Welcome To Griswold Christmas Hell

by admin on December 6, 2010

Holiday season is always filled with etiquette gaffs in my family, but one Christmas became a true tale to tell.  It is now a seasonal tradition amongst my friends for me to repeat this story!

Christmas Day: per usual, we’re driving down to my father’s side of the family for a large meal and a gift exchange.  Also per usual, I’m a little unhappy and anxious about it.  We’ve always been the black sheep of the family and as I was eighteen at the time I was very self-conscious about not fitting in.I stopped worrying about it after the following happened.

1. My grandfather made a half-hour long production over giving all the married women in the family a “mystery gift.”  They were all forced to kneel in the middle of the room (most of them having known knee problems) while he recited a charming little poem about how helpless they were, and how he was going to help them out lest they impose on their poor henpecked husbands.  He then presented them all with a petite pink hammer, so they would “stop stealing your husband’s tools out of the garage when you need something.”  It was wrapped with a note designating it the “kitchen hammer.”  Being somewhat feminist in leaning, I was seeing red not pink.  Most of the womenfolk found it charming, and thanked him for the gift and poem, entitled “To Help a Housewife.”  The fact that all of them knew their way around a toolbox already and all worked full time didn’t keep them from enjoying the 1950’s sentiment.

2. There was no turkey or ham this year.  Apparently the rest of the family wanted something “nicer” so they bought…ham loaf.  Okay, some people like it, but they really kept going on and on about how it was “nicer” and “fancier” than a regular ol’ turkey.  If you haven’t had ham loaf, just imagine a giant roll of Spam and you’re pretty much there.  I’m not a snob really, but I don’t consider it nicer.  Also, a ham loaf is about 1/6 the size of a turkey, and they didn’t think to buy more than one, so only the kids under 10 (who get to go first in line) and the grandparents actually got any meat that year.  I think it’s rude to not have enough to go around.  We could have pitched in if price was a problem.

3. On the way out, my uncle stopped my dad after my aunt whispered in his ear to, “Ask him, ask him!”  My uncle, who worked in HR for a large manufacturing plant, asked my dad if he would be willing to be in a safety video he was doing.  My dad was confused, as he was a software engineer.  My uncle then went on to elaborate that they had a hard time getting the plant workers to wear safety goggles, and were putting together a video to convince them it was for their own protection.

I see where this is going.  My father is legally blind.  Sure enough, my uncle wanted my dad “to talk about how awful it is to not be able to see, to scare them into wearing their goggles.”  My dad refused, first on the grounds that he has a hereditary eye disease, not blindness by injury.  My uncle insists, because “the point is how hard it is.”  My dad refuses again, stating that he is not the kind to pity himself.  My uncle continues to push it, throwing out the following: “But doesn’t it make you feel bad that you won’t be able to watch your daughter walk down the aisle one day?”

We’re all speechless at this point, while my uncle continues to lay out his brilliant scheme.  Turns out than in addition to have my dad talk about how they sure don’t want to wind up like him, he figured that my filmmaker boyfriend would be willing to film, direct and edit this project for him for free since my dad was in it, so it would save him a bundle!

I not-to-calmly informed my uncle that no, my boyfriend is a full-time student and part time worker, he’s not going to drive the *six hours each way* drive to this plant, shoot a video, take it home and spend hours editing it for free.  Especially as he had only met my uncle once.  The hilarious part was my uncle wasn’t even asking me to ask my boyfriend.  He just assumed he would do it and didn’t need to ask!

4. On the way out the door, I was informed that I didn’t get any leftovers from the huge dinner to take home, as I was “just a kid.”  I was eighteen, and had brought a made-from scratch pie, but I didn’t qualify for leftovers.  My parents didn’t get any either, as they hadn’t brought anything and “it wasn’t fair to take when you didn’t bring anything.”  They hadn’t brought anything because I was bringing a pie as our contribution, but why let logic enter it?

5. I was also informed that nobody wanted to eat my pie anyway, as it “looked funny, and we had better ones.”  The better ones were the three pies picked up at Costco by other family members.  Which is fine, but I was mad that my made-from-scratch pie wasn’t good enough.  Incidentally, it looked funny because it was the only one that wasn’t burned on top and in a disposable tin.

