I imagine many of you have high expectations for the holidays. But sometimes the annual get-together turns into a Christmas parody.

Everywhere you go at this time of year it’s all about Christmas. Personally I can only take so much of the glitz and pageantry to become tired of the often over-the-top merrymaking.

Do you feel this way? At you worried that your holiday with all the guests will turn the day into a Christmas parody of sorts?

A brightly lit Christmas tree glowing in what could become a Christmas parody 2021 style

Families everywhere are looking forward to a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

But people are complicated creatures. And holidays often bring the worst out in families.

Members of the family will gather together and everything they don’t like about one another will quickly rise to the surface. Relationships often become strained at the best of times, but sometimes it’s like fingernails scraping a chalkboard.

Mix in alcohol and the day can become volatile.

Please play along as I imagine what could happen…

Glasses of wine and a small snowman at Christmastime

Typical Offenders In A Christmas Day Parody:

Aunt So & So will bitch and complain to her husband the whole time. She always feels as though she has to do more than anyone else to make this day happen.

Fortunately, he will be so snockered that he doesn’t hear much of it. He began “getting into the holiday spirit” before they even left home. He thought it wise to get a headstart on what could easily turn into a hideous day.

Great-grandma will tsk-tsk at the dozens of brightly wrapped presents for the children. This kind of elaborate display was just not done in her day.

Grandpa will be found snoring in the recliner soon after his last bite of pumpkin pie. He hopes the cinnamon (seemed just a tad too much of it to him) will not come back to haunt him in the middle of the night.

Milk and cookies at what could become a Christmas parody 2021 style

He’s learned from experience that it’s safer to bow out early during holiday gatherings and at least pretend to be asleep.

The Teenagers Will Be Predictably Surly:

The teenagers in the family will be irritable with hormones the whole time. However, they were told in no uncertain terms that they had to smile and act happy if they wanted to open any of the brightly wrapped presents.

Mom is giving them the stink eye across the room every time she sees them roll their eyes at something someone said.

But for the love of Pete, they are SO tired of being hugged over and over by Great-grandma. She always smells like Bengay.

In a Christmas parody 2021 style, this is the perfect setting for a glowing fire and bedecked Christmas tree

Why Can’t Mom Just Chill?

Mom will have done her best. She knows she’ll be stressed out and fairly tipsy by the time the meal is over. But it’s the only way she can possibly get through all the drama.

She tells herself every Christmas that it will be different. Everyone will get along and feel joyous and grateful for one another. But it never seems to happen. To bolster this quickly dimming hope, she will steadily sip from a glass of wine.

Mom also knows that when everyone leaves her house it will be in total disarray. And she alone will be responsible for the clean-up. She’s already gritting her teeth over the mess they’re making in her house.

Dad will wear his Santa cap and tell jokes that fall flat. He will ho-ho-ho and try to bring cheer to the gathering. But before long everyone just wants to throttle him to shut him up.

Candles lit up at what could become a Christmas parody 2021 style

The Usual Suspects:

Cousin Richard, recently out on parole for something or other, will be eyeing all the expensive electronic equipment in the house. While at the same time telling everyone who will listen that he is totally rehabilitated this time around. 

Great-grandpa will sit and try to figure out whose children belong to who. Who is divorced? Are those his stepchildren? What do all of the confusing relationships mean?

It’s like a Twister game. He will need a nap before long.

In a Christmas parody 2021 style, everyone is gathered around the table choosing food to eat

One thing he knows from experience, the whole thing is a potential land mine. Someone could say something that will set off fireworks at any given moment.

He wonders if all the sharp knives and handguns are locked away.

When It’s All Over:

And when it’s all said and done, there will have been some good moments that will be relived every year as pleasant memories. But there will also have been some taut-as-a-wire moments that bordered on disaster.

Many members of the family will mumble under their breath as they leave that this will be the last time they attend. The. Very. Last. Time.

