It depends on the event. If its for an anniversary, say for example a Sixtieth Wedding, it can be amazing. However, at Christmas people tend to be stressed and irritable and sometimes putting three or four generations together is not the greatest.
My in-laws 60th wedding anniversary last month was good- largely because we decided against a finger food party and went out to a very good restaurant instead.
Yes but, I think one of the reasons that statistically older men die very quickly when widowed is because they do actually need the family and social contacts that women maintain for them, and that often disappear once a wife has died. Boring, but vital, I would say.
I try not to be a typical man- but there's no fighting against chromosomes- or whatever it is that makes the difference.
Edited at 2010-01-03 02:06 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...Manolo is actually the one who loves family gatherings more than I do and I have no quarrel with any of his family so it must be me being anti-social. I'd say the for and against are pretty evenly divided in our family, though. And since I don't live anywhere near my own birth family, that part is never an issue.
I have a suspicion that this could be a cultural thing. The Mediterranean nations throw better parties than Northern ones. I guess all that sunshine helps.
Maybe. But it's been raining here for three weeks straight just about.
Aaah. I guess my idea of Spain has been formed by travel brochures....
My family, both sexes like the functions.
My in-laws, the men not so much.
Maybe a cultural thing? My family being Cuban by way of Spain, his being mostly Dutch and British.
I think you've hit on something there.
The further south one goes, the better the parties are.
I survive them by spending my time cooking in the kitchen and running all the "helpers" out (which means I usually have to plan an activity to keep them occupied, like decorating gingerbread men cookies in the other room, or opening bottles of champagne). I don't let the womenfolk in the kitchen until it's time to clean up after dinner, since washing dishes seems to be an innate behavior in gaggles of females and we men are terrible at it.
Yes. I've recently discovered what a refuge the kitchen can be. These days I have it completely staked out as my territory- and would-be "helpers" get very short shrift.
2010-01-03 02:46 pm (UTC)
I used to hate these events with a vengeance, but now that I am starting to be among the middle to older generations, I don't mind them so much any more. I have problems when things get too noisy though, that causes me serious overload and I get bad tempered easily.
I haven't found any relief with advancing years.
Big family gatherings are justified by the presence of children. This is especially true at Christmas. Our family is at the awkward stage of transition between generations. The last lot of kids has grown up but has only just started producing kids itself. If the party had gone ahead there would have been a whole bunch of adults, an older teen, one baby and a toddler.
We have several men in my extended family who have fits at the idea of canceling whereas I would very much prefer to chuck the whole thing, so it's not quite universal! :)
I tolerate get togethers with my family well enough, but there's nothing particularly enjoyable or egregious about it all. It's just...there. Now my in laws? Forget it. I can't stand to be around my mother in law, and I'm not overly fond of one sister in law's family (maybe I'm just grouchy).
In regards to northern vs. southern cultures, I'll echo what others have said here, but it works in the negative, too. When my family (Anglo) gets together, it's brief. When the in laws do (Latino), good GOD - you may as well pack a suitcase. You're going to be there awhile.
Yes, I can see that. As a person who hates parties of every kind, I am ready to affirm that a short dull party is preferable to a spirited one that goes on and on.
Here's a little something to help you with the humor in the situation. I usually have this f-locked because it's massive copyright violation, but I've opened it up for a couple days.http://lblanchard.livejournal.com/177017.html
Thanks. That's lovely.
But don't you think you'd need rather a big house to accomodate all the drama Keillor recommends? If anything kicked off in this house we'd all be bumping into the furniture and falling over one another. Actually, on reflection, that might not be such a bad thing.
When I was a kid I liked them, sort of. Now I flee screaming, as do most of the members of my family, male or female. My husband hates them, as do his father and (male) cousins, but his female relatives love them.
It was a huge relief this Christmas to be more than 2000 miles away from both families. We had a quiet time to ourselves and didn't have anybody chivvying us to come to the family "do".
It's different when you're a kid. My first few Christmases- with the lights and the toys and the special food and the grandparents coming round- were magical. Then, slowly, it all changed.
As a woman I don't love them. I was monumentally stressed by having 24 people in our house the Sunday before Christmas for my father n law's 80th birthday. But they do hold families together and that's why I did it. That and the fact that the Auld Fella said he's never had a birthday party before and we don't know how long we are going to have him with us.
Glad it is over though. Much more fun in the summer when you can get the barbie going and rustle up some robust salads to go with the meat.
That was a noble deed you did.
Improvised parties are much more fun than ones that have to be planned for.
I never could stand them, either. I tolerated the ones at my house better than the ones I had to travel for, though. My husband enjoyed the big family Christmases & Easters and Birthdays and I did not. Hmmm...maybe that's why I got divorced after 18 years.
I did enjoy family reunions though, mainly because there were cousins and other relatives I hadnt seen in years, and also because most of the activity was out of doors, usually on a bright and beautiful not too hot early summer day.
Lately I stay home for major holidays and invite three or four good friends in for dinner. Works for me...
A lot depends on whether or not you like the people you're related to.
I remember a very grand get together at a great aunt's house- at which everybody was very old (or seemed to be) and the old people got to play bowls (which they took terribly seriously) and we few children weren't allowed to join in.
I detest them. I hate exchanging pleasantries in general, even more so with relatives, for whom such things should be unnecessary to establish general goodwill.
Of course, I'm often accused of ruining Christmas.