SOUTH BEND, IN – It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Grandma’s house, a fact “Grandma X” knows all too well. The mother of three and grandmother of ten has been hosting Christmas dinner for 18 years, much to the delight of her brood. But one relative who isn’t delighted is Grandma X herself, who admits that she’s been phoning it in for the last seven years.
Grandma X assumed the role as Christmas hostess after her parents moved to Florida. “I was on fire for the decade or so. A big dinner, tons of presents, Christmas decorations up the wazoo,” said the 65-year-old retiree. “But then you start to think that maybe Christmas won’t be ruined if you bought cookies from Costco instead of making them, and it snowballs from there.”
She now buys the entire Christmas Day feast at Costco, but by scooping the pre-made food into pots and hiding the containers her family is none the wiser. Instead of decorating her home herself as she had in the past, she pays a couple of young men she describes as “probably illegals but I need this crap done” to string the lights, put out Santa and his reindeer and inflate the giant Frosty. She also admitted that her apathy had extended to her family. “I love my grandkids but everything’s become so repetitive. Baby’s first Christmas is magical the first time around, but by the third grandchild you’re thinking, ‘come on, show me something new.’”
Her epiphany came five years ago, when she failed to sprinkle her conversations with passive aggressive comments. “One daughter-in-law had gained weight but I didn’t mention it once,” she said as she twirled her finger around a festive red napkin. “I did tell my other daughter-in-law she was stirring the sauce wrong while assuring her it wasn’t her fault she was left-handed, but my heart just wasn’t in it. That’s when I knew I had completely checked out of Christmas, and I was okay with it. ”
However, despite her dampened Christmas spirit, Grandma X said it will be a few years before she passes the torch to the next generation. “I may not enjoy being the hostess like I used to, but I still very much enjoy being the martyr,” she said. “I plan to milk it until my early 70s, when I’ll make a big announcement over our Costco dinner about how this will be my last Christmas. Then I’ll tell my daughter that it’s up to her to keep the family together and move to Florida, just like my mom did. It’s a family tradition.”
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