December 22, 2010
I am a father of three sons and am having two of them with their children and wives over for Christmas lunch. I really do not want to invite my third son, but I would like to see his children. Can I invite everyone except him?
“Christmas Dilemma in Aberdeen
Dear Christmas Dilemma in Aberdeen,
No, I don”t think you can exclude your son while including his family. How did you get to be a grandfather without realizing Christmas is NOT about fun? Christmas is about spending money, seeing relatives you don”t want to see, and struggling again to cope! You are not excused from putting on a fake display of Christmas spirit merely because you no longer believe in Santa.
Christmas is supposed to be fun and magical when you are young. Yet think of what we force small children to do on Christmas Day: leave a room full of brand-new toys to dress in stiff, starchy clothes and go see a grandfather who doesn”t speak to them and gives them a Treasury bill for a gift. Or think of the things we can get them to do before Christmas as their gifts hang in the balance: not fight with their brother, eat Brussels sprouts, and clean their rooms. Christmas can be cruel to children.
But do you really think Santa would bring you a gift if you welcomed your son’s family while banishing your son? No! You would get a big lump of coal!
I have a set of four-year-old twins, I am pregnant, and my mother is arriving for Christmas. As she sees it, I am always doing things wrong”wrong table decorations, wrong tree ornaments, wrong tone with my child, wrong bedtime ritual, wrong stories, wrong everything. She also needs constant attention and entertainment. I don”t think I can handle it without booze this year. Any suggestions?
“Christmas House Guest Hell in Boston
Dear Christmas House Guest Hell in Boston,
Yes, we have to see our relatives at Christmas, but that does not mean it is going to go off without a hitch. Nobody in their right mind should expect it to. What would the 12 days of Christmas be without four children crying, three rude quips, two screaming fights, and a vodka in the pantry?
Tell her there is no entertainment this year unless she feels that giving the twins a bath or cooking Christmas dinner for everyone is entertaining. Don”t worry about all the loaded comments or questions; these sort of people get even worse at Christmas. It is the equivalent of pouring water on a gremlin!
And for goodness” sake, if you need a glass of wine, have a glass of wine. Have two! As they say: “Happy mommy, happy baby.” (Your doctor will tell you not to drink because they don”t want to be sued if your child comes out with three feathered fingers, two tiny toes, and one lonely ear.)