So, that’s my Holiday Hell story.  To this day it makes my friends crack up, but then they proceed to tell my that my pies in fact taste delicious and look darn pretty.  Which is why my friends all get a pie as their holiday gift!    0528-10

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

David December 6, 2010 at 5:59 am

I’m just wondering why “We’ve always been the black sheep of the family” would be a bad thing in this situation. Did you ever go back?


Carnation December 6, 2010 at 6:48 am

I’d have run screaming from the room at that kneeling part.


josie December 6, 2010 at 6:59 am

Funny and sad at the same time…..we all have our share of quirky relatives, but you have to lovc them anyway.


Giles December 6, 2010 at 7:41 am

This makes me much more thankful for the small incidents of chaos in my family, usually limited to small fires.

I don’t keep kosher, but ham loaf sounds… just absolutely terrible.


Harley Granny December 6, 2010 at 7:59 am

I for one would be thankful that I didn’t fit in with this bunch!

Your Father’s side of the family actually make my in-laws look like the Beavers!


Nyx December 6, 2010 at 8:54 am

Ham loaf? O_o fancy? Wow… Your family sounds…special. I think being the black sheep in this case is definitely a bonus.


Threepenny December 6, 2010 at 9:16 am

I’m confused; at one point you complain of there not being enough food, then in the next couple of paragraphs you complain of not getting leftovers from that “huge” meal.

I kind of agree with the leftovers part; I think no one has the right to expect them and, well – one pie isn’t much of a contribution between several people when attending a dinner with a large turnout.

The kneeling part, though, just set my teeth on edge. So did the fact that anyone actually participated in that act.


Just Laura December 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

I’ve found that the best pies look funny. I purposefully go for those – the homemade ones taste better, and might be healthier since there are fresher ingredients and fewer preservatives.


Daisy December 6, 2010 at 9:37 am

Suddenly, my lack of a large family doesn’t seem that bad!


samihami December 6, 2010 at 9:41 am

Sometimes things are just so horrible that all you can do is laugh. At least you got a great holiday horror story to tell out of it.

And I hope you spend your holidays elsewhere this year!


Shalamar December 6, 2010 at 9:42 am

Whoah … and now I wish that I was a friend of OP’s, because I love pie. *grin*


Yellow Rose December 6, 2010 at 9:43 am

Your pie looked funny, and no one was going to eat it? Please tell me you took it and marched it right out the door.


DGS December 6, 2010 at 9:54 am

Wow, just wow…I’m with carnation, that’s the point I would have run screaming. Please, tell me you never went back for another one of these lovely family Christmases.


Yarnspinner December 6, 2010 at 10:08 am

And I thought it was bad that I had to sit at the kid’s table until I was twenty five or that my Mother and my Unlce (father’s brother) used to have p*ssing matches over what time dinner should be! Yikes! I agree, being the black sheep in this family can only be a good thing.


Kells December 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

@Harley Granny..well dam! ( Oh, I am so sorry for that awful joke!) 🙂

OP-your story is awful, but it sounds like maybe you lucked out with the whole “not getting any leftovers”.


Mippa December 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

Wow, super-classy. D:

But now I’m wanting to see a picture of these “weird looking” pies of yours! 😉


Otter December 6, 2010 at 10:32 am

I have a pink kitchen hammer. I bought it at the 99 cent store. Big spender isn’t he? Also, I bought mine in pink so my husband wouldn’t steal it from ME. And ham loaf if just processed leftover scrap meat, yet they have to crow and convince themselves that it’s “nicer.” How dysfunctional they all sound.

You should be proud to be the black sheep in that family.


Renee December 6, 2010 at 11:00 am

That would have been my LAST holiday visit, for sure. I thought *I* had a bad one, from the Christmas after my husband died, my kids were tiny, and my in-laws were hellacious, but this one truly tops anything I have ever experienced or heard of. I am so sorry you all had to go through it, and I hope you manage to avoid these cretins in the future. For the record: my beloved counselor, who was helping the kids and I to get through the trauma of my husband’s death, did help me to know how to firmly draw the line with these people. There is always the resource of asking a professional for advice, if you cannot simply break off contact with them!


Jen December 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

Why did the women have to kneel to receive their gift? That crosses the line from offensive to downright disturbing for me. He’s lucky none of those “housewives” took their little pink hammers to his kneecap.


Lady Lelan December 6, 2010 at 11:21 am

I cannot say anything more than what was previously said, and I do too think that regarding the high class level of your family, being their “black sheep” is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. 🙂

Definite kudos for you and your parents, you really rock! 🙂


Elizabeth December 6, 2010 at 11:35 am

I am so sorry. I am very curious as to if you ever spent a Christmas there again. Did they at least let you take your pie back?


