Dear Mimi ...
Humorous Advice For Questions You Would Never Ask
We go to Harbour Island for Christmas, and it’s difficult for Santa to bring gifts there, so last year we told our four-year-old that “Wilton Christmas” was December 18. Miss Patty at his school confirmed it—love her! This year, his kindergarten teacher won’t endorse our creativity. I’m very disappointed with the position she’s put us in. When our son realizes we haven’t been truthful it will ruin our vacation. —Bahamasbound
I’m firmly on the side of your son’s kindergarten teacher; Christmas Day being December 25 is non-negotiable. Despite the rampant personal entitlement we currently encounter, I draw the line at altering major holiday dates because you’re afraid of your five-year-old. No one remembers that Thanksgiving is the third Thursday in November, but to grow up uncertain about Christmas? Unrecoverable. Put on your big girl pants and tell your son the truth
Our family holiday card has included a Kenya safari, zip-lining in Costa Rica, and checking avalanche beacons at Chamonix. This year was Paris, but an unfortunate language barrier and subsequent fee argument, resulted in no Eiffel Tower family photo. Should I take a year off or muddle through with a ho-hum shot on Nantucket?
Fairfield County may be the only place in the world where a Nantucket beach photo is considered pedestrian, but I feel your pain—of the 143 holiday cards on my magnetized kitchen wall, 119 were shot in Nantucket and only nine featured any non-blondes. Nonetheless, send the ubiquitous Nantucket pic—as long as it’s a good shot of you. At this point, I prefer Ray Ban shots of myself, but do whatever you’re comfortable with. Really, it’s about two things: 1) spreading holiday joy and 2) including the most flattering picture of yourself. Nothing warms the heart like an email box full of “Loved your card, you look amazing!”
I host Christmas. Dinner conversations are always “bracing” as we’re split evenly between those who get news from a certain conservative news organization and those who prefer its liberal counterpart. Recently, my son’s confirmation was marred by one grandfather screaming, “That’s fake news!” as he exited in a huff. Given the 2018 headlines, how do I encourage civility?
Short of setting strict rules of engagement, there’s not much you can do to ensure tranquility. In my family, we believe civil discourse is highly overrated. Difference of opinion? Get it out there, even if it means yelling over a loved one’s misguided commentary—how else will your relatives see their flawed judgment? Loud beats rational every time and isn’t winning the conversation what family time is all about? Yes, I said winning. Sure, my family’s “take no prisoners” approach guarantees that someone will storm away and threaten not to come for Easter. But at least one person will end up feeling heard. Everyone returns for Easter, because, well, we’re all family. And no one can resist those Godiva bunnies.