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Inspirational Reads


December 7, 2010

The holiday times are upon us once more, and that means it's time to crank up the old family traditions. You know, those things that you don't really want to do, but you do them anyway because you'd feel guilty if you didn't do them? Right. Those things. The holidays are steeped in them.

Growing up, we had a tradition of going to my grandparents' houses on Christmas Eve. Early in the afternoon it was my paternal grandmother's house, and then it was my maternal grandfather's house for the evening. I enjoyed grandpa's house more, mostly because it was bigger and he had a larger, nicer tree. My grandmother's tree was small and white. It felt more holiday-ish at my grandfather's house. Also, my grandmother was a woman who was a bit more prim and proper and so you couldn't hike up on one ass cheek and let fly with a ripe, juicy fart. It just wasn't done. My grandfather would actually applaud you if it was a good one.

High brow lot, my family.

There was also the chance that a game of Trivial Pursuit would break out, which would eventually devolve into a lot of swearing, and when you're a kid, hearing your elders cursing over their lack of trivial knowledge is damned funny. The adults would play the game, the kids would play with our toys or watch the marathon of shitty stop-action animation holiday specials that was broadcast on Channel 55 for the three days prior to and including Christmas Day. It was bliss.

As I got older and my grandparents died, we would just gather at each other's houses for a meal on Christmas Eve, more games and swearing, and more shitty television. The gatherings would just rotate between my mom and her two sister's houses. Now, however, our families are so far-flung (North Carolina, Oregon, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne) that a holiday get-together isn't practical.

Plus, I'm married. Which means that I have a whole new set of traditions to absorb and work into my holiday repertoire. For instance, one tradition my wife and I have is that we don't have the sex for the last three months out of the year. Of course, this doesn't really differ from the other nine months, but now it's more festive because I can hide inopportune boners under Santa hats.

Love ya, puddin'!

The other major holiday tradition that she brings to the table is a heaping, steaming helping of holiday guilt. Traditionally, her parents start layering it on really good and solid starting in about July. It goes something like this:

"I know that it would be inconvenient to you, but we really want you to load up all your family into the car, drive seven hours to a small, cramped house that's not heated and doesn't have cable and has insufficient beds for everyone and uncomfortable furniture and two showers and nowhere for the kids to play. Leave your kids' Christmas presents at home and, even though your husband has nothing in common with the rest of your family, that sonuvabitch better not bring a book or a video game or anything like that to entertain himself with. That fat bastard is going to sit on those uncomfortable couches in that cramped house and be forced to watch marathons of 'Keeping up with the Kardashians' until he wants to go Oedipus Rex on himself with a pair of hat pins or--if he can't find those--corn cob holders, and he's going to like it or else we'll have an intervention where we try to talk you into divorcing him. We don't care if you have to work. We don't care if you don't have vacation. We don't care if your children would rather stay home and play with their new toys. We don't care if you don't want to be here. You will be here or else you'll be further ostracized from the family."

Or something to that effect. Every year. Starting in the summer. Usually, the guilt starts being applied in the hopes that we pick up and drive somewhere for Thanksgiving but then it really gets ramped up to eleven for Christmas. Because nothing says "Praise the birth of our Lord and Savior" like being surrounding by people drinking shitty beer, playing Hearts, sitting on crappy couches in a cold house with no television to watch. God was made flesh to enhance our misery, right? Right.

Fortunately, we now have an ace in the hole: my wife has been promoted to manager, and so she has to be at the store during the holidays. Yahtzee! No driving to Atlanta for us! Ka-loo, Ka-lay!

Granted, this misery could all be alleviated if I simply rented a hotel room whenever we showed up for holiday family functions. That shit's expensive, though. Yet, if I was a rich man...


Adam L. said...

Ah yes, the old holiday tradition of having to cram as much activity into a 3 day stretch as possible.

This year the wife gets essentially NO vacation time around Xmas, but come hell or high water we're going up to MN anyway. Still trying to see everyone too. Don't even bring up the possibility of maybe staying here and "relaxing" during the holidays for once. ::: sigh :::

MJenks said...

The best thing about my wife (aside from her fabulously large breasts) is that she has about as much desire to go to Atlanta as I do. Maybe even less, and that's saying quite a bit.

Pearl said...

If I was a rich man? For just a moment, I thought we were gonna get all Fiddler on the Roof up in here.

:-) Sorry. The bus was rowdy this morning.

I'm lucky with the holiday traditions. My parents are fantastic cooks -- although it's my mom's 70th Thursday and of all places, she's dying to go to Red Lobster.

Go figure. Not much seafood available in MN...


MJenks said...

I was trying to bring the title of the post full-circle with the Fiddler references, Pearl. So, yes, I was getting all Rev Tevye on everyone.

Elliott said...

Was it the in-laws that forbade use of the toilet last year?

And yes. Because I made the foolish promise to my MIL that Lori would be home for Christmas every year when we had jobs that weren't critical in December, and because we've since taken jobs where we're not allowed vacation in December or January, we're leaving late on the 23rd, driving 500 miles, rushing to see two families who both feel deprived of family time with us, then driving home on the 26th.

If we can't convince them to come here, I'm feigning ebola next Christmas. Seems easier that way.

SkylersDad said...

Nothing says Holiday family Life movie moments like the giving of guilt!!

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

AHAHAHAHA Khloe Kardashian! It's funny because it's so true!

She's got a lovely singing voice, though.

Scope said...

Nah, you'd get your balls busted for the hotel room, too. You being "too good" to stay at the house and all.

Maybe you should all meet at the Super 8 in Gastonia for the day. They got a pool for the kids? ANd someone would need to supervise them at the pool while everyone else hung out in the "business center".

Cora said...

Dang, Khloe has never looked so good. Very nice! ;-)

Elly Lou said...

You're going to pass up hotel sex? Are you mad, man? Even Tevya would be all up in that.

Adam L. said...

@Elliot That is EXACTLY what we are doing (the leave on 23rd, drive 500 miles, go home on 26th thing).