Friday, November 20, 2009

countdown to P-day, and some introspection...

We're in good shape for the party - at this point my husband and I are just doing what is asked of us. What kills me is how complicated and convoluted things get when you have more than one person organizing. Yesterday's round of emails was epic, and I showed great restraint and said nothing. It's really a case of everyone wanting to do things their way, and everyone having an opinion about everything.

I told him that if I ever married again, it would have to be to an orphan with no siblings.

I'm sure my family is no peach at times, but really, there's so few of us, it's easier to take at family gatherings. His is huge, and so diverse, it's amazing to me that these 5 kids were all brought up in the same environment, with the same parents. And there's not that much of an age difference - all 5 kids were born within 8 years.
And this party is just step one - we still have Christmas coming in a few weeks, when this horde will be descending on my house. But that's okay - that's what we prefer. I don't have a problem with cooking or a feeding a large group - its how I was brought up. My parents enjoyed entertaining and cooking and did it often, so my brother and I, growing up in that kind of atmosphere, embrace the same thing. It's just was we always thought was normal. The husband's family was not. Cooking was a chore instead of a joy, entertaining was cause for alarm and panic, and guests were treated preferentially, rather than as just friends. So I can understand where the panic is coming from this week, even if it makes no sense to me. (surprisingly, my husband is more similar to my family - he loves entertaining, hence we do it often).

So, I guess I have to be more understanding. Not everyone had the same upbringing, not everyone looks at things like this the same way I do. And maybe I'm being as much of a pain in the ass to them as they are being to me. It's all a matter of perspective.

Knit Tech made a comment that made me think:

"Since you do everything amazingly, they* have a lot of ground to try and make up."

Do I really come across that way? I kind of hope not. I'd hate for people to think poorly of me because I seem to be an overachiever. (Trust me, if you saw the state of my house, you wouldn't think that). (Knit Tech - I'm pretty sure you aren't thinking poorly of me, you're just putting yourself in their shoes, right? Please?)

I don't give hand made gifts because I want people to think I'm trying to look better than them. I've just always been the type to want to do things myself. I'm fascinated by crafts and creating, and really, I like personalizing things that way. The pajama pants? Yeah, there's a lot of them, but I production line it, and they don't take long to make. The knitting? There's a lot less of it being given away this year, because there's a lot less of it to give. A lot of my knitting time this year was taken up by knitting things for ME. And I liked it. The beads? It takes a heckuva lot less time to bead a bracelet than it does to knit something.

I also spend a lot of time thinking about the people on my list, and their likes, dislikes, and way of life. It's an ongoing, all year thing for me. I like trying to match op things to people. Again, it's something my parents always did, so I don't think anything of it. Others find it incredibly difficult. It seems I am "difficult to buy for". I have trouble with that - I like everything that people give me, although I have been the recipient of some fairly weird gifts. Like the briefcase sized day timer to replace my purse sized one. (the thing weighed 5 pounds!) Or the pink flowery polar fleece jacket from last year. Ask Susan - I don't do pink flowery. Ever. And this from someone in my family that has known me for 20+ years. I say I like wool, they tell me I have so much, I don't need any more. (I've given up trying to explain how wrong that is). I say I like kitchen things and cookbooks, I get told do I really need any more? (Well, yes, yes I do.) I say I like books and music, they say that's too ambiguous. (Okay, so the list of favourite authors wasn't SPECIFIC enough?) Knitting books. Books on sewing, beading, needle felting. I get told they don't know enough about the arts to tell a good book from a bad one. (Isn't that what store clerks are for? Or Google? ask around.) Clothes? I spend a fair bit of time with these people - it's not hard to determine my tastes. Jeans, yoga pants, nice casual tops and hoodies. Nothing pink, ruffly or flowery. Not my style.

Sigh. I feel like I'm complaining, and really, I'm not. To me, Christmas is all about the giving. I don't care if all I get is a bottle of Scotch (single malt, please) and some chocolate. (Actually, I just described what my Mom gives me most years - I love that woman - she knows me so well...) I'm happiest when someone opens a gift that I've thought was perfect for them, and it is. (It isn't always - I've missed the mark a few times). That, and seeing the kids running roughshod, having fun, being kids. It seems the Santa is making a return visit to our hose this year, and I'm thrilled.
The party is going to be fabulous - I know it will. My MIL is getting excited about it, and that's all that matters. Christmas is going to be a blast, and I can't wait. There's nothing better than family at the holidays.

Even if I can't stand the sight of them for the next few weeks afterwards...


KnitTech said...

Sandra, I don't think you're one of those I-done-everything-and-way-better-than-you people. In fact, you're very down to earth. You're honest about dealing with the family; how they make you crazy, frustrated to no end, and how much you love them to death. You're very skilled at what you do whether it be making cards, knitting mittens for 18 nephews and nieces in three weeks, or cooking a holiday dinner with all the trimmings. Things you do are done to the best of your ability and lets face it to a muggle that's awfully intimidating.

It was a compliment. Smile and say thank you. Now go finish the mittens. :)

Brenda said...

Have fun at the party. You might have to focus hard to do so, but have fun.

deirdre said...

The power of booze at a family function can never be underestimated... ask me how I know...

and you are a thoughtful, skilled person who enjoys using her skills to make other people happy - it's just unfortunate you find yourself with some other people who don't operate the same way - so do what you do best, enjoy what you do, and pass the pink floral on to someone who might suit it better...

good luck!

Carol said...

If someone is 'hard to buy for' and says they like books, for example, then I give them a gift card to Chapters. In fact, I kinda wish some of my gifts were 'just' gift cards. Saves me tryingto figure out what to do with the weird statue/dust collector/neon orange legwarmers