Grumpy Aunt Gracie

No matter how busy I am during the holiday season, the kids and I always find the need to "pass the time" until Christmas. Maybe we're all just excited or maybe we are putting off things that would normally get done, but this year we found ourselves passing the evening hours (re)watching Jericho on Netflix. We love the End of the World movies and shows like that, cheesy as they are.

2012, The Day after Tomorrow, Mega disasters, if the entertainment involves the end of life as we know it, my family is glued. 

Last night we were watching episode 6 or 7 and I realized I really didn't like the shop owner, Gracie. She's somewhat bitter and definitely out for herself. Just when I decide that I can't stand her, she goes and does something great to help the townspeople get through the crisis or has some piece of sage advice. 

Today I was wrapping the last of the presents for my kids and found myself wishing I had Grumpy Gracie for an aunt. Someone to slap me with a reality check and tell me, (complete with snippy, bitter tone) that it is perfectly all right to leave some folks off your Christmas list. It's okay to not invite someone, related or not, that makes the holiday less than joyous. That it's OKAY to not give materially to those who have not given to you emotionally. Blood and marriage relations do not automatically obligate you to give gifts. That sometimes it is better to have an extra empty seat at Christmas dinner than to have someone bringing you down. 

This is what I wish Grumpy Aunt Gracie would say to me. Because it is 100% true. 

This year I have whittled my Christmas list down to a skeleton and it has nothing to do finances or with what I have received materially over the year from others. What it has to do with is, who has bothered to come over to my house and sit with tea just to catch up? Who is always saying "let's do something" and then constantly cancels plans with me? Who calls and says, "It's been a couple weeks, how are you?" Who doesn't even return my texts. Who cried when I gave them some simple homemade thing and who didn't even say thank you when I heard they were struggling and gave them unexpected cash? 

I think that, especially as Mom's, we run ourselves ragged trying to create the perfect holiday for everyone else. Heaven forbid we forget someone on our list and offend someone, no matter how little they are involved in our lives the other 364 days of the year. Well this year, I decided something. This is MY Christmas, too. It's busy, hectic and stressful. I can't add to that an outpouring of obligatory gifts to people who can't find time for me the rest of the year. 

If I sound bitter, I'm really not. I'm perfectly at peace with this and the practice of giving materially to those who have invested emotionally really resonates with me. It's something I will continue with birthdays and other holidays. Because then, the gift giving is really from the heart. There is happiness and joy in the giving and isn't that the whole point? The close friends and family that didn't make my Christmas list this year, just know that my phone works, my door is open, my teapot stays warm and 2014 is a whole new year. 

-MLG

 

Posted on December 22, 2013 .