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Go Ask Aunt Becky


Anyone scouring my archives will note that this is a rerun of perhaps my first (?) Go Ask Aunt Becky column, which I am lazily reposting since probably 2 of you have read it before.


Dear Aunt Becky,

Is it trashy to hang your child’s art work (one construction paper size piece from each child) on the storm door?

Oh, Gentle Reader, if only you knew how many nights I stayed awake, soaking the pages of the newest Pottery Barn catalog with my drool, dreaming, just dreaming of the days when my sofa might match the drapes and I might be able to use my coffee table for more than a toddler-jumping-off platform (it is also used, I want to add, as a bed for Auggie. Which, I know. Huh?). I fantasize about the days when I will have end-table books and breakable hurricane lamps on my dining room table.

Truth be told, I fantasize about being a size 4, too, and, well, yeah.

I’m no (insert home style star here) and if I had to describe my house, it would be kid chic, complete with a side of dog and cat fur! So I may not be the best person to ask this question to, but I will try to answer you proud.

Providing that you’re not trying to score a centerfold spread in Architectural Digest or act like you live in a house that has no kids, I say why not? Providing, of course, that the drawings aren’t of anything graphic (OR DECIPHERABLE if so) and/or containing: penises, vaginas, butts, poop, or people in various stages of killing each other.

Unless, of course, you’re trying to scare off potential door-to-door salespeople or people who want to tell you about how God Can Save YOU. Then, I would be as graphic and foul as possible.

If it’s cute and it makes you happy to look at and you don’t mind telling the world that you have kids, I’d say go for it.


I have a family member who gives Mister and I, and our children, things we really don’t need. (Or want) This person is a semi-compulsive shopper in recovery, and I think a lot of her “gifting” is actually “cleaning off a shelf.” I’ve tried to hint that we really don’t need these things, without sounding like an ungrateful bitch.

What really makes me feel bad is that she takes the time to wrap them, and pays good money to ship them across four states. Is it rude to say, “Let’s just exchange one gift per person this Christmas.” Which would be code for, “Please don’t pay Fed Ex to ship me a(nother) salad spinner, a shoe shining kit, a pair of socks with cats on them, and a flashlight, wrapped in red and green paper.” (Ugly! Hateful!) Help!

Now this, my dear friend is a tricky question.

First, I would probably thank her for her generosity (on, at least, the phone, if not in person. Email can be tricky because tone cannot be interpreted) as kindly as possible, because, well, that’s polite. Then, as she’s ‘you’re welcoming you,’ I’d throw in a really, really, really sweet sounding “you really don’t have to go to all the trouble!”

I would probably leave it at that so as not to offend her.

If she persists (getting rid of some of this stuff may be sort of a gift in and of itself to her, because perhaps it makes her feel as though she’s really sending the stuff to a good home) sending gifts, I would donate them to charity.

Because I understand that you need another whimsical Santa-head oven mitt like you need a hole in your head.

Trust me.


Hey Aunt Becky,

Since you’re such a people person, what thoughts do you have on avoiding relatives who plan on sleeping (and yelling) at your house for a week during Christmas WITHOUT actually telling them to their face how much you can’t stand them?

No this is not early, they just ordered their plane tickets on the internet, and I do not have the money to send my family of five flying in the opposite direction.


“In the Middle” (Thanks, I’ve always wanted to use a corny pseudonym.)

ps. Something is messed up on the sight right under “ask”.

First, corny pseudonyms are drastically underused today, Aunt Becky agrees*.

If being honest about this is out of the question and straight up mentioning (or having your spouse say) that having a houseful of guests isn’t feasible, I would go with one of the following options:

Option 1: I would do whatever (and I MEAN whatever) I could to make sure that they stayed in a hotel. Your sanity is worth a hell of a lot, and if you’re dreading Christmas already (SO been there), then maybe you can find a cheap rate for a nearby hotel. You could GRACEFULLY, tactfully insist that they stay here, as your gift to either them, or to you.

Option 2: Depending on your relationship with them, if it were good enough, I might ask at some point (in my stupidest, I don’t know anything tone) “Oh! Where are you staying!? I hear there are some AWESOME rates at (name local hotel). Want their number?” Be forceful, stupid sounding and gentle at the same time.

Option 3: Convince your family that you have some horrible communicable disease like rabies and they cannot possibly be exposed! O! The humanity!

