Christmas is a time full of traditions. Some honor the memory of family past, some have evolved with the times, and some are downright bizarre.
This is where I come in.
- The Christmas Eve Shopping Adventure. My father and I inevitably forget to buy something–whether it be a proper gift or stocking stuffers. So we venture out into the scarred warzone that is the local mall and hunt down what we need. We always come back victorious, and with a story to tell. My favorite is when we went out to buy my mother some clothes, because that’s what she wanted for Christmas. Okay, fine. I pick out a lovely pair of brown pants, to which my father says no, because “she doesn’t have anything to wear with it.” This is a man who has paired plaid and polka dot, so I don’t know where the hell that came from. Anyway, he picked out a pair of black pants, because “she already has black pants, so she has stuff to wear with them.” Okay, but if she has black pants, shouldn’t I get her the brown pants, since she doesn’t have those?” We went back and forth on this, with me standing in the middle of the store literally yelling “BROWN PAAANTS” at him.
- Christmas Eve in the city. My aunt Brenda and uncle Louie host Christmas Eve. This involves making fun of the bubble lights on their tree and being terrified of their motion-activated singing-and-dancing figures that are a million years old and have been dying slowly and painfully for the last decade. Nothing quite like walking past a seemingly innocent snowman and having it demand you “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” at you in a tinny screech full of demonic rage.
- PRESENT TIME!! Where all of the kids rip into their presents while the adults all trade lottery scratchers and alternatively berate the giver for giving them terrible scratchers or bragging about how much they won. Yes. We turn gift-giving into a competition. This does handily lead into…
- The Amazing Traveling Christmas Card. My cousin Joseph does this thing where he buys one generic Christmas card, gives it to people, and then asks for it back to give to someone else. He claims it’s because he’s poor. It is actually because he is an asshole.
- Christmas in the Country. My cousin Nicole lives outside of the city, in a place where deer and foxes are common sightings in her (massive) backyard. As a city-dweller whose idea of nature is pigeons, rats, and the occasional raccoon, this automatically means “country Christmas.” It usually involves us ignoring the nicely-decorated dining room and hanging out around her kitchen island. This displeases her, to say the least. We are not fazed by this, as most things displease her.
- “What do we make for Christmas dinner?” We can never actually remember. At this point, the tradition is trying to recall what the hell we did last year. Best my mother offers to that conversation is, “Well, there was that year where I brought all those salad dressings. Everyone liked that.”
The connecting tradition, however, is family. Because that’s what Christmas is all about, at least to me. No matter how crazy they drive me (and believe me… they do), I love them. I cherish them.
And I’m stuck with them.