Christmas/Holiday Open Thread

I know this can be a weird day in the best of years, and I’m going to keep an open thread running all weekend if people want to stop by and say hello. Comments are open! Tell us your tales of cheer and woe if you like. I’ll check at least a few times a day to clear things out of the spam trap, so if your comment doesn’t post immediately, do not panic.

Flashback to the time my mother-in-law sent me costumes for the cats and I betrayed Daniel:

Daniel Jason Mendoza Striped Tiger in a Santa costume from my Mother-In-Law
Daniel Jason Mendoza Striped Tiger, starring as “Betrayal” in 2019’s AwkwardHaus Christmas Pageant

There is no photo of Henrietta in the costumes, as I like having skin that’s all in one piece, and Daniel’s smartened up enough in the last year I’m going to leave it at one for him.

Blog-wise, I’ve got a search terms post brewing for sometime next week, and some plans for early January when the blog turns ten years old and I revisit some of the very first posts. (TEN. YEARS. HOW?) This month I finalized my book proposal and turned it in to my agent, Suzie Townsend, and her wonderful team Dani and Meredith, who will work their magic on it and submit it to potential publishers in January. (Working title: The Sandwich Means I Love You: Collected Advice From Captain Awkward.) The proposal has taken up most of my brain for a while but there new things leaking out now that it’s done, and this week, I wrote a poem about community theater. I was a prolific teenage poet, but I went on hiatus for about 30 years, and it’s interesting to come back to it after doing film stuff and realize, wait, it’s scenes and images, I might know how to do that.

Today, we’re hanging in there, cooking large batches of potatoes and learning sad Christmas songs on ukulele. We did a family video chat with my relatives last night and we’ll do one with my in-laws today. There will be movies, Bridgerton-watching with Commander Logic (virtually, from our separate households), and no waistbands in sight. Mr. Awkward has some family members and friends who are like family who are between “sick” and “extremely ill” right now, so good thoughts are appreciated.

Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting the site, thank you to the good people who have been here from the start and to the people who stumbled on this place just now and to everyone in between, all along. Sometimes some of you email me to let me know that a post here got you through a hard thing, and I hope you all know that you’re the people who get me through, 1000-fold. I’m wishing you all safety and enough of everything you need and at least a little bit of light. ❤

147 thoughts on “Christmas/Holiday Open Thread

  1. Sending lots of good vibes for Mr.Awkwards ill family people. Wishing you both all the very best for the New Year. Thank you for all your excellent advice over the years. Looking forward to seeing your book published. Sending all the hugs (if wanted) from Ireland

  2. Happy New Year and congrats on the book proposal! I hope 2021 is a much better year for you and yours.

  3. Crossposting, since this brightened a few days over at AAM:

    Christmas with the Convent
    Or: a baker’s dozen of nuns take shelter from a theological argument at my grandmother’s house on december 23rd, and I get cookies.

    My great aunt Sister Mary K was a nun, and also the music teacher at the catholic school my mom and several of her cousins went to. Dominican Sisters are, according to the older members of my family, known for charity work and rulers-to-the-knuckles, but by the time I was a kid they were more known for giving you tic-tacs if you could say a rosary and gatecrashing my grandma’s house.

    Of course, they brought cookies (Pizzelles usually, some devout italian lady had brought her press and her recipe for decorative anise wafers the size of plates, but also shortbreads and other traditional cookies mostly lost to popular culture) as sort of an excuse to arrive, because Grandma had been a member in good standing of the church forever, and my converted-from-Protestantism grandfather kept the convent in honey so he’d clearly seen the light. Most Christmases they’d turn up a few days before or after with cookies, because Christmas eve day was spent preparing for midnight mass, and there was more mass on Christmas Day, but there would usually only be one van load of them, a maximum of about four or five. Most of them were direct friends of my great aunt, or former teachers of Grandma’s Fine Educated Catholic Daughters who wanted to see her many Fine Educated Catholic Granddaughters and play a few rounds of cribbage where penny bets were not sinful because the pennies were never spent.

    But one year we got about thirteen, fleeing from the cookie and mass scene at the local convent, because their usual holiday preparations had started a theological discussion that nobody was prepared for.

    There was a birdfeeder outside the convent kitchen, placed on a metal pole, and SOMEONE had decided they were sick of the squirrels knocking all the feed out. Repeatedly. As Squirrels do.

    This particular sister had, sometime the evening before, greased the pole with crisco, and went happily back to her baking, sure that she wouldn’t have to walk back out to refill the feeder that day, and interrupt the baking that several sisters were doing ahead of christmas.

    When the first daylight squirrel made a flying leap and a satisfying sliiiiiiiiide-splat in the snow, everyone else was shocked. The kitchen was filled with nuns trying, and sometimes failing, not to laugh, until someone turned to the only unsurprised sister, and asked her what she’d done.

    “I thought I’d find a natural way to keep the squirrels out,” said Sister Crisco, “So I took the leftover shortening, and -”

    At this point, a sister with a love of fuzzy tree rats, or a moral conviction that keeping anyone, man or beast, away from food the convent provided, burst out, “It is a SIN to grease the birdfeeder with crisco!”

    I’d like to imagine that the Pitzelle sister stopped halfway through pressing one, and all movement in the kitchen stopped, but I don’t know for sure. I do know, that an argument broke out, someone called the parish priest, and my great aunt said “Oh, look at the time, I have to go to my sister’s house with her cookies and supervise piano carols,” and about half the kitchen, who wasn’t going to sit through squirrel related theology with a straight face, said “Oh, you’re right, I promised to help you move all these heavy boxes Sister Mary K, with your hip in this weather you really shouldn’t be managing an entire tin of pitzelles (which weigh approximately negative one grams per cookie)” and proceeded to flee to my grandma’s house so they could drink itty bitty cups of coffee in peace and pinch the cheeks of any grandkid they could reach.

    1. I’m just imagining the series of splats in the background as squirrel after squirrel tried it. 🙂

      1. “Sister Crisco, although your efforts to ensure that the birds are fed are charitable-”


        “-The effects on the convent squirrels and also on the feelings of your sisters-”


        “- are, unintentionally I’m sure -”


        1. Framed like that Citizen Kane opener, with the nuns arguing in the foreground like Agnes Moorehead and the window behind them in the center showing the squirrel chaos.

    2. Do you know how the theological debate was resolved? I am now invested and deeply want to know if this is in fact a sin.

    3. I read this at AAM and commented that it reminded me of something my dearly departed great aunts, both nuns, might have been a part of (on the anti-squirrel side). Thank you for this lovely remembrance of my great-aunts and for this fantastic holiday story!

    4. A few years ago I lived in a house where the window over the sink looked out onto the patio. I was washing dishes and a squirrel was dozing contentedly on the railing of the patio.