There might or might not have been a few scuffles between those who don’t get along on a good day. Typically a few Christmas decorations will get broken.

But thank goodness no one had to be taken to the emergency room. And no one was arrested. This time around.

Ornaments glowing on the Christmas tree

Mom the hostess just wants to get it over with so she can take a Calgon-take-me-away much-deserved bubble bath. Her glass of wine will teeter dangerously on the edge of the tub as she mulls over what went wrong and who she can blame for it.

Yes, this is just a parody of what some families could experience. I’m sure that many will probably have a wonderful time. They will watch the usual Christmas movies and be properly thankful and happy.

Others will sigh over having survived the latest holiday. And swear to plan a vacation next year far, far away from their relatives.

(This was originally published on December 24, 2014. However, I decided to change it up and republish it on December 2, 2021 for those needing a bit of “Christmas levity.”)

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  1. Oh my. I was so confused reading the comments. LOL Didn’t realize the date change till later on down the line. We don’t really have this sort of problems. Everyone behaves and it is pleasant. Just get tired of all the running around. pam

  2. Lol..this is great!! An hour or two with some are more than sufficient.. ;*) where’s my wine , now? Lol..cheers and peaceful holidays to all!!!!

  3. Brenda, I love this post. I LOVE Christmas and grew up in a family where it was a big celebration. My mother has 9 brothers and sisters and that means lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. That said there are lots of personalities and sometimes there are expectations for some that are not met. In my immediate family I have a sister that always has high hopes for a Christmas that sadly never seems to meet her expectations. I don’t let it dim my Christmas spirit, but I do feel sad for her. Have a wonderful week my friend.

  4. I know holidays can be volatile for some people, but these shenanigans have never happened in my family. (They have at other times though, lol!) I have wonderful memories of Christmas growing up; loved it when my boys were little; and basically tolerate it now that I’m an empty nester. I decorate minimally because the decor is pretty and I like it…not for anyone else. We’re having five family members over on Christmas Eve and it’ll be just appetizers and Christmas cookies, so it’ll be a low-key kind of gathering, just as I like it. Christmas Day will be just Brian and I with the kitties.

  5. It was my mom’s parents and grandparents as well as she, that made ANY DAY of the year special…and those who ruined things, well, gotta give ’em credit cause they were quite consistent in what they did too. Hubby and I have not “done” Christmas in a lot of years now…many reasons for that. And one of the good results is that there is no longer any troubles with the “in-laws” of our kids…cause in our celebrating other days…or ANY DAY we have gotten together…there is no way they can in any way give us a bad time!! And I suppose they are still happy cause they get ALL those holidays…and it MUST be on a certain day. Heh, take the stress and problem issues away folks…simply choose different days and times. It works!! We watched our daughter’s kids for a few hours last evening while she attended a work function…we had a sweet time with them and they both just hugged me as they left and my 12 yr old grandson just came into my kitchen to tell me that he thought I was the best cook of all…haha…and last night I did not cook anything…they got takeout. He had just returned from the “sperm donor” for the Thanksgiving holiday…evidently he was telling me in a nice way that he preferred our simple abode (an apt). His other grandparents live in an upclass big home with a view. But such does not necessarily make for wonderful does it?? Love in a little apt evidently does….

  6. I enjoyed reading this parody Brenda and for me it was more realistic than the perfect family Christmases some have commented they have. I think it is hilarious!
    Christmas as a kid was joyful with the magic of Santa and a special present under the tree. As an adult, the true meaning of Christmas is lost in the commercialism and the stress of pleasing everyone. Several years ago I set boundaries and gave all that up. Now, I enjoy a quiet, peaceful
    Christmas season taking pleasure from the decor and music and a few special foods. Giving to the truly needy during the season and throughout the year honors Christ more than how much you can run up the credit card buying gifts that people don’t need just because the family obligation is there. Many folks can’t afford Christmas gifts and this causes so much stress.

