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What Christmas means to me

Mimi's Cafe, the restaurant my relatives were unimpressed with last year. (photo/ www.thegreene.com)

Christmas is a holiday I dread every year. Here's why. Usually, my family and I go out to a restaurant and eat with our extended family. Since I like to keep the amount of torture to a minimum, I always leave the dinner early and work from five to ten. Over the years, I’ve found that work is an acceptable excuse to get out of these meetings. Some of my friends think I am rude for thinking about my family like this, but they do not have to be around this socially awkward, passive aggressive group of people for five hours.

The family on my dad’s side has a history of finding something wrong with every restaurant we go to. We used to go to a restaurant called The Golden Lamb, but over time my family found something wrong with that too. Almost always, my grandma is the one to make all the decisions. As the oldest in the family, everyone does what she wants. It is her way or the highway.

Now this doesn’t mean that every restaurant we go to is awful. My immediate family finds nothing wrong with any of the places we go. It is my relatives that love to complain. Have you met those  people who get invited to a party and they critique all the decorations and the food? That describes my dad’s side of the family to a tee. It definitely doesn’t help that last year we went to a restaurant whose system shut down for almost a half an hour.

Because I was raised with manners, my parents, siblings, and I did not make any comments. We were the only ones who stayed until the system came back up. My relatives on the other hand, were not having it. They simply left us money for their checks and walked out. I found this extremely rude because anyone with eyes could tell that our waitress was very stressed out from the situation. She was apologetic, and even offered to give us a free dessert to take home. We gladly accepted it, and walked outside to find our relatives waiting for us. No surprise though, my uncle was still complaining about the restaurant.

During dinner, my uncle would make snide remarks about the service. My sister, having worked in food service for years, stood up for the waitress. She stated that it was a holiday and instead of the waitress being with her family, she was waiting on us. I agreed, wholeheartedly. There is never a reason to be rude to someone who is serving you. They are working very hard while you sit and do nothing.

As you can see, spending time with my extended family is slightly cringe worthy. However, I always enjoy spending time with my immediate family. I especially love seeing my sister’s reactions to the gifts I give her every year because she never fails to show her excitement. Although I don’t look forward to dining with my relatives, I know that I am lucky to have a family who comes together for every holiday. I just hope that my grandma picks a restaurant she doesn’t complain about this year.

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