      Reader, I sprayed him through the open window with the faucet’s spray hose attachment.

      1. This is a wonderful idea. I have a spray bottle and a squirrel that has recently been monopolizing the area below the feeder (and aggressively running off any birds that try to pick at the pile of seeds).

      2. Heh – my sister was even more evil than that.

        She, too, was frustrated as she watched squirrels repeatedly ascend to the birdfeeder, gobbling great mouthfuls of the seeds while the poor birds fluttered around helplessly. So she took her jar of cayenne pepper and dumped the whole thing – an entire jar of cayenne – over the birdseed, shook it a bit to get it to sift down through, and then went back indoors to await results.

        The birds were delighted – they don’t taste chili, and they had no problem at all with their spicy birdseed.

        However, it was another story when Master Squirrel came along.

        He climbed the pole as usual, took a big mouthful as usual, and tucked it into his cheek pouch as usual for later nibbling.

        Then he stopped. He stayed perfectly still, not moving a muscle, for a good ten seconds.

        Then he launched off the birdfeeder, not bothering to run down the pole, just leaping into space in his hurry to get to the ground.

        And when he got to the ground, he literally rubbed his tongue in the dirt to try to get it to stop burning from the cayenne, before running off desperately into the woods behind the house.

        There were no more squirrel depredations on my sister’s birdfeeder that summer.

    5. Words cannot express how much I love this story.

      But what was the outcome of the theological debate on the sinfulness of Crisco’ing birdfeeders?! I fear I will lie awake at night pondering this question!

    6. Thank you so much for sharing this story – it is wonderful! I was practically in tears laughing, which is always good, and so needed after the year we’ve had!

  4. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING, Captain. Cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.

    I’m sitting here with one day to go on my covid isolation. I have been THANKFULLY only very lightly hit – just a sore throat. But it’s miserable and I’ve made my sister and my kid’s dad/ex H have to isolate too and it just sucks and I feel SO HARD for those who have been more seriously ill.

    At least the kid is here to wave at me and bump elbows when I’m feeling sad. I am very, very lucky, I know.

    Here’s hoping things right themselves in 2021.

  5. Came here to share my very favorite Christmas music: It’s 15 minutes of a classical orchestra at its most spine-tingling. (It starts VERY quiet. You will need to turn the volume back down later.) I was in a community orchestra that performed it every year for a while, I played the chimes. Musical high point of my life 😀

    Hope everyone here has something to enjoy today!

  6. Happy holidays to all! We ordered our standard Christmas-morning bagels & lox brunch spread from a local deli this morning, intending to drop off somefor the in-laws and the friend who usually joins us. Paid online, tipped hugely, and hopped in the car to go pick up… and the restaurant is CLOSED. Agh!

    Luckily, the Swedish restaurant down the street is open, so cinnamon rolls will stand in this year. Bagels tomorrow!

    Much love to all the Awkwardeers, and bigger & better 2021 to all of us.

  7. So I’m from country X (Christmas is 25th, maybe 26th), partner from country Y (Christmas is 24th or/and 25th, but you have to do it the right way – fish dinner 24th, meat lunch 25th, 26th is a normal day) and we live in country Z (Christmas is 24th!!!!! Also the most important thing ever!!!! Couples fight to the death over which type of food is served, which must be the same every year!!!!)

    My family didn’t really celebrate Christmas, my favorite holiday I honour by gathering as many humans as will fit in my apartment and feeding them as much overly complicated stuff as possible, except not this year, and I couldn’t be arsed doing anything if I couldn’t host and feed people.

    But I do believe in any excuse to celebrate. So I guess I wanted to do something for me and partner, but I could not get into the mood of figuring anything out. Until I asked, a couple of days ago “so what day is Christmas?” And I said my preferences (evening big meal, for any fancy meal I’m gonna be the cook, I don’t want to spend a morning cooking) and they agreed, but picked 24th, it doesn’t have to be fish. And suddenly it was doable, mildly fun.

    And it was then something clicked, that although we’ve been together 9 years, this was the first Christmas we’ve been in the same country, but not with the inlaws. And so it wasn’t even “2020 is confusing, shitty” it was also we hadn’t decided what we wanted ever. Once that was somewhat clear, it became mildly fun.

    Also, I really crave cooking too complicated food for too many people, and I have my post covid dim sum party 99% planned out….

    1. Mmmm. I’ve been plying a local friend with baked goods and soup because cooking for one is the worst.

      But I really want dim sum now.

    2. Yeah, while it was sad to not have other people’s excitement this year… damn, having none of other people’s pressure was DELIGHTFUL.

      1. YES. This was the first year where I not only didn’t have to cook for two days to have things to bring to four different family-focused celebrations between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I didn’t have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off from morning until night, and I actually felt like I enjoyed Christmas this year. It was THE BEST. So while not seeing everyone was sad, I loved having a calm, quiet day with no stress. It was a lovely silver lining to this dumpster fire year.

        Happy new year to all! May 2021 be as blissfully normal as 2020 has been batshit crazy. 🙂

  8. My wife and I tilt toward the pagan side of this holiday, loving lights, carols and snow. Wishing the Captain, her honey and all their fans much Light, Love, Peace, and Health.

  9. Growing up, we had wonderful Christmases with my mom’s side. We had a lot of December birthdays (my cousin on the 7th, my dad on the 14th, me on the 17th) and then there was the great Christmas gathering.

    It happened on Christmas around noon every year. There were about thirty of us; grandparents, grandma’s sister, grandpa’s sister, the three daughters, their husbands, and the grandkids, some of whom were married and had started having kids as well. If someone brought a boyfriend/girlfriend to Christmas, it was a tacit statement that we could expect an engagement in the upcoming year.

    Everyone gave a present to everyone. We opened one present at a time, from youngest to oldest and then back around the circle. Yes, it took nine hours. But we all liked each other, and so when it wasn’t your turn you could watch the opening, you could talk, there was a magnificent soup and cold cut and Christmas baked goods/candy buffet out in the dining room, and kids were allowed (below a certain age) to open all their toys at once and play in a bedroom or nap. It was a long delightful lovefest of the joy of giving, the happiness of receiving, family as people who love each other, and sheer joy. No one minded if I curled up in the corner and read a book. It was wonderful.

    1. I have similar warm Christmas memories, though our family was not quite so large nor the gathering so long. Time passes, and things change, and now my siblings and I are the oldest generation and usually gather the Saturday after Christmas with as many of the next generation as can come, and it’s the same warmth in a different setting. Thanks for triggering some old good memories.

  10. Dear Captain,
    I’d like to thank you for helping me to overcome trauma, to heal and adult, and to keep clear of people who are not nice to me.
    I wish you and your family/friends the very best!

