Family Holiday Gatherings: Joyous Occasions, Or Subtle Torture?


By: John Lillpop

Years ago, it came to pass that I discovered that those obligatory family gatherings on big holidays can be more hazardous to one’s health than smoking.

Therefore, being of sound mind and addicted to tobacco, I did the prudent thing: Gave up the family gatherings and kept the smokes!

Thirty years and one less lung later, I now realize that giving the Bird to family on Dead Turkey Day may be a ball at the time, but can lead to unintended consequences. Like being written out of a rich aunt’s will, for example.

Caution: My comments about family should not be misinterpreted as anti-social in any way.

I genuinely love each and every member of my family and am more than happy to attend important events like funerals. All that I require is sufficient advance notice (ten day minimum), round trip first class fare, lodging in a VIP suite in a five-star hotel with HBO and wet bar room service, and airport limousine service to and from my castle in San Jose, California. Important: Please include a $50.00 tip for the limo driver for each leg of the trip.

Meet those conditions and I will be there with a fresh orchid in my lapel and an appropriately sorrowful look on my face to mourn one less Lillpop polluting the planet.

But please do ask me to be a pallbearer. With 38 million illegal aliens in the nation, the least my family can do is to find six sober ones (illegals, that is) to carry Uncle Heathen to his eternal resting-place.

Compensate said illegals with a six pack of the best Mexican import beer one can buy at the nearest 7-11. Important note 2: Do NOT hand out the beer until after dear uncle has been safely laid to rest, or his remains may end up in a Tijuana jail along with six drunken Mexican pall bearers and a sleazy madam from the local bar scene.

Holiday tradition has always been vital in my family and has been the “glue” that keeps us together.

For instance, immediately after receiving a Christmas card from a friend or family member, and upon verification of the authenticity of the handwriting, I send out a like-priced card to the sender. I enclose a Flash drive with an Excel spread sheet that lists all of my color preferences and sizes for clothing, and an inventory of all home appliances and electronics (televisions, home sound systems, etc.) with year of purchase, current condition, and dimensions.

A new tradition has been added this year: A “COD Gifts Not Accepted” footnote has been added to the Excel spread sheet.

Another time-honored tradition: An estranged sister has a burning lump of coal fired through her living room window at midnight every Christmas eve. This is my way of helping the poor and stupid stay warm–in keeping with the spirit of the season.

My favorite tradition involves my ex-wife. When Thanksgiving is hosted at my home, I tell the women in attendance to ignore the dirty dishes, greasy cooking pans and spilled food. I tell them I will personally take care of the mess.

Once the crowd has been ushered out, I invite the ex to bring her Brillo pads, pot scrubbers, 409 spray and mop for a quiet evening by the fire. While she cleans the kitchen and dining room, I nap by the fire.

Once the kitchen has been released by the Board of Health, the ex I and top off the evening with our most memorable tradition: We fight for several hours.

It is all quite touching, really. But it is a family tradition that I would not trade for anything.

Except, that is, for a holiday spent strapped to a water board at Guantánamo!

Got water?

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