The 12 Holiday Faux Pas
A fantastic group of 12 writers and bloggers came together to share different Christmas subjects. Their creative drive blew me away. All of them have blogs, some have even written books, and there are too many fun stories to tell. Please check all of these wonderful people out by hitting the link after each Faux Pas has passed! My subject is the dreaded Holiday Faux Pas. Some of these are truly cringeworthy examples of what not to do if you ever find yourself in the exact same situation. They also are comedic delights and taught me lessons as well. Merry Christmas and best for a bright new year, Justin
12th Holiday Faux Pas
Word of advice: Remember who gave you that ugly sweater. My mother was at my house one day, and she was cold, so I went in my closet and got her a sweater to put on. “Oh, this is warm!” She said. “Keep it,” I told her, “it’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t even remember where it came from.” Then I remembered. Yes, you guessed it. Mom’s are pretty good at buying ugly sweaters. Kelly will also be coming out with possibly two books in the next year: They Call Me Crazy (which will be available Christmas day), and Ragtown. One can hope.
11th Holiday Faux Pas
My ex-husband is from El Salvador, and it’s a totally different culture than mine. I loved that feature about him, because learning and experiencing different cultures brings us closer to understanding the commonalities we all share as human beings. A year before becoming my ex-husband, it was obvious he didn’t feel the same way, and chose the worst moment ever to convey his feelings. When we arrived at my grandmother’s house for the annual holiday dinner, he looked around the room full of people and announced, “I don’t like American food.”
The room fell dead silent. This jackass had just disrespected my grandmother’s beloved traditional dinner, which is the worst possible faux pas you can commit in the south. My face flushed, and my eyes burned death rays into my husband. He simply stood there like a jerk, and didn’t bother to apologize. I glossed the incident over by blaming his statement on bad English, but I don’t think anybody bought it. They knew it was a lie. My suspicion was confirmed when I called my grandmother to tell her I was divorcing (for mostly other reasons), a year later. Her loud cry of joy in my ear kinda tipped me off. The quickest way to spark a divorce debate is by insulting someone’s cooking at Christmas. Good thing my current husband knows better. 😉 Merry Christmas, Amberr!
10th Holiday Faux Pas
It was during the Christmas holidays when we got a phone call from my boyfriend’s sister. Her baby was sick and in the process of being flown to Sick Kid’s Hospital in Toronto. Since my boyfriend and I lived in Toronto, I brought his sister’s other daughter, a toddler, to our apartment for a sleepover while my boyfriend went to the hospital. I know nothing of kids and, quite frankly, I am a disaster at being around them. Thankfully my mom saved Christmas (somewhat) by dropping off a bunch of my brother’s old cartoons the following morning. I popped in a video, gave the kid a blanket and went in the kitchen to make breakfast. A few minutes later I heard some unsavoury grunts and groans coming from the other room. I quite literally dropped everything and ran to the living room only to find naked people sprawled across the television screen. My mother had accidentally slipped a porno film into the wrong video sleeve.
After somehow managing to calmly pop the tape from the VCR, I suggested the wide-eyed little girl pick a movie that was more appropriate to Christmas. Yup, just one more kid my mother and I have managed to scar for life. Funny thing, I called my mother in a panic about the porno and she responded with, “Oh, is that where that tape went? I was wondering.”
9th Holiday Faux Pas
About ten years ago, my husband and I were about to celebrate our first Christmas in a new house, and our dog, Poe, was a six-month-old puppy. At one point, I heard this shattering crash in the family room. When I ran out to see what had happened, I saw the Christmas tree on the floor and many of my precious ornaments smashed. Poe stood there looking terribly guilty and got quite the earful.
We later discovered (as the tree fell on our table as we ate dinner) that it wasn’t Poe’s doing after all. The base of the tree had been cut uneven and it wasn’t sitting properly in the stand. Poor Poe got an extra-large treat in her stocking that year!
8th Holiday Faux Pas
I’ve been racking my brain over a Christmas faux pas for the past week and can’t come up with anything. It wasn’t until my husband pointed out that in order to commit a faux pas we have to have some sort of high standard when it comes to Christmas. That’s just it, we don’t. Our big, fancy Christmas dinner is held Christmas Eve at my grandparents. My entire family sits down to eat off of plastic red and green plates and toast the holiday with plastic wine glasses that always lose their bottoms resulting in someone spilling their wine. Just last year the men in my family decided to start a new tradition by eating as much as they can then weighing themselves afterward to see who gained the most weight. I think the only ones that create a faux pas for our holidays are the boyfriends or girlfriends we’d bring over to introduce to the family. My husband’s first Christmas Eve dinner he wore a suit and a tie. My uncle moseyed up to him wearing his “A Christmas Story” t-shirt featuring “Ralphie” on it and asked him, “Who died?” Fancy we are not, but we are welcoming, loving and know how to have a good time and that’s what counts in our book. Oh, and since there are no dishes to do, we get to the presents much faster. 😉
Please visit Karen and read the 12 Blogs of Christmas: The Sequel
— where, among several jolly films, I had to be a Debbie Downer, and share with you why I think Ordinary People
is a terrific Holiday movie to watch with the whole family! 🙂
Here is a photo of the winner of the eating contest: Karen’s husband — current title holder!