Option 4: Call your doctor and get a prescription for Xanax and spend your holidays living on a fluffy, pink cloud where you won’t care that everyone is yelling at you.

Option 5: Call your liquor store and get a case of (insert your drink of choice) and spend your holidays living on a fluffy, pink cloud where you won’t care that everyone is yelling at you.

Option 6: Move out for that week. Fake a work trip, a separation, whatever, and get the hell out of there.

Option 7: Praise Sweet Merciful Baby Jesus that your family doesn’t live closer and try and grin and bear it. Then say a prayer thanking Sweet Baby Jesus that the holidays only come once a year.

Now, none of these options excludes the other, so if you like a little from Column A and a little of Beaker B, feel free to mix them up.

I wish you good luck, my friend. Good luck indeed.


As always, should you have a burning question for Aunt Becky other than “How does anyone stand you?” please go up to the top of the page and click on the “Go Ask Aunt Becky” page. You can freely send me questions, compliments and marriage proposals which I do answer every Sunday.

And, Pranksters, please feel free to fill in where I left off in the comments.

posted under Go Ask Aunt Becky
19 Comments to

“Go Ask Aunt Becky”

  1. On August 29th, 2010 at 2:58 am Opto-Mom Says:

    Lots of sound advice here. I had a relative that loved hummingbirds, so for every Christmas, birthday, Easter, and Groundhog Day, I would be the recipient of a little ceramic hummingbird figurine. Perhaps she thought there was not enough hummingbird paraphenalia in my home. Maybe she wanted to feel more at home when she came to visit. I don’t know, but I got sick of effin’ hummingbirds! Sold a big bunch of them at a garage sale to another apparent hummingbird afficionado. Passing on the love, baby!

  2. On August 29th, 2010 at 9:50 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I love it when you get pegged as an “x lover” and always get “x presents.” Even though you don’t care at ALL for “x.”

    Wow, that sounded all like elusive and stuff, but you know what I mean.

  3. On August 29th, 2010 at 6:21 am Jersey Girl Gets Real Says:

    The first question really spoke to me. I too wish my house looked like a page out of Pottery Barn or even Martha Stewart magazine but then I go to my friend’s house. She has one kid who is allergic to his own life. Her furniture is white. Her house is spotless. Her husband is prettier then any woman I know and she is so thin from not eating that I could use her as a toothpick. Sorry, I’d rather be “trashy” with well adjusted kids then have a house that looks like it is out of a store catalogue.

  4. On August 29th, 2010 at 9:49 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Abso-fucking-LUTELY. I have ahead of me where I can pretend that I’m living in a catalog. These are not those years.

  5. On August 29th, 2010 at 6:42 am Maria Says:

    My house is like a page out of the pottery barn kids catalogue, complete with clean and beaming children…*snort* ok, I couldn’t keep a straight face!

    Just be careful if your child’s art is something you re really proud of…take a pic or scan it first because the sun may well fade it, turn the paper yellow etc.

    #2, my husband buys me wine when his parents come to visit…much easier to take them after a few glasses.

  6. On August 29th, 2010 at 8:37 am F. Haataja Says:

    Just like viruses, however, salespeople and door-to-door evangelists mutate to stave off things that would have otherwise repelled them. A piece of construction paper lined with penises and featuring a graphic murder scene might not turn them away anymore; in fact, the “wrong” crowd might find your house even more inviting.

  7. On August 29th, 2010 at 12:35 pm cagey Says:

    Awesome. The other day, I just posted a snap of the beautiful artwork my budding pair of Picasso-wannabes had carefully crafted with glue sticks, construction paper and love. Lotsa love. And the artwork was proudly displayed on our storm door.

    But hey, I live in Kansas. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

  8. On August 29th, 2010 at 5:54 pm andygirl Says:

    your sofa doesn’t match the drapes? *gasp* scandalous. wait, that’s not how that saying goes, is it? I can never get these things right.

    I have no good advice today. for the receiver of junky gifts, you must be related to my mother. you know how I got those to stop? I cut ties with my mother. of course (cough) that’s not *why* I cut ties. but it was a nice bonus. and then I sold off all the crap in a fantastic garage sale and made 200 smackers. but one day my mom will die and I’ll be forced to enter her house with its mounds of crap. actually, I think I’ll just hire a bulldozer.

