Sabbyfrog, I know this was not your intention, but your whole post made me want to cry. That was so sad to read, I can well imagine why you don't feel like emulating it every Holiday. (((Sabby)))
I'm sorry. That certainly wasn't my intention and I didn't realize how bad it must sound until I went back and re-read it.
The thing is, I don't think any of it was intentional (aside from the abuse but that wasn't necessarily Holiday related). It was sort of just how they did things. Both sides of the family were very very set in their ways and also pretty lazy. I became their free laborer while on "holiday" and trust me, the resentment I felt for YEARS after that still burns.
It was always just the way our family operated. The older kids were expected to take care of the little ones and as I was the oldest, the expectation was on me. And as I got older, the expectation was that I was to help elsewhere. There was no arguing back either because we were all raised never to question an adult.
I think the step family just didn't know what to do with me. After I "aged out" of the kid stuff, (Yes. I was specifically told I wasn't getting gifts because those are "for the kids."
I was sorta on my own. My mom and step-dad started living together when I was 16 but didn't marry until I was 19 so we were never really close to begin with and I'd started living on my own at 17 anyway. But still had to attend these "family functions" and since they had to place me somewhere, I ended up at the "undesirables" table. Not because I was undesirable, but they genuinely didn't know what to do with me. By then though, I was already so jaded that my goal was just to eat and get out of there as quickly as possible. So, it wasn't malicious, just really thoughtless.
I guess I never really thought about how all of that is very likely the reason I don't get very sentimental or have any "traditions" at the Holidays until now... Holiday's became a chore for me, not a time to be excited, hence why I likely have such a dreadful feeling of "obligation" when they come around.
I don't know if that makes it worse or better...