Every year we have to haggle what our Thanksgiving Day schedule will be with our families. Last year was a complete disaster and we arrived late to my boyfriend’s family dinner. They were packing up the food as we arrived and they had already distributed the Secret Santa assignments to all the cousins. On top of this, I was left out the gift exchange because they forgot to include me since we were missing during dinner. Disaster!
This year I put a lot of forethought in to our schedule and even switched it up by attending his families Thanksgiving dinner first. We arrived with Pumpkin Pie in hand just in time for the prayer before dinner (they’re all practicing Catholics, so I stood in the back and listened quietly), and we had a small plate of food before waiting the appropriate time to make our exit.
Our perfect plan was suddenly dashed when I texted my family to see what the ETA for dinner was. Dinner was done an hour earlier than expected AND they were all waiting for us to arrive so they could eat. *sigh* We politely asked his cousin who was in charge of this years Secret Santa if we could fill out our forms before we left. We quickly scribbled out our requests and left with hopes of returning in time to pick out our assigned name for the gift exchange.
We drove all the way from Buena Park/Cerritos to Long Beach to pick up the Pumpkin Flan I made for my family, then hoped on the freeway to head to East L.A. for my family’s dinner at my grandparents house. They had just finished eating when we arrived. Bummer. We weren’t too upset about it since we had plenty to eat at his family’s house, especially since his family had spare ribs, roast beef, and three different kinds of sweet potatoes.
My grandmother was still upset with me because I was unable to be a helping hand in the kitchen to make Thanksgiving dinner since we attended another dinner first. My grandmother doesn’t believe in asking for help from any male member of the family who can cook because my mother and I were supposed to be available as assistants. She is also one of the reasons I refused to learn how to cook growing up because she would nag me about not being able to find a husband if I can’t cook and clean properly. I would always lovingly reply, “Well, then I’ll just have to make enough money to hire a maid and cook to do all that for me.” As you probably guessed this did not please her either. My grandmother also refused to eat the Pumpkin Flan I made because it was too sweet and bad for her health. Thanks grandma for keeping me humble.
No one was upset about our late arrival so we all sat around the table chatting and catching up with each other eating Flan. I even made some Hot Toddies for my grandfather, who loved it, and then yelled at by my grandmother for being a lush. My grandmother, keeping the joy of the holidays on its toes.
We left after a few hours with leftovers in hand and headed back to Buena Park/Cerritos just in time to pick a name for our Secret Santa! Joy! Now, I must warn you that my boyfriends family takes their gift exchange very seriously. A few years back one cousin tried to swap names with someone and got in trouble. There was yelling and crying, it was very melodramatic, and hilarious. There are also rules. My first Christmas with his family all of his cousins kept apologizing to me for not being able to be included because of the rules. You can only be included in the Secret Santa, as a cousins significant other, if that is your second year attending the holiday to ensure it’s a lasting relationship.
You can imagine how awkward and difficult it might be to buy a gift for someone you hardly know. I wasn’t to upset because I had made a huge effort that year for us to attend as many family functions as possible. So I patiently waited for the next year…and then found out they forgot to include me. Okay, no problem. Year three is this year, and this time I was included. So was someone else’s boyfriend…who she has only been dating for 6 months…
The icing on this crappy cake is that his Secret Santa list is crap. He put almost NO effort in to making it. There are three spots for gifts around $50 and three more for $100, if the person is feeling generous. For the $50 spots he wrote 1) cool iPhone accessories, 2) sunglasses (crossed out with nothing replacing it), 3) lotto tickets. For the $100 he wrote: 1) William Burke Massage for (corporate lawyer cousin), 2) sunglasses (not crossed out), 3) something crossed out & not replaced with an item. This infuriated me. Not only did he ask for crappy lotto tickets he also tried to ask us to buy something that is meant for someone else!
There’s not much I can do to change any of this. Except bitch.