  7. Family USA, and probably Family Around the World in Most Countries. I love my family, but I’m just fine with no get-togethers during the time of COVID. The “family” I miss are mostly my “adopted family” people. Two live in my city, the sister I’m closest lives in Boise and two close friends live in Las Vegas. No way am I ever getting on a jet again until (1) I am GUARANTEED that everybody on board is fully vaccinated (2) I am GUARANTEED that everybody on board will stay masked for the entire trip (3) there is proper social distancing observed by the airlines – means no people jammed in all the seats (4) there is an Air Martial on board who can swiftly subdue and handcuff and gag, if need be, an unruly “traveller” acting out badly, like a nasty two year old but even worse. Since no airlines would EVER guarantee such things, my travelling days are over. I’m fine spending my holidays alone and enjoying peace, quiet, serenity, and spoiling myself with good food, entertaining myself with the things I love most, without having to bite my tongue or put up with obnoxious behavior from some of the blood relatives.

    1. Oops! Sorry, I misspelled Air “Marshall.” LOL! But you know, thinking about it, “Martial” is so far off…

  8. This is so funny Brenda. Makes me imagine Christmas with the Everybody Loves Raymond family, except that their drama goes on year round. I’ve decided over the years that I don’t like anyone in that whole family and wouldn’t visit them at Christmas or any other time, but I do think they’re hilarious. I’m very blessed to have a wonderful family where humor is in our genes and we just have the best time and laugh like a bunch of hyenas. Even our teenagers can and do talk to anyone and wouldn’t even consider going to their rooms. We don’t have a kids’ table, we all mingle and grab a chair wherever there is one and just have a great time. I suppose we all imbibe from time to time in our private lives but there is none of that at family gatherings. We just don’t think family should begin the habit of drinking together. And it helps that we all love each other to the moon and back.

  9. Very sad commentary. In this world today, family becomes even more cherished and I feel blessed that we will all gather at my home on Christmas Eve and celebrate the birth of our Saviour. We have had this tradition going back to my parents and my wonderful grandparents. Lots of laughter, wonderful traditional food items, specially wrapped present piled high around the tree and Midnight Mass, followed with coffee and danish. It warms me just to think of our fun gathering. I cannot even imagine my life without our family ties. And I am 77 years old but loving every minute of this beautiful time of year!

  10. I have to say I am blessed with a wonderful family. We really enjoy our time together at Christmas. It is about being around the table together and thankful for a great meal and time spent playing games and having fun. Of course the grand girls are excited for presents but it really is about the fun we have together. Wish everyone could have this for Christmas.

  11. This post makes me so sad and, at the same time, so thankful for my family. We don't really need glitter but rather should keep Christmas is our hearts every day, all year long. I haven't read your blog for long but have picked up on the fact that you enjoy reading. The Christmas story in the book of Luke is so beautiful.
    I admire the way that you are making your life work and love seeing photos of your colorful home. It always looks so happy. I often have wondered if I would be as successful in paring my kitchen down the way you have. Since I love to bake, it would be really, really difficult for me to make it without a range!
    I pray that 2015 will be a year rich in blessings for you.

  12. Sad….. I'm so glad my Christmas is not spent like that. I've played some great games with my grandkids, we've made cinnamon rolls together, so many terrific hugs all around. My biggest complaint – I overate again!
    My oldest grandson had asked for some shoes, very specific shoes, and when he took the paper off the box, BEFORE he looked inside the box, he just leaned over and gave me a really tight hug and said "thank you Mimi"…. He immediately put them on and said they were his best present…. made me feel good that I was able to give him those shoes. Not a toy or a game, but shoes (he's 12 by the way)…

  13. I totally understand where you are coming from Brenda..been onboth sides of the Christmas get together thing…told myself no more! now for the last 7 years we have just celebrated with our only f=daughter and our 5 grandchildren…every year with them it gets only better and better…no fighting no back stabbing and no gossiping…Merry Christmas! xoxo Carol

  14. A few years ago I got emotionally healthy and stopped being with the people I didn't want to be with anymore…it has been so healing for my family of four…just us and the dogs…:) I felt so sad reading that one line about how you didn't have Christmas as a child…..wow! Just one line…..how that must feel inside…..
    I hope you have a calm, quiet day with whoever you love and care for….that is what we will be doing….Life is too short to spend it with people you don't like let alone love because they have the same DNA ….it is hard enough to get with the folks you do love….

