Author Topic: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do? - more info post 10  (Read 3550 times)

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cattlekid

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Yesterday was our family Christmas celebration for my mom's side of the family.  Grandma hosts and provides one meat, everyone else brings extra meats, side dishes, desserts etc.  We have lunch, get the dishes cleaned up and then we open gifts.   

Everything was going fine until after the gift opening.  The same thing happens every year.  This is a large bunch of people (yesterday we had 21  for lunch, which is small from past years).    After the gift opening, several of the aunts, uncles and cousins disappear into the basement for card playing.  Cards are played in groups of four.  If there are extra people but not enough to make even groups of four, then people have to take turns watching vs. playing. 

Every year, the same group plays cards and drinks and the rest stay upstairs and visit.  I know that I would like to play, along with my grandmother and some of my other aunts.  This year, it got really bad when one of my aunts went downstairs to get a beverage and was asked by the card players if dinner leftovers had been heated up yet.  To her credit, she didn't reply and when it was time for dinner, we set out all the leftover food and let everyone heat their plates in the micro if they so desired. 

To me, the whole situation seems exclusionary.  As a grandchild (the eldest, but still a grandchild), I just don't know what to say or do in this situation.  No one outside of the "cool kids" is asked if we want to play, which could easily be accommodated with extra tables and chairs that are already set up.  We also might like to visit with some of these folks who we don't get to see very often and then only see for the time it takes to eat lunch. 

What to do, what to do???
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 03:54:46 PM by cattlekid »

Shoo

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 02:02:23 PM »
Grab a couple of those card tables next time and start your own game, that's what you do.  Don't wait to be invited! 

If the others have all gone downstairs, there's nothing stopping you from starting a game upstairs, is there?  That's what I would do.

Adelaide

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2011, 02:07:00 PM »
My 4-person family typically takes charge of this situation in our extended family. We always bring games like Uno or Scrabble Slam (for the younger kids) and set up tables for cards when we go somewhere. What's stopping you from playing something upstairs and getting your own thing going?

If that's not an option then I'd suggest blatantly butting in and asking to play. It might shake things up a little bit. I know that was my only option. I've always wanted to shoot guns but it was always the men in the family going outside for target practice after every holiday event. I had to buy my own ammunition and force my dad to let me shoot the guns, but now I'm pretty good at it and I don't feel so left out.

jpcher

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 02:07:47 PM »
Yesterday was our family Christmas celebration for my mom's side of the family.  Grandma hosts and provides one meat, everyone else brings extra meats, side dishes, desserts etc.  We have lunch, get the dishes cleaned up and then we open gifts.   

Everything was going fine until after the gift opening.  The same thing happens every year.  This is a large bunch of people (yesterday we had 21  for lunch, which is small from past years).    After the gift opening, several of the aunts, uncles and cousins disappear into the basement for card playing.  Cards are played in groups of four.  If there are extra people but not enough to make even groups of four, then people have to take turns watching vs. playing. 

Every year, the same group plays cards and drinks and the rest stay upstairs and visit.  I know that I would like to play, along with my grandmother and some of my other aunts. This year, it got really bad when one of my aunts went downstairs to get a beverage and was asked by the card players if dinner leftovers had been heated up yet.  To her credit, she didn't reply and when it was time for dinner, we set out all the leftover food and let everyone heat their plates in the micro if they so desired. 

To me, the whole situation seems exclusionary.  As a grandchild (the eldest, but still a grandchild), I just don't know what to say or do in this situation.  No one outside of the "cool kids" is asked if we want to play, which could easily be accommodated with extra tables and chairs that are already set up.  We also might like to visit with some of these folks who we don't get to see very often and then only see for the time it takes to eat lunch. 

What to do, what to do???

Why do you need to wait for an invitation? If there are extra tables and chairs, why don't you, your grandma and other aunts go down and just start playing? That sounds like a group of 4 to me.

I don't see any reason why anyone, especially your grandmother in her own home, needs to wait for an invitation.

Is this an "old-school" family where the card players are the men and the women are upstairs preparing the food? (Like in the old days when the men retired to the den to smoke cigars, drink port, and talked politics while the women went into the library and took up their needlepoint and read books to each other?)

JoyinVirginia

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 02:11:35 PM »
My 4-person family typically takes charge of this situation in our extended family. We always bring games like Uno or Scrabble Slam (for the younger kids) and set up tables for cards when we go somewhere. What's stopping you from playing something upstairs and getting your own thing going?....  If that's not an option then I'd suggest blatantly butting in and asking to play.

I was also going to suggest you bring your own games and go down to the game room  to play, you do not have to play that one particular game. Also talking to the gamesters before the gathering to say "You could really help grandma, I know she would like to play cards, help me include her"

O'Dell

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 02:15:47 PM »
I think more info is needed about the dynamics between the 2 "groups". The previous solutions seem so obvious to me...it wouldn't even be questioned in my family if the "non-cool" peeps started their own games or invited themselves to the other group...that I suspect that there must be something more going on here. If not, then any of the posted options are not rude. It also wouldn't be rude for your grandmother as hostess to announce that something different would be going on this year and have a different activity of her choosing or different way of handling the card game planned.
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lady_disdain

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2011, 02:50:34 PM »
I don't understand the problem. Why don't the other people who want to play just speak up and say "Hey, save a seat for me" or "I am in line for the next game"? It doesn't seem like the other group has excluded anyone or forbidden anyone from joining, just that, over time, the same group preferred to play and the other to talk.

