Author Topic: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions  (Read 10790 times)

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FoxPaws

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2012, 02:14:33 PM »
Your aunt sounds a bit pushy, but if the rest of the family likes this event enough to participate and you don't have to sing (just listen), it falls firmly into the "Holiday/family stuff  that you put up with". Listening to an hour of carols might not be fun for you, but it's part of the holiday. One hour of listening to family sing is not a holiday hill.

The OP's dilemma is that Aunt Pushy is not content to have her - or anyone else - just listen. They must participate in her "fun" activity or risk being ridiculed, shamed, and called names by people who supposedly love them.  ::)

I tried just being in the room not singing until I got called on it for being a grump. I thought I was being sociable by being there, but apparently I was wrong.  So I started lip-syncing/mumbling.  Then I was grumpy.  As I've said I've tried being busy but she just pesters people until they agree to join.  I got scolded by my parents to "just go with it" last year.

OP, I don't have any advice for you because I would rather spend Christmas alone than with people who can't respect some very basic boundaries. "No thanks!" should be all anyone - of any age - needs to say to an activity that makes them uncomfortable. I'd be attending with my car keys in my pocket and leaving the minute Aunt Pushy started in on me.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

Deetee

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2012, 02:36:27 PM »
Your aunt sounds a bit pushy, but if the rest of the family likes this event enough to participate and you don't have to sing (just listen), it falls firmly into the "Holiday/family stuff  that you put up with". Listening to an hour of carols might not be fun for you, but it's part of the holiday. One hour of listening to family sing is not a holiday hill.

The OP's dilemma is that Aunt Pushy is not content to have her - or anyone else - just listen. They must participate in her "fun" activity or risk being ridiculed, shamed, and called names by people who supposedly love them.  ::)

I tried just being in the room not singing until I got called on it for being a grump. I thought I was being sociable by being there, but apparently I was wrong.  So I started lip-syncing/mumbling.  Then I was grumpy.  As I've said I've tried being busy but she just pesters people until they agree to join.  I got scolded by my parents to "just go with it" last year.

OP, I don't have any advice for you because I would rather spend Christmas alone than with people who can't respect some very basic boundaries. "No thanks!" should be all anyone - of any age - needs to say to an activity that makes them uncomfortable. I'd be attending with my car keys in my pocket and leaving the minute Aunt Pushy started in on me.

OK that changes things. I didn't read closely enough and just read this earlier partof the same quote where it sounded like she was only asked to be the audience.

Quote
I am committed to not participating in the performances.......[snip]

Ideally I could be busy with something else while the concert is going on, but that hasn't been working.  Yesterday I was helping out in the kitchen.  If aunt wasn't sending in the kid to say "come listen to me play" she was coming in to say "hey, she's playing, come listen now".  Saying  "you can start without me" didn't seem to work and "we can hear it form here" was also a no-go.  In the end I ran out of busy tasks and returned to the living room to watch football.  At which point the concert started.

snip

I can easily say no to the performance part.  It is the having to watch the other performances and the caroling that get to me. 


So I'm a bit confused about what is actually happening, so I'll give advice both ways.

If she tries to make you sing, you have a complete right to not sing and to leave the room, the house etc...

If it is just listening to others sing for an hour, you should go and smile and listen.

sparksals

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2012, 03:04:00 PM »
It's not necessary that everything that happens on the holidays be something you like. And if you are determined to not like it, you never will find anything about it to enjoy (even if it's just being there to witness Uncle John flubbing on "12 Days.")

I would say something to Rockwell Aunt before the holiday, if you get the chance. Or privately on the day. And say, in a non-complain-y "I'm sharing something with you" voice, "I really don't enjoy these things much. But I don't want to make a big deal about it--I keep trying to sort of surreptitiously bow out. When people try to tug me into them, it just draws attention to it, and I'm trying not to do that. I've noticed that you're one of the people who pressures me, so I wanted to ask you, as a favor, to not do that this year. Just let me be 'the outsider' for that brief time. If nobody discusses it, people won't really notice it."
   And then if she says something about how you should participate, etc., you say, "I thought I'd explained. I was asking a favor of you." And your followup to pressure after that is, "Please respect my choice."

It's one hour. You're letting it take over your mental and emotional enjoyment of the holiday, and it isn't even here yet.

Rockwell Aunt!!! LMAO!!!

O'Dell

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2012, 03:38:05 PM »
She's a bully. You either do what she demands because she calls it "fun" or you get chastised.

