers and mother-in-laws alike. Football for my father. Computers for my brother-in-law. You get the point. Anything to STOP the annoying comments!
- Crate them! Last resort, but most effective. Make sure that they are fully pooped and peed...then lock 'em up and let them sleep! For your human family members...leave the room, look at the clock and count down until it's time to go home!