Joe J December 6, 2010 at 11:42 am

With the women in my family, I think several of those hammers would have “accidentally” been dropped on dear old granddad’s pinky toe throughout the evening had he done something like that, ever. Wave that black sheep banner proudly, OP.


Cordelia December 6, 2010 at 11:43 am

I was with the OP until the “forced to kneel” part. Did he pick every one of the women up and physically force them to take a kneeling position? Maybe I’m just paranoid, but when someone tells me to do something so creepy, my immediate inclination is to refuse.


gramma dishes December 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm

*shudders uncontrollably*

The hammer story alone was enough to make me feel like throwing up. Not only that he DID that — which was bad enough. But that the women actually “found it charming” and thanked him. I’d have thanked him by trying out the new pink hammer on his head! Well, except I’m sure that would be rude. 😉

The idiocy with your father was absolutely unbelievable. I can’t really think of a scenario I’ve ever heard of that was more offensive on so many different levels!

The pie thing — well, that kind of nonsense happens. Just be happy that you got to have your pie all to yourselves. (At least hopefully they did allow you to take your own untouched pie home with you!)

Did you ever go back?


kero December 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I think I would be okay going home without leftovers. I don’t want this “ham loaf.”


UK Helen December 6, 2010 at 12:22 pm

‘I was also informed that nobody wanted to eat my pie anyway, as it “looked funny, and we had better ones.”‘ LOL! Why didn’t you take your lovely pie home as ‘leftovers’? (And can I be your friend?) Congratulations on being the black sheep of that family!
Ah, the Christmas I spent with my in-laws…
They begged us to come for a ‘big family Christmas’, and we reluctantly agreed. DH and I were told to turn up on Boxing Day (26th Dec) at SIL’s house and stay for a week. We were young and foolish, and we obliged. Obviously we couldn’t leave food lying around for a week at home, so we weren’t able to have all the traditional food on Christmas Day, but we thought that was OK because we’d have a big family dinner on Boxing Day. So on the 26th we drove for hours in the freezing cold to get to SIL’s house. I’d just bought my first and only brand new car, and was less than thrilled when my SIL greeted us with, “Oh, you can leave that on the street, it’ll be alright.” We were led to the back door, and as it was opened I braced myself for a wave of heat filled with the smell of roast dinner… nothing. The kitchen was empty, cold, odourless! “We don’t like turkey,” we were told. Well, why not have pork, or goose, or anything, really? What were we supposed to eat? The answer came hours later, when we sat down to dinner: a slice of supermarket ham, a slice of bread, a lettuce leaf and a tomato. I don’t eat tomatoes. I kid you not, this was the ‘big family get-together’ we’d been invited to. And day after day it went on the same, for lunch and dinner: sometimes cold beef, sometimes ham. One day a hot meal was announced, and I silently gave thanks. It turned out to be mashed potato with one slice of ham, a lettuce leaf and a tomato. After a week of this, I was close to desperation. Finally the shops re-opened (this was a long, long time ago, when everything closed at Christmas), and my DH and I pleaded that we wanted to shop at the sales, went out on our own and made straight for a department store restaurant for some real, hot food. Bliss.
One good thing is that we’ve never spent Christmas with my in-laws since! Another is that this was a long time ago and actually I rather like my in-laws now. But I’d still never trust them with my Christmas lunch: it’s roasties alone at our house every year.


Kat December 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Haha, pink hammer….

One branch of my family is a little un-feminist in this way. I remember a holiday meal with them at which, after we’d finished eating, my grandmother stood up and announced “all the men are excused!” The idea was that we women were in charge of clean up. My mom immediately answered back that my father was NOT excused (go Mom!) and he stayed to help with the dishes while the other men went off to the den for cigars and brandy, or whatever (go Dad!)

I figure you just have to let grandparents like that do their thing. They’re from another time. It feels offensive, but having a pink kitchen hammer never killed anyone, and you got a good story out of it.


Lizajane December 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Harley Granny,

Do you mean the Cleavers? Maybe not. Beavers would be better than this bunch.