That's what I see too. She'd get one politely worded no response at each event, but any other references from her or others to perform myself would get silence. Awkward pointed silence an insincere half-smile and a stare focused 2 feet behind the person.

If she tries to make a scene, leave..."It seems that my not performing is making you uncomfortable. Perhaps I should leave."

If it weren't for her bullying, I'd say just tolerate it her command performances and host the way you want to when it's your turn.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Kaypeep

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2012, 03:39:11 PM »
OP, I'm with you on the "No" to both singing and listening.  I think I'd go nuts watching impromptu recitals for an hour at someone's house, holiday or not.  I definitely wouldn't sing.   I don't think it's being grinchy to decline participating in something you don't enjoy doing.

My tips for getting out of this are:
1. Bring a camera and volunteer to be the videographer so that you're participating, but "behind the scenes."
2.  Drink lots of tea and blatantly show off your throat drops that you're taking, because you have not been feeling well and feel some laryngitis coming on.
3.  Volunteer to walk to dog.  Take a one hour walk.
4.  Think of some other group activity and get everyone doing that instead of singing.  For instance, get everyone together and go around the room and everyone tell a story about one of their most favorite christmas gifts.  Each person gets a turn.  I bet that would take a long time, with diversions and other stories.  There would soon be no time for singing.

Maude

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2012, 03:46:25 PM »
Can you write a parody song sung to the tune of (any christmas carol)?
The topic can be any subject. Perhaps comparing Rockwell life with real life.

magicdomino

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2012, 04:53:08 PM »
Can you write a parody song sung to the tune of (any christmas carol)?
The topic can be any subject. Perhaps comparing Rockwell life with real life.

If you can't write, perhaps one of the Bob Rivers' Twisted Christmas parodies would help.  I'm quite fond of the 12 Pains of Christmas myself.  Or Hells Bells, if you are a punk or hard rock fan. 

Okay, you don't want to perform or participate at all.  My sympathies; I don't like amateur recitals, myself, and couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.  Fortunately for me, nearby family shares the same lack of talent and interest.  Undoubtedly, your SIL comes from a musically talented family and associates singing and performances with joyful holidays.  She seems to have found members who share her enjoyment, or at least tolerate it.  Yes, she is bullying you when she insists on you singing.  But if there aren't enough others in the family supporting you, your only choices are to more-or-less participate, or leave.


amandaelizabeth

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2012, 05:06:42 PM »
I come from a loud boisterous Irish Family.  We gather noisily at Christmas and significant birthdays and it now turns out funerals.  Our children have followed our traditions, joining in the singing, cards - which precede world war three - and other vocal  or musical activities.  Oh and most of us don't drink.  My shy retiring husband's idea of a good time is sitting quietly in a corner with a glass of red wine and a good book.  However he comes to our gatherings and sits quietly in the corner, reading and drinking.  We know that is how he joins in with our festivities and it is just fine with us.  He is the Uncle to go to for help with difficult questions in charades, Pictionary etc, and we know we are getting too loud if he puts his head phones on.  I did once suggest that he could stay at home but he was indignant.  He said it was my family and if he loved me, then by default he loved them too.  So we accept that he is joining in in the best way he can. 

I would work on Auntie about you are there by choice, and so get to exercise that choice about activities you choose to participate in.

buvezdevin

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2012, 05:26:07 PM »
OP, I sympathize with your desire not to sing, as I am blessed with a singing ability which could turn "festive caroling around the piano" into "shock and awe, where are the ear mufflers..." Plus, I too dislike having celebratory activity participation forced, rather than willingly joined, or not.

That said, in your shoes, I would find an inexpensive musical triangle (Amazon has some for $3-7), or a small bell and plan the optimal, and enthusiastic use of that *as* my participation.  Christmas carols can benefit from punctuation, and you can even mention that you are incorporating the famous line from "It's a Wonderful Life" and helping angels get their wings.  Or you are going for a Sintra "ring a ding ding" style - at any rate, you would not be refusing to participate, but choosing your form and means of participation.
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

MizA

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2012, 08:02:41 PM »
I agree with all the folks above who've suggested you ask Auntie Rockwell to respect your decision to not participate. Holidays are stressful, and people participate on a number of different levels. I would find it utterly anxiety-producing to be held as a captive audience to family performance for an hour or more. If family members were able to opt in or out, it might make it more fun and less lockstep- Being told what to do can make one feel rather demeaned and resentful. Who knows? Perhaps other family members feel the same way and have a hard time standing up for themselves.
)'( The world would rather hug you than hurt you )'(

katycoo

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2012, 08:31:13 PM »
Here's how I see Aunt's actions:  This is a tradition from her family, and by trying sohard to introduce it to yours, she's trying to mkae your family, her family too.  Which (while somewhat misguided in her efforts) I think is a lovely sentiment.

