The family gathering for Christmas is always a big deal – especially for the kids! This time of the year is useful in keeping them in-line because of the threat of no brightly wrapped packages. But just because your little hellions are good for the weeks after Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean they will stay good once those gifts are in their hands!
Which is why I am surprised that I was the only one not surprised that “sweet, little Johnny” tried to stuff the cat into his sister’s Easy Bake Oven! Sure in Johnny’s defense, cat does taste real good with some duck sauce, but Felix should at least be euthanized first! Of course, Johnny tried that hours later using the BB Gun that one of my genius family members thought was appropriate for a child that tended to try to cook his pets!
For me the best part of the Christmas experience is watching the kids open their gifts! I always hand them presents to open from relatives that I know made them sweaters! Watching the pure “joy” that comes over their faces as they see a polka-dotted or lime green and fluorescent orange stripe sweater makes me feel ecstatic! I always find out which are the best gifts and then proceed to torture the children through the many minutes of opening underwear!
Hours after the Cat Cake incident and before Johnny’s hunting trip, most of the toys that these kids have gotten are now broken and scattered and people without shoes are screaming obscenities from stepping on them. Which leads to Billy Bob, my 40-year-old, weird bachelor cousin trying to repair them all using duct tape.
Billy Bob thinks you can fix everything with duct tape and this is made apparent whenever you look at his truck in the front yard. The passenger window has been missing for three years and in its place is camouflage colored duct tape!
Everyone seems to forget that we could return any of the broken stuff with the receipts and instead let ‘ole Billy void the warranties by taking stuff apart and reconnecting it with his favorite bonding agent.
Meanwhile, the adults are now bickering over the money spent on presents. Tim forgot the $10 maximum and bought his poorer brother’s kids an Xbox 360. Now his poor brother looks like a jack-ass that doesn’t love his kids. Susie bought her husband all new hunting gear, he bought her a toaster. Grand pappy made moonshine again and is getting drunk setting off explosives in the back yard. Uncle Ricky is teaching the kids how to properly wear a ball gag. My newfangled gadgets get me accused of witchcraft and force me to hide my iPad before someone can perform an exorcism on it.
Finally after a few hours, we all gather around the table to eat dinner. This year we are having possum on the half shell AKA armadillo with a nice orange sauce. Aunt Mary Anne made her famous spam casserole and her husband is complaining that he won’t have enough Vienna sausages to take deer hunting with him now.
We all start to talk to each other at the various tables. Discussions range from “look how fat Marty has got” to “Jimmy expects to be outta prison by Valentine’s Day.”
Soon crying starts at the kids table because lil Johnny has poured syrup in lil Emmy’s hair – this was after he pulled the head off her brand new Barbie doll! Which leads me to another realization, maybe we shouldn’t do gifts first thing in the morning! Maybe we should wait until after the little hellions are fed and calmed down some! Emmy, angry about the syrup, flings her sweet potato casserole at another child at the table and this creates a full-fledged food fight that spills over into the adults table.
Uncle Ricky volunteers to bathe with – I mean bathe – the children.
I merely shake my head and wonder what the evening could bring…last year we had rat races using rats we caught in the barn. The year before that we set one of the broken down cars in the front yard on fire. Before that someone thought it would be funny to hide grandma’s teeth for the dog to find and wear.
Yes shaking my head now…and smiling…because I know that even though some of these people are inbred, we are all related.