Aaargh…what a nightmare…Christmas

23 Dec

No thanks; I’ll wait till January 7th.

Dear Prudence,

Q: My in-laws are kind, delightful people, and I enjoy spending time with them, except on Christmas. Their family tradition is for everyone to take turns unwrapping gifts. Last year, we unwrapped gifts for almost two hours, stopped for lunch, and then unwrapped gifts for another hour after lunch. Each person receives a modest number of gifts, so it’s not quantity that is causing the problem. The recipient is expected to carefully unpackage and read product instructions before moving along to the next gift, and, when there are no instructions or awkward packaging, the recipient will wax poetic for 10 minutes about how the sweater reminds them of their deceased grandmother’s beloved cocker spaniel, etc. My husband agrees it is out of hand, but we don’t know how to politely speed things along. Any advice, or do we just need to keep quiet?

A: This year you two should insist going first. Then give each other Fitbits, put them on, explain how you both are so excited about getting into better shape that you’re going to use them right now—then sprint out the door and don’t return until the excruciating performance-art project “Endless Unwrapping” is done. Your husband needs to have a talk with his parents and say the gift exchange needs to be speeded along, that an hour is more than sufficient (insanely so) for this, and he’ll be in charge of keeping things moving. If your in-laws insist on this torturous ritual, it’s perfectly fine for you two to say you’ve got to stretch your legs, then don’t make a return appearance until it’s time for lunch.

You can watch below too…if you can stand it.


Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: