Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: Over the past four years, my parents have taken the entire family (daughters, spouses and kids) to their tropical island time share twice. This past spring, we were in the process of planning a third trip for everyone. Long story short, my mother picked a fight with my sister, and that evolved into the trip being canceled. My mother told everyone that the tropical locale was ruined for her. After many months of tension, my mom and my sister made up. Then my parents announced they were going to their time share on the "ruined" tropical island. That's all fine and well. The time share is theirs to do what they want with. However, they left last weekend, and my mother has been sending my sister and me photos of their trip via email. We receive at least half a dozen photos each day chronicling what they are doing and how much fun they are having. The easy answer would be to hit "delete" and just ignore further emails, but my mother just sends more emails if you don't answer her, asking if you got her messages and photos! Do you have any advice on how to politely tell her that we don't want to see what a great time they are having on the vacation they uninvited us from?--Not on Vacation
DEAR NOT: I suggest responding with a combination of stiff upper lip, passive aggression and humor. This way, even if your mother doesn't get the message, you can at least enjoy sending it.
You and your sister could stage two or three photos -- of you and the kids dressed in multiple layers standing forlornly in the snow in the driveway.
Create an electronic postcard and email it to her along with the message: "Greetings from Frozen Hell. Wish you were here!"
Longer term, you and your sister need to decide whether a tropical vacation (if offered) is worth being a pawn to your mother's manipulations. It's a tough trade-off.