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Holiday Traditions

January 7, 2010

Our holiday traditions are few, and kind of boring in comparison to those of some other families we know, but they are ours and we love them!

The most spectacular and beloved tradition of our Christmas holiday is also our newest tradition, which I mentioned previously.  The giant tree.  Every year, Big Papa and The Bros go hunting on a friend’s property Up North.  (SIDE NOTE: If you don’t live in Michigan, anything north of  the middle of the “mitten” is referred to as “Up North.”  We also “Say Yah to Da U.P.”  It’s best to know the colloquialisms, lest thou come to visit and make a fool of yourself wearing close-toed shoes and a jacket before November 1st.)

Anyhoo… when all the boys are up huntin’ and the womenfolk are home cleanin’, cookin’ and pinin’ for the return of our menfolk (i.e.: “Deer Widows Weekend” at the outlet mall or a shoe sale at Macy’s) the fellas are also searching for the perfect tree.  They actually chop the top off of a giant pine now because the first year, they brought the bottom half home and it was a bit like the scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark snips the rope and tree branches bust through windows and poke holes in the walls.  Just a bit too much tree for our taste. 

I take ownership of the tree each year, and it’s one of my favorite things to do each year. I get out the 12-foot ladder and spend 5 or 6 hours stringing lights, garland and ribbon, then adding ornaments in their proper ratio. All the while, my mom walks around under the ladder handing me ornaments, telling me where to fix gaps in the lights, and vacuuming up needles as they fall. We’ve got a very good system.

Here is this year’s 15-foot tree again:

Christmas 2009_0030

On Christmas eve, we usually watch one installment of a favorite movie trilogy. This year was no exception, and included a family classic tradition:

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It was followed by endless discussion of the Star Wars backstory (my nerd-alert brothers have like 60 of the Star Wars books and they walk around talking about the Yousenvong and Darth Sidious) and a lot of quoting (“That’s not impossible. I used to bullseye Womprats with my T-16 back home, and they’re no bigger than 2 meters.”)

I love our dorky family.

On Christmas morning, we have never ever been allowed to start opening presents until everyone is accounted for and ready to go. But, mom always had our stockings laid out and we were allowed to dig through those to figure out which one belonged to whom, then play around with whatever we got in the stocking.

This year’s stockings looked like this:

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Another cute thing my mom does to make the holiday special is spend lots of time wrapping gifts and putting random clues about the contents on the tag. She’s the queen of puns, so she puts silly things on the tag and then waits for you to open the gift and realize what the clue actually meant. It’s pretty cute and she loves doing it. And my brothers have actually taken to doing the same thing with the gifts they give. I just never got the hang of it and I can’t come up with anything good. I have very boring tags.

She also spends lots of time making interesting ribbon creations on each box. This year she and I tag teamed a TON of boxes in one night, with me wrapping and her adding ribbons and tags. She didn’t get inspired to do many good ribbons this year because I went too fast and we were watching a movie while we wrapped (distractions!) But she did a couple cool ones…

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Looks like one didn’t make it this year…

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Then one person is picked to be Santa that year. They go to the tree and pick one gift for each person, distribute them, and we each open them in turn. Then we lather, rinse, repeat until all the presents are open. It’s a good system, but it also makes it painfully clear each year who got the most presents. Usually my youngest brother. He’s completely spoiled.

Christmas 2009_0089

I made a delicious breakfast, then we proceeded to waste an hour watching a very disgusting and crass Star Wars themed episode of Family Guy. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing “Something, Something, Dark Side” unless you’re prepared for a preponderence of f-bombs and a lot of disgusting humor. But I can’t lie… I did laugh really hard at a few parts.

A couple of the other traditions we’ve abandoned in our old age/new house:

  • The 3 siblings sleeping together on Christmas Eve so we can all wake up together and pounce on Mom & Dad at 6:00 am (might be a scoche inappropriate now that we’re all adults).
  • Climbing in bed with Mom and Dad to read the Christmas story before heading down to open presents.
  • The two trees we used to have in our old house. We had a beautiful tree decorated in all white for the front room window, and the family tree in the back room covered in our old handmade ornaments and colored lights. I miss that tree every year.
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