I’m sitting here shaking my head and having difficulty putting into words just how fucked up, fucked over and fucking over ‘it’, I am feeling this afternoon. I am of course referring to the yearly tragedy that is Christmas with The Family.
It’s Christmas Eve. We got up early, went to the seafood markets, hit the shops for some last minute food items and gifts (and much needed manicure). I’ve got a bit more wrapping to do… so far so good…. we’ve got what I thought were firm plans to spend Christmas morning with Mr K’s family for the exchanging of thoughtful gifts, and then the sharing of a roast lunch with all the trimmings. That is until we get a phone call from Mr K’s sister telling us that their Mom is going to the sister’s house at stupid o’clock in the morning to ‘exchange stocking gifts’ with her children. Mr K’s sister, her husband and two kids, Mr K’s step-dad, his Gran and his Brother are all going to be there for that as well…. in fact everyone who is supposed to be coming for lunch except for us! For some reason… Mr K, myself and the Small Child were not included.
His Mom had contacted him several weeks ago about spending Christmas at our place. Yes she invited herself, it was her idea – which was fine with us as we had been inviting them to spend Christmas at our place for about 7 or 8 years now and every year our invitation was politely declined as his Mom ‘just wasn’t ready to have Christmas at someone else’s place yet’. So I was actually kinda pleased that we were going to be having Christmas here and I’d be able to share some of my famliy Christmas traditions with them (like the big roast lunch – they always do cold meat and salads for Christmas lunch for some reason?!?). Anyway it seems we have had a miscommunication of sorts – she didn’t want to do the whole Christmas morning thing with us really… just Christmas lunch. So here’s me and Mr K sitting here feeling kinda like we’re the fucking caterers for this little soiree. :S
I need to back up a minute…. last year we had Christmas with his family at his sister’s place. We were told to be there at 9am and we arrived right on time but when we walked in the door it was immediately apparent that they’d already exchanged many gifts and there was present debris everywhere. Mr K felt like we’d been deliberately excluded from the whole ‘Christmas thing’… I felt like a poor idiot cousin who’d been invited late to the dance… and luckily the Small Child didn’t notice anything amiss at all. At the time I prodded Mr K to talk to his Mom about it and find out why we’d been ‘left out’…. but he didn’t. Well now we know.
Turns out that his Mom doesn’t like the ‘way we do Christmas’ though I’m not quite sure how she reached this conclusion as she’d never had Christmas at our place. Christmas with my family was very different from theirs – my family never went overboard with little gifts for stockings and Christmas at our place was usually a bit of a frenzied free for all… presents being handed out by the youngest kids (I put photo labels on the parcels for the kids that can’t read yet) things being unwrapped at a rapid rate of knots, expressions of delight from the kids – it’s mad but it’s fun. His Mom’s way of doing things is somewhat more sedate and (even after many years) is still rather alien to me. One person at a time opens a gift and we all watch and ooh and ahh over what they got. This was a fine tradition for a family of 5 who had no other people in the country to spend Christmas with… but now we are three families with each with small kids and given that there are already over 60 presents under our tree (and the other’s haven’t bought their things over yet) it will take all fucking day to open things one by one! At some point during which I will have to excuse myself to go and cook everyone’s lunch!
Her solution to not wanting to do Christmas ‘our way’ (even though She invited herself to OUR home) was to go do it her way at his sister’s house at some ungodly hour before coming over. So yeah…. maybe being hypersensitive and we’re overreacting. Maybe we shouldn’t feel like we’re being deliberately excluded… I don’t fucking know. There has been umpteen number of phone calls back and forth between the Mom and the siblings to discuss what was supposed to be happening and attempts to solve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction. At one point Mr K cracked it and said “Fuck it! I don’t want to spend Christmas with any of my family! Lunch is cancelled!” Then more phone calls and cajoling and compromising and it’s back on (for now) only instead of there being a 5am pressie rush for ‘them’ and then coming here at 9am… everyone is rocking up here at 7am to do things his Mom’s way.
To be brutally honest – the last thing I feel like doing is hosting his family here tomorrow and no… I don’t feel like cooking for them and moreover I have no idea how everyone is going to share pleasantries and pretend to be full of fucking Christmas spirit and cheer after the massive cluster fuck of crap that has been bubbling up all day today.
PS – this entire episode is a remarkable and timely demonstration of the shit that I was raving on about yesterday.