23.12.09

A Year Is Just the Time Between One Christmas and Another

This past weekend, we had a Christmas get-together with my maternal relatives - my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandmother. We have very strange family dynamics, but it can fairly easily summed by stating two facts. First, my mother and her sister are so very different that it's difficult to comprehend that they're sisters. Second, my grandmother has, since my mother can remember, favored my aunt. It was obvious by the time I was six or seven, so it's not just my mother taking things the wrong way.

We gave my cousin (who's ten, just a little over a year older than EG) four books: Eleven, Twelve, Just As Long As We're Together, and Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself. FB picked out a Hot Wheel for her (he's not past the idea of getting someone something they'd like for themselves) and EG got her a game tin with chess, checkers, and chinese checkers. My parents got her Spa Science and an Old Navy gift card. My grandmother gave all the kids a bag of fruit and candy with a gift card inside it - my cousin's was for Chick-Fil-A. Now, I get that some people must really love gift cards. (For the record, I hate them for the most part - it's getting an errand and yet another decision I have to make - though I do like iTunes gift cards. You know, in case any of you wanted to get me a pressie.) But it was really disheartening for my mother, EG, FB, and myself to see her greet her gifts with an unenthusiastic "Oh, wow," and a rote thank you, only for her to bounce excitedly about her gift cards.

Each of mine liked their gifts. FB was, as usual, over the top with his enthusiastic response. What can I say? He got food, a gift card "that will turn into broccoli cheddar soup!" (Panera), a gift card for books, and a t-shirt with Buzz & Woody on it. EG received similar presents, except her food gift card was to Friday's, and her shirt did not have Buzz & Woody on it. ;) PC got a cute (purple!) outfit instead of a shirt, and a gift card for Target instead of a food gift card. They all had a great time playing with their cousin.

I've had two big shockers in the past week. Today, one of my spousal unit's siblings sent me a Christmas present. ME. While we're not entirely estranged from this sibling, things are definitely strained due to our total estrangement from spousal unit's paternal gamete donor. Apparently, she's sending presents for everyone, but I'm assuming that mine arrived first since they came directly from amazon (off my wishlist, no less). Last week was the bigger one, though. Spousal unit's paternal grandmother sent her yearly Christmas card with enclosed check. The check was larger than usual (he's been good this year about calling her on holidays and such), but inside the card... she referred to me as her granddaughter. Not granddaughter-in-law. All I ever wanted from his family was to be at least partially accepted. Instead, I mostly got scorned. (Oh, the tales I could tell, starting in summer '97....) I was very pleasantly surprised.

That's Christmas so far, here. Tomorrow night we'll make Christmas cookies and have our traditional lasanga for dinner. We may or may not go to the church down the street for their candlelight service. Candlelight services, whatever their raison d'etre, speak to the spiritual part of me... even if I can't name which religious movement that spiritual part might best fit. ;) Then we'll scatter oats for the reindeer, pour milk for Santa, and set out cookies that might make it to Santa if the cat doesn't help herself first.

Happy Holidays, everyone!
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"A little rebellion every now and then is a good thing." - Thomas Jefferson