For most of the past year Karen went through one of the most life-changing events when she fell ill with TSS, Toxic Shock Syndrome. Here is her harrowing STORY. Karen is also going through more surgeries and the cost is high. Any help is greatly appreciated and you can make a donation after you read what she and her family went through. Merry Christmas.
7th Holiday Faux Pas
I made the faux pas of not being gracious when accepting a gift: One year a sibling called from California and proudly told my partner and I she had bought all this year’s gifts at the local Swap Meet. Upon opening said gift, instead of being gracious and kind when the forearm-length box of tinkly, laser-cut, pink-metal wind chimes revealed itself, we laughed at the joke gift (not unlike that couple on Modern Family would’ve laughed). I thought: a present for the white elephant pile or the re-gifting stack (another holiday faux pas!)… The chimes bedazzled in a very soft pink that didn’t go with the rather handsome Greene & Greene style craftsman home we were living in at the time. Later, on the phone with my sibling to thank her (how do I thank her?), I made the mistake of laughing with the joke of the gift — “It was a joke gift right?” (silence on the other end) — which made said sibling really upset. Of course I apologized profusely, disconnected the line, slunk away stunned, took the gift out of the white elephant pile in case my sibling visited Idaho in the future, and hung the pink wind chimes on the far side of the garage, the tree side, where high winds would eventually break the fishing line and no one could see them. My sibling visited us in Hailey, Idaho, later in the summer, and, after seeing our home for the first time, she said: “I can see why you didn’t like the wind chimes!” And we were able to then laugh about it.
I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t assume everything is a joke.
In January, my first book of short stories will be published by Green Darner Press: Sandcastle and Other Stories. It is now available at Amazon as an eBook, but I just spent the past month working out the trade paperback design and getting all the ducks in a row and the book looks beautiful and playful. I hope you all can find it in your local bookstores soon in the new year.
6th Holiday Faux Pas
Erica Lucke Dean:
Spencer’s Faux Pas: The closest thing I have to a Christmas faux pas would be the year my oldest child was eight or nine years old, and still believed in Santa. Spencer woke before dawn, crept down the stairs and in a sudden frenzy, opened every present under the tree before anyone else was awake. We found him there in the morning, still drunk from opening presents . . . guilty expression on his face, and wrapping paper in his hair. He’s 22 now, and we still won’t let him live down that Christmas so many years ago.
Please visit Erica and read the 12 Blogs of Christmas: Somewhere In My Memory
— where, among many terrific Xmas-time memories, you can read about how my Father started the tradition of a gift prank! Next March, Erica’s first novel, To Katie With Love
, will be published by Red Adept Publishing: woot woot 🙂
5th Holiday Faux Pas
Santa is the bringer of all things wonderful… but he occasionally makes an unforgivable faux pas. Such as the one he made last year with my family. He’s currently on our naughty list. This is why:
Christmas comes but once a year, and it’s a time that I look forward to all year long. It usually means spending time with my family, scattered as we are throughout these great states of ours. Christmas of 2010 was no different… this year it was my turn to trek across the continent and back to my Pennsylvania stomping grounds, my sister’s house in Pittsburgh, PA. First, I drove from Colorado to Arizona, a 13 hour trip to meet up with my mother and her SO (significant other) Ernie, and from there, (the very next day) the grueling 33+ hour drive to Pennsylvania for the holiday fun. The very day we set out, we received a phone call from my brother-in-law: the nieces were down for the count with the stomach flu. He assured us it was a 24-hour bug and he was vigilantly bleaching every bleach-able surface in the house. Joy. Since it was too late to turn around, we resigned ourselves to our fate and headed onward. All was well when we arrived. True to his word, the bleach-able surfaces had been bleached, and my nieces were once again happy, healthy, and doubting that Santa exists.
Well, I’m here to tell you, yes, Santa does exist, and I would like to know what we all did to deserve the epic Stomach Flu Epidemic of Christmas 2010. First my brother-in-law, then my sister, and finally me, on Christmas Eve, fell victim to the virus. And that wasn’t all. The nieces all managed to have a relapse the day after Christmas. All three of them.
