5 People you can’t avoid at the Holidays.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, we swear! I know, you’re not convinced. There’s too much going on with traffic, recitals and neighborhood potlucks that it would be just easier to crawl back under your quilt and mainline some wine. Get out from under that quilt. No hiding because you are an extension of your significant other, your kids, your company and –yes, your in-laws.
Because you’re going to come across them anyway, I’m going to list the top 5 people that you want to avoid around the holidays, but you just can’t for one reason or another. Here’s how to spot them, “deal” with them and come out on top. Then you can return to your couch cushion fort.
#5- Your nosy, do- gooder Neighbor
You can spot them a mile away. Obnoxious Christmas Sweater, clammy hands that you try to shake but they insist on a hug and an unsolicited peck on the cheek. They brought you the HOA newsletter because you haven’t made it to a meeting in 3 months and they wanted to talk to you about your Crepe Myrtle that needs to be trimmed back from your side of the fence. Neighbor Ned/Nellie care a little too much, nag a little too much and observe a little too much, which is why you might want to count your blessings in letting them know how much you appreciate their involvement on your street. Ned and Nellie are your own top cops, especially around the holidays when homes can get broken into. They are the first to notice strange cars or people loitering around and love nothing more than getting the police involved. Take a deep sigh, and genuinely thank them for keeping an eye out for everyone. They might be able to collect your mail and dog sit for you when you take that much-needed cruise next year.
#4-The Over Achieving Mom
Her hair, perfectly highlighted. Her clothes, clean, well-fitting and stylish. Her child, can do no wrong. This vision of perfection might be a stay at home mom that reminds you how she couldn’t bear to go back to her six figure CEO position and leave the development of her child to strangers, so she bravely gave it up to raise her angel and somehow managed to enroll said cherub into all the best dance classes, lacrosse teams and Szechuan cooking schools. Oh, and did you notice that her blog was featured on Oprah’s website? This lovely lady stands out at all the practices, calling out words of encouragement to her star offspring while documenting it all on her well curated Instagram. Do not hate her. Do not envy her. It probably takes every waking moment of her life to design every outfit she models and choreograph every move that she is documenting. Be aware that it is possible that her means of focus and attention to detail may be thanks to Adderall. No one can stay at home and be that skinny! Yoga? Lies. Pilates-maybe, but add the almost manic way she herds her kid back into the Volvo and how she seems to be a moment away from shaking like a mad Pomeranian and you’ve got yourself a probable pill popper. Be the shoulder for her to cry on when she has her inevitable melt down. Empathize that she has a need to be in control of everything and everyone as a cry for help to something missing inside of her. Also, stay at least an arms-length away from her in case she does have that emotional implosion at ballet next week. This crazy stay at home mom can summon super human strength when under duress.
#3 Your Sad Sack perpetually single Co Worker
They come in all shapes and sizes, male, female, don’t ask. These lovely rays of sunshine are there to remind the boss at the meeting that not everyone celebrates the holidays and wouldn’t it be a better idea to donate the alcohol budget instead of having an open bar at the Christmas Party? They roam from desk to desk, admiring personal pictures of you on vacation (they haven’t left their house since Friends was cancelled), your kids (they hate kids but they LOVE cats), your dog (see previous). They might be wearing over sized sweaters because they are perpetually cold and complain about the A/C every freaking day, sniffling into the Kleenex they keep in their sleeve or they are dangerously close to breaking dress code violation because they’re always too hot. We noticed when the deodorant stopped working, Gary. Sometimes out of kindness or curiosity you make the mistake of asking them their holiday plans and you almost can’t fake death quickly enough as they drone on and on about their self-centered siblings, horridly racist parents or brink of death grandparents. Your best plan of action. Start stalking them. Beat them to the punch about how tough the holidays are buying all those Christmas presents, suffering through in laws visits and the crass commercialism of it all. Let them know that the only way to truly celebrate the holidays is by giving back to others, and wouldn’t she like to join you down at the mall to demonstrate against Santa and perhaps compete with the Salvation Army with your own kettle and bell. They will stop, consider it for a moment and then decline because it might interfere with Jeopardy.
#2 Your Ex or His Ex- Minions from Hell
To be fair, you deal with these jokers throughout the year. If you want to have peace with your children, you just accept that your paths may cross on occasion. Of course, the best revenge is if they have let themselves go all to hell so you can internally chuckle at the good luck of having severed that familial tie. And better yet, if they’ve had the misfortune of marrying down a couple of other times, all the better. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes they seem to blossom and mature into rational, reasonable…oh who am I kidding, they never get better! They stay trolls expanding and balding as each year passes. Let me grant you a Christmas wish to always be above all that riffraff. Be civil, they might still be alone and being with your kids is the one joy they have-don’t deny them that. Be respectful of their time, show up when you say you will be there either picking up or dropping off with ALL the crap your kids insist on taking to their other parent’s house. Be human, they have faults that are probably still there and they might never overcome. If you were lucky enough to have moved on while they seemed to have stayed stuck in 2012, then you need to be the bigger parent and cut them a break. They might never acknowledge it, they might even resent you for it, but your kids will know someday, and that’s all that counts when it comes to anything involving your ex.
#1 Your Mom.
I just sat here with my daughter and she guessed number one. And then she proceeded to demonstrate all the commands and dictator like proclamations a Mom might make around the holidays. Yes, my young Padawan, you are learning to mimic your Mother quite well. The transformation is complete! Yeah. Dear Old Mom. You love her. She is so wonderful and sweet and kind and going to drive you nuts with her endless cleaning, nitpicking and shady side comments about every little thing that is important to YOU! Go ahead and tell me, no, not my Mom! She is the salt of the earth, an angel sent from heaven. Yes, your Mom!
Your house- oh honey, what have you been doing all day? Are you too tired from working to vacuum or run a dust rag on this mantle? Hasn’t your husband gotten a raise/promotion/better job yet? Oh, are you going to wear that? Oh honey, you need to run a brush through your hair. Oh, you did already? Well I can’t keep up with all the new styles, but at least your butt looks like that Kim Kardashian person, so you have that going for you. Why are you crying? You were always so sensitive.
This casserole needs more salt or Oh my gosh, my blood pressure, what did you dump the whole salt shaker in here?
Your kids- Where are they going? They should be staying here to visit with their family. We might not be around next year. I guess they can go. Do you let her go over to boy’s houses? Why is he rhyming curse words? Who’s Drake?
Mom is the reason why you insist everyone get home on time. Mom is the reason you tried extra hard with everything you served from your kitchen. Mom is the reason you made sure your house smelled fresh and inviting when they pulled into the driveway. She was your biggest critic and loudest cheerleader growing up. The yin and the yang all rolled up in Jacalyn Smith leisure wear. You notice the grays more, the slower steps too. Recognize that all of this is a cycle when it comes from Mothers to Daughters and so on. Men don’t usually have this with Fathers, and when they do it usually results in a Master of the Universe mentality or a strike from the clock tower agenda. No, it’s different with Moms. And the solution or remedy? Absorb it. Like a super massive black hole. Everything slung at you increases your mass of power until everything gets sucked into your gravity pull and self-destructs in a crushing mass of nothingness. No- just make her a drink, and keep them coming until she nods off in the corner. I’m hoping my daughter learns this too for my sake.
Merry Christmas, you filthy animals!