The holidays are the high stress situations for pretty much
anyone. Did you know 911 operators report more domestic violence calls and incidents between
Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of year? That’s for one reason
For as much as we love each other and all want to come together
and celebrate, they can all drive us to levels of insanity that we never
thought possible. Movies have ruined our ideals of how holidays should be spent
and set expectations at an impossible level.
One of our family’s favorite holiday movies, “National Lampoon’s
Christmas Vacation,” is the epitome of family fails and the ultimate
measure of how well your Christmas vacation went.
Moms have it especially rough thanks to the insane assumption
that they have to make the holidays magical, not only for their kids, but for
the entire family and basically anyone who enters your home. It’s a bit
outrageous the amount of pressure put on us. Because no matter how
determined you are to be filled with holiday cheer and bring joy to your world
there are guaranteed to be five family members who will no doubt ruin your
mother and/or your mother-in-law. If you're hosting a holiday dinner, brunch or even
just a party, the expectations can run high. Particularly if your mother or
mother-in-law has been doing it years prior and set the bar with their
over-the-top awesomeness. There will be potential side-eyes and comments all evening as they
take inventory on your décor, gift wrapping and food. Then there is the one-upmanship that can happen with the gifting. We know moms are competitive but
three mothers all at once? Back away from the bows, put down the scissors and
tape, and maybe no one will get hurt.
The estranged sibling. For some reason,
Christmas brings out the estranged relatives and you’re more than likely to see
that long-lost cousin or step-sibling show up on the doorstep. This can be both
a blessing and a curse. Who doesn’t love a holiday surprise (all the
commercials tell you surprising family at the door is the way to go) and a
scramble to make another place at the table or find them a gift? The looks of
shock rolling through the family are enough to make you chuckle, pour yourself
a double, and watch the drama unfold.
closet racist. Everyone has that one aunt, uncle, or grandmother that says
way-out “borderline” racist junk. You never know what will come out of their
mouths, and inviting them over for a long drawn out evening can be risky.
Especially if there's alcohol involved. But you have to because family. They're going to say something to offend someone at some point, and the best advice is
to do your best to separate those that may take issues with one another and to
change the subject. Often. Or suggest a game of some kind.
but grandmothers in particular. It’s a fact that anyone who personally
experienced the Great Depression has zero chill and will say whatever is on
their mind. Grandparents can be amazing to have around all the while having you
cringing over what may come out of their mouths. They will tell you that you spent
too much money and are “utterly spoiling that child. You should have bought him
manners instead of that .” And then ask for a slice of cake. All you can do is
smile and go get that cake. What else can you do when they’re 92?
"foodie.” The wannabe-chef or pseudo-gourmet friend or family member
will absolutely ruin your day. Most of us spend an inordinate amount of time
planning our menus and selecting ingredients or just figuring out what we’re
going to contribute and thusly we take pride in our creations. This person will
come along and ask what ingredients you used, why and where you got the recipe.
They’ll also share (loudly) how they had the “original” version of whatever you’re
making on their last grand gourmet adventure and while it was a bit of heaven
in their mouths their sure yours will be “sufficient.” You will take a deep
breath and try not to hit them with the whisk.
The holidays are awesome and so is
spending time with loved ones—but after experiencing both, I don’t judge anyone
who wants a break from their family for a while.