Complaining has become a national pastime. It’s been a gradual process, a creep of grumbling and carping that started out kind of wry, then, over time, became full-on obnoxious. We even complain about good things now, because it’s supposed to be cute or coy—implying that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We call our kids “a-holes,” go on and on about our high rents and mortgage payments in our comfortable neighborhoods, bemoan our sleep deprivation because our great jobs or beautiful children keep us up at night. Seriously, people? Do we need some outright hardship to remind us of how great we have it?
Nothing induces as much groaning and whining as the holidays, which have all the ingredients for the perfect self-pity pie: family, money, subtext and weather delays.
Enough is enough! If you have something to complain about this holiday season that isn’t a second head growing out of your neck, bankruptcy or a surprise serial-killer spouse, then shut up and sit down.
Here’s my list of the top 10 least bitch-worthy holiday gripes:
Yes, it’s taxing to have extra bodies crowding your couch, talking at you when you just want to watch TV after a long day, and generally changing the air quality in your home. But how lovely to have people who want to come and stay with you. And a home.
2. Family (even if they’re #1, above)
They needle you, they frustrate you, they infuriate you. With a single raised eyebrow or shift in intonation, they cause you to revert to a cranky 7-year-old. But they’re yours, and you’re theirs, and—give or take one or two of them—you will miss them when they’re gone.
3. Eating too much
If it’s really a problem, don’t do it. Just. Stop. Eating. But if you’re going to eat—a lot or a little—savor it and start fresh tomorrow. But above all, do not complain because you have too much food. That’s just disgusting.
4. Spending too much
See above. Just don’t do it. You are not actually contractually obligated to spend more than you have on other people. Anyone who expects that from you sucks. We put that pressure on ourselves. It’s a choice.
5. Work parties
You have a job. Shut up.
6. Vegetarians/vegans/gluten-freegans, pesca-what’s-a-tarians
Hey! How nice! You have friends! Friends who have beliefs and care about their bodies! And who want to come over and eat at your house!
7. People spoiling your children (I’m looking at you, Mom)
See #4. This is one way to address it. Let other people do the spending for you! But seriously now…people love your children, and children love to be loved and spoiled once in a while. This is definitely not the worst problem anyone has ever had.
8. Your children asking for too much because they’re tiny, entitled consumers
My name is Jennifer Shotz, and I am a tiny, entitled consumer enabler. So I can speak from experience when I say that this is not something that can be solved all at once. This is a thoughtful, conscious way of being that we need to model for our kids all year long. Starting Jan. 1, 2015.
Much like you will miss your family members one day, you’ll miss the rain, sleet, snow and black ice (does anyone else want to shout “BLACK ICE!!!” every time that phrase comes up?) when global warming does away with them completely. Also, it’s WEATHER. What, exactly, do you think complaining could possibly do to change it?
You have people to go see and the disposable income to buy a plane/train/stagecoach ticket. The crowds are terrible, people behave in direct opposition to the principles of the holiday spirit, and the inner Scrooge residing in your deepest core is stretching and yawning, awake again after a 51-week nap. But that’s what you signed up for when you planned this trip and chose to go somewhere else at the busiest time of year. You’re going because, for better or worse, you want to be with people you care about, who care about you, at a time when our hearts are cracked open just a teeny bit more than usual. You’re traveling to share love—just like all the other millions of nasty-faced assheads standing in the security line behind you. So when your patience is threadbare and you’re stranded on the tarmac at O’Hare with only one granola bar to split among a family of four, try to remember that we’re all in it together…one big happy holiday human stew.