Anyone scouring my archives will note that this is a rerun of perhaps my first (?) Go Ask Aunt Becky column, which I am lazily reposting since probably 2 of you have read it before.
Dear Aunt Becky,
Is it trashy to hang your child’s art work (one construction paper size piece from each child) on the storm door?
Oh, Gentle Reader, if only you knew how many nights I stayed awake, soaking the pages of the newest Pottery Barn catalog with my drool, dreaming, just dreaming of the days when my sofa might match the drapes and I might be able to use my coffee table for more than a toddler-jumping-off platform (it is also used, I want to add, as a bed for Auggie. Which, I know. Huh?). I fantasize about the days when I will have end-table books and breakable hurricane lamps on my dining room table.
Truth be told, I fantasize about being a size 4, too, and, well, yeah.
I’m no (insert home style star here) and if I had to describe my house, it would be kid chic, complete with a side of dog and cat fur! So I may not be the best person to ask this question to, but I will try to answer you proud.
Providing that you’re not trying to score a centerfold spread in Architectural Digest or act like you live in a house that has no kids, I say why not? Providing, of course, that the drawings aren’t of anything graphic (OR DECIPHERABLE if so) and/or containing: penises, vaginas, butts, poop, or people in various stages of killing each other.
Unless, of course, you’re trying to scare off potential door-to-door salespeople or people who want to tell you about how God Can Save YOU. Then, I would be as graphic and foul as possible.
If it’s cute and it makes you happy to look at and you don’t mind telling the world that you have kids, I’d say go for it.
I have a family member who gives Mister and I, and our children, things we really don’t need. (Or want) This person is a semi-compulsive shopper in recovery, and I think a lot of her “gifting” is actually “cleaning off a shelf.” I’ve tried to hint that we really don’t need these things, without sounding like an ungrateful bitch.
What really makes me feel bad is that she takes the time to wrap them, and pays good money to ship them across four states. Is it rude to say, “Let’s just exchange one gift per person this Christmas.” Which would be code for, “Please don’t pay Fed Ex to ship me a(nother) salad spinner, a shoe shining kit, a pair of socks with cats on them, and a flashlight, wrapped in red and green paper.” (Ugly! Hateful!) Help!
Now this, my dear friend is a tricky question.
First, I would probably thank her for her generosity (on, at least, the phone, if not in person. Email can be tricky because tone cannot be interpreted) as kindly as possible, because, well, that’s polite. Then, as she’s ‘you’re welcoming you,’ I’d throw in a really, really, really sweet sounding “you really don’t have to go to all the trouble!”
I would probably leave it at that so as not to offend her.
If she persists (getting rid of some of this stuff may be sort of a gift in and of itself to her, because perhaps it makes her feel as though she’s really sending the stuff to a good home) sending gifts, I would donate them to charity.
Because I understand that you need another whimsical Santa-head oven mitt like you need a hole in your head.
Hey Aunt Becky,
Since you’re such a people person, what thoughts do you have on avoiding relatives who plan on sleeping (and yelling) at your house for a week during Christmas WITHOUT actually telling them to their face how much you can’t stand them?
No this is not early, they just ordered their plane tickets on the internet, and I do not have the money to send my family of five flying in the opposite direction.
“In the Middle” (Thanks, I’ve always wanted to use a corny pseudonym.)
ps. Something is messed up on the sight right under “ask”.
First, corny pseudonyms are drastically underused today, Aunt Becky agrees*.
If being honest about this is out of the question and straight up mentioning (or having your spouse say) that having a houseful of guests isn’t feasible, I would go with one of the following options:
Option 1: I would do whatever (and I MEAN whatever) I could to make sure that they stayed in a hotel. Your sanity is worth a hell of a lot, and if you’re dreading Christmas already (SO been there), then maybe you can find a cheap rate for a nearby hotel. You could GRACEFULLY, tactfully insist that they stay here, as your gift to either them, or to you.
Option 2: Depending on your relationship with them, if it were good enough, I might ask at some point (in my stupidest, I don’t know anything tone) “Oh! Where are you staying!? I hear there are some AWESOME rates at (name local hotel). Want their number?” Be forceful, stupid sounding and gentle at the same time.
Option 3: Convince your family that you have some horrible communicable disease like rabies and they cannot possibly be exposed! O! The humanity!
Option 4: Call your doctor and get a prescription for Xanax and spend your holidays living on a fluffy, pink cloud where you won’t care that everyone is yelling at you.
Option 5: Call your liquor store and get a case of (insert your drink of choice) and spend your holidays living on a fluffy, pink cloud where you won’t care that everyone is yelling at you.
Option 6: Move out for that week. Fake a work trip, a separation, whatever, and get the hell out of there.
Option 7: Praise Sweet Merciful Baby Jesus that your family doesn’t live closer and try and grin and bear it. Then say a prayer thanking Sweet Baby Jesus that the holidays only come once a year.
Now, none of these options excludes the other, so if you like a little from Column A and a little of Beaker B, feel free to mix them up.
I wish you good luck, my friend. Good luck indeed.
As always, should you have a burning question for Aunt Becky other than “How does anyone stand you?” please go up to the top of the page and click on the “Go Ask Aunt Becky” page. You can freely send me questions, compliments and marriage proposals which I do answer every Sunday.
And, Pranksters, please feel free to fill in where I left off in the comments.