  11. Hello, I just came back from confronting my narcissistic father during Christmas lunch after two years of No Contact (initiated by him, he cut me and my two sisters off after he got angry from something my sister’s boyfriend did – yeah, don’t ask, there was no logic to it). I just told him that he hurt me and that I was angry with him, and I then endured a shitstorm of DARVO and guilt-inducing tactics (coming from him AND one of my sisters who had reinitiated contact before me and is very « in the fog »). I held my own and slammed the door on my way out, but now I’m home alone on Christmas Day and I don’t feel so good. I could use some support :/
    This said, I’m glad that many people here had a less shitty day than me 🙂

    1. Sometimes snapping is the thing that gets through the narcissist’s fog that everything is cool. I hope you can do something very nice for yourself with the rest of the day.

    2. I’m so sorry your dad was such a jerk to you today. I have totally been there with the narcissistic parental nonsense. The way I see it, you’re the mature, thoughtful one in your family for recognizing it and standing up to it, but I bet you already know that. Hugs from an internet stranger.

    3. So sorry this had to happen on christmas for you. 😦 I’m going through a similar situation, almost 2 years ago my dad and I had a huge falling out over his actions and my mom is now slowly phasing me out because she’s realized that I am happier being no contact with my dad and I’m not looking to apologize to him for what he did. Yes, I typed that write, he expects me to apologize for things he did. It is hard and frustrating. I hope things get better for you. ❤

    4. A part of me was very anxious that my Ndad would contact me this Christmas. He has a crappy tradition of “well” timed holiday missives. I went no contact with him in summer.

      I wish you comfort and peace, and that all the anger you might need to express, you find words for, in safety.

    5. Ugh, I was hoping my Nmom would leave me alone (lately she sends me her nastygram just *before* major holidays/life events) but she sent me an email yesterday afternoon that I got while on a zoom call with my friends. I don’t share this stuff with them all that often, but it was nice to read a little bit of it to them and get their “WTF/ugh your MOM/hugs hugs hugs” reactions.
      You should be proud of yourself for honoring your feelings and keeping your boundaries. I’m sorry you had a hard day and am sending you an e-hug if you want it! We deserve to be treated better by our parents, but you sound like an awesome and well-adjusted person and I hope you have people around you who appreciate you.

    6. Good job with boundaries — hang in there! this stuff is so hard!

  12. Moderation Note: I deleted your two comments as requested, D., but I definitely read them, and that is SO MUCH to come all at once. I hope things at least stabilize soon. ❤

  13. So I’m actually doing better now than I was the past two years-lots of family drama with the craptacularest episodes in May and August. Now my parents have split (necessary) and my dad is in AA, and I am willing to have low contact with him. And my husband has been my rock which helps a lot.

  14. It is boxing day here now in Aus.

    Both my parents are deceased and my consort is estranged from theirs.
    After my father died in 2017 we decided to start a new tradition for our small household, so the past 4 Xmasses we have taken our youngling to the Zoo.
    The zoo is open every day of the year (aside from 2020’s lockdowns) and there always seems to be just the right number of visitors.
    There’s no stress about making a huge meal, we just buy hotdogs from the zoo cafe for lunch.
    Yesterday we did a behind the scenes Giraffe feeding experience, which was delightful.

    1. Feeding giraffes is one of the coolest things ever! They have purple tongues! What a lovely way to celebrate.

  15. I had a very, very good christmas for the first time in years. Everyone was happy about their presents, I received looots of presents (not necessarely expensive, but very well-chosen!). I got to hide in the office and wrap everyone’s presents to everyone else (except me) while others did the cooking. I love wrapping beautiful packages, I hate cooking. They wrap if they have to but dont enjoy it, so everyone was glad. Nobody got mad, or sad, or too drunk. The food was good.

    I’m nearly 40, and I finally saw my family functionning together. It felt good.

  16. Thank you Captain, for teaching me that when my narcissistic mother was being unspeakably awful about my stepmom’s sudden death, that it was OKAY to hang up on her. I felt absolutely powerful in that moment, knowing that I didn’t have to take her garbage. *click*

  17. My kids are with their dad today (they come back to me tomorrow, and while I don’t mind sharing the holidays with him, he is a complete ass, so), so it’s just me, my husband, and my MIL for dinner today- we thankfully persuaded my MIL to do presents tomorrow. My MIL and I have A LOT of history- she’s not from my country where we live, doesn’t really speak the language very well, brought many cultural expectations around proper daughter in law behavior with her, whereas for my part, I brought hopes and dreams of a grandma for my kids (I’m estranged from my own mom thanks to untreated mental illness), and didn’t realize how little my husband, who is more like he’s from my culture but still speaks his mom’s language, would be interested in being a bridge between us. So tonight she insisted that we have dinner together and she regaled me with the tales of her friend who moved in with her daughter and has been helping with the grandkids’ online schooling while the daughter and son in law worked at home, and how that’s kept her from attending their friend group Zoom gatherings.

    She says this without irony as my husband and I have both been working at home since March, with two kids who have been doing school at home since March, and I’m tearing my hair out trying to balance work and my kids’ school. My kids and I all do school and work in the same room so I can monitor the kids (my husband has an office downstairs). My kids are older at least but still need lots of supervision. Her comments brought up everything I’d mourned for our relationship. She doesn’t view the kids as her “real” grandkids, so she never made any efforts to bond with them. She acknowledges this.

    Anyway, merry Christmas, I guess? It was a nice day filled with books and quiet until that so I guess I’ll count my blessings now and be glad my kids come back tomorrow.

  18. I spent a little time in my closet in the dark last night… we were making my moms pork roast and my husband was getting the instructions wrong because they’re not really instructions just sort of memory aids for someone who has made it a million times and then I suddenly remembered the last time I made it with my mom and how my father had one of his tantrums and it was too much so we left and went to a hotel and have not seen them again. And now I can’t even talk to my mom because she’s retired and he uses all her electronic accounts pretending to be her. And his therapist has my parents convinced it’s not his fault—he had a bad childhood (he’s 80 now)… and my sister is worried he’s started being physically abusive too and there’s nothing I can do.

    I come back here and read Alice-related posts every holiday season and they are so helpful. The posts and the comments make me realize I’m not alone or sadly, even unusual. And it isn’t worth trying to work through pre-ruined holidays when we can just not. And my children don’t have to be exposed to adults having tantrums and verbally abusing people they love.

    So, thank you again. Thank you every year. And your book will be wonderful.

  19. It’s Christmas and my feelings are complicated. It’s the first year I’m celebrating without family which is rough though I’m with my significant other. There’s a whole lot of holiday related guilt especially since presents are lost so people are generally upset. Despite not being there or even having a virtual presence, I’ve gotten jabs about my weight. I’m mostly just glad I’ve been more disappointed than depressed. Though it’s hard to avoid responding in kind. Or lashing out at myself. I’m hoping 2021 is better. And realizing I should try to do a better job with coping strategies and a support network.

