This morning...for some reason...I found it necessary to peruse one of my favorite websites - http://www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com. I came across this little virtual snack of awkwardness...
Why this is hilarious to me, God only knows...but it did get me to thinking. Awkwardness really is part of the holidays isn't it? Not the part that we celebrate...but it is just bound to happen just the same. Here are some examples...some from reality...some from my memories or those of others...and some just flying free from the right side of my brain (which has taken over my entire being because I don't need the left brain really while I am on vacation other than to remember to pay American Express on the 21st. But I digress...)
How about these...
Someone fails to tell you that the game "Dirty Santa" is more figurative...meaning that you can "steal" gifts rather than literal (I'll let you use your imagination...but let's just say that the Starbucks gift card was wrapped most creatively)...and you are at WORK.
The gift limit increased from $25 to $30 and you weren't told. And the primary gift that year was in gift cards.
You fail to see the words "dressy casual" on the invitation and you show up in your football hoodie and jeans.
You are at a party hanging out with the girls and the gift exchange starts. A gift exchange that you weren't aware existed...although everyone has gifts for you.
Grandpa thinks he is hiding the fact that he smokes a cigar while he goes out for his morning drive...and then receives a box of cigars from one of his kids.
You purchase a bible for someone you are dating for Christmas...with their name engraved on it...and the breakup occurs on December 15th.
The Christmas cards are out and you've sent every one you have...and then you get cards from people that you somehow left off your list.
The hostess gift you brought to someone you don't know particularly well is something that they cannot possibly enjoy...a bottle of wine to someone who has been sober for two years...a box of chocolates to a diabetic, or a nice assortment of salted nuts to someone who just spent three days hospitalized with diverticulitis.
A friend calls you on Christmas Eve upset because her husband has gotten all tanked up on holiday cheer and knocked over the Christmas tree in front of the children.
You forget to bring the gift card you purchased for the parents in October to the family gathering...and now it looks like you are at worst...cheap...or at best...forgetful.
After laughing at the fact that you think fruitcake/Snuggies/The Clapper is the worst Christmas gift EVER, you sit down to discover that someone purchased you one.
The Christmas gift that you wanted and told everyone about meant that you ended up with three of them.
Your son or daughter opens up a lovingly chosen gift by someone and announces, "I already got one of these. Can I take it back to WalMart?"
You "regift" something to the person who originally gave it to you because you erroneously thought someone else gave it to you.
The sweater for a female is two sizes too big...or the reverse awkwardness...the sweater for a male is two sizes too small.
The new recipe that Grandma is so excited about was misread and the 2t of curry powder that the recipe called for turned into 2T instead. She doesn't notice THAT but she does notice that nobody is asking for seconds. So, she serves it until it is gone...which seems like that oil in the lamp that never burns out in the Bible...except instead of oil... it is curried fruit. Amazingly curried curried fruit.
The list gets lost for the family gift exchange and one person gets two gifts and another person gets none.
At a Sunday School party, someone dares to take the silver reindeer that you had your heart set on at the ornament exchange. For whatever reason (okay...your competitive nature), you end up storming out of the party. A couple of years later, someone takes the awesome plaid blanket that you thought was yours...and left you with a skating pig...which you leave on the table at the party...until someone notices and says, "Hey! You left your gift!"
I could actually go on...and talk about things like meeting the new boyfriend/girlfriend of someone after the breakup/divorce, too much eggnog/punch/Jack Daniels, wishing our Jewish friends a "Merry Christmas," Christmas sweaters and obnoxious lawn displays, but those kinds of awkwardness are almost past awkward and into the realm of "OMGosh."
I don't know about you, but sometimes the awkward times during the holidays are the most hilarious. I mean...not at the time. But later. Sometimes that awkwardness becomes part of family lore.
I don't know if you have had any of these bouts of awkwardness...but I strongly believe that you probably have. My advice? Embrace the awkwardness. Laugh. Try not to let it steal your joy.
If you end up being at the giving end of the awkwardness...see what you can do to make it right...but don't let it spoil your holiday. If you are at the receiving end...you will have a story to tell for the ages. I suppose that's the best advice I can offer. Except for one last thing...
Beware the curried fruit.
Merry Christmas! (Or Happy Hanukkah!)