Kristy December 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Did anybody use the hammer to knock some sense into his head?


wanda December 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm

There’s a large generation gap here. More significantly, there’s a large mentality leap here. The grandfather and that side of the family have attitudes that were more common early and mid-20th century, while the OP and her father have ones that emerged in the late 20th century. Neither side is going to understand the other without understanding that the others have significantly different beliefs, in this case on things as different as the value of manufactured goods and the role of family.

There was a time when the manufactured version of goods were thought to be nicer, niftier, and more “high-status” than the homemade versions. Generally, that happened when manufactured goods were just starting to be produced and were rarer and more expensive than homemade goods. Now that the manufactured versions are commonplace and the homemade versions rare, most people have the opposite mentality: homemade versions are better. This family sounds like its members still have the first mentality that privileges manufactured over homemade goods. That would explain the preference for the ham loaf over a whole animal and the Costco pies over the homemade pies. The rudeness comes from the fact that the poster has the opposite mentality. I’m sure that the family thought that the poster’s reluctance to praise the ham loaf was strange, at least, and her decision to bring some “crummy pie she just threw together in her kitchen” to a nice celebration was actively rude.

The grandfather doesn’t bother hiding the fact that he and his family still have very traditional views about marriage. But the other stuff the OP mentions are really about their views of family relations too. The stuff about the leftovers- well, the OP will always be “just a kid” to her grandfather. It isn’t about her actual age; it’s about her generation. I bet she’ll only get leftovers once she graduates to the next oldest generation (preferably, once she has her own kids).

The stuff about the video is just rude. But it also fits in with a picture of a family that adheres closely to a traditional patriarchal, hierarchical family structure. In societies with that kind of family structure, you do things for your family because they are your family and because older members of the family tell you to, regardless of whether they make sense. The other members of the family assumed that the other members of the family would just do things. The father got asked for permission because he is of the same generation as the uncle, but the boyfriend (even though he isn’t really part of the family) wasn’t going to be asked, because he’s in the younger generation.

I bet the family thinks that the OP and her parents don’t fit in and very rude. From their understanding of the world, they would be right. The thing is, the people who read things on the internet are more likely to share the OP’s worldviews. That is why she can share this on an etiquette website and expect sympathy.


AS December 6, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I can see why you are the “black sheep” in the family. You (and probably your parents too) seem to be the sane ones of the lot.


Harley Granny December 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Ok…I’m cracking up at myself…I really DID mean the Cleavers…..maybe it was a Fruedian slip because my in-laws are so “gnawingly” annoying!

Thanks for the correction!


Xtina December 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Oh, what a treasure family can be! haha! I agree the pink hammer and the pie incident were rather rude (and compressed mystery meat in place of turkey or whole ham? Methinks someone spread the “it’s so much better” story in order to try to convince everyone else, themselves included, that for whatever reason, they couldn’t get hold of a turkey or real ham that year), but the scheming uncle was the worst–what an awful presumption to ask for all that stuff–and for free–and to top it off, they’ve insulted the OP’s father about his blindness–definitely uncouth.

I would gladly, gladly wear the badge of black sheep in that family.


MOB December 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I have a lovely flowered screwdriver/hammer combo that my 90 year old granny bought for me because she just knew my husband was always stealing my other tools. And she was right! Long ago I bought myself an entire tool box full of useful tools and hid it in the back of a special cupboard in the kitchen. Over the years he had “borrowed” this or that and never returned them. I have to giggle everytime my young son gets that flowered tool out of the drawer to go change the batteries in his handheld game or to tap a nail back into the baseboard. I am sure his father cringes at the sight of his boy carrying around a flowery hammer.

OP–Your story made me smile. Sometimes you just have to find the humor in these events so you can move on without anger. I am like that. I am glad you can laugh about it!


Simone December 6, 2010 at 3:25 pm

@Wanda – I am sure you are right about the differing views towards manufactured goods etc, BUT even if you do think a homemade pie is inferior to a bought one, it is still very rude to say it “Looks funny” and refuse to eat it no matter which generation you are from. The video thing, too, I agree with your assessment but the uncle pushed it waaaaaaaaaaay too far for good manners, regardless of the attitudes lay behind his assumptions. The ham roll thing I will agree with because I think it’s rude to critisise what you were given to eat at someone’s house, but I see no indication that the OP did so at the time.

It is also an attitude thing. My grandmother was of the same generation as these people and she did hold very strong views about a ‘woman’s place’ but although we were of very different times there was enough love and inherent respect for each other to still very much enjoy christmas together. These branches of the family sound like neither of them have much respect for the other.

