A Very Not-so Merry Christmas

Photo by Jasmin Schuler on Unsplash


Time to welcome the in-laws.

They will arrive at an unspecified time, several hours earlier than expected, bringing, along with multiple dogs, enough presents, junk food, unwanted produce, and various other bags, packages, and trappings to fill up our previously tidy kitchen and living room.

My in-laws are Baptists of the fundamental flavor. Before they arrive, I must drink all the beer (I finished it last night), and wife must hide all the wine (she will need a good supply to get her through).

Shortly after their arrival, I become the intruder in our home, which, when they are here, is no longer my home, but my father-in-law’s home, as he is king of all domains and does not recognize any man’s right to a domain. Mother-in-law, not to be outdone, makes up for my having no adult supervision since her last visit by commenting on my appearance and finding tasks for me to do. That is, if I have not found my own tasks.

Yes, holidays are a time for me to stay busy. I’m who volunteers to work on Christmas Eve, just so I can, well, be at work. Some customers remind me of my mother-in-law. Especially that farmer’s wife. If she comes to my office on Christmas Eve, then my schemes are for naught. But that’s a chance I’ll take.

There are days, though, when I can’t volunteer to work. Christmas Day. President Bush’s burial day. Furlough days. Why, oh why must I be furloughed when the in-laws are here? Or when the President decides that Christmas Eve is also a holiday. There goes that plan.

Those are the days when I become not just a fitness enthusiast, but a fitness obsessed over-enthusiast. My normal four to five-mile run becomes ten. One hour, or two, are no longer sufficient spans of time in the gym. Poor puppies—you need another walk so soon? We’ve only been back for five minutes. Oh, well, can’t keep the puppies waiting.

I realize my children need rescued, too. It’s a good time to go, no, to sneak, off to the park to practice basketball. Let’s break out those skateboards and go to the skate-park. Or make several trips to the grocery store to buy items we might need next week, one item per trip. I’ll buy another bottle of wine for wife and keep it hidden in the pickup until tonight.

Those damn leaves aren’t going to rake themselves; better get to it while I have a day off.

It’s evening, and I get a sick feeling when I see that everyone is wearing Christmas Eve church service clothes. Good God, why can’t I be at my parent’s house, where dad is sipping craft whiskey and mom is baking cookies? I need no more sermons, as anytime I’ve failed to find tasks sufficient to keep myself safe, I’m held captive by various, non-stop speeches on the evils of strong-drink and democrats.

Christmas morning. Matt Damon awakes at 5:45 to excited children, but we don’t have that luxury. My in-laws arise with a vengeance much earlier. Better get that first cup of strong coffee before mommy-in-law dearest dumps out the entire pot to make her own, yellowish one scoop per ten cups and then tears the kitchen apart looking for sugar. Even the kids get up looking irritated.

One noisy, screechy, blinky present after another. This one needs assembly. “Your daddy can do it.” This one needs programmed. “Daddy can do it.” This one needs loaded with a Google play card. “Daddy, daddy, daddy.” Where the hell’s the football, or even a simple Red Rider BB gun? No, everything either comes in some zillion damn pieces (which means there will, within a month, be some zillion separate pieces in the toy-box), or it requires computer skills beyond my own. Daddy loses it and blurts, “Bull-shit; I didn’t buy it, and I’m not putting it together.” For the first time in two days, there is complete silence. Wife gives the look. The disapproving, disappointed look. Daddy knows that he will never, as long as he is alive and in the presence of women, be a grown-up, but will always be the wayward boy who needs correction.

In-laws wear the smug, “See, dear daughter, what a loser you married?” look as they unsuccessfully try to mask their satisfaction at my true evil coming through.

I could go on and on and on and on, because that’s how the day, and the next, will surely go.

“So, what’s your favorite part of Christmas?”

Waving good-bye.


About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemmingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.


19 thoughts on “A Very Not-so Merry Christmas

  1. Sounds like your in-laws know how to put the Christ! in Christmas. I’ll bet the anticipation of such visits is almost as anguishing as the visits themselves. I hope you, and everyone else, manages to survive.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | December 21, 2018, 4:20 pm
  2. Sounds like my daughter. Hard work..

