Charlottetown — According to a recent report exclusive to The Manatee, Mom is feeling more sentimental than usual this Christmas, despite the notable lack of anything different about this year’s traditions. Mom has been seen sighing sadly while gazing at the tree, telling anyone nearby that the abundance of Popsicle-stick ornaments the kids made in school really bring her back.
Aunt Tammy says Mom’s frequent emotional outbursts are due to the fact that this is the only time of year the whole family gets to be together for more than two days in a row, and that she overheard Dad joking that he’ll probably only be around for 14 more Christmases.
“You know how she gets around the holidays. Why don’t you just humour her and give her a hug?” says Aunt Tammy, who is as skilled as Mom when it comes to guilt trips. “Think of all she’s done for you.”
Although the promise of home-cooked turkey, gravy and potatoes always tempts you into coming home, the awkwardness of listening to the same childhood stories every year makes you seriously consider booking a trip to a resort next Christmas.
Dad, in his own way, is trying to show he cares by making everyone sit through a slide-show of the family trip to Washington, while asking over and over if you remember each stop. “Remember that beige fanny pack you always wore? You loved that thing,” offers your helpful father. “I bet we could find it and bring it out for you if you want.”
Memories like that do nothing to lift Mom’s spirits, who only offers wistful comments such as: “It’s too bad we didn’t do more trips like that one.”
“Promise me you’ll always make it home for Christmas,” ventures Mom, nervously wringing her “Mrs. Santa” cooking apron from the late ’80s. “Maybe this year we can start some new traditions — let’s all go carolling down the street!”
You can find a small break from the wallowing when Mom makes the family attend Christmas Eve mass, where you see old neighbourhood friends who now have 2 kids, a beer gut, and perpetual heavy bags under their eyes.
After mass, Mom sighs while taking a loaf of fruit-cake out of the oven. “It didn’t turn out as good as it did other years,” she mutters while frowning and tearing up a little bit. “It’s too late to make a new one though.”
When Mom notices you in the kitchen she furrows her brow. “Go talk to your grandfather,” she scolds unnecessarily. “Every Christmas with him should be treasured.”
Just before opening gifts Christmas morning, Mom reminds everyone that they can always return their gift from her if they don’t like it. “I kept the receipt just in case. I won’t be offended.”