Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You're Obliged...

Okay, confession time. Which is there more of in your holiday plans: obligation, or true pleasure? Excited anticipation, or dread? Are you going to visit the family because you feel guilty/shamed/lost/fear being written out of the will...if you don't go, or because it actually brings you joy?

For those of you under the obligation umbrella, what would happen if you didn't do what you're "supposed" to do? Didn't make nice; didn't put up with; didn't appease or play a role?

For those of you who experience family bliss, tell me why you think it works. Why do you look forward to it so?

I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours.



At 7:06 AM, Blogger twoblueday said...

Interesting question, and I'll have to do my crawfish thing and say neither joy nor obligation. I enjoy decorating the house with my sweetie, but, then, I just enjoy her. I don't really care if I get any presents, and I don't feel obliged to overwhelm anyone with anything. I actually like it if my honey tells me exactly what she wants, and even goes with me to get it. She's a bit more of a shopper, so she buys for everyone else (well, not my siblings, just her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild).
So, it is a nice season, but I don't load it up with emotion.
I know this sounds kind of dispassionate, but I think it comes from having spent so many holidays alont.

At 10:03 AM, Blogger tracer said...

This holiday season I was given a reprieve from all family obligations and it feels great! I've never been a fan of thanksgiving or X-mas. I believe in neither. That said, I think if someone in the family genuinely enjoys your participation and will be saddened by your absence, then it's a good time to show a little selflessness. I think it's okay to go in with a few demands, however, like no yelling, no guilt trips, etc. You won't always get what you ask for, but it's worth a try.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Patrushka said...

dfuI decided to work on Christmas, 100 kms away from the family. I'm taking my 6-year-old reason-to-live with me. That sounds just great for me. I'd prefer to be 20000 miles away from the family but 100 kms sounds good too.
Usually I divided myself: Christmas with my mother and New Year w/ my father. This year I did everything different: I'm rushing away on Christmas and sharing New Year with my father at a nice setting under a lot of trees (and probably 30ÂșC because we don't have a Winter Christmas in Uruguay). Politically incorrect? Very much. But feels super good!

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

This is the first year I'm deliberately trying to decrease my obligations to family so that I feel that I get what I need, not just spend time serving the needs of others.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...


I like Thanksgiving, though.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Twoblue: I think your holiday sounds fabulous. Perfect and then some.

Tracy: Hooray for you. Sounds great. What if they who enjoy your participation are unable to refrain from bad behavior?

Patrushka: Yours is a holiday I'd like to take.

Steph: That is exactly what I am hoping to do this xmas. Exactly.

Myf: Bummer. I really, really resent feeling obligated.

Good answers guys

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Laini said...

I feel very lucky to anticipate Christmas so much with my family -- I LOVE it, and in 35 years have only spent one Christmas not with my parents and both siblings, and that was last year out of an obligation to go to my husband's family. We have some tense moments at my parents' house, but it's nothing like the holiday-movie-family-in-extremis sort of drama. I think part of why it works is that my mom has always made the holidays such a magical time; my brother and sister and I have never wanted a single thing to change. We're all in our 30s now and perfectly happy to pretend that Santa came!

At 2:46 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

Obligation and dread. No question. The holidays are horrible for me and I cannot WAIT for the year to end. I have to buy Chanukah gifts for my three kids (do the math), buy and distribute gifts for ALL their teachers, tip the newspaper delivery people, the mailman, the garbage men, the bus drivers, the trainer at my gym. I have to buy and mail holidays gifts to my agents, my editor, my publicist and a bunch of other folks at my publishing company. I have to plan/run my daughter's birthday and her class's holiday party, and work the PTA's holiday boutique. And I have to do all this while writing a novel and keeping my children fed, the laundry clean and the house from falling apart. AND THE PHONE DOES NOT STOP RINGING. If I didn't do any of this the world would stop spinning on its axis. (Do you think I take my responsibilities seriously?)

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to whine!


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