Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

You know how you think your family is crazy? You’re right. They are. You are the only sane one and you’re pushing the rock of sagacity uphill. Both ways. In the snow. Give in. Just give in.

There’s a yard sign I’ve seen around the internet that says something to the effect of how in The South we don’t hide our crazy. We put it out on the porch and give it a cocktail. There’s a reason for that, but it has less to do with embracing eccentricity and more the fact that there’s only so many people a house can hold. Not that the porch is really any better. Getting all your crazy kin out there with cocktails only ensures the porch will collapse and kill all your dogs.

My cousin Sharon says that while she wasn’t born in The South, she got here as soon as she could. I can only attribute this to a tendency towards stubbornness and a deeply held need to reassure herself she’s not so crazy after all. Having married into a family so eccentric Flannery O’Connor would run screaming headlong into a fainting couch, really all she has to do is show up to receive such reassurance. Her husband, my mother’s first cousin, and my mother like to look straight at my brother and me, and with all seriousness, frighten the snot out of us with the sober reminder, “WE’RE the sane ones.” Do they protest too much? No. No, unfortunately they are not, in this case, delusional.

Your family, normally a somewhat irritating yet benign protuberance on your butt becomes, around the second week of November, a festering boil which cannot be lanced until sometime around the last week of February when the image of your sister singing Patsy Cline’s greatest hits and wearing on her head the wreath you painstakingly created from months of collecting sweetgum balls finally fades. You TOLD her she’d had one too many Brandy Alexanders.

This time of year only serves to make friends of strangers and enemies of family. You’ll happily chat away to the woman in front of you in line who is asking if you understand a damn thing about these computer tablet pad internets she’s getting her grandchildren to play with, but you’ll lunge for Aunt Bunky’s throat if she tells you the story ONE MORE TIME about how they were so poor they had nothing to play with but pecan shells and how they never decorated with holly because they had to boil it into tea. This is the time of year that tries men’s souls. And patience. And livers.

And while I’m on a roll, whoever thought this was a good time of year for hunting season was obviously not just an only child, but an orphan. You haven’t lived until brothers, flasks empty, rifles loaded, come ass-over-elbow out of the woods arguing about why the other one is so undeserving of Mawmaw’s milk punch recipe. Grown-ass men. Armed. Milk punch.

This year I will put my shopping off longer than usual. I’ll pay out the wazoo to get everything shipped overnight if I have to. I’m hoping those Mayans were on to something.

63 thoughts on “Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

  1. Pingback: The Year As I Saw It | Yeah And Another Thing…

  2. Very funny! And spot on about the family being a mild protuberance turned boil that cannot be lanced until late February. I love my family, but this time of year can definitely bring out the ugly in all of us! Congrats on being FP-ed too!

  3. That`s a lot of writing about bashing the holidays . This should be a joyous time of celebration, where`s your spirit ? I don`t by “crap” for anybody. I think it`s rediculous. I just stay home and watch football, thats what I call wishing the baby Jesus a happy birthday, even though it`s not his real one. That`s what I mean, the whole thing`s a money laundering operation created by some idiot along time ago. So just sit back and enjoy yourself, drink to much, eat to much, throw up on your shoes and remember…………….Happy Holidays!
    That ” Crazy guy in the basement “

  4. I’m pretty sure we have it worse in Australia. We have all of that but it’s summer and so hot that if you sit on a leather couch you’ll lose your skin when you go to stand up again so your relatives are all barely clothed at all. You really haven’t lived until you’ve seen your overweight grandad in speedos.

  5. I’d normally be singing my crazy family blues because my mother, I swear to you, makes holidays so stressful that its hardly even bearable. There is always this huge holiday fight, especially on Christmas day, where she loses it and throws something outside of my brothers car on the highway going 70 mph, or other fun stuff. Yet, this year, I don’t have to deal its any of it because my husband and I are miles away and I don’t think I’m missing the crazy and I got my gifts without a blowup. Cha Ching! ;)

  6. Haha, oh how I enjoy posts that go right along with my line of thoughts…except, I did get my Christmas shopping done early! Thanks for the laugh. This post is so true. I found myself itching to get away from my family on Thanksgiving, every little thing they said made me want to puke up all of the turkey, stuffing, and that weird vegetable salad one of my family members make; but, as soon as I made it to Wal-mart to stand with a bunch of ridiculous people for a few Xbox 360 games, I was a complete chatter box. I even made friends with three games nerds behind me; I dived into the pile while they protected me.