  20. Merry Christmas, Good Captain, and to all the Commentariat. It’s been a quiet holiday here, since we are in lockdown, but we ordered our traditional peking duck, and I have spent the day happily reading murder mysteries. I miss my family and friends, but I’m sure that next Christmas will make up for that.

  21. Thank you so much for all the insightful and thoughtful posts over the past year.

    This year has been one of the least conflict-filled Christmases for me in almost a decade. I have divorced parents who don’t really get along, and with the exception of this year I always work most days of Christmas break. That means I normally have a packed calendar of brunches, lunches, dinners and long shifts for about a week straight.

    When my parents divorced the agreement was that we would alternate which years we would spend with them on Christmas. I am religious, and to me that is an important aspect of the Christmas celebrations. Dad is not religious and my step-mother is quite opposed to religion. So about 7 years ago they decided that they would eat dinner a bit earlier than we’ve used to, so that I would not have time to get back from church in time for dinner (I’d be about 15 min late). They said that I was selfish and a bit tyrannical for asking them to push dinner back half an hour so that I’d have time to do both, because eating earlier would be better for the younger kids. Lo and behold, Christmas rolled around and dinner was an hour late. Instead of apologizing or saying something to me about making me miss church for nothing, they pretended nothing had happened.

    On a funnier note, my step-dad has a horrible and funny Christmas tradition for called a Christmas sandwich. At breakfast, the people doing it will compose an open-faced sandwich with the most terrible combo of toppings you can think of. Participation is voluntary, but you don’t get to help make the sandwiches for the others unless you eat one yourself. This year’s favorite topping combo was mayo, raspberry jam, anchovies, whipped cream, pepper, cucumber and caramel sauce, all on one sandwich. I shudder just thinking about it…

  22. I mean, I got a full size Cuisinart stand mixer, but really the best part is that my family is all still here.

    Last year, Youngest Child was in a psych ward after a suicide attempt. This year she’s healthy, reasonably happy, and–I cannot stress this part enough–*still alive.*

    She’s living currently with her Grandmother and Great-Grandmother (known collectively as The Grandmas) because of Reasons and I miss her company (especially since my partner and I broke up) but the arrangement is working for us. We were all able to quarantine for the last two weeks, which meant we could actually get together in person for Christmas and that was really nice.

    And after that I came home and put on the Arendelle Castle Yule log and worked on my knitting and needlepoint.

    1. Oh, hi. I see I am living your Last Year :/ Upside, I feel relieved my daughter is in the hospital because she is safe there whereas I am clearly not able to offer the level of expertise to help her or keep her safe right now; we are waiting for a bed to open up at the Better Program we decided was worth waiting a couple of days for versus Not Great Local Program at the hospital that we refer to as “the one that almost killed [my mom] TWICE” so in a bit of an in-between space during which I am trying to clean and pack for the move to my ex’s house (which is closer to BP) for the indeterminate temporary future. Also upside, the one tiny silver lining to her being so young (15) is that’s the only reason we can visit her at the current hospital (all visitors to adults are banned Because Covid).

      1. Ah, mine was 15 too!

        Yes, I understand the feeling of being grateful they’re somewhere safe. AND having to decide between “this not great program that can take her now” and “the better program that might need 48 hours”, with the addition of “this really great program that is two hours from here.”

        I hope you’re ex isn’t an asshat about the situation, and that your girl comes out the other side stronger that whatever put her there.

      2. I’m so sorry for your daughter, you, and and your family. Most of my friend group was close to or at that stage at fifteen. It was extremely difficult, but now we’re roughly ten years out and after a lot of hard work we’re doing all right. I’m working in public service, another is a P.h.D. student, and a third is about to become a doctor. Good luck, and remember it won’t always be as bad as it is now.

  23. I’m delighted to share that I proposed to my partner today and she said yes! After years of dreading Christmas, and finding respite in these holiday chats, I’m so happy to have a new reason to celebrate.

    Happy holidays to all who celebrate, and Jedi hugs to any who want them!

  24. I just want to say thank you, Captain, and thanks to the kind commenters who have made me feel less alone for so many years.
    This was the first Christmas I’ve spent at home and with my family since my mom died. For the past five years I’ve been either avoiding home for the holidays, or avoiding my family by staying at home for the holidays. It wasn’t perfect, but it was nice.

  25. This chistmas is strange in many ways for me. Last year at this time my only focus really was my dad who was in the hospital with cancer.
    It came so fast, he first went in for a checkup in late october and then never got to come back home. He passed away on newyears day. This is my first chistmas without him.
    So I did a not so safe thing and had my brother and his daughter come stay over. They live a few hours away. It’s morning now and I can hear her sniffeling and complaining about how bad she feels and I’m scared they’ve brought covid here. I’m especially scared my boyfriend got infected because he had to go on a trip and already left early this morning. And I hate having to be scared of the people I love when what we really need is to be together.

    1. Wow, that’s rough. I hope niece’s sniffles turned out to be nothing and that you’re in a better place mentally.

      Take especial care of yourself on New Years.

  26. Many positive thoughts to Mr. Awkward’s family!

    I am honestly not having the most rocking of Christmases, as I work in retail and am going to be at work from ass-o-clock in the morning today. I also got news that a LARGE SWATHE of my relatives contracted COVID recently, which makes me pretty glum about how I made a point of not visiting them all this year so I wouldn’t infect them.

    Here’s hoping 2021 is somewhat improved.

    1. Sorry to hear about your relatives. 😦 I hope they all recover quickly ❤ Also sorry about having to work, that sucks, but thank you for doing a job that is considered essential!

      1. Thank you! I got through the day, and now am on days off. Soon (February???) I will be able to take a week.

        Most of my relatives are on the recovering end of things — I just worry! A lot!

  27. Happy holidays and good health to everyone, and specially to Mr. Awkward’s family ♡ I’ve had a very relaxing holiday so far, on account of not having to deal with toxic family due to lockdowns.
    I’m very happy to hear about your book, Captain, and will be sure to buy it when it’s available!
    Wishing everyone peace and good health in this weird year.

  28. Captain, you’ve had my back through a hell of a year, even before the pandemic: a massive breakup, slow recovery from a disabling injury, difficult work shenanigans – and then the pandemic and being separated from all of my Team Me for a long time. You’ve helped me heal and I’ve gained so much from this blog. Thank you.

    The very best to you and yours, and to the readers here, who have also given such great advice. Thank you all.