SisJackson

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2011, 03:05:46 PM »
Any time my extended family gathers for anything, games will be played.  No engraved invitations are issued to join the card room, it's just a given that at some point after the meal is served and the dishes are started that a subsection of the group will retire to play something.  Anyone is welcome to join and nobody waits to be asked to play.

Have you tried going down to the Secret Circle and seeing if there are enough extras to set up an additional foursome?  If so, have you been rebuffed?  If there are, say, two people waiting to play and you and Grandma go down and offer to start a second table, and the two extras both say, "No, thanks, we'll wait to play at this table" then it's pretty clear that only the Cool Kids are welcome to play with them, but there's no indication that this is what's happening.

Can you clarify?

LadyL

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2011, 03:31:46 PM »
I almost posted about a similar scenario with my in-laws except it was more like the family history nerds being antisocial by playing their long (4+ hour) history themed game off to themselves. In that case it was the exclusion/refusal to interact that was the problem, not inclusion/exclusion in the game.

cicero

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2011, 03:40:27 PM »

Every year, the same group plays cards and drinks and the rest stay upstairs and visit.  I know that I would like to play, along with my grandmother and some of my other aunts. 
so... play!

say: "hey uncle Tom! can you deal me and grandma in? oh, you're playing [game that can only be played by four players]? great, so how about we play [game that can be played by 6]? no? then it's going to be 52 pick-up..." >:D

or - pre-emptive strike: "we set up the card tables downstairs with monopoly and clue. this way everyone can join in".


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cattlekid

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Re: "Cool kids" vs the rest of us at Christmas - what to do?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 03:54:04 PM »
OP here.  The other problem between the two groups is it is definitely cut down the line of the drinkers vs. the non-drinkers.  Not that anyone in our family is totally against drinking, it's just that the card players drink non-stop and it gets louder and louder.  Grandma can't take it any more.  Now that she has a hearing aid (she's 85), the loudness is unbearable for her. 

It seems to me like for the last few years, there is a group in the family that comes to eat, tolerate the gift opening, then bolts for the basement to drink and play cards.  In Grandma's old house, there wasn't a basement so the card playing was done on the same level where all of the rest of the family was and it seemed way more inclusive. 

I guess I just get upset when we get together and there are cliques.  This happens as well at our summer family reunion.  Cliques abound.  Grandma sees this and it upsets her.   My husband nailed it when he said that once Grandma passes, our family will fall apart.

I think more info is needed about the dynamics between the 2 "groups". The previous solutions seem so obvious to me...it wouldn't even be questioned in my family if the "non-cool" peeps started their own games or invited themselves to the other group...that I suspect that there must be something more going on here. If not, then any of the posted options are not rude. It also wouldn't be rude for your grandmother as hostess to announce that something different would be going on this year and have a different activity of her choosing or different way of handling the card game planned.

immadz

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Well seems like its not a clique more split along the lines of " enjoy certain activity." If you would like to join, I would suggest bringing a deck along and setting up an alternate table near by or in the kitchen area with or without booze.


SisJackson

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Would you rather them play upstairs where their loud game will disturb everyone?  There's a reason our family's games are held in a faraway room - we get pretty loud too.  We even play a card game whose name has gotten lost over the years; heaven help us, we simply call it "The Screaming Game" for the volume it generates.  Enter at your own risk.  My husband makes a great joking show about putting in earplugs when he joins the games.

What you describe doesn't sound like a clique.  A clique is an entity where outsiders aren't wanted.  It sounds as though you'd be welcome to play but you don't want to play in the conditions that are available.  There's nothing wrong with a PP's suggestion of having a quiet table upstairs while the loud players continue to gather in the basement.

It's sad that your family may stop getting together once your grandmother passes, but I don't think it has a lot to do with who plays cards in the basement vs. who doesn't.

ShadesOfGrey

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Um, in any big group, there are subgroups. That's not an exclusive clique, that's just how things go. Same thing at my big, 30+ person thanksgivings. Some go play video games, some watch football, some sit in te kitchen and chat, others in the dining, and still other go out to smoke and socialize. These aren't cliques, these are natural smaller groups. I don't join the smokers, I don't like the conditions-but they aren't excluding me by any means.

I think if grandma, or aunt or you want to socialize, you need to ask that person to stick around for a few after dinner, try to socialize before and during dinner, and try to put up with those conditions in the basement for a little while.

Alternately, the homeowner could always have a "mold issue" or construction project going on down there...
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I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Bijou

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I don't understand what stops you and the others who want to play from forming their own groups.  Even if you don't play cards, or the same game of cards they are playing, can't you play a board game or some other card game that doesn't require the same number of players?  Or why not initiate the conversation about the playing and invite others to join you instead of letting them take the lead?
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