This year, we’ve blackballed Santa from this household, and the only way he’s allowed back is if he brings us sincere apologies for the puke-fest we endured last Christmas.
Happy, Flu-Free Holidays to all!
4th Holiday Faux Pas
A couple of years ago, my best friend received a holiday card that caused a little ruckus. At first glance it was a standard holiday card with a photo of the kids. Two college-age sons dressed in dashing suits. Very appropriate. One teenage daughter, dressed in… Santa-red short-shorts and a super-tight white tank top. Talk about your holiday cheer. Worst part? The family photo was taken by the dad, and he had it specially printed on festive cards to share with everyone. I think I’ll stick with my fuzzy penguin cards, thank you.
3rd Holiday Faux Pas
Melody-Ann Jones Kaufmann:
I think my all time pet peeve at Christmas is when people intentionally leave the price tag on a gift so you can see just how much they spent. My ex husbands family used to do this. They thought I was crazy for removing the price tags on gifts. Worse yet they would sit about discussing who spent what on whom and whether the gift they bought was worth it – while they were opening the presents. It just felt to me like the whole point was to flash about money rather than to share joy and happiness. It just cheapens the whole experience.
2nd Holiday Faux Pas
My grandmother and I had a complicated relationship. The same kind of complicated as my father. Probably because, as my husband observes, I am my father – just female. However, while my grandmother liked my father (he was her favourite son-in-law) because he was the only one who stood up to her, this was not so well-favoured in me because ‘children should be seen and not heard’.
My grandmother was not religious – at least, I don’t really think so. She never went to mass, or even attended church for the holidays, and we didn’t say grace at Christmas or any other mealtimes. She very rarely spoke about God and my Mum said Nana didn’t really believe. Except when it suited her. My grandmother was like that. All kinds of rules could be bent or ceased to exist when it suited her – but no one else. To be clear, I have nothing against religion. Two of my three closest friends are religious. But I do have a problem with hypocrisy, I do have a problem with being patronised, I do have a problem with intolerance (against anyone, for any reason) and I’ve always believed I have the right to say what I think. Regardless of my age.
So at Christmas one year, around age 12 or 13, when my grandmother said to me ‘I feel sorry for you because you don’t believe in God’ I promptly replied (without stopping to think for even a millisecond) ‘That’s OK Nana, I feel sorry for you because you do’. There was no real truth in that statement, it was just a snappy riposte to what I perceived as an intolerant insult. Tolerance means accepting that some people don’t believe as much as it means accepting people who believe differently, right? In this case, the insult was aggravated by the fact my grandmother didn’t believe except when it suited her agenda!
My grandmother’s expression could not be described as anything short of apopletic. Mum leaned over and nudged me in the ribs, whispered, ‘You’ll be off the Christmas card list next year for sure!’
Alas, ’twas not true. My grandmother continued to give me a McDonalds calendar for Christmas every year until I was 18 . . .
1st Holiday Faux Pas
Oh but I am the Mastahh Faux that is Pas. I know how to really get the cringe factor amped. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
Case in point: About ten years ago or so, (okay twenty), it had been a busy holiday season what with a lot of my friends getting married and all of the parties for Christmas. So we get to the business holiday party and my husband gives his boss the present that I’d purchased and wrapped. She goes to open it and she looks up.
Time has slowed down at this point. If everyone is five minutes older and cannot reason why – I am the culprit. You see, I’ve realized what he’d just given his boss. It was the gift he’d grabbed and shoved in his briefcase and promised he’d not forgotten on his quick trip home to pick up a few things. It was the one that had the name Lily on it, (his boss’ name), but was actually the bridesmaid gag gift for my friend Lily who had joked about a well…something that was more like an appendage that uh…one could strap on and…
Yeah. I had a lot of explaining to do. Good thing someone had spiked the punch.
Merry Christmas, Maureen!
Please visit Maureen (zencherry!) and read the 12 Blogs of Christmas: The Clauset REDUX
— where you will also see me in my favorite holiday sweater (yes, there is such a thing!) but you’ll also be able to gaze for hours into the cutenik face of my long coat German shepherd puppy, Kipling! 🙂
I hope you have enjoyed reading all of the 12 Holiday Faux Pas. Thank you to the entire clan of Christmas Blog writers — you are truly an inspiring bunch. It was a lot of fun to put this Blog Post together, and I did laugh out loud. A special Thank You to Erica and Kelly who organized the entire event and directed us to do our best work. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Justin, Zippy, Kipling, Ajax The Gray, and Eartha Kitt’n!
After reading so many Faux Pas, Kipling decided to nod off but Zippy kept dashing through the snow 🙂
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