Let me in let you in on a secret. I'm not a fan of Christmas.

To be frank I come from a disfunctional home, very disfunctional. I think the last true Christmas I had was when I was twelve? My parents divorced when I was ten and I lived with my dad from sixteen on. Dad doesn't do gifts, well Dad doesn't do much of anything festive. So I've always spent Christmas trying extra hard to make it special only to let myself down. J's family is kinda the opposite. They decorate and have a family dinner, exchange gifts, probably wear matching sweaters, a la the whole shebang! So when you throw me into the mix it ain't a pretty picture.

Now don't get me wrong! I'm an upbeat kind a gal UNTIL family appear, at which point I become the most pessimistic, defensive pursed mouth bitch. However, this year is different! I finally get to spend a Christmas the way I want to! Alone with J and the pups! I don't have anyone to please! I don't have anyone watching my reaction in opening gifts that I usually don't use! I don't have to pretend to be nice to my family only to please other members of my family! It's going to be wonderful!

You may be wondering why I have the feelings I do about Christmas (oh and Thanksgiving too). My mother, well, let's just say she is usually busy with my step dad's family on Christmas. I wouldn't have any problems spending it with her as she lives on a beautiful lake in a city I adore, but I would never hear the end of it from Dad, who would view my choice as choosing her over him. And for him, well, I just don't like seeing anyone spend Christmas alone, which is usually why I sacrificed my own feelings. J's family...they want J all to themselves during the holidays. His family isn't very big and now they all live in the same city but for some reason they choose major holidays to see each other. In fact, his mother gets upset when he is not there. But she never had to spend a Christmas or a Thanksgiving away from her family since J's dad died 15 years ago and wasn't close to his own family. They usually plan Christmas six months in advance and tend to be pushy folks if you haven't made your mind up. I had lived with J for just two weeks when they asked if I had purchased plane tickets for Christmas yet. His family is one area of tension in our relationship. I feel like they don't respect that I have a family of my own that I'd like to spend time with during the holidays, which requires travel time and I feel like their notion of Christmas doesn't match my own. And if you haven't gathered already, I'm pretty judgmental.

Here is my main problem, why do I have to get gifts for people I only hear from once a year (and conviently right before their birthday as if to remind me to also send a gift)? I am closer to my busdriver, but I don't get her anything. Was a memo sent out changing Christmas to Giftmas? These ADULTS, not children because I think gifts are fine for them, DO NOT NEED ANYTHING! And yet J and I got into a recent tiff about how much we were spending on his brother and sister-in-law and how they don't talk to us. It bothers me that they EXPECT gifts, but not an actual relationship with their family.

My family works differently. We don't expect gifts and only give them if we want to. It works well. My sister usually spends time with mom, my brother is usually safe in jail, and I usually take one for the team and have Christmas breakfast at the truck stop with Dad. My family just knows how unrealistic it is to get everyone together. It's something I've grown to appreciate over the years. With regards to J's family, I guess it's just difficult for me to suspend my values and practices for a family that I don't always feel welcome in. I also feel like I am constantly defending myself and my decisions to his family and I feel like respect is completely absent.

But this year I get to do whatever I want, and it's everything I've ever wanted. So J and I will be walking the pups, having dinner with new friends, maybe watch a movie and just being us.

I can't wait to pick him up from the airport tomorrow! Ten whole days with my partner in crime is the perfect gift. This is what Christmas should be all about. This is the kind of Christmas I wish for you!


  1. Anonymous said...
    Sounds like the beginning of “Four Christmases” until their flight gets canceled. (the whole spending the holidays with the significant other rather than family.)

    And they expect gifts from you...do they give you fun things in return?
    Kel said...
    Oh hell no! They give the worst gifts. The kind you donate later on. The also spend about a quarter of what we spend on them, give us an elaborate list, and don't care to ask for one in return. It's highly amusing.
    Anonymous said...
    It's great to catch up on your blog today. I have to admit, I am thrilled that I have an excuse to skip the country for Christmas since marrying my Mexican husband.

    My family is fairly dysfunctional and my youthful Christmases were filled with shuttling from unpleasant family gatherings with my mom's very messed up family to uptight gatherings with my stepmom's family to huge parties on my dad's side where I always felt really awkward and out of place (for various reasons). There was always arguing about politics, stress and general dysfunction - not fun.

    I think the worst part about the whole thing for me now is the excessive spending and gift giving. I used to enjoy giving gifts, and I still do in some cases, but most of the people I know have so much, and I don't need anything, but there's all this pressure to buy a great gift. Argh... It stresses me out just thinking about it.

    So.. the last few years, I have just freed myself to do my own thing, which is ever more convenient because the holidays are a great time to visit my husband's family outside the country. This year I told everyone the truth - I don't have any money for gifts, and with the economy as it is, it was fine.

    I'm glad you guys were able to spend this time together - it's great to start your own traditions as well!

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