Dysfunctional Family Christmas Math

Anyone who has read this blog at least twice (or even once, if it was a long post or if it involved making puppets out of fresh roadkill), knows there’s a whole lot of weird taking place. As my holiday gift to you, I want to give you a sneak peek into how the weird happened in the first place. Trust me, it will make me feel better about yourself because you will never again read one of my bizarre stories and worry that something similar could happen to you.

I am writing this from an Army cot in my parents’ living room. My head is actually under their piano. We celebrate Christmas several days prior to actual Christmas because there are a butt-load of atheists in the family and we don’t observe on the actual day out of respect for their beliefs. Wait, their lack of beliefs. Whatever.

It turns out that about 53% of the family consider themselves to be somewhere on the “I’m not a Christian” spectrum, so they are fairly confused about why we’re exchanging gifts and cooking a turkey. Add to that the fact that the remaining 46% who consider themselves to be “believers” actually believe in a wide variety of different things, so there’s some argument as to whether or not Mary stayed a virgin for the rest of her life and if the wise men actually showed up at the manger. (For the record, I’m one of the 18% of us who are Catholic, so trust me…she kept her legs together and the wise men showed up about two years later.)

To keep the festivities interesting, 24% of the people in attendance cannot eat any gluten products or consume any dairy products and 3% of the family members don’t eat root vegetables, so the meal takes a downturn whenever it comes to deciding how to prepare the smashed ‘taters. There is also an ongoing rage-filled argument about how coffee should taste, with an unfortunate majority (77%) insisting that it be so black and thick that it could be used to attach the shingles to the roof.

Here’s where it gets sticky: Santa Claus, or no Santa Claus. We’ll happily respect each others’ religious and dietary beliefs, but the fists are gonna fly when it comes to believing in Santa or not. We are also pretty much evenly divided on the issue, but the 2% majority the pro-Santa crowd holds means that there will be no disparaging remarks about the kids’ Christmas hero.

DISCLAIMER: I’m really, REALLY bad at math, so these figures are completely made up but they feel very, very real. I hope it provides a very calculated look at some of the hurdles that we can manage to overcome, even if it’s only once a year. Trust me, if this crowd can try to get along, world peace is gonna be a breeze.

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12 responses

  1. My own family are nuts and also were idealistic atheists long before it was fashionable. I didn’t go home for Christmas from University etc, after I left home. I converted to Christianity and whilst single spent several Christmas days working in homeless shelters. Then I met my wife and she and her family are full on Catholic, midnight Mass and let’s rock around the Christmas tree types; hard adjustment for me really. Anyway I do Christmas for the wife and kids, but I know what you mean about the dysfunctional thing because my own family are a nightmare because they make pre ghost Scrooge look like a philanthropist and my wife’s family act like they’re from tinsel and turkey town this time of year; both of which are extremes I find hard. I love seeing my kids open their presents and Christmas has been fun in that respect for many years. Happy New Year Lorca, in advance…

    1. I love that we celebrate 12th Night. It’s very low key, there’s a gift for each person, we eat together, we make plans for what we will do in the new year that will be good. In the 12 days between Christmas and New Year, we do nice things like box up clothes and toys to be donated, we make cookies to give away, etc. A very calm Christmas tradition!

      1. The thing about ‘dysfunctional’ families is how there are moments of pure bonding that show that beneath all the bullshit there is something great and worthwile.

      2. ‘worthwhile’ – sorry, typo due to holiday season malt whiskey!

        1. THAT is the best and only acceptable excuse for a typo! Well, that, and pre-coffee typing.

  2. OMG! Your family sounds like mine but without the Jewishness, the anti-tomato folk, the anti-corn folk, the anti-fish folk, the blue-green algae obsessinators, the juicers, the 15 year olds who still believe in Santa, the Christmas tree-opposers, the Republicans, the Democrats, the anarchists (me). This is why I’ve taken up drinking as a hobby.
    I love you, Lorca.

    1. I love you, too! And I hope you have as dysfunctional a holiday as you possibly can! :) Cheers!

  3. Heavens… I’m an atheist, and from where I’m sitting right now, the atheists in your family are possibly the weirdest of the lot. All my immediate family are atheists. Most of the extended family are atheist or agnostic or of undisclosed religious belief. A few are devout Christians of some stripe or other (yeah, I know, I’m paying attention, aren’t I?). My friends are mixed about the same. Regardless, we all celebrate Christmas, and we all celebrate on Christmas Day. We might be celebrating for different reasons, but… meh. We make it work. Oh no wait, there is one member of my family who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but since he apparently doesn’t care to socialise with us anymore (even going so far as to give me the cold shoulder at my grandmother’s funeral), we don’t much care what he celebrates.

    1. We need the Uber Tolerance holiday, with our own greetings and traditional dishes!

  4. We do the ‘make the best of it and shut up’ thing in our family. Provided Grandma/mom gets to make cookies, and Grandpa/dad gets to slather the place with green glittery stuff, we all just suck it up, have a nice day, and believe what ever we want quietly. No fuss, no muss, and you can expect your rump to get kicked to the curb if you try to impose your beliefs on someone else. How’s that for Christmas Spirit! The prevailing thought is believe in family, and the rest is up to you.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, Lorca! Whether or not they believe in it ;)

    1. Thanks! And happy holidays to your crew, too!

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