Canberra’s got nothing on Christmas politics
Christmas politics. Is there anything worse? It’s that time of year where at least 50 per cent of every family or friendship group grits their teeth and forces a smile as they try to negotiate whose turn it is to host or attend Christmas.
Whether it’s realising that Drunkle Dickhead is coming to town and has to stay on your couch because last time he was here he almost set fire to Aunty June’s cat which has never fully recovered, or having to endure three big meal in three different cities over a period of a day so that the feelings of the parents, in-laws and extended family are not hurt, or finding out that your sister’s boyfriend insists on having a full Latin mass at the table before you eat, everyone has a story to tell around Christmas.
I’ve heard nightmare stories from friends whose parents have chosen to “re-theme” Christmas. I’ve heard stories of people whose feelings were hurt when their parents told them that they would be spending Christmas on a cruise, without them instead of hosting the traditional Christmas feast.
I know people who have pretended to be overseas, choosing to hide out in their apartment with some leg ham and bad Christmas movies rather than endure the hurt feelings of one or more sides of the family. If you’re my parents, you simply try to steal Christmas. For the better part of my childhood, my parents put a ban on the much loved tree and presents until I was old enough to graduate from the Jewish school I attended.
Though my father is Catholic, it apparently was unseemly for a child of mixed-faith parents to indulge in tree decoration, present giving and ham eating while attending Hebrew school. There’s nothing quite like a Jewish education to invigorate my fervour for the Christmas season.
And don’t even get me started on presents. Some families go in for the Kris Kringle, others do a family draw where everyone buys each other a single present so as to keep costs down, some even insist on no presents.
But no matter what, awkwardness ensues. What if one person wants her present donated to charity? Does that mean you have to buy two presents because you don’t feel comfortable showing up empty handed? Does that mean everyone should feel compelled to donate to charity? And is cash an acceptable gift? And does no present REALLY mean no present?
It all just seems a little bit too stressful.
Christmas ought to be a two day affair just to accommodate all the egos, but who could bear to have to go through all that politics twice?!
I wish I could offer some advice to people on how to avoid Christmas stress but frankly, I got nothing.
The only suggestion I can offer is to create a contingency plan for Christmas that you would be comfortable continuing once children arrive on the scene.
Because once you have a plan in place, that is it FOR LIFE. When you look back over Christmases past, present and future, you want to remember them fondly.
So be careful. Walk softly, carry a big stick and try to remember that compromise is an art. And if you’re feeling really cranky, just watch the video above and try and remember that Christmas should be about caring, and family and forgiveness.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
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