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Mandatory fun on the holiday; or how it feels.

Mandatory fun at every holiday is exactly what it feels like sometimes. This nagging notion that we must hang out with the relatives we don’t particularly care for once again.

And then there is the gifts. Basically, it’s the same shit as last year but the newest version. Granny wants perfume and bubble bath. Mom wants those special candles she won’t buy herself.

Someone always complains about the food or what the host forgot to make. Another person passively aggressively bitches about not having the correct choice of wine.

And for some reason we do this over and over again. Punishing ourselves year after year.

My parents divorced eight years ago and the magic of Christmas was lost in the divorce. Today, we do some half assed get together on Christmas Eve. Stand around for an hour before someone suggests we open gifts.

Christmas used to be this magical time where my mom would over decorate the house. We had a 10ft tree and every decoration we ever made sparkling through the lights. You could always find a cat sleeping under on the tree skirt.

I would give anything to have the old Christmas back. When my Grandpa was alive, he would always feel each present and guess what it was before opening. Everyone had their Christmas quirks and looking back, it was wonderful.

But those days are gone. And the magic that went with them. It’s rare we even talk about ‘how it used to be’ anymore. I tend to bring it up after a few glasses of wine when I start to get nostalgic and emotional. It all seems too fresh to be so long ago.

We would all show up on Christmas Eve and usually watch a scary movie that had nothing to do with Christmas. We would spread our Reindeer Dust outside before heading to bed so Santa would come. (Reindeer Dust is a mix of sugar, oats, and glitter. The glitter is meant to be a source of light so the reindeer know where to land. The sugar and oats are their treat while Santa is inside delivering gifts. We have done this tradition for 20 years at this point. Even now, we do Reindeer Dust. My sister even sent it to me 8,000 miles away.)

Then just as we seemed to close our eyes, our dad would wake us up at 4am blaring Christmas music downstairs. Turning every light on in the house and yelling that we need to come quick because Santa came!

As adults, we would slowly make our way to the coffee Mom had made. Find a spot on the floor with a garbage bag for wrapping paper. As children, my sisters would usually send me down first to see if Santa had come and that our parents were awake so we could start opening gifts. I’m not sure why Dad got more excited as we got older. But it definitely made the morning a lot more special when your parents were just as excited as you were.

We have a rule during the gift giving portion that one person is allowed to open a gift at a time. This makes the process longer and everyone actually pays attention and it’s a much more controlled environment. After presents, we spent the morning tossing out boxes, testing out our new stuff, and usually playing some game or puzzle someone got as a gift.

Nowadays, since our parents split, it’s my mom, her bf, my granny, her bf, my sister, niece, and I. Our entire process usually lasts four hours tops and it ends when my grandma awkwardly announces that it’s time for her to go. She packs up her gifts that she acts like she hates and then heads out. My mom is always close behind. My sister and I are left to clean up, finish another bottle of wine, and bitch about how rude the entire event was.

This year, I am overseas with the military and I won’t lie that I am more than excited to not be a part of our mandatory fun this holiday. I am sad that I won’t be able to help my sister get everything ready, as she has been hosting the last few years. But I am completely fine with missing the entire operation.

Someday, I will talk my husband into forgetting Christmas altogether and going on vacation every year instead. Whoever wants to come is invited. But the awkward get togethers have to come to an end.

I can appreciate the fact that we are not close with our extended family. I feel bad for those that have to spend the holiday with over 10 people in one place.

So whatever you do this holiday season, or feel obligated to do. May you have enough alcohol to get you through and enough patience until the alcohol takes effect.

Check out these links for gifts year round or last minute holiday gifts for kids and women! [mailerlite_form form_id=1]

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