  29. Yesterday (Christmas Day) all my kids (aged 25, 22, and 17) were celebrating with my ex-husband (I will have them today for our Christmas and present-opening).
    So I celebrated Christmas Day with my boyfriend (whose teenage daughter was with her mom). We took a sunrise-to-sunset road trip in a convertible Mustang with the top down (it was a beautiful sunny day, just a bit chilly). We walked around state parks, saw waterfalls and pine woods, brought sandwiches to eat in the great outdoors, and generally stayed away from other people and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. It was a nice day. I am grateful that things are pretty cordial with the Ex. I divorced him almost 6 years ago because of Reasons and will never second-guess that decision, but I was married to him for 22 years and have 3 kids with him so there is some lingering grief about what was. He got re-married this year to a woman who seems to be nice enough and my kids like her. But I was surprised to have some Feelings about that. Overall a nice Christmas and today I get to spend the day with my kids.

  30. Congrats on the book proposal! Thank you for creating this corner on the internet.

    Your advice taught me words, it helped me understand better that it’s okay to keep abusive people at a long distance.

    Together with therapy, it helped me with bounadaries and coping with the alien world of my family.

    At 35 I decided to go ( part-time) back to university.
    Now in my second year, I am am half way a bachelors degree in Art therapy. I keep sending fellow students to Captain Awkward.

    Also thank you for the advice of using your words to professors. I have been much better at that, then in my twenties. When I used to hide in a puddle of shame.

    I still feel those feelings, but I act instead of freeze now.

    If I notice I am about to not make a deadline, it is completely safe to speak up and talk to them. And I still get good grades.

    So yay for your book, yay for your blog, yay all around.

    I always hoped I would be able to have a printed version of this blog.
    Every story, every advice has something to teach me. So the news that you were able to finish a book proposal, in this year no less!!, wowzers . Happy dance . Very impressed!

    Thank you, sending you all the love and cat cuddles.

  31. Hi all! I could use some good wishes/commiserations/ideas. My husband and I share custody of our two children with his ex-wife and her husband. They have continuously not taken the pandemic seriously, which has been a big problem because my husband and myself are at very high risk of death or complications. After promising (again) not to have extended family over, my husband went to pick up the kids yesterday and learned that they had their extended family over for an indoor visit that morning “because faaaaaamily and Christmaaaaas.” So we’re balancing the nonstop fun of young kids at Christmas with the knowledge that we may have been exposed and will continue to be at risk for the foreseeable future. I’m just…so tired. Any thoughts appreciated.

    1. I’m just so sorry. It’s hard to live with the intimacy of a co-parenting relationship with people who seem prioritize immediate gratification over the health and well-being of their co-parents (not to mention the health of everyone else in their family). It is so exhausting to have to navigate that. I wish I had more to offer here… The kids are lucky to have you. They get to see you and your spouse set the example of caring for your community and your neighbors through your choice to keep your bubble small. I believe that example will have a lasting, positive impact.

      1. Thank you so much for saying that; it really is so much harder than I’d anticipated and the pandemic has taken everything up a few notches. Raising kids really is the long game, right?

    2. I am so sorry to hear that. I’m responding in a low-key tone because if I let myself engage with this emotionally, I might lose my shit. If it helps, please know that a stranger on the Internet is doing breathing exercises to keep from Hulking out on your behalf. Please be extra gentle and kind to yourself right now. I’ll be thinking about you ❤

      1. Shucks, you can’t know how much it helps to have someone else struggling not to hulk out over this with me, so thank you! I’ve spent today building LEGOs with the kids and even got in a nice long nap, so I’m trying. ❤️

      1. Thank you, Jennifer! I’m sending good thoughts to you and Mr. Awkward and his people.

    3. Lots of sympathy coming your way, but that doesn’t help you decide what to do. I don’t love the following advice, none of us do, but here goes:

      “Hi Ex-wife and Husband. Shared custody isn’t working under the circumstances. It’s vitally important to our (and everyone’s health) that we follow all CDC guidelines about masks, social distancing, and not getting together with anyone outside the household. Since that’s not possible [and I wouldn’t go into here how they’ve broken promises and are idiots], we’ve got to stop moving the kids from one household to another. Let’s let only one of us have custody for the duration until we’ve all had vaccines and the CDC says it’s safe to go out. I’d like it to be our family. Is that okay with you? We’ll keep the kids and make sure they have plenty of time to video-chat with you.”

      [Let’s say giving you custody is not okay with them.] “We understand. It breaks my heart, but it makes sense that you keep full custody until it’s safe for us to see the kids in person again. I hope you’ll allow us plenty of time to video-chat.”

      Let me reiterate that this isn’t a great solution. The only great thing would be if they didn’t have extended family over, but that’s obviously not going to happen. Look at it this way. Let’s imagine that the worst happened the way it’s happening to thousands of families across the country every day. Let’s imagine that someone in the ex’s extended family brings the virus into that household. No one there gets terribly sick, and the children don’t have symptoms, but the children do bring the virus to your high-risk self and your high-risk husband. You know as well as I that there could be life threatening illness or death. Now imagine how the kids will feel in that situation. They had no control, but they would also feel somewhat responsible for killing their father and step-mother. That’s an untenable burden to put on them. The only thing you can do is make sure that can’t happen.

      Like I said, I don’t love this, but there are a lot of things I don’t love about the pandemic. All we can do is make the best decisions possible under the circumstances.

      1. I second this but would add – Your husband should document the unsafe behavior, talk to his lawyer about the custody agreement, and keep discussions focused on the safety of the kids. You basically have to assume she is lying or will lie about any promises she makes, there is no happy medium as long as everyone is at risk, and this will very likely require at least one visit to court to sort it.

        1. Attorney here – Please DO talk to a lawyer before changing anything with child custody. Where I live, the highest court has stated that covid concerns or disagreements in safety protocols are SPECIFICALLY NOT a legal reason to withhold custody from the other parent. Giving the other parent full custody during the pandemic is a squishier issue, but still potentially problematic (i.e. “abandonment” of the kids, which could affect future custody rights).

          1. Thanks for saying this. We’ve consulted multiple attorneys who all say the same thing. Hence our feeling stuck.

  32. Christmas was quiet, and I enjoyed it mightily.

    One high point that I feel specifically applies to this blog and this audience: on the family Zoom call, my cousin was mocking his fianceé for what she ordered to eat for *her* birthday dinner, and I spoke up and, without being obnoxious or aggressive, made him shut his stupid mouth. Then I told her that she gets to eat what she wants to eat on her birthday, and in fact gets to eat what she wants to eat every day for the rest of her life.

    It felt good. There’s some history there – notably, that same cousin once brought my stalker/harasser to another Christmas many moons ago, where he almost assaulted me – and getting to speak up in someone else’s defense helps to heal those wounds. ESPECIALLY when I do it in a non-aggressive way that I can feel proud of afterwards.

    1. You go, Corvidae! Being assertive and standing up for someone else while also remaining non-aggressive is some elite-level Human-ing, and it sounds like you nailed it.

