‘Tis the season for tradition. From November through the first of the year, the days and weeks are teeming with customs, some handed down for centuries. I truly enjoy spending even more time with my family, but I’m not big on too many traditions. And definitely not traditional traditions. I like to keep things interesting and I’m always looking up new ways to make an old tradition different or better.
Back before my Papa passed away, the Glenn side of the family decided to start celebrating Festivus. Oh, we still celebrated Christmas, but we decided to make our family holiday gathering one that was a little more off the beaten path. One year all of the food we brought to the potluck had to be in the shape of a ball or, at the very least, round. There were a lot of meatballs that year. Along with the traditional Festivus “Feats of Strength” and “Airing of Grievances,” we also decided to exchange tacky gifts. Among the gifts given was a framed picture of George W. Bush (we’re a family of mostly Democrats), a pair of thong underwear made entirely out of candy necklaces (my husband received that one), a knock-off Snuggie (it was really just a bathrobe from Friendship House with instructions to wear it backwards), a set of Christmas tree ornament angels made out of tampons (still on my tree to this day), lots of thrift store finds, and some fine, borderline offensive handicrafts. We always laughed – some of us until we made weird noises (cough, cough, Keith) and it was always memorable. We don’t get together for it anymore, but the Festivus Pole is still in my closet in case we ever do.
Christmas Eve at our house is something my kids start talking about in October. Every year they each get to request their favorite food to be served. There is always queso. Always cake balls. And always bacon involved somewhere. Everyone wears their comfiest pajamas and we break out the old Super Nintendo (the one that’s so old you have to hold your tongue just right to get the cartridge to play – and sometimes you have to blow into the cartridge for good measure) and play Super Mario World and Mario Kart. There is usually some kind of beatdown involving “Guitar Hero” on the Wii and the kids entertain Paul and me with their fabulous dance moves playing “Just Dance.” Sometimes we play cards or board games. And the evening always ends with us watching William Wegman’s Weimaraners in “Fay’s 12 Days of Christmas.” (Look it up on the internet – you will not be disappointed.) We all look forward to our weird, untraditional evening every year. It’s a very relaxed and hysterical and I soak up every single moment of it from start to finish.
I know the time is coming all too soon that the kids will create their own traditions with their own kids at their own homes. Maybe it will involve watching “The Polar Express” and leaving treats for Santa. Maybe it will involve board games and making fudge. Maybe they’ll go out for Chinese. Whatever it is they decide to do or create with their own kids, I hope they remember to enjoy it. It is all too fleeting.
And when that time comes, Paul and I will enjoy that evening home, our new tradition in place. Probably me watching “White Christmas” and crying when they sing for the General in the final scene and him sleeping in his recliner because he “doesn’t get why they have to dance and sing all the dang time.” But we’ll remember the times we spent trying to convince that old Nintendo to work “just one more year” and how there was always, always laughter and love. And bacon.
Born a semi-diva and married to a redneck, through the magic of osmosis or just because of a serious lack of sophistication over the years, Kristin Hoover has found a balance of the two that makes her what she is today.