I’ll keep it brief because I know you want to go back to your regular eating&sleeping schedule.
For a Persian with immigrant parents, the holidays are not as festive or as merry as they are for sefeeds (white people). Sure, it’s a time to relax, sleep in, and do nothing, but it is also a time where I find myself held captive in a small space with a few other deranged psychos. (it’s all love, I swear).
Holidays with the Crazies, are very similar to Vacation with the Crazies (click for laughs), but there’s one important difference: There’s a huge pressure on this time of year to enjoy your family’s company, and to be around them more than any other time. And look, I get it– I love my family, I don’t have a second family to run away to, but when it comes to being around each other for more than 2 hours– well, that’s when our crazy starts to show. Growing up, I wished for a picturesque Holiday season, but I soon realized NOPE, WE’RE NOT WHITE–WE’RE DIFFERENT.
We don’t roast chestnuts over an open fire, we roast each other. And we don’t stop until somebody yells or cries.
For my Father, the Holiday season is a great time for an Annual Review of his Employees (a.k.a his children).
One year, my dad told my brother and me to make a list of what we thought we did wrong in the past year, how we could improve and what our New Year’s goals were. I was 15, my brother was 10. Then we proceeded to write ‘Our Resolution Plan’ on a huge poster board, in bullet-point format, and post it in the hallway outside our rooms.
Accountability was my dad’s Xmas gift to us that year.
Other years, we’d spend the weekend in NYC– walking minimum 65 blocks a day while our noses froze because that was my Dad’s idea of ‘having fun in the city’.
For the rest of the family, it’s a time to let the DRAMA flow. My mom is always prepping for some holiday mehmooni, and yelling at us to not touch the food before the party starts: “DAST NAZAN, BARA MEHMOONEH!” (Don’t touch, its for the guests!) Did my mom not get the memo that holidays means ‘Saaghi devours everything in sight’?
Last year during this time of year, I was lucky enough to have my grandparents (the set that have never been to America) visit — straight from Isfahan. And this made the Holidays that much more lovely. Why?
Because not only was it Welcome to America, it was Welcome to Las Vegas.
My grandparents from Isfahan are pretty conservative, and the first day in Las Vegas- they complained about the smoke and lights giving them headaches. So for the rest of the trip they mostly stayed in their hotel room.
Even for meals, they wouldn’t eat in restaurants. They wrapped up some bread and cheese from breakfast, and would snack on that for the rest of the day… in their room. My dad pleaded and begged to take them out– at least, for the Bellagio Fountain Show!– they would refuse. So my dad used my brother and me as a pawn.
“They can’t say no to their grandkids“
So then it became my brother and me’s job to keep them entertained in Las Vegas, in the midst of nightclubs and gambling. That meant one thing and one thing only:
I took them to almost every mall, and it went pretty smoothly until we hit Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale. My grandpa saw the sign “Sale” and walked in. I went in after him, bringing in my grandma on her wheelchair. My intention was to bring him out, but it turned out they had some shopping to do.
My grandma asked me to wheel her around the store, as she held up different types of underwear (thong, boyshort, hipster, etc) and asked me how much each one was. My grandpa, on the other hand, was closely examining the bras- asking me “What kind of fabric is this?” (in a very thick isfahani accent)
By the time they both eyed the Sexy Little Santa lingerie, I had already melted into a big pool of humiliation.
My grandpa touched the fabric, and my grandma commented that ‘People in America wear such weird things’..
And with that, we made our exit.
I wouldn’t know how to explain Santa Claus to my Isfahani grandparents, let alone who his Sexy Little Helper is.
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love the holi-divoonehs,