  33. This year’s holidays make me feel so many feels. My thesis is almost due, so I’m working a lot more than usual, and this year I broke up with a long term boyfriend, so it’s weird not seeing his family, or my extended family because of covid. But it’s also the first year I can spend it quietly with my sister and parents, and maybe in a few days I can celebrate it with my girlfriend, the first my family knows about (yay coming out).

  34. I am… just so tired of COVID drama. It’s emotionally exhausting. If you are still making Facebook posts to “JUST STAY HOME!!!1!” — the people who are listening actually heard you (and the medical establishment) the first hundred times, thanks. I did stay home, in my little quarantine bubble. Meanwhile my co-workers had relatives fly in from across the country to stay together in one home with zero quarantine. I’m frustrated on both sides — the people who flaunt restrictions AND the people who think that social media lecturing is somehow adding nuance or information that isn’t already deeply well known (by those interested in listening). No, I’m not equating the two, by the way. /rant

    1. I totally get what you’re saying. I continue to see news articles reminding people that spread from small indoor events is the most common way covid is spreading. They’re basically going “Hint hint don’t have family over for the holidays!” and I roll my eyes because anyone who is going to read the article already know and are already following the advice. Anyone who acts like it isn’t a big deal are going to keep on scrolling. At this point even my 5 year old knows to wear a mask and why.

    2. Yeah, I get this, and it seems often the (unintentional?) impact of this kind of lecturing is that people who can’t avoid going out feel extra stressed, anxious, and talked-over. And yeah — I confess I am super irritated when people who are able to work from home get up on a moral high horse to criticize the personal choices of those who cannot, even though they are totally justified in feeling afraid and angry. I feel like I’ve seen 100 different versions of the same post, describing risk factors that encompass my retail job and then concluding that you are a MURDERER if you go out for anything the poster deems extraneous.

      I didn’t even consider going home to see my family this year, but I’m sorry if I went out to buy and mail them holiday presents (sarcasm), because having the money to do so was one of the few perks of working a ton of extra hours in a stressful job. Blech.

      1. Ugh, all the yedi hugs you want. If the choice is losing your job or constantly risking getting exposed to COVID, it’s not actually a choice because all the options are shitty, and the whiners aren’t actually going to pay your bills so that you could stay at home safely.

    3. point taken, but there is a 3rd group.

      I know someone who posts the “JUST STAY HOME!!!!” facebook posts until…a friend comes round to drop off christmas presents and wants to talk on the doorstep (socially distanced, outside). at that point, it’s all fine, of course friend can come in! they’re perfectly safe. she’s known them for years…

      …reader, these are the same people who sit in their cars complaining about the traffic. no, you are not “stuck in” traffic, you *are* traffic.

      (note: no one came in who shouldn’t have. there was a short argument and then the doorstep conversation happened)

      1. Yeah, I know my risk assessment can’t be trusted when my emotions are engaged, which is one of the reasons I knew I couldn’t go home for the holidays. Social distancing is hard enough when you’re doing it with people you don’t desperately want to hug, and it’s so easy to lie to yourself that this ONE TIME will be fine. (And then that one time was fine, so maybe one more hug . . .?)

  35. Congratulations on the book proposal! Mine is still being pondered by publishers (it’s serious non-fiction on how collective stories like “making America great again” work psychologically). I have repeatedly used “a hypothetical book by Captain Awkward” as my own personal example of a book that deserves and would get more publisher interest than my own, and now that there actually is such a thing, I am delighted! Go you!!

    (Hm, I guess I’ll stay logged into my WordPress account to make this comment, just ‘cuz.)

    1. Man, the need for mass education on how propaganda works is going to remain high for the rest of our lives, I think. Good luck!

  36. I feel like an a-hole, but I often hate the gifts I get from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They’re often random things from Amazon, so I’m usually able to return them, but I hate the process every year, because it feels like they don’t know me very well.

    This year my husband had arranged with his sister to not exchange gifts, which I was excited about! But then apparently that just meant between them because they still gave me gifts :/. Which, again, I feel like I should be appreciative. I just don’t like the gifts and would rather just not have them.

    1. I get it!

      Sbd: My spouse is no contact with their dad and stepmom, and every year the pair manages to drop off a completely insulting gift that reminds spouse of all the pain from that relationship and all the reasons they went no contact in the first place. I just want it to stop!!

      I hope you get to arrange a no-gifts policy going forward with your in-laws. You definitely don’t have to beat yourself up for feeling insufficiently grateful for random junk you don’t like or want.

      1. This reminds me of my family. My mom gave me the same book for both Christmas and my birthday for three years in a row. She said it was just too much trouble to shop for my gifts, so she just picked up the first book she saw after walking in to the giant chain discount bookstore near her house. Six times. My sister’s gifts were always pricey, thoughtfully chosen things (like, once it was a trip to Europe, and another time it was my grandmother’s diamond and sapphire ring). Gifts in my family were always a power play of some kind.

        My husband’s family is just like mine about “gifts” that are really just mean messages. MIL used to buy petite clothes for me, from a shop that caters to women under 5′ 2″ who enjoy frilly and impractical clothes. I am about 5’8″. MIL has always complained that I am too tall and that I dress like a lumberjack. MIL wanted a petite, blonde and devoutly christian DIL and I am… not any of these things.

        So, now husband and I don’t really do gifts except for our young one. And the cats. It is so much easier and less stressful. Going no contact with most of my family has made the crushing, heart wrenching stress dial back to the occasional vague eye roll at hearing third hand of their ridiculous antics.

        Reading the wise words if the Captain and the Awkward Army has helped me to feel so much less alone. Thank you, all of you. So very much. Jedi hugs to anyone who wants them 🙂

  37. Hi. This blog led me to realise, at the age of 43, that I probably have ADHD and there might actually be some help out there for me. I have seen a psychiatrist and will be starting treatment in the new year. I already was so grateful for this blog in helping be more honest and direct and less apologetic about my awkwardness, but this will probably completely change my life. Thanks!

    1. I was diagnosed late too, and was over-excited by a foolish diagnostician who told me “we can fix all this with meds”. I had bad reactions to every med, so that did not work out for me. I just want to say, YES your life can get better 🙂 even if it turns out to be slower and harder than you expect, just be kind to yourself and hang in there. Good luck and best wishes! 🙂

  38. Our winter holiday is over, and Christmas was a minor fast day. But I did learn that somehow, my elementary-school aged kid has developed something Very much like my own elementary-school-aged-self’s attitude toward Christmas, a sort of “oh, really? again? do you have to?” response. And while I’m really in general in the public school thing for “learning to appreciate and get along with people who are different from you”, there is a part of me that is Thrilled to have somehow inculcated her with a (admittedly cheerier) version of my own kid-feelings.

