Archive for the ‘ Holidays ’ Category

The 2009 Family Christmas Report

Someone told me I need to write a Christmas blog. I’ve been struggling with it, because Christmas, in and of itself, isn’t important to me. My religious upbringing was Reform Judaism with a lit bit of Unitarianism tossed it for good measure. I think the Bible is interesting to study,  but I don’t believe it as fact. Still, I like Christmas as a time of giving and a time to spend with family. I like the excitement. I like the spirit. I like hope and joy. And I like presents.

And like everyone else, all the things I love about Christmas can also drive me crazy, especially family. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this year’s celebrations. My brother has been away at college and is “not technically seeing,” but really is “seeing,” his high school girlfriend. My mom hung my ex’s Christmas stocking up, and I never said anything about it . One grandmother is in the hospital. Another is now living in town, in an assisted living facility. My parents told my brother and I that we wouldn’t be getting many presents. I didn’t know what to expect.

It was better than expected.

Family Christmas #1 was celebrated on the 23rd. The aunts and uncles gathered at my parent’s house, along with the crazy grandmother and the brother’s girlfriend (today). We ate a traditional dinner of red and green pizza bagels and opened presents. One of my aunts has discovered the beauty of the Amazon gift-card, but the other, I swear, selects her gifts around ways to “femme” me up. Anyways, this year was better than most, with only one beaded jewelry set that I will never touch. She did give me a pink plaid beret and scarf set, but I wore it today with my new bad-ass jacket and some leather boots. It worked. She also gave me a weird headband thing, but with my job and my inability to decide whether to keep my hair short or long, I will probably use it. No makeup, no pink handbags, and no nailpolish. Pretty impressive.

Family Christmas #2 went down on Christmas eve. We always go to the Minestrone party at some distant relative’s house. My dad refers to it as “Christmas eve at my wife’s dead-husband’s sister’s boyfriend’s second-cousin’s house.” Got that? Neither do I.

They are all nice people in their obligatory Southern-charm sort of way. I’ve known them all for 21 years, but I have yet to discover anything we have in common besides a love for chocolate toffee. The girl closest to my age (could we call her my aunt’s boyfriend’s third-cousin ?) is happily dating a Navy officer. No one asks who I am dating, and that is probably for the better.

Family Christmas #3 occurred on Christmas morning. For years, my brother and I would wake up at the crack of dawn and bang on my parent’s bedroom door. I spent the night at my parent’s home so we could relive that tradition. Instead, we both got up around 11 am. Last year, my ex was part of the celebration, spending the night with me in my childhood bedroom, and coming down to family breakfast in her Spiderman footed pajamas. (She was 21, I swear). I needed to get my mind of that, so I decided to go for a jog. By the time we all sat down for breakfast it was almost noon. After a traditional breakfast of bagels  and cream cheese (Notice the theme? Graduation brunch leftovers.) and a few too many glasses of champagne punch, we opened all the presents. My parents have given up on pushing me towards traditional femininity. No dangly earrings with mother commenting, “I wish you’d just wear some pretty earrings like most girls.” Nothing pink,  no ruffles. They’re getting there. I got useful things: a new camera lens to replace the one I broke, a Tom-Tom GPS so I can navigate when I start grad school, some button-down shirts from Express, the bad-ass jacket I’ve been yearning for, a gift card to my favorite coffee shop. and even rainbow “Thank You” cards.

For every queer person wishing their family would accept and embrace them, I invite you to celebrate Christmas with mine. My family has their eccentricities, that’s for sure, but I love them and they love me.  Hell, as soon as I unwrapped the gift from my brother, season 3 of The L Word, my mom grabbed the DVD case and checked to make sure she could still remember all the character’s names and everyone they’d slept with.