Tag Archives: christmas

“Jaw With John” – Aunt Is A Regular Sue Storm

In yesterday’s mail we received a birth announcement of a new great-nephew, addressed only to my husband.

Christmas cards, wedding announcements, birth announcements, thank-you cards — anything coming from his sister and her children all are addressed only to him.

The most mention I ever get is “and Family.” One wedding invitation actually came to “Uncle John and Family.” Our children are grown so presumably I’m the nameless “Family.”

I buy the presents and sign the cards and checks. There’s no animosity between us. I’ve known the kids since birth and they are all nice people. But each omission makes me feel, well, a bit unwanted.

I’m tempted to have only my husband sign the card that I bought before the announcement arrived. I want him to tell his sister that this makes me feel sad and left out. He doesn’t see it as an issue and thinks I should ignore it, but he also says that since it bothers me, I should tell her myself.

What’s your take? — The Invisible Aunt

Dear Invisible:

Listen to your husband here and talk directly to his sister. I know what it’s like to be slighted, albeit in a different manner.

It was Christmas, the family was opening presents and we had decided to open gifts from a certain friend all at the same time. All the gifts were neatly and elegantly wrapped and there was a note saying that the gifts were all from a recent trip to Africa … except for me. I got a calendar. I looked around and said, to myself, There was nothing in Africa that could be for me? Not one thing? I moved on and now it’s a pretty decent joke I can tell. Your situation is different but similar.

You know you need to bring this to the attention of your brother’s sister otherwise it will continue. Being passive aggressive with the notes and gifts won’t solve anything. Ask your sister-in-law “What’s up?” because unlike my calendar, your feelings won’t go away after January 1st.

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“Jaw With John” – You Get What You Give

I have a large family and we celebrate family birthdays at a monthly get-together with a potluck dinner. The dinner is always held at my house and I usually furnish the entree.

One granddaughter and her husband never contribute anything and never bring birthday cards for the honored family members. I have specifically asked her to bring something, and I made it easy by suggesting something simple like a Jell-O salad — but still, they bring nothing. Others are beginning to complain. Should I tell her that others are wondering why she never contributes to the meal? These two always eat.

I don’t want to alienate them from the rest of the family, as we all love them and want them with us. — Wondering Gramma

Dear Gramma:

Large family eh? Sounds like you were busy? Wink wink nudge nudge.

Stay with me here because everything will make sense, I swear. Around Christmas time my family has a saying “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.” Meaning, if you fail to believe in Santa, you will not receive any presents. It’s a way to keep that childlike spirit of Christmas around even as an adult when you know the truth. It’s not really enforced but it’s still around.

Tell your granddaughter that if they don’t feel the need to participate that when it comes time to celebrate their birthday then they will receive what they gave: nothing. It doesn’t take much to buy a card and sign it or, hell, even buy a gift card. They are doing the least possible and need to know that it is unacceptable. This will send the message loud and clear.

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“Jaw With John” – Now Dasher, Now Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, On Vomit, On Cupid…Wait, what?

My family drove six hours to visit family members over Christmas.

Upon arrival, we were informed that one of their children had been ill with the stomach bug since the day before.

We ended up spending the holiday with their entire family (including three kids, both parents and a grandparent) sick and running to the bathroom. Once home, all three of my children got the stomach bug. My wife and I will get it soon, no doubt.

Is it wrong of me to be extremely upset with the family we visited for not notifying us immediately when their first child fell ill so WE could decide if we should visit? I feel it was disrespectful to keep that information from us. Once when one of ours was sick we called to let them know and they chose to postpone their visit.

Obviously, if sickness unexpectedly befalls after arrival, it’s bad luck. However, I feel as though we are all now unnecessarily suffering due to their selfish desire not to miss out on a Christmas visit.

Any advice? — Furious Dad

Dear Furious:

I am sure that the family thought that the bug might just be a 24-hour thing and that’s why they failed to inform you the day before. Having said that, they most definitely could’ve told you somewhere along the 6-hour trip over there – hopefully on the outset and not within the last hour – that way you could’ve planned accordingly. Ultimately, this shit happens ALL THE TIME. There is no use getting furious over it. Accept it, drink some fluids, rest, make a few trips to the can and you’ll be feeling like a champ in no time!

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“Jaw With John” – Ah, Adults Acting Like Children — It Must Be Christmas

I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year. We feel like we are very serious about one another. His older siblings and their spouses do a long-distance gift exchange each year. It originally started out at $50, but last year it increased to $100. Each person sends his/her gift requests to everyone in the group and names are pulled at random and secretly assigned by one sibling’s secretary.

These gifts are then purchased and sent to the respective recipient and then we Skype one another on a certain date/time and open the gifts “together.” It seems foolish and materialistic to me.

My boyfriend included me in his family’s gift exchange plans without consulting me first. I reluctantly agreed to it. I tried asking my boyfriend to negotiate a better price point, but he said if I didn’t want to participate I could back out.

I have only met these family members once. Part of me wants to suggest nonprofit organizations they could donate to on my behalf, but I don’t want to make any enemies

How do I walk this line? — Tightrope Walker

Dear Walker:

Your boyfriend’s family needs to rethink this whole “Secret Santa” deal. What’s the point in giving a list to people with things that you want and then getting them those gifts? This sounds very needy of them. They send a list of things they want and then someone is tasked with going out and getting said things??? I don’t like it. It sounds very childish.

You don’t want to make enemies, but you clearly don’t like anything that this gift group – that you were roped into – is doing. As I’ve done Secret Santa, you are assigned a person and then you buy them a gift or gifts, all the while staying under a dollar amount. Suggest this and if they balk send them your charity list. Or just get out entirely.

I don’t care for the Skype date for opening presents. If you’re not there to see them open it in person, they can call you and tell you about it after. This too, seems childish and fosters a “look at me” attitude which, as adults, shouldn’t exist.

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“Jaw With John” – Let Me Call The Whambulance For Your Cousin

How do you deal with family over the holidays?

I have one out-of-state cousin who is the Grinch, and he’s going to be staying with us. He thinks, “If I buy you a $50 gift, you buy me a $50 gift.”

I think you buy what you can afford and not expect anything in return. If someone gives you a gift, then great; if not, then great!

I am only a receptionist and cannot afford lavish/expensive gifts for everyone.

I get my other cousins $2 lottery tickets and that’s it. Now I feel like if I do that for him, he will cry to our grandma or, worse, say something on Christmas morning!

We are all adults now and I feel like we are in eighth grade! Any advice for dealing with him? This is bringing unwanted dread and anxiety when I should be excited and happy during the holidays. I think he forgot the true meaning of Christmas. — HO HO NO

Dear Ho Ho No:

This guy goes and cries to your grandma? Uhhhhh, clearly this guy has issues that extend BEYOND gifting.

By his logic, if he bought you a .50¢ gift then you could give him a .50¢ gift. That’s just stupid. You afford what you can afford and if he doesn’t like the gift/approve of what you spent then take it back and get your money back. You could spend $20 on something that may be perfect for him but since it didn’t cost what he spent on you, he’d be mad. Who gives a shit? That’s not the point of giving gifts or the true meaning of Christmas.

One Christmas, I bought my mom a set of hand made glasses from Italy that she mentioned she liked. It didn’t matter how much it cost to me because I knew she would love it and that made me feel good to do so, no matter the cost. I did not expect her to get me something comparable in price. In fact, that very same Christmas she gave me an awesome Batman mug and it’s one of my favorite gifts that I’ve ever received.

Your cousin needs to learn this maxim that I’ve known since I was young:
Happiness is not getting what you want, but being content with what you have.

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