If your mother-in-law makes the Grinch look like Santa, then listen up!

on Dec 20, 2010 - The Dish

Caroline Manzo of the Real Housewives of New Jersey
Unlike that hideous sweater you received last year, you can't return your in-laws. Fortunately The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Caroline Manzo knows how to make your fa-la-la festivities more enjoyable -- even in spite of those jabs about your cooking.

First up, before you purchase your in-laws a one way ticket to the North Pole, Caroline tells Glo, "Have a conversation with your partner and express how their family makes you feel. You never know — what you interpret to be stand-offish behavior may be the norm for their personalities."

Next, hold your swings, Tyson. "Show your partner that you're committed to your relationship: that includes dealing with a little jab here and there from the 'other' side," Caroline continues.

But just so we're clear:  That doesn't mean you should let any tables come flipping your way. "One thing that should never be tolerated, however, is full on verbal abuse and disrespect. The worst thing you can do is respond to bad behavior with more bad behavior."

When all else fails, the NJ matriarch knows the age-old secret for pulling out the big guns and really getting under someone's skin. "Kill them with kindness," the fiery red-head says. "One of two things will happen -- they'll come around or you'll drive them nuts. Either way, you win." Brilliant.