((The Steampunk Tarot, Moore and Fell. Seven of Wands, Queen of Pentacles, Temperance.))
Defensiveness. Hospitality. Discretion.
“WELCOME TO THE 2017 EDITION OF DEFEND YOUR GIFT!!!”
For those of you new to this game, it goes a little something like this:
Smiling adult daughter holds out beautifully wrapped box, “This one is for you, Mom. Merry Christmas!”
Mother smiles, takes box, “Thank you, dear.” and begins opening the present.
Box is open, revealing well-chosen, thoughtful present (i.e. warm, water-proof, flexible shoe-boots – Ducks, actually – specifically chosen to be slip-resistant on Chicago winter streets) chosen very specifically for a woman who rode the city bus every single day. “They’re ugly. I will never wear them.”
And we’re off!! Holiday Court is now in session! DEFEND! YOUR! GIFT!
“But Ma, they’re for when you take the bus. Look how flexible they are (holding shoe, bending it back and forth). They’ll be good in the rain, or the snow, if it’s icy……”
“Take them back. I already have boots.”
“Yes, but they are heavy, they are not flexible and you have already fallen twice this winter. With these, you won’t have any of those problems.”
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in those shoes.”
“If you wear them, you won’t be found dead on the sidewalk because you slipped on the ice!”
OKAY! GOT IT? GOOD!!
Now forget all about it because you will NOT be doing that this year!
Resist the urge to defend yourself; do not allow the ingratitude of others to take the warmth out of your hospitality. Do not allow dissatisfied people to suck the joy from your own appreciation. Find the balance withing yourself to discern the genuine battles worth fighting (there will be no hate speech in your home, as an example) from the petty squabbles worth ignoring (if someone doesn’t care for Diet Coke, they can drink water – nothing to argue about).
And if anyone doesn’t like the present you give them, say “No problem.” and take it back with a smile, knowing you will never need to buy that person a present EVER AGAIN.
This is your holiday season – enjoy it on your own terms, and do not allow anyone else to hold your happiness hostage.