  39. Thank you, captain, for helping me learn and reinforce that “family” is a word that can be used as a weapon. I love both my family and my husband’s but the older I get the more it sinks in that there are a lot of frustrating and unhealthy patterns there, and that we don’t have to repeat them or just go along with it. We can live our own life and engage on our own terms.

    Wishing you, Mr Awkward & his family and the whole commentariat health and peace.

  40. Thsnk you captain, for everything you do and Who You Are.

    Since the summer (and my more pronounced involvement in certain political activities), things have been simmering in a new and not fun way between me and my conflict-avoidant inlaws.

    At the end of a one hour masked gift exchange, my sister in law handed out envelopes with photos. Ours only had photos of their kid. My partner looked confused as others had family portraits. She said, “we didn’t think you’d want us on your wall.” (as in, “I didn’t give you a photo of us because I’m assuming you don’t like us, but I’m not going to come right out and say it because I’d rather sit with my assumption and create a self fulfilling prophecy.”)

    It was probably the most aggressive of the passive aggressive things she’s done to date.
    But what’s so great is that today my partner (who has been trying to walk the line of caring for all of us in a way I appreciate and admire) and I had a really helpful discussion about the weird dynamics and what to do (or not), and what I need to feel supported by him without keeping him from his family.

    I credit this blog for helping me sort through what’s actually important and what I don’t need to take responsibility for. And I’m feeling deeply grateful and in awe that I found a partner who is capable of walking together through a complicated situation with kindness and love.

    Having this experience with him has been my most meaningful gift this Christmas.

    1. I mean, I fantasize about you both saying, “How thoughtful, thank you” and closing off the passive-aggression with aggressive-aggression, but wild confusion is also great! 🙂

  41. My adult daughter asked if I liked a certain fruit because someone gave her some boxed fruit that she didn’t like. I thought it was from one of her clients so I said “Sure, I’ll eat it.” After she gave it to me, she mentioned that her dad gave it to her.

    I’m pretty sure that his new wife picked it out because he won’t bother to ask what our kids really want. I feel so bad for my kids, that they have a father who doesn’t think about what they might really want and sends boxed fruit to his own children like they are strangers. She doesn’t even like that kind of fruit and he chooses not to remember.

    I’ll eat the fruit and remember how glad I am that we are not together. He probably thinks I miss him.

  42. Thank you for 10 years of advice!

    I was able to set boundaries with my mother about overgifting to my baby and toddler for Christmas and I only feel slightly guilty about it.

    She took the returned gifts very well, the kids didn’t even notice the extras because they were so excited to play with the wrapping paper from the first things they opened, and my husband and I feel good about having less stuff filling up our home.

    Even a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do this. So thank you!

  43. My (he/him) holiday has been hellacious. Went to my fiancé’s (she/her) parents’ house in the tristate area against my better judgement. They were transphobic and misgendering (we’re both trans) and sure enough, she did nothing about it. Her mom was awful in ways I don’t want to get into and it didn’t bring out the best in either of us. Culminated in fiancé yelling and storming out in front of our best friend during our post-Christmas celebration at home with the three of us. She came back but I’m just so done with the screaming and fighting and blame. We’re getting couples’ counseling in the new year but I don’t know if there’s much left to salvage here

    1. Wow. That’s awful. I hope you are able to sort things out to be able to make the best decision for yourself.

      1. Thank you so much, BigDogLittleCat. As always, things look better now that everyone has had a few days of space. Definitely not putting back on the rose colored glasses anytime soon but I can see why we’re engaged and want to stay that way. It was really helpful just to have an anonymous place to vent. 2020 truly is the worst

  44. I couldn’t travel to the country where my parents and Sister 1 and her family live due to COVID. We agreed they would call on Skype so Sister 2 (in a third country) and I could watch the presents be opened. They wanted to place the call as they couldn’t say what the timings would be. Instead, they didn’t bother to call me but they did call Sister 2 which meant the Skype was engaged when I tried to call them to see what was happening. My mother says she asked but Sister 1 didn’t set up the group call (my mother gave no explanation as to why she didn’t either insist or at least let me know). Sister 1 called today and also didn’t give any explanation. I couldn’t ask her as her two young children were also on the call. I’ve just realised that most of my family couldn’t care less if I see them at Christmas – they will see me if I make all the effort to travel to them (at vast expense) but if I’m not there I’m completely forgotten.

    1. I’m sorry, Talia. I can relate.

      I had a similar experience once of not being skyped in for a christening….where I was meant to be the god parent. Everyone seems to expect that I’ll fly in for xmas every year, but never actually asks if I’m coming. Then last year I had a parent scolding me for daring to spend some vacation time elsewhere (after staying with family for a week).

      Would you want to ask Mom why she didn’t insist, ask sister what happened, and tell them how disappointed you are?

      1. My mother has spent the last 10 years putting Sister 1 first because she has the only grandchildren. My guess is that she (mother) reminded Sister 1 once on Christmas Day but decided not to push it because Sister 1 didn’t set up the call (my mother is pretty much technologically illiterate, mostly because she’s learnt that flailing helplessly and claiming she caaaan’t usually gets someone else to do whatever it is she doesn’t want to do). She would rather have a ‘nice day with no arguments’ even if that means ignoring the previous arrangements with me.

        As for Sister 1, she cares about her husband and her children (she’s an excellent involved mother and she and her husband seem very happy together) and she will be amicable with the rest of the family so long as she is not required to make any effort whatsoever. Setting up the Skype call would have required effort and Sister 1 didn’t want to and possibly was fed up with being expected to do it as well as host Christmas because my mother refused to even try. Sister 1 is the sort of person who sees nothing wrong with leaving a person hanging to make a point (and I’m not saying that is necessarily the wrong way to deal with our mother) but while I respect her need to maintain strong boundaries, I just wish I hadn’t been the one to be affected as a result this time.

        I had hoped earlier in the year that my relationship with Sister 1 was getting better – for the first time ever she arranged family group calls and initiated contact with me directly (rather than me having to contact her first). Then her children went back to school and didn’t need entertaining during lockdown any more and she dropped off the face of the planet again.

        If I raise it, I will be made to feel the unreasonable one – it was a mistake! A misunderstanding! They only said they might call not that they definitely would! (not true but it was discussed verbally over Skype so there is nothing I can point to to prove otherwise).

        I’m starting to realise that if the ‘close family’ only exists when I put in all the time, effort and expense, the relationships were never what I thought they were in the first place.

  45. Last year I wrote a comment on the Family Difficulties thread about living in my old room in my parents’ house and the trials associated therewith and appreciated the caring thoughts.

