By: Lauren Bolden, Owner, Pie Bar
My Christmas wish for you is that you are reading this while being surrounded by loved ones and thriving..not hiding in your rental cabin's basement crying over a glass of eggnog.
The holidays are great because we get to spend A LOT OF TIME WITH FAMILY.
Your uncle is most likely saying something offensive.
Your niece is probably explaining NFTs even though no one cares.
And for the love of Baby J..whose dog is that?!?
You are probably at the point where you want to say something. You're thinking, "if I don't say something, this will just continue on! This behavior is unacceptable! I AM SAYING SOMETHING!"
Don't do it, girl.
I am sending this e-mail to you as a "don't do as I have done, do as I say," kind of email..because one time I did it..I spoke up..and it has haunted me ever since.
It is 1998, 8-year old Lauren is sitting crisscross applesauce amongst brothers and cousins as Grandpa Pavao passed out his annual Christmas Gift.
Grandma Pavao did all the Christmas present shopping, but as a way to quietly assert her power, she had Grandpa Pavao buy and wrap all of the Grandkids one gift each year.
We all knew what it was going to be.
He chose the same thing every year.
Hess trucks for the boys.
The annual Macy's Holiday Ambassador for the girls.
(this is a holiday themed stuffed animal that changes each year)
One year it was a Stuffed Holiday Bullwinkle.
Another year it was a plush Kermit the Frog.
Both "holiday-ed" by wearing a red stocking cap or carrying a candy cane.
At 8-years old I had yet to acquire the "discretion" skills I needed to be a good gift receiver. I was still in the phase where I thought it was important to share every thought that bounced around my empty skull.
"This shrimp tastes weird! It smells funny in here! Nicholas said 'damn!'"
As Grandpa Pavao began handing out the presents, I already knew what was coming.
Nicholas: Hess Truck
Brian: Hess Truck
Rebecca & Lauren:
Another (damn) Macy's Holiday Ambassador.
To Rebecca's credit, she pulled off "excitement" well.
I on the other hand said, "I wonder what it could be."
It was potentially my first foray into sarcasm.
But Grandpa Pavao was no fan of sarcasm.
He gave the gift bag containing the Macy's Holiday Ambassador meant for Rebecca to Rebecca..then, he gave the gift bag containing the Macy's Holiday Ambassador meant for me..TO REBECCA.
TWO IDENTICAL MACY'S HOLIDAY AMBASSADORS FOR REBECCA?!
At one year older than me, Rebecca was more wise and skilled, because while holding her two matching plush toys, she looked Grandpa Pavao right in the eyes and said, "Thank you, Papa."
At the time I thought she was an idiot.
What was she going to do with two identical Macy's stuffed animals?
I smirked because goody-two-shoes Rebecca now had to deal with not one bad gift, but two and I got off scot-free.
Until the following year.
It was Christmas Eve and all of the Grandchildren were gathered around.
Grandpa Pavao was giving out his special Christmas gifts.
Hess trucks for the boys.
Macy's Holiday Ambassador for Rebecca.
(I looked at her with pity in my eyes.)
and for me?
My mind ran wild! The possibilities were endless! A puppy perhaps?
I received no holiday gift bag.
Grandpa Pavao understood the art of the slow burn, and Christmas 1999, I learned a very valuable lesson that was a full year in the making. #respect
Now, 22 years later on Christmas 2021, I am here to tell you..
Accept the metaphorical Macy's Holiday Ambassador in whichever form it comes to you this year.
Accept it with graciousness in your heart and remember that if you don't, there will be a Rebecca there to gladly accept it on your behalf.