Monday, December 24, 2007

Why the Grinch stole Christmas, probably

Well, I'm home now, with all that that entails.

Christmas in my family is always a somewhat disappointing affair. There's no tree, no decorations, no warm, glowing hearth. It wasn't always this way, but over the years the decorations started coming out later and later, until one year, when I was about twelve, they didn't come out at all. For a few years I struggled to carry on the traditions by myself; dragging the aluminum tree upstairs piece by piece, setting it up, decorating it, alone. And reading this, it's really a wonder I've never had to undergo therapy, isn't it? Anyway, eventually I recognized that it was all an exercise in futility, and I gave up caring long ago.

My family does do gifts, though in the same kind of scattered and half-hearted way you might expect. For instance, last Christmas my parents gave my sister an iPod and an electric piano. I got a book. No wait...a book and a calendar. I almost didn't find out about it, since my sister didn't even show up for Christmas last year. Apparently she had "better things to do." Though she did stop by the day after to cart off her loot.

"Hey, I just saw your sister carrying an iPod and a keyboard out to her car," my future ex-boyfriend informed me.

"What? Wait...what?!" I said calmly. I calmy and nonchalantly marched down to the basement. "Hey Mom. Hey Dad," I said nonchalantly. "So uh...Becca got an iPod and a keyboard for Christmas?"



"Well, that's what she asked for."

"Wait a minute...since when do people get what they ask for around here? You know, I asked for an umbrella two years in a row. An umbrella. And I never got it."

"So, are you saying you want an iPod, too?"

"No...I mean, yeah, I mean, of course, but that's not the point..."

And then my mother, filled to overflowing with the spirit of the season, took out her checkbook and wrote me a check for $500, which I then promptly used to buy an iPod pay my heating bill.

Merry Christmas, everyone! However your holiday season goes, at least you can rest assured knowing that, in any case, it's probably better than mine. Here's to a happy new year, and fond hopes for a fantastic (or at least much-improved) 2008. Cheers!


  1. Oooooh, sorry, sweetie. Families are tough. I'm sure they were happy to see you.

    Try being Jewish sometime. Eight nights of gifts on Hanukkah and you only have to remember the Holocaust once a year, hoping to recall how many members of your extended family never lived past it to 1945. And absolutely no guilt!

    General contractor arrives Wednesday a.m. to rebuild half the damn house. Everything in boxes. No books, no cable TV! Cat boarded in Rockville. Off to RI for my own "family time." Some fun week off.

    /s/Homeless in Silver Spring--


    PS--Check out the new look!

  2. Aw...Christmas...I have come to the conclusion that I could be done with it entirely. Its always filled with relational drama, disappointments and awkward visits. The only gift I ever receive is some lame kitchen utensil from my Mom while my brother walks out the door covered in name brand clothing and the newest electronic. I can assure you are not alone. Here's hoping you get that umbrella this year...

  3. Easy, Grumpy. She needs a little slack. The parents seem to be playing favorites, consciously or not, and that's never good. It can create long-term resentment and family members can become estranged. I've seen it up close and it gets ugly.

  4. Dude, what's wrong with whining in a blog?

    Anyway, I don't think it's whining. Christmas is stressful as hell. Thank god it only comes once a year.

  5. Seriously, Grump. If it's not already obvious, going home to visit leaves me feeling particularly fragile. Be gentle!

  6. Family is family...what can any of us really say....I am fairly sure at some point we have all been where you are at, sorry its not more joyous. Merry Christmas anyhow....