« some rambling thoughts about santa | Main | s-s-s-s-saturday night »


Someone just emailed, regarding the post below, and asked about our Christmas traditions. I assume he means traditional traditions, as opposed to watching movies about psychotic Santas. I wrote about this previously, but there's no time like now for a repeat, as I'm getting my ass kicked by work today. Below, my musings on our holiday traditions, as seen on DPITMF, written circa 2001.
November is here and the holiday season is rolling in. Some of my neighbors are already hanging their Christmas lights. One neighbor saved himself some time and put the inflatable snowman up right next to the inflatbale pumpkin in October. I was talking with the kids about holiday traditions. DJ had to write a little essay for school about families and holidays and the things they do each year that make the holidays so special, those moments that you look back upon when you are old and gray and sitting in the nursing home while your kids try to jar your memory. Most memorable holidays is the topic for DJ's essay. We're in the car, me, Natalie and DJ and as we talk and I drive the memories start rolling in. Natalie asks, "What was my first Christmas like?" "You had pnuemonia," I tell her. "You were wearing a green velvet dress and your fever was so high that your face was all red and you looked just like a Christmas decoration!" DJ says, "What about my first Christmas?" "You had the croup," I tell him. "I put a bow on your nebulizer and told you it was a special treat from Santa." "Hey, mom," Natalie says. "Remember that New Year's Eve when we were both sick?" How could I forget? We both had sinus infections. We spent three hours in the waiting room of the doctor's office, got our prescriptions, went home, pretended it was midnight at 7pm and went to bed. "Don't forget," she adds, "that New Year's Eve when you were pregnant with DJ and we were home alone cause Dad went out and the toilet overflowed and you were hysterical crying." "How the hell do you remember that? You were barely three!" "I remember everything. You know that." "I wish you would forget sometimes." And then, Natalie runs down the litanny of holiday catastrophes, big and small. Remember when......... Poppy punched dad out on Thanksgiving? That Mother's Day when I almost got ran over by the Peapod truck on the lawn? That St. Patrick's Day when you called poison control 'cause I peed green and it turned out that Grandma put green food coloring all over my dinner? The Fourth of July when I had chicken pox? The Fourth of July when DJ had to go the hospital for the ear infection? Remember when you were really sick and dad forgot your birthday? That Halloween when DJ choked on the cake and you like totally froze and someone else had to help him? That Christmas that you spent in your room crying? That big party for some holiday when we lost DJ and the neighbor found him around the corner and he was like two years old?
I stop her at this point. "That's quite a memory you have there," I say. She beams. "I know. I remember every single thing in great detail!" "Really?" I say. "What happened to your retainer?" "Umm...I don't know." "Did you bring your drumsticks to school today?" "Uh..no, I forgot." "What's the capital of Turkey?" "Ok, mom, I get the point." That night, DJ finally gets his essay written. It goes something like this:
Every Christmas Eve we go to my aunt's house. All the kids make a huge mess and lot of noise and we eat until the grownups say how full they are and they are going to puke, but then my aunt brings out dessert and everyone keeps eating. Then the grownups start drinking and we all exchange presents and the grownups act like idiots while the kids mess up the house some more. Then my poppy takes out the video camera and tapes everyone doing embarassing things and then the babies start crying so everyone leaves. It's the most fun day of the year.
Eating, drinking, puking, acting like idiots. The basis for all family holiday traditions around here.


So wouldn't a self proclaimed "zombie expert" have played Half Life 2? Yet I have never seen it's excellence mentioned on this site.

Gravity gun > zombies

Am I off topic? I'm not trying to challence your zombie authority or anything I'm just saying that HL2 is good enough for its own seperate post.

"Eating, drinking, puking, acting like idiots. The basis for all family holiday traditions around here."

I'm beginning to think that no one has normal holidays anymore. It was all just this thing that happened one year in the 50's after WWII; everyone had a perfect Christmas. It's just been passed down by old people and marketing strategies so effectively that we all assume that most Christmases are like the ones in old movies. When, in reality, most people spend the holidays throwing up bile and cheap gin in the alleyway outside the only bar in town that won't kick us out on sight.

Maybe that is normal and all the perfect Christmas stories you hear are just idealized, tv made versions of what really goes on.

My 5 year old asked me to come in to his class like some of the other parents have to talk about family holiday traditions, which got me thinking about it, but we don't really have any good ones. We do have a bit of fun with the noradsanta.org website every year, but I'm not sure how much longer he's going to buy into the spirit of it - the CGI of The Incredibles is a whole lot more realistic than the government's. I'm going anyway to read a story to the K/1 class and talk about noradsanta. After our experience this year on a Lunch with Santa train ride, I'm thinking that could become a tradition - eat lots of junk food, ride on a steam locomotive, hang out with the fat guy without the mall crowds. I think the chestnuts roasting/carol singing/happy-happy-joy-joy families are the ones with issues anyway. The white trash gun shop owner in a Tuna Christmas has it right ("Chipmunks roasting on an open fire, hot sauce dripping from their toes...")

Best. Essay. Ever. Your kids never cease to amaze me.
Glad to see that someone else celebrates like we do.

My father-in-law, myself, and most recently my son have all had to deal with failed water heaters for rental units on Christmas. Not every year, and in most cases for the rental unit of a live-in multifamily structure, but it is rather a tradition.