    Posted by the britchy one | December 21, 2018, 4:24 pm
  3. Why do you allow this? It’s your home. Take it back! I’m serious. Discuss with your wife. This is not right. Those people do not have the right to act like this. I know lots of families who have put strong boundaries up against family members to preserve their marriage and sanity AND children. By the way, you know I’m a strong Christian, but I am not against all alcohol and I do drink it. 😉 Sounds like I would definite need some if my family was like that. Ugh. Stand up for yourself! Here’s a tip. Make it very uncomfortable for them and they won’t want to come over . Your kids don’t need that kind of influence anyway. They can go visit them at their house if you want them to. Good luck!

    Posted by pkadams | December 21, 2018, 5:17 pm
  4. I don’t know if I should laugh…feel sad…or take this a bit tongue n cheek 🤔 what a vivid word story! Gah. The coffee…one scoop for 10 cups haha…
    I’m the cookie baking mom….largely supported by strong black coffee 😜

    My husbands parents passed away long before I met him so I’ve never had to deal with in laws

    Hope your Christmas goes better than anticipated!

    Posted by Sassyfitnesschick | December 21, 2018, 6:14 pm
  5. I think you meant this to be humorous. But as a gay man who had just found his life mate with the holidays coming I had to make a serious decision. My backward racist homophobic adoptive parents had not accepted my being gay and kept trying to fix me up with daughters of their friends or work mates. Now that I had a real love interest of the same sex this was going to be a real showdown of who would give first. I decided I would rather live my life with the man I am now going on 29 years than I would like to spend one more second with anyone in the family who would deny us this happiness. So I went to the adoptive parents home weeks before the holiday and gave them a choice. Accept my boyfriend as you accepted the boyfriends / girlfriends of my siblings or you will never see me again! I then left the house. I got a call a few days later asking if WE would be at Christmas dinner and were there any special food requirements. After they got to know Ron I think they loved him more than they loved me. My adoptive father practically adopted him, as he was the first one he brought into his work shop and shared all his tools and knowledge with. It worked out. As they neared the end of their lives Ron and I moved near them to take care of them in their last years. So everyone gained. But it was a scary day I said either accept us, or lose me. I guess I got lucky. Hugs

    Posted by Scottie | December 21, 2018, 6:21 pm
  6. You can tell a Baptist but you can’t tell em much.
    I like to go down to the football field and play turkey bowl with the kids. Fake an injury and keep yourself out of the mix. Lol 😂

    Posted by jim- | December 21, 2018, 8:29 pm
  7. And today just happens to be the day when the husband and I are off to foist ourselves on the relatives over Christmas. Hopefully we’ll be less trouble than your guests… But I hope you have a very merry Christmas anyway!

    Posted by Mari Biella | December 22, 2018, 2:06 am
  8. As awful as the overall experience sounds, I bet your kids (and puppies) will remember you saving them from grandparents who will always be miserable and unimpressed. Best of luck getting through the holiday!

    Posted by Shayne | December 22, 2018, 10:28 am
  9. See, that’s why I’m only marrying if my partner’s parents are dead or live in another country and can’t afford to visit. Just kidding… sort of. But seriously, that sounds exhausting. I spent this Christmas day watching documentaries at home as my parents were out of town, but whenever we’re together, we buy a roasted chicken, cook the side dishes and sit at home watching Disney animations in PJs. And I wouldn’t trade this for any celebration.

    Hope your New Year is more relaxing!

    Posted by Jay | December 30, 2018, 9:22 am
  10. Mine were supposed to be here for two days. Turned into six and on day one monster, I mean mommy, in law took over my coffee pot! I’m now checking for hair on my chest! Oh and to add salt to the wound, they’re returning the 25th of January for a wedding. If you don’t hear from me by the 30th I may in my car. Parked in the garage.

    Posted by | January 14, 2019, 5:00 pm

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