One thing to add – my grandmother bought us the ‘superior’ shop made pies once. She was quickly disabused of any notions of the inferiority of her homemade pies by her extremely indignant grandchildren. We wanted GRANDMA’S pies 🙂


Allie December 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Wanda, with respect, I think you are being far too soft on these people. Their behaviour indicates to me that they clearly knew that what they were doing was wrong. They went on and on about the ham loaf (protesting too much) because they knew that it was substandard, and the uncle was clearly uncomfortable asking the poster’s father to do the video (someone had to prod him to do it). Plus, your generational gap theory doesn’t explain away the hurtful comments about the poster’s father’s vision or about her pie. If you don’t want to eat something, that’s fine, but the polite thing to do (in any generation) would be to simply say “thank you for the pie” and leave it at that. I would not let these people off the hook. As for grandpa’s pink hammer thing, the hammer itself doesn’t offend me, but the kneeling and the commentary are certainly disturbing. I would have refused to participate. I don’t know how Grandpa could have thought this was appropriate, or what his motivation was (attention, maybe?), although I am willing to consider the possibility that he did not realize how disturbing it was. When you give someone a gift, what more needs to be said other than “I thought you would like this and/or find it useful”.


Ali December 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I have a toolbelt, and I get mad if someone takes things off of it. It’s not that my boyfriend doesn’t know how to use tools, it’s that I was interested in theater tech in college and now know a ton about wiring, building, and maintenance.

Some of the older members of my family are like that. I generally smile (“why aren’t married” when I’m in grad school and such) and change the subject to something more innocuous.


Wink-n-Smile December 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Nobody ate the pie AND you didn’t get leftovers? What happened to the pie? I want to know what happened to that yummy-sounding, “funny-looking” pie!


Zhoen December 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Can you also explain away not having enough food, “so only the kids under 10 (who get to go first in line) and the grandparents actually got any meat that year.” Or telling a man who is already legally blind, “But doesn’t it make you feel bad that you won’t be able to watch your daughter walk down the aisle one day?” Or that assuming that an unrelated friend of his granddaughter could be presumed upon for a huge favor is just generational – “my uncle wasn’t even asking me to ask my boyfriend. He just assumed he would do it and didn’t need to ask!”

There was nothing polite in that family, the Black Sheep were tolerant under extremely rude circumstances. It’s not generational, it’s not about being online. Snubbing a gift (homemade especially) because it’s not your idea of “nicer” i.e. store bought, is rude in any generation. There is no excuse for dismissive, unappreciative, manipulative behaviour, and poor hospitality to not feed guests adequately.


Toni December 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Wanda, I don’t think the generation gap is responsible here. I’m 52, so the older generation I knew was born at the end of the 1800’s through the early 1900’s. I don’t ever remember anyone acting this way as a group. Making all the women kneel to receive their gift? Thinking a ham parts dinner is better than the whole roast (and not taking care to make sure you have enough for everyone)? Insulting the food item someone else bought? Assuming someone would drop everything to provide their talents/skills free of charge? All acts of extreme rudeness no matter what generation you are from.


PrincessSimmi December 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

You know, my family never liked me because I’m really quirky. That’s not a bad thing. It means they don’t miss you if you choose not to show up. 🙂

I’m with the others OP: Did you get your pie back? Did you ever visit them again? Can I be your friend and can you give me pie? 🙂


Nuit93 December 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm


My grandparents are the same generation as the OP’s grandparents (older, even!) and they would NEVER be okay with any of the misogynist garbage that was being spewed out with the pink hammers–or anything else that the OP described.


bookworm December 6, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Wanda, I know what you mean by preferring that OP’s graduation to the next oldest generation being brought about by her having children, and would like to respectfully add “or a cousin having their own children” in the event that OP prefer to remain childless.

Other than that, you bring a very interesting point of view to the discussion. I do disagree with that last paragraph, however. OP mentioned having aunts and uncles, who must be around her dad’s age, and you describe the situation as a large generation and mentality gap. This is a website, yes, but it is a website created around the idea of sharing stories of etiquette blunders. The side stories of outright rudeness are just icing on the cake.


Guinevere December 6, 2010 at 8:57 pm

You have to wonder when they started noticing that the way they talk to other people might be cringe-worthy, and did they just say “What the hell”? Isn’t it amazing how completely normal people can emerge from families like this?


