Jim and Mike are proud guncles of nephews, nieces, younger cousins and furry cats and they’re here to answer your life questions each month, big and small.
Separated During the Holigays
Q: Dear Guncles,
This year I can’t fly home and visit family for the holidays and celebrate Christmas traditions with them like decorating the tree, baking my grandma’s famous holiday sugar cookies, and riding Aunt Beth’s mule (don’t ask, it’s a Three Wise Men traveling tradition in our family). I think I’m going to go stir crazy in my studio apartment here in West Hollywood where even the gay bars are closed. Getting the Covid Holiday Blues. What can I do? — Alone for the Holigays
A: Dear Alone For The Holigays,
This year does suck. But even though most of us are apart, there are certain activities we can do together — albeit virtually.
This gives you the opportunity to create new and more inclusive traditions with your family. Right now there are many services that have popped up that ship you and your far-flung family members kits to do activities together like decorating gingerbread houses, learning to bake bread, and even mixing holiday cocktails (which Dear Guncles is doing this year for the first time).
This also gives you the opportunity to include relatives and even close family friends who normally wouldn’t be part of your celebrations in the past. Now that you can do these via video, more can take part in them (except for Aunt Beth’s mule).
Q: My wife wants to hang gaudy personal ornaments on the tree like the angel she made from popsicle sticks during the 3rd grade. I think a decorated tree should look like a Pottery Barn catalogue ad brimming with tinsel, ribbons and gold and silver ornaments. How do I convince her to keep her ornaments in a box in the attic? — Mrs. Bristle Cones
A: Dear Mrs. Bristle Cones,
Dear Guncles are definitely a big proponent of gorgeous trees. We spend hours decorating ours to look lush. However, we do add a personal touch with some “older” ornaments.
What we have found out that works is to put a few of the personal — can we say uglier? — ornaments on the tree but near the back where they aren’t seen.
The other compromise is to have two trees. One big fully decorated tree that could be used for selfies on Instagram and then having a second smaller 2-3 foot one where you can hang all the personal ornaments and put that next to the big tree (or maybe behind it). May that keep you in marital bliss.
Q: Our grinchy neighbor keeps blowing his driveway snow onto our lawn. Since it technically is his snow, can I dump it all back onto his side (although I only have a shovel and have a bad back)? — Snowflake
A: Dear Snowflake,
Although shoveling it all back may feel righteous, the best way is to have a conversation with your neighbor. Yes, the old fashioned knocking on the door or calling over the phone to explain how it gives you more work and inconveniences you is the best. He may not even know he’s doing it.
In extreme situations, we’ve seen people pee the words of disapproval on their neighbors side snow bank (they must drink a lot of water) which we don’t recommend either. Again, talk in person.