Christmas time in modern Splitsville

xmas wreath

Christmas dialogue 1990

The Globe and Mail  December 21, 1990

Stepson #1: Uh, Rosemary, I’m not too happy about these two-family Christmases. I never expected not to be able to spend the holidays with my own relatives. It’s confusing to have to deal with all these strangers and people I don’t really care about.

Daughter: Mum, you’re not going to get angry, are you, if I go to Dad’s for Christmas dinner? He doesn’t really get to see enough of his own kids, and you’ve got your husband and his family to keep you company.

Son: Who’s going to be with us for opening Christmas presents on Christmas morning? Just me, you, my stepfather, sister and stepsister, I hope. It’s our Christmas, Mum. I don’t want to have to share it with a whole lot of people we don’t know.

Sister: Why don’t you all drop over on Christmas Eve? We’re going to have Mother here and my husband’s children from his first marriage and your ex-husband’s brother and sister-in-law and their children. Your children should really see their cousins more often, you know. Why don’t you bring along your stepchildren – what are their names again? Sorry we can’t make your Christmas party. “We’ve booked a trip to Barbados then – not on purpose, of course.

Brother: We’d love to come to Toronto for your Christmas party. Is it okay if we bring the five boys? We have them all for Christmas this year. And only three are still in diapers. By the way, can we stay overnight? It would be really inconvenient to drive back home that evening and we want to get the most out of our visit, since your invitations are few and far between.

Stepson #2: Rosemary, sorry we have to cancel for Christmas day. My girlfriend’s father is all alone since the divorce so we’re joining him. You know how it is.

Sister-in-law: Is it all right if I spend Christmas Day with you and bring Aunt — along? The kids will be at their father’s this year.

Stepdaughter: I’m really sorry but I have to cancel for Christmas Eve. My mother wants me up in Muskoka with her. Will you and Dad look after the cat while I’m gone?

Ex-husband: I’ll drop in to pick up the kids on Christmas Day, just in case you change your mind about letting them come. Maybe your husband and I can have an eggnog and chat, ho ho ho.

Ex-wife: Rosemary, do you have any idea what my kids are doing for Christmas? They haven’t gotten back to me, so I’ve arranged to spend the day with my current husband and his children. You were planning to have them, weren’t you?

Old school friend: Yes, we’d be happy to drop in, but only if you promise not to surround us with all those glitzy jetsetters you cultivate these days. We have nothing in common with people like that, and, quite frankly, Rosemary, we’re surprised that you do.

Socialite: Thank you for the invitation, dahling. Who else did you say would be there? How quaint. We’d love to be introduced to all your little school friends, but I’m afraid we have a previous commitment that we just can’t bow out of.

Cousin: Yes, I’d love to drop in for your Christmas party. And I’ll bring J—- (wife #3) even though she threatened never to come again when you called her M—. That was my second wife’s name. Can’t you keep them straight, for heaven’s sake?

Nephew: Yes, thank you, I’d like to drop over. But it was sort of lonely last year without Bruce. Do you mind if I bring him along? It’s about time we came out of the closet, and your party is about as good a time as any.

Brother-in-law (father of nephew): I’ll be driving into Toronto just in time for your party. Alone, of course, since my wife won’t accompany me. She refuses to enter your house ever since your divorce. Some people still have standards, you know.