Poppy Talks • Holiday Bingo

I love the holidays. It’s a chance to stockpile things to keep my “ideas for Poppy column” notebook full. By that, I mean… family is here. Yippie-ki-yay!

I love my family. I even love my family that are not my own people. Family is my favorite thing about Christmas and New Year. If I had a lot of money and a B&B in my backyard, I would probably love them even more. 

I don’t mind at all that I haven’t been able to do my own laundry for near’bout a week. BUT—there is never enough time to channel my inner Aunt Bea when someone asks, for the tenth time, “Are you going to let your son eat/watch/play/do that?” 

Why is it that relatives who eat healthy offer to cook whatever weird food they like, full of spices I’ve never heard of, and vegetables with hair, and insist I’ll enjoy it “because it’s good for me”. So I’ll eat the veggie burgers and candied asparagus because I’m polite. And fortunately, January means no more brunches, lunches, dinners, parties, cookie exchanges, and, in my case, a visit from Insulin Claus, so I can go back to my bacon covered tater-tot waffles. 

Let’s not forget the people who want to get up at 6am on a holiday to run a 5K. These are people you need to know about before you marry into them; a no-fun-run pre-nup! I can’t remember the last time I Googled restaurants, job sites, or retail stores, that I didn’t include “within 10 miles” in the filter. I won’t even drive 26.2 miles.

In any case, this year I decided to play “Family Bingo” with my favorite brother to make things more interesting. Here are some ideas if you are looking forward to the quiet of January, and the long dark days until Texas assumes my preferred surface-of-the-sun weather. 

Get yourself a 5×5 grid and add all the things you are most likely to experience—funny or annoying—when your family is gathered. The person with the most bingos doesn’t have to host the holidays next year. It’s only fair, right? 

Some of these classics will require a dabber at my house, and perhaps yours as well. 

  • “Are you going to let your son eat/watch/play/do that?” (I mention twice because it gets a full row of squares.)
  • “Did I tell you how much is in my 401K?” 
  • Family member starting home business, brings
    samples, and/or needs “associates.”
  • “Whatever happened to [name of person you broke up with]?”
  • “Your hair has gotten a lot grayer since I saw you last.”
  • Argument from ten years ago re-starts during meal
    or board game. 
  • “Have you lost/gained weight?” 
  • “You still haven’t found a job?”
  • Argument about masks and/or vaccine status. 
  • “Haven’t you had enough [alcohol, TV, food, screen time] already?” 
  • “When are you going to settle down / give me
    grandchildren?”
  • Child calls out adult for saying bad word. 
  • “Well that’s nothing; let me tell you about the time I…”
  • “Remember that time you snuck out of the house…”
  • Strict avoidance of any words / topics that will prompt the 100th telling of a story. 
  • “Who stole the remote?”
  • Story re-told for the 100th time anyway. 
  • New partner / spouse insists the pets be put outside or in a locked room.
  • “It’s all because the [Democrats / Republicans] didn’t do something about it.” 
  • CENTER SPACE: Hugs and kisses and exclamations that we need to not wait for Thanksgiving to do this again! 

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