  15. Hilarious! Some elements of your story (minus the round of fisticuffs and trips to the ER) remind me of Christmases past with my husband's family. Now I refuse to do it any more. I get sad a little when I see some of the neighbors having their big Christmas get-togethers, but since I a not in insider, who knows? Theirs might be more like your parody that I would ever guess.

  16. I hate every stinking minute of December until the 31st. I was forced to suffer through 20 years of humiliation and insults by my evil sister in law and her horrible redneck drunken loud family. I dif it for my Mom who insisted we were together to the degree where it was harmful to me. Nothing good comes from Christmas. It's a terrible time for many. SInce Mom died I traveled and had the best Christmas of my life ignoring the stupid people while enjoying a swim. A walk and a nice restaurant. The . Commercialism and greed turn my stomach.. Now I am ill and have to stay home but I love ignoring the holiday reading and enjoying what I choose. The Christmas on the ads does not exist and people just need to get over the false family theories that we are bombarded with .

  17. Christmas is what you make it!!! I decorate with repurposed items and have enjoyed it immensely. No big tree! Not this year and for about 10 years! I do little vignettes. We don't exchange gifts! We make donations in children's names and they do the same for us! I do understand your senario, though. We ended a family relationship after a Christmas from hell two years ago. What a relief to have calm, quiet, the fireplace and the doggies. Merry Christmas to you!!

  18. Oh Brenda…your Christmas parody reads like my life! That is, up until about 10 years ago, when I said, NO MORE! I had tried everything I could to try to keep the peace with my family…but it didn't work. I couldn't take the strain anymore…so I just refused to go any longer. When your family has sharp knives on the table and they try to use them for more than eating utensils and people end up sick or going to the ER…that's it!

    I would see my oldest son for Holidays and special occasions, if I could get back to Wisconsin more often than I do. It's about 6 hours away. And he has never travelled here to Michigan in the 10 years I've been here. We do keep in touch – not as often as I would like – but he does surprise me.

    I am so blessed to have my 3 PuppyKids…I don't know what I'd do without them.

    Merry Christmas…
    Jan ♥

  19. Hi Brenda. Oh, honey, this is a very sad post to me. I know families aren't perfect but I've just never experienced anything like this. I'm so thrilled this year to be able to watch my little grandchildren open their gifts and spend time with my daughter and son in law. I feel your sadness and it makes me sad. You know I always wish you the best.
    Shelia 😉

  20. There's a sad sort of cynicism that comes from being obligated, for whatever reason, to take part in holiday traditions that no longer feel authentic or meaningful.
    The only comfort for those caught in the web of holiday expectations is that it will all be a distant memory by the weekend….

  21. This is a lonely Christmas this year but that is okay, I will be glad when it is Friday back to normal. I am going to have my wine, watch movies (currently watching Meet Me in St. Louis) then "The Bishop's Wife. I am also going to do some stitching and finish my book "The Miniaturist". Merry Christmas.

    1. I just had some eggnog. And later I will have a piece of pumpkin pie. I may pay for it all night with reflux, but I have to have a piece of pumpkin pie! I don't really get lonely. I am content alone. In fact I prefer it. Reading and good movies and some stitching sounds grand to me. Merry Christmas to you to, Gisela.