    This year I’ve finished graduate school, am one year out from my ASD diagnosis, and am living with my brother, 10 minutes away from my SO and a whole width of a large country away from my parents. I have a beautiful mischievous pet bird that my parents didn’t know about until after I bought them (some of our biggest frictions were over when I’d wanted to have more pets). I’m working a part-time job with kids that’s exhausting but worth it, and I’m hoping to take my license exam for my “real” job in January. I have peace from Endless Opinions, friendship (animal and human), good work to do, and a new room with furniture I’ve picked out for myself where I can go if I like but I don’t have to hide there anymore.

    I want to say to the folk in a dark place now like I was for so long – I couldn’t imagine this life, this imperfect life where I’m loved and still hopeful and not always disappointed in myself, and now I’m here anyway. I’m blessed, I’m thankful, I’m working on things, I’m learning, and I hope that your year to come brings you light and freedom as well.

  46. I know this is super low-key and I’m a bit late to the chat, but I spent Christmas by myself, eating fancy cheese out of the basket my parents ordered for me from half a country away, and most importantly I cleaned my dang kitchen!! This is no small achievement. I had rotten eggs making my fridge a biohazard zone for over a month, I was completely out of spoons both literal and metaphorical and had resorted to stirring instant coffee with a knife because I had no will to clean my lovely coffee maker. I avoided opening cupboards at all costs and kept my perishables on the deck rather than brave the Chamber of Horrors (aka fridge). I did it though! I have all my dishes back, I made nice coffee this morning and drank it out of my nice travel mug on my way to work rather than risk lateness by chancing the always-packed McDonald’s drive thru, and tonight I ate off an actual plate rather than out of an misfit tupperware. It was the best christmas gift I could have given myself and I feel inordinately proud of accomplishing this mundane-yet-impossible task.

    1. Congratulations. You did good and I, total internet stranger also with very few spoons and a weird smell in the fridge, salute you and am inspired by your example.

    2. I salute you from the mountains of laundry and paper clutter! You’re inspiring! Thinking of it as “the Christmas gift I give myself” might just be the motivation I need to clear off at least the sofa, maybe even the desk, if I feel brave enough.

  47. Thanks to Captain Awkward for being here. I really enjoyed my Christmas. In the area where I live the public health officials have said it is okay for people who live alone to have indoor gatherings with one other household, so I was able to spend Christmas with my single (and very much alone) brother, which was good for both of us. Both my parents who live in another country and were able to feel better about knowing that neither one of us would be Utterly Alone for Christmas. I cooked a large Christmas dinner that came out beautifully and for the first time in years did not have to get on a plane for the Christmas season! Such a huge relief. I don’t mind air travel but having to do it every. dang. year. has been tiring. Also, my fur babies finally got to have a family Christmas (not that they care too much, being cats), instead of having a pet-sitter feeding them over the holiday while I am visiting my parents! I’ll be sending good thoughts towards those in the Awkward circle who are in ill health. And I look forward to the book!

  48. PROTIP: If your family member, visiting for the holiday (after quarantining), complains about the faint hard water ring in the toilets, don’t tell them the previous tenants used a brick or something and scratched the bowl up. Let them scold you about your housekeeping, wait until they say they could do much better, point them toward your dozens of cleaning products and tools, and enjoy an hour or so of peace (then a much-humbled, less-critical guest).

    Scratched-up bowls: 2
    Mother: 0

    1. They are so sweet!! I am impressed you got them to even wear the collars (and Tanuki wearing the antlers omg!!! ❤ 😀 ) We've had anywhere between 2 and 4 ferrets throughout the years and I couldn't even get them to wear a regular collar lol.

      1. Aw, thanks. I love them! Tanuki actually enjoys the attention. Teddybear can be easily bribed. I never make Pogo wear anything because he hates it so much, but my mother wheedled me and the year has sucked so much it seemed like a small, quick gesture we could do for her. I gave him lots of treats and attention, but he may never wear a costume again.

  49. I am SO EXCITE!!! about your book proposal. Will definitely be in line to purchase when it is available. CONGA-RATS! *cha cha cha*

  50. LW 1301 here! I initiated a conversation about the kitchen with my husband and we agreed to ask each other’s permission before offering suggestions, unless something is Burning, Breaking, or Bleeding. Since then we’ve also been better about splitting up meal prep tasks in advance and having confidence in the other person’s ability to do their part. I’m happy to report that we spent our first married Christmas lumping on the couch, eating a charcuterie board we built together, and making crepes for the first time (which were absolutely delicious).

  51. An elderly relative of mine lives in a nursing home which managed to escape Waves 1 and 2 of Covid but now has 20 cases, and she is one. She called my parents during the week, and reassured them that if she is gets very sick, they will be allowed to visit, because “all the other times I’ve been dying I’ve been allowed a visitor”.

    I hope she recovers, or at least that she does not suffer, but this extremely Irish way of putting things cracks me up.

    I need your Bridgerton Thoughts, Captain! I’m not sure the translation of the Romance genre really worked but I am only on Episode 3.

    1. Bridgerton thoughts are: 1) It’s pretty & addictive 2) The main romance is toxic as hell and has some serious consent issues roundabout episode 6. 3) Should time travel be invented, I’m only going forward.

  52. During the weeks following Thanksgiving, a certain fraction of the extended family that usually celebrates major holidays together ended up isolating separately for various reasons. We isolated for so long that, per local guidelines, it was safe for us to meet one another! So we had a reduced, but still festive, extended family Christmas.

    But we all cooked for a much bigger extended family Christmas. (We always do it pot luck.)

    So we each took home three shopping bags full of delicious delicious leftovers. 😀

  53. My Christmas was low key, but very nice. I called my parents on the phone on Christmas morning for the unwrapping of gifts and catching up.

    Then, I took an extra shift on the suicide hotline. This is volunteer work that I love and have been doing for 3 years, but I never jumped in on Christmas before. Credit where it’s due, I only started because of a post by one of the commenter on this site talking about her experience volunteering for the Samaritans.

    Then I bought two hamburgers from a 24 hour diner, and went to visit my friend (in my small covid bubble of course) to get high and play Diablo III until 2am.

    It was lovely, calm, relaxing, and nobody was mean to anybody.

  54. Look… I know I’m late to comment… but I solved Christmas. No… really. Partner and I both did our separate family things. And my family thing… well it’s always a little tense as there are expectations and it’s just me and my folks… BUT I DOWNLOADED A MOVIE for us to watch. Well why did it take me 42 years to figure out that we just needed something no stress to fill the time? Miss Fishers Crypt of Tears for the win. Movie makes for a happy distraction and lessons tension. Happy days.

  55. how dare you close article comment sections which are a silly little echo chamber of mutual masturbation of the special case which happens to be occuring in this single occurence of the general patterns. hasty generalization, buddy — unless that is the point. JUST MY TWO JPY CENTS. thanks, Matt.

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