When i was kid, Christmas had a very strict format, that was followed damn near to the letter every year. We’d go by uncle Charlie and Anty sandy’s every year, and get treated poorly by them and their family, they looked down upon us. One year when my step-grandfather stash was sitting talking to someone he was asked how many grand children he had, he looked at my sisters, both of them, and replied 1. The one was meant to indicate my cousin lorie, that’s kinda how that whole side of the family was, we were invited more because than because anyone wanted us. When i was young it was okay, i was the youngest in the whole family, so i got spoiled a bit, as soon as i was older and there was family members younger than me, i stopped getting presents or even cards from that side of the family. When Aunt sandy died a few years later, Uncle Charlie stopped talking to us entirely, he was supposed to have told a friend of his, that he didn’t intend to see our side of the family again, Fuck him.
Christmas then reverted to a nice family dinner on Christmas eve, and pretty much nothing on Christmas day. though when i was young we opened presents, just us, on Christmas morning. I’d wake up all excited to open presents at like 8 am,and about 10 my sisters would wake up and we were allowed to open them, the oldest child got to pass out gifts, and the rest received and opened. Dad was always the patriarch and dictated both order of events and duration. After Presents the adults would leave, and i’d spend the entire day alone, until maybe 5-6 at night when the family came home, Christmas day was quite boring every year.
Now to be fair i have not gotten into the social interaction of my own family, i remember almost every holiday, someone would get into a screaming match with someone else, having only 5-8 people around on most holidays this is a trick. Dad, would often get angry if things weren’t done in his way, and Mom was often stressed and angry for an entire day either before during or after the holiday, this holds mostly for Christmas and thanksgiving.
So time goes on, when i got older, i had nephews, and new in laws, well my sisters in laws refused to speak with us, almost entirely, any mixed family event was seperated, and little interaction was ever had between sides. The nephews themselves, nearly living at my home, were a mixed blessing, they got all the toys and such, and the older people got more subdued, and fewer gifts.
Now we can hit today, last year my sister was in charge of roughly half the Christmas feast, She brought enough food for maybe 2 people, total, not a very good half of a Christmas feast. She hasn’t given a Christmas present in over 5 years that had a cash value over 5 dollars, but will request things for herself, and her live in, unemployed, boyfriend in excess of a 100 dollars. to be fair after the first few years my sister and her boyfriend nearly stopped receiving presents, oh well.
I’ll admit Christmas was fun when i was a child, i used to love it, because the Christmas tree was always 11 foot tall, and took up its own corner of the living room, when lit at night it would fill the whole room with this cool, multi-coloured light, worked great as a night light, when i was small. Dad and mom always got me neat toys, many of my friends would often receive more gifts, and frequently more expensive ones, but thats okay, i was little and getting toys was fun.
Getting the Christmas tree had its own series of rituals and traditions, as we traveled down to a tree farm in Illinois to go get it, cut it down ourselves and brought it back to Milwaukee every year. The tree farm had hay wagon’s and golden retrievers everywhere.
Now Christmas is closer to, go to my sisters house, make polite conversation with people i sharelittle in common with in terms of interests, myself and my sisters have nohting in common, we don’t like the same types of entertainment, all work in different fields, have different interests, in short i never have much to say. My sisters husband is a nice guy, but again, i have little in common with him, and have trouble holding a conversation. Next my other sister will show up with my nephews, the nephews and me will chit chat, and maybe play, i will try to ignore my sisters boyfriend to the best of my ability, as i don’t care for him. My sister with the kids will sit down and talk about her job nigh infinitely, and trust me Human Resources for Harley Davidson isn’t that interesting, She ironically enough often brings a new level of stress into the house, we’ve all reported things seem less relaxed when she shows up.
Now we get to presents, i personally hate asking for things like presents, not sure why. Even if i want something i will not ask for it, i don’t like to. I’ll be pestered through most of december to come up with a list of presents, and i’ll usually find some dvd’s or some such to ask for. So i get a few gifts more for show most years, just somthing to open, My sister with the kids will give me dollar store crap, knock off Chinese toy airplanes or something equally silly. Its not even dollar store crap focused at me, value isn’t the issue, the fact that your giving me something with no value, and no meaning to it, and expecting something with value in return is what gets me. Of course i am forbidden from bringing any of this up, for we can’t have a fight at christmas oh no, we just have to smile nod our heads and ignore it. While pretending that that toy truck that has packaging ripping off a bad 80’s movie, and the product inside breaks within 10 minutes, these are the kinda toys, that homeless children return, lol.
So anyway, we have a session of mostly watching the nephews open gifts, a few more minutes of chit chat, and we leave for the year. Since this occurs on December 25th, i will likely not see the majority of these people again for a minimum of 2 months, as neither of my sisters will call me, or have any real interaction, just as i don’t speak with them outside of holidays either.
So in conclusion, I’d have to say, that i really don’t wanna deal with any of this stupid crap, my family is stressful, and i don’t wanna see them. I don’t really want gifts, my birthday is in 3 days, so i get to remember the fact that I’ve had roughly 3 birthday parties in my life. There’s another one i don’t care for, its hard to feel like your birthday matters, when its basically a footnote between Christmas and new years every year, and all you get is Christmas birthday gifts. Also between, my birthday and Christmas, i will receive an average of 2-4 cards, of these 2-4 cards, 3 of them will come on gifts or as gifts, and one will be handed to me at some point with 10 dollars in it.
So maybe if it wasn’t for all the memories of awkward or stressful holidays filled with fighting, the family members who don’t care about you, the disappointing birthdays, and the inability to change any of it, i might like Christmas, but as it is its not fun for me, its not enjoyable really, its just stress and bad memories. And then when you don’t like Christmas, everyone seems to take it as a personal affront, like you kicked them in the teeth or something. I’m sure I’ve missed things, i know I’ve actually made my childhood happier than it was, i skipped a lot of the bad bits, but maybe this helps you understand why i want nothing to do with this crap most of the time.
P.S. I was told at some point that i should start new traditions, and such since i can start over without Dad being around, i thought this was a fine idea, and asked if i could simply skip Christmas and the whole bit, the person speaking with me, didn’ t seem to think i had gotten the right idea.
post-postscript, i miss Saint Nick’s, getting a stocking filled with candy and goodies. Phil got presents as i recall, i got candy, but candy was fine.