  22. I never had Christmas with my cousins or extended family members. It was just us 6. I made sure my kids had the whole grandparents, aunts, and uncles and cousins experience. We have great memories and not so great memories but it always comes down to laughter and love. Here's wishing you a loving Christmas with laughter!

  23. Too funny Brenda. Yes, I am over it. I am ready rip all my crap down and shove it away until next year.
    It wasn't crap when I put it up and it won't be crap when I take it all out again in a year! But, I am over it.

    1. Which I suppose is why we move our furniture around. We just get tired looking at it. I can't move much here due to space limitations. But now I'm fixated on having a boho fabric tapestry! That would definitely be different!

  24. My childhood holidays were not that great (but better than your example thank God) so I made sure my children
    had better ones. Life is a series of choices. You can always chose better. Merry Christmas everyone.

  25. I wish for you dear friend that you had had at least one happy Christmas – full of love and joy and fun. We have always had such a wonderful time during the holidays that I wish I could have shared one with you. My family lived in a small home and didn't have riches galore but we had so much fun in all of the hustle and bustle of it.

    Merry Christmas!


  26. Brilliant Brenda! This is exactly how I feel during the day 🙂 Especially having two teenagers who will just want to go to their rooms with a plate of food and their gadgets instead of frowning at me whispering 'how much longer do I have to sit here?!'. I hope all goes well for you. Chel x

    1. Laura, when I had young kids like you, I couldn't make enough candy and bake enough sweets. But I'm tired and older now. I hand the baton to youngsters like you.

  27. thats life in a nutshell,, some good some bad some happy some sad and on we go moment to moment…
    did you mention the Reason for the Season==GREED? lol lol
    me and you outta get together one Christmas- we'd have a blast and make memories to last the rest of our lives. if that day ever comes, dont forget to wear your depends cause ya know we are gonna cackle till we pee in our pants.lol

    Merriest of Christmas's to You, Abby and Charlie…. Stay Calm and Laugh On

  28. Wow! I'm glad it's not like that in my family. And it's never been that way. We always have wonderful Christmas's and I have many great memories. If it were anything like the above scenario, I think I would just skip the whole thing.

  29. I am so glad that our family is not like that!! I am hosting 27 people tomorrow in our small house. (23 at Thanksgiving) so I know this does work. I pity the poor families that can't get a long. Funny post, but sad in some ways also.

    1. Well, it was a satiric parody after all. I just know people who have such angst for weeks before Christmas, dreading it. Dreading the fact that everyone will be on edge. I am glad many families have fun and actually get along.

  30. Sorry You feel this way Brenda…as each year goes by and there are less and less of my family members…I treasure the Fact that I Do Have Family…good bad or otherwise. The ones who have passed on, have left me memories to treasure…even the unpleasant ones that I can look back and laugh over. As far as Christmas Everywhere…I love the sights and sounds and happy feelings that are felt and displayed from Perfect Strangers….With so much Gloom & Doom in the News on an every day basis.. There is the need for Happiness . At Christmas Eve Mass..when Finally Celebrate the True Meaning with the BirthOf Our Savior…My Heart Is Filled with Joy & Peace. Christmas is How We Choose To Celebrate it in Our Hearts. Merry Christmas Brenda.

    1. You hit this one on the head. Be Thankful with what you have. Things can change so fast. I am also lucky to have a great family. Stressful as getting this all together is,,,I wouldn't change it for the world. Have a great Christmas. But with your take on all of this I know you will.

    2. Eating chocolate gets old after you eat too much. I've been seeing Christmas in stores since August. I am thankful for what I have. I wouldn't want all that excess. I'm happy for those who have family, strained or otherwise, because you never know what tomorrow brings. Now when my kids were young, I went all out. We started making ornaments for the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. But as you get older, I think with some it just changes.

  31. I'm heading off to Christmas Eve dessert tonight with friends, and it might be a little like you describe. Love these vintage pictures you have on this post. Merry Christmas, Brenda.

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