Shalamar December 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Kat, your story reminds me of when a friend of mine visited her husband’s family for Christmas. After dinner, all the men (i.e. her husband’s father, uncles, and several brothers) got up to go watch the game, leaving the wimmenfolk with the cleanup. My friend’s husband, who is normally a very enlightened guy, sheepishly started to get to his feet to join his male relatives – and my friend glared at him and said “DON’T. EVEN. THINK. ABOUT. IT.” He immediately sat down again.

Needless to say, he got teased a LOT about who wore the pants in that family, but he was very goodnatured about it and said “Say whatever you want – she’s a lot prettier than you, and I get to go home with her.”


Hellbound Alleee December 6, 2010 at 10:02 pm

I don’t think that someone from my mothers’ or my grandmothers’ generation would automatically have these same beliefs. And I don’t think that etiquette has changed so much. My grandmother (who was born in 1913) always worked and wasn’t a “housewife.” She was a farmers’ wife for a time, and went with my grandad to the forest to chop timber. Really. My other grandmother worked outside the home since 1923. They might laugh at the kneeling scene, but my mom would have been livid. My other grandfather never had attitudes like that. They weren’t big city people, either. They lived through the depression, and I don’t know: maybe they would have appreciated “store-bought” over homemade, and I understand the reference. But they also appreciated people who were “odd” to a certain extent.

And you don’t always have to “love” family that you visit. My mom’s dad was particularly cruel and would have loved the pink hammer scenario in ways I can’t go into. He was pretty good at making Christmas cold. When he was presented with gifts, he would lie them on the floor next to his chair and say nothing. My other grandpa was always so accepting of people; he would never have envisioned a “black sheep.”

So regardless of cultural assumptions- you can’t quantify culture and assume that everyone of the same generation in the same family sees things the same way. Has anyone ever been this way?


Sharon December 7, 2010 at 12:08 am

I am wondering why the people that are considered “black sheep” are usually people I find the best to be around.
They are usually the ones to live and let live, from my observations.


The Cat Whisperer December 7, 2010 at 1:43 am

This story is a strong argument in favor of grabbing the initiative and developing your own holiday traditions when you’re old enough to realize the truth of the saying that “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.” FWIW, there is nothing noble or praiseworthy about spending time with the family during the holidays if it is as galling as it apparently was for this OP. Much better for all concerned to gracefully decline the invitation to be around people who make you crazy. Send the group a gift basket of goodies from one of the many catalogs that offers nice things, and start your own holiday tradition. Everyone will be happier.

Just one thing worth mentioning: it sounds like OP hasn’t reached the point in her life when she’s had to face the loss of relatives. I have to say that when I was young and thought they’d be around forever, or at least I couldn’t envision them passing away, my mom, dad, grandparents and some of the other relatives were sometimes a chore to be around. Well, they’re gone now and there are no more chances to be around them. And with the perspective that time and additional age have given me, I realize that maybe at the same time that I wasn’t enjoying their company, I wasn’t being very peachy to be around, either. It rubs both ways.

And as I head into the holidays nowadays, I find myself wishing that I could have some of the relatives who annoyed me back for just one more Christmas and a chance to hug them one more time.


Chelsey December 7, 2010 at 1:52 am

If people had said out loud that they refused to eat my pie because it looked funny and they had “better pies,” I would have taken it back out to my car and made sure it went straight home with me. How rude of your family.


portianay December 7, 2010 at 6:08 am

I frankly find it shocking that ANYONE has defended OP’s family, especially on the grounds of a generation gap. I, too, am 52, and the elders with whom I deal are of a different time. Not one of them, on my side of the family, would have dreamt of behaving the way this family did. OTOH, my inlaws –some, not all–are very rude, and very intent on belittling anyone who makes them feel insecure with regard to education, income, etc. While I may understand their behavior, I have never condoned it, and did what another astute post-er mentioned here: I long ago firmly established the people with whom we would spend our holidays, and the people with whom we would not. I have never regretted that decision, and my children, now grown, never have either. Because these are people related to my late husband, I have always made it clear that all of them are welcome in my home at any time; I find their behavior on my turf, and off of their own, tends to be a little more moderate. I also made it a point never to badmouth them to my children, as my children are, obviously, related to these people. As they have reached adulthood, my children have arrived at their own conclusions, and they do very lovingly and kindly stay in touch with this part of the family. I feel this has all turned out for the best, and again, hope the OP can arrive at a happy conclusion to all of this.


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