Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How the Grinch Changed Christmas

My Uncle Ed (who happens to be Jewish, but I absolutely believe that his religion is an amusing sidenote, not an actual cause of his actions) has been very anti-Christmas for the past three or four years. He mostly likes to bitch about it. Too much work. Too much money. The kids are too old. I'm too old. Bitch, bitch, bitch.

Last year, his began his complaining just a few weeks before Christmas. Traditionally, my aunts and uncles (and my parents) buy presents for all of their neices and nephews and exchange one "couple" gift between the family. Uncle Ed wanted to hack it all. In a rare moment of compromise, my mom told him, essentially, that she would buy gifts for his kids (ages 26 and 22) and that she would be fine with not exchanging the "couple" gift.

So, on Christmas, my mom and dad, as well as Aunt Marie and her husband, show up without a "couple" gift.


Mostly, everyone was annoyed.

More so when Uncle Ed complained, loudly, throughout the actual Christmas festivities about the excesses of the holiday.

This year, he started early. In September. He wore us down.

A few months ago, we were sent the following email:

Subject: Christmas Presents

I have an idea we would like you to consider for gift exchange this year.

Everyone buys one present that would be of universal appeal for under $25. Everyone. What would be of universal appeal? That's where your creativity and cleverness come into play.

Everyone wraps their present.

Christmas eve they all go under the tree.

Christmas morning, everyone shows up at the house at an appointed time. We each pick a number out of a hat, 1-16. That number is the order in which we pick our gift from under the tree. One at a time, everyone watching.

#1 picks a present.

#2 picks a present.

Here's where the fun begins --

If #2 prefers #1's present, #2 takes it.

When #3 picks she has the option of keeping the present she selected or taking the presents currently held by #1 or #2. All the way through #16.

At the end of the picking, let the trading begin.

In addition, anyone is free to give others a small gift, ie home made fudge, or something small and personal. Nothing big by any means.

We think this would be a fun family activity.

The other benefits speak for themselves.

If anyone disagrees, we can go back to the habitual way of gift giving.

Please let me know what you think and I will share your views with everyone else.

Much love.


The adults all agreed because - honestly? - the fight wasn't worth it.

It didn't seem to be, anyway. Now, a mere 20 days before Christmas and in a mad scramble to find a gift that appeals to a 15-year-old girl and a 70-year-old man, Uncle Ed is Family Enemy #1.

I am so bitter.

This mostly sucks.

I am going to be the one who gives the shitty present and that mostly sucks, too.

I hate breaking tradition.

I hate change.


Scrapbooking Princess said...

Found your site through Beebop!
I agree, the "keep or trade" game gets old fast. Especially if there is one or two "must have" gifts. The game is okay for small get togethers, but for family gifts .. that sucks.

Anonymous said...

That can be a fun game, although the year I played it, the participants were mostly in their 20's. However I did do it a few years later with another family... the gifts seemed to be towels, candles, gift certificates, etc. Someone gave a "The Clapper" which didn't go over too well. But someone else did give a piece of original artwork which was appreciated.

M said...

They did that on the Office, but it didn't work because Michael bought an iPod. Let's hope Uncle Ed doesn't try to be the family favorite and pull that stunt!

Heather said...

look at it this way:

if you're the one giving the crappy gift, you're not the one getting the crappy gift.

(i'm usually the one who puts lots of effort into it and then gets instant oatmeal in return. true story.)

one year i put together a drinking basket- two margarita glasses, a mix, and some salt (all they had to do was add vodka or tequila or whatever) and it went over really well. apparently, everyone loves alcohol. not good if there are recovering alcoholics involved.

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