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November 25, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Season’s Greetings, Eatings, and Subsequent Beatings…


I don’t know about you, but I wonder what God was thinking when he decided to arrange families the way they are.  “Hmmmm,” perhaps He mused, “this family seems pretty balanced…it’s best we throw in a crazy schizophrenic aunt into the mix.”  Or maybe God has a committee to handle such assignments.  Either way, most families I know look nothing like the kind we see in serious Christmas movies.  The families I know look like the kind we see in tragicomic Christmas movies.

Do those perfect families exist? 

The kind who gather around the family home in front of a roaring fire?  They’ll play board games and cheer each other on during a heated (yet civil!) game of Pictionary…then the eldest sibling will sit down at the heirloom piano.  He’ll stretch his fingers and give a shy grin (it’s been a while since he’s played) then he will whip out a perfect rendition of Hark the Herald Angels…which with then be followed up with a somber Silent Night, where everyone sings along.  Grandmother rocks in the corner, covered in a hand-crocheted shawl.  She doesn’t speak, but you can see in her eyes that she is proud of the family she reigns as matriarch.  The baby of the family, little Olivia, says her very first word at that moment – it’s, it’s “Santa!”  Can you believe it?  The family laughs and someone goes to put on a pot of hot chocolate…the real stuff, not the kind from an envelope.  

I just don’t know about that.  If you have a movie-perfect family, I want to hear about it in the comments section.  Just so I have hope that they’re really out there.  Because the scenarios I am familiar with would go more like this:

Grandma’s been dead a long time, so the rocking chair is now the official bed for that cat.  Which really sucks, because the youngest sibling’s girlfriend is right powerful allergic to feline dander, so she’ll spend the whole evening sneezing onto the buffet table.  The buffet table, incidentally, is a card table with a towel over it.  It’s very unstable, so when Uncle Joe has a few too many, he bumps into it and the crock pot with the apple cider sloshes over the side of the table and down the heating vent, and deviled eggs slide every which way.  Everyone goes into panic mode, and Mom starts worrying that the electrical system is going to short out, so people start grabbing towels to dab at the cider pool.  Someone grabs the new girlfriend’s white down jacket to swab at the mess, and she screams.  In the meantime, no one is watching the baby, who has crawled into the kitchen and is now chewing on a wad of dirt-encrusted turkey skin that was dropped on the floor earlier, because no one owns a plate big enough to hold all the damn turkey, so it slipped right off.  There’s no piano, so someone puts on Fox News.  Half the room is Democrat and half Republican, except for one young man who has recently gone Buddhist, and now everyone is arguing about something Sean Hannity said.  Several people in the room reach into their pockets and purses and pray that they brought their Prozac.  No one can find the expensive bottle of scotch…but for some reason Dad is glassy-eyed and wandering down the street, barefoot, yelling about how the Indians own this land and we’re celebrating Thanksgiving when really the landing of the Pilgrims marked the beginning of the end for the Native Americans.  Girlfriend is still crying about her down jacket.  Baby has swallowed interminable amount of dirty turkey skin.  Little boy is playing deviled-egg hockey on the kitchen floor.  House smells of beer and stuffing. 

Ahhhh, family…all is right with the world.



Leave a Comment
  1. Shannon Jashinsky / Nov 26 2008 6:05 pm

    My family is like “Christmas Vacation” except my dad is Chevy Chase and he brings home the biggest damn tree in the forrest, so when mom’s home alone it tips over and she has to tie it to the wall to keep it from falling over again!

    I’m sure the rope is a nice touch 🙂

  2. morethananelectrician / Nov 26 2008 1:00 pm

    I am somewhere in between the two.

    I grew up somewhere close to the second secenario you laid out, but am trying to end up one step away from the first scenario with my family.

    We try to have a fire going, but not in the kitchen and as long as we don’t end up eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day…we’ll be okay! Except the kids actually like Chinese food, so maybe it isn’t such a bad idea after all.

    Alright…lets just go for a “no-one-drunk-and-passed-out” holiday!

    We screwed up adults need to take what we can get!

That's what she said!

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