I would sit down with hr early as say "Aunt, I really love that you are brings us all into your family fold with traditions from your family, but I'd really apreciate it if you'd let me participate in a non-active way.  I don't enjoy singing or watching performances for hours on end, but I do like the joy and seeing the kids involoved.  Can we agree that I'll come in and out to watch and participate and that you will allow me to do so at my choice so that I don't get upset?  I know you're only trying to be inclusive but at the end of the day, I get grumpy and then everybody has less fun.  This way, we both get what we want with minimal compromise.

julianna

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2012, 10:16:52 PM »
Is it only your aunt who calls you a grump for not participating, or do other people do that, too?

TootsNYC

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2012, 10:21:46 PM »
Here's how I see Aunt's actions:  This is a tradition from her family, and by trying sohard to introduce it to yours, she's trying to mkae your family, her family too.  Which (while somewhat misguided in her efforts) I think is a lovely sentiment.

I would sit down with hr early as say "Aunt, I really love that you are brings us all into your family fold with traditions from your family, but I'd really appreciate it if you'd let me participate in a non-active way.  I don't enjoy singing or watching performances for hours on end, but I do like the joy and seeing the kids involved.  Can we agree that I'll come in and out to watch and participate and that you will allow me to do so at my choice so that I don't get upset?  I know you're only trying to be inclusive but at the end of the day, I get grumpy and then everybody has less fun.  This way, we both get what we want with minimal compromise.

ooh, nice script!

AylaM

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2012, 12:31:00 AM »
Sorry about the confusion.  There are 3 parts to the family recital:

The part where I (don't) perform
The part where others perform
And the general carols mixed in between the performances.  So while little Jimmy gets his viola ready, we're singing silent night.

I haven't had a problem with the performance thing because I've gotten out of it so far by not having my own family.  So I still fall under mom's branch.  So I have yet to be called on not having some sort of performance piece because mom had one.  This year I intend to help her so something if she's out of ideas.  A family game, maybe?  Yay!

If someone asked me "do you want to listen to my daughter sing opera?"  my answer would be "no!".  But I'm ok with a short recital ('ok' meaning I'd rather listen than cause trouble).  So the other performers are something I could live if I had to.  All in all some of the performances are not bad, they are just not something I'd listen to if I were on my own.  Some are bad, but we're applauding the effort.  Jimmy, the viola player, was 8 and just starting to learn.  He wasn't great, but at times you could recognize the song.

The carols are something I am expected to participate in.  I tried to just listen but aunt called me on it "Why aren't you singing? Sing!  Everybody sing!  It's fun".  Dad told me to stop being grouchy and just join in.  Mom later said I should just continue faking it.

All in all I realize aunt is a great deal more sentimental than I am.  In the past I just stopped attending events that I knew would require stuff like this, but I am close enough to this part of the family that I don't want to start skipping out on them.  For example: I refuse to go to to mom's cousin's house for thanksgiving again.  They are very nice but so much more religious and sentimental than I am and some of the various activities made me uncomfortable.  Aunt gets along famously with them, and this year she tried to incorporate some of those activities.

Thanks for the advice, I'm still considering my options.


Black Delphinium

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Re: No, I don't want to sing - getting out of holiday traditions
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2012, 07:47:11 AM »
I'm getting the impression that t6his isn't just "an hour"...this sounds like a multi-hour "extravaganza"...which i too would be a bit of a grump if I had to sit through, especially if I was used to doing other things with my holiday.

It's nice to be inclusive and go with the flow, but turning family Christmas/whatever into a pageant does not do it for me.

OP, could you maybe bring a boardgame, holiday craft or something to set up and get people involved in instead? So when Aunt Pushy gets a head of steam on her you could be like "We're playing a game/making commemorative ornaments/rolling out the gingerbread dough, go ahead and do your thing and we'll listen from here"? I feel it might be easier to stand your ground with a solid base of something else to stand on.
When angels go bad, they go worse than anyone. Remember, Lucifer was an angel. ~The Marquis De Carabas