  9. On August 29th, 2010 at 7:07 pm Andra Says:

    Crap. The only thing the furniture in our house has in common, is the gobs of cat hair that seem to fall out of my cats at random. And we dont have kids at present. I am extremely jealous of the people that get to put up the pictures their kids make, things they glue together… Hang it up wherever you like. Proudly show it off. Enjoy every single picture!

    Junky gifts? I would trade anything to get rid rid of this freaking nasty dragon end table my Mother was so proud to find for me one Christmas. If she didnt go on about what a great deal she got, every single year, I would blast it with a shotgun…. It lives in a closet, hidden from sight except for when she visits…

  10. On August 29th, 2010 at 8:00 pm Rob Says:

    I like your advice column/thing.

    I am intrigued about your section with your artwork display rules. That rules about, no drawings of embarrassing parts and no art about poop, come before the rule of [no depictions of people killing other people].

    But I don’t live with kids daily. It’s probably how it goes: 1) keep the kids from being potty mouths + having potty minds, then we will worry about the kids’ fascination about killing. 🙂

    Good Day, Rob

  11. On August 29th, 2010 at 8:08 pm Rob Says:

    I like your advice column/thing.
    I am intrigued with your rule about what is appropriate in children’s art. Namely, That, [don’t let kids draw poop or embarrassing body parts] comes before the rule, [no pictures of killings].

    But, that’s probably life with kids, isn’t it? First worry about the drawings of poops + other nasty things, then we’ll worrry about the killings. 🙂

    Good Day, Rob

  12. On August 29th, 2010 at 8:11 pm voni Says:

    A timely regifting sends a nice message. But considering the fact that I have been given the “amazing designer shorts I found in a size 4, will they fit you?” (NO!), July sale purchase for Christmas, I find donating the gift or tossing it easier. I now suggest gifts to charity, which allows the cheap/tacky gifters to give exactly what they really want to give, nothing. And it’s always nice to donate to Jewish charities in your devout Christian relative’s name, just for fun!

  13. On August 29th, 2010 at 8:11 pm Rob Says:

    Arrrrg! I’m a Doofus!

    Sorry about the double post!

    My computer is slower than a mess of snails! It never connects to the web in a timely fashion. [silly technology].

    Have a Good day, Rob

  14. On August 29th, 2010 at 9:14 pm Chris Says:

    Aunt Becky, you live in my house? Kid chic with a side order of cat hair and reptiles that somehow refuse to stay in their respective tanks is how I rock it. My couch and curtains do match, but getting my three kids to even though I have yelled at them repeatedly has made them kind of spotty. I’m pretty sure I scream for my health and not their benefit.

    Sidenote to Andygirl, just burn it down. That is what my hubby and I plan to do to his parent’s houseful of carp when they kick the bucket (sweet merciful baby jesus let it be sooner rather than later. They are a burr on the butt of humanity). Then you can gleefully make smores with your kids while all the stuff you didn’t want to sort out anyway burns to the ground.

    My fridge, storm door, corkboard, children’s doors, etc are all covered with artwork from my budding picassos. If someone doesn’t like it, the h*ll with them. We put it up for a while, I take a picture of them with their artwork for their scrapbook, then we toss it. That way, we (somewhat) control the avalanche of paper that threatens to cover our house.

  15. On August 29th, 2010 at 10:46 pm Alyssa Says:

    I have to go back and find the one where someone asks you what to do about the clothes someone keeps buying for her baby that have slutty sayings on them!

  16. On August 29th, 2010 at 11:11 pm Sandra Says:

    See, I think artwork containing poop, vagina, and especially penis would go over very well in my house of four kids. We’re all about the potty language around here and having it hanging on the walls would add to our camaraderie as a family….PS: You’re so funny! I loved this post~

  17. On August 30th, 2010 at 12:07 am Vodka and Ground Beef Says:

    I love your blog (obviously) and the fact that you like encased meats. We might be related. Hope you’re ok with that.

  18. On August 30th, 2010 at 5:38 am Ellie Says:

    Totally stash the crap and garage sale it. Genius.

  19. On August 30th, 2010 at 8:42 am aubrey Says:

    LMAO at the first question and your response. My son at 3 was completely fascinated with his “member” and drew them on everything! He asked if every guy we walked by had one, it was fun! lol. Well he decided to draw our whole family in life size likeness on my living room wall. Complete with penis’ Thankfully they were stick people with squares between their legs so noone really knew what they were, unless Nick was around cause then he was proud to show off his art work! Even when I painted they showed through. I wonder how the new owners got them off the walls….

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