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
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!