    What a trying season. :)
    Merry Christmas to all!

  7. A thousand times yes! I would far rather talk to the lady in front of me on Black Friday because my alternative is to listen to my mom tell the story of that time I pooped my pants. I was two, Mom. Let. it. DIE!

  8. Awesome! I thought I was the only one who wondered why Christmas is supposed to be about family when all we want to do is kill each other!!!

  9. Great post! I loved it. I being from the south and an emergency dispatcher, when you mix people from your family that you can’t stand any other time of the year, holidays and add alcohol and someone gonna get a whopping.

  10. Susan – you crack my shit up! And I’ll tell you another thing, what first caught my attention was your tags. Aware that I was reading someone who says things like “asshat” and “its scary in my head”, I figured “I’ll probably enjoy this!” and gave it a go. Oh – and favorite line from your post “This time of year only serves to make friends of strangers and enemies of family.” I’m tweeting that and referencing people to your page. Good luck surviving the holidays!

  11. What a great post! I come from a wonderful (in case they are reading…) Southern family with a fine tradition of Crazy (capital C you notice!). This made me laugh!

  12. I somehow find holidays both funny and sad at the same time :) This post really proved me that I have the reasons to dislike holidays now :)

  13. Yes, family can combine to create some rough situations, but I cherish the times so much! My dad and mom have passed as well as my brother, so my perspective on family is much different than twenty years ago. I cherish every gathering, no matter how dysfunctional it becomes!

  14. Reblogged this on endlessmusingsbykb and commented:
    And this is exactly what gives me hope for my fellow humans. I finally know I am not alone in realizing that The South truly does make life seem a bit more sane (or at least sanity doesn’t seem to be a requirement) and that family and holidays do NOT go together well!

  15. So funny! Here in IL, the only thing some of us have to hunt for over the holidays is that blasted snow brush we never thought we’d need when it was 100 degrees in the shade.

  16. Love this. It is a different sort of crazy depending on the area of the country you are in (I have moved and consider myself Southern by osmosis). It seems like you don’t have to hide it as much down here, as you said.

  17. Great story, describes a lot of my fam! lol Some of them often missed most of TG to get up at an ungodly hour in the middle of the night before to go hunting, showing up just in time for the big dinner, then right back out to go shopping! Blink, you’d miss ‘em! haha Anyway, great post & congrats on getting FP’d!

  18. Reblogged this on DeborahBidwell's Blog and commented:
    I just have to laugh, I am nowhere near the south, even though my son claims being a 1/4 southern due to my mother being from the south, family up here is just as messed up and complicated, and well exhausting. oh well it will be Feb. soon (I hope) then I can get back to “normal” life, whatever that is.

    congrats on freshly pressed, and am now following you, yeah just what you need a displaced 1/2 southerner following you lol

  19. This post is completely relatable.
    It’s true, the holiday season does seem to blow anything family related negatively out of proportion, it’s absolutely bizarre. It’s as though you haven’t had enough all year long that everything just needs to add up now.

    I have to spend a week with my family during the approaching Christmas holidays, and I feel nothing but dread… If that’s word enough to describe it.

  20. Ya know, being from Batesville, MS, myself, I have a special appreciation for this blog post. There’s a reason I use so much bourbon in my Nana’s fruitcake recipe and it has nothing to do with the fruitcake needing it. I can’t go to Batesville at Christmas (or anytime really) because there isn’t a porch there big enough for my family. One day I’ll write a book about all the crazy they’ve spewed. Frankly, it’s a wonder I’ve survived any of it, much less all of it. The holidays are difficult, but they’re better because I have friends like you who know about it because they live it.

Just spit it out, already!

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