Every family has its own set of time honored Christmas traditions and rituals (if they are fortunate enough not to have the holiday cancelled by an over-zealous matriarch) that are performed year-after-year. It’s what keeps college students coming home, and if the traditions are particularly fun/amusing/special, individuals will attempt to share these with people outside the family circle.
“Girl…you should come to my house for Christmas,” a friend may say. “My grandfather gets drunk and sings Christmas carols butt naked!”
Okay, so this may not constitute as “fun”, but it surely is amusing….and it does happen. One Christmas, my grandfather got stark raving blitzed, shed all his clothes and stood in the hallway commanding everyone to look at him! – I was 7 or 8.
Being a “semi immigrant”, I have spent Christmases with numerous friends’ families. In the best cases, there is sliced pie and hot coffee by the fire with pleasant conversation; in the worst, some overbearing father/uncle/cousin transforms an otherwise respectable discussion into an all-out verbal combat where someone’s feelings get hurt. That ‘someone’ is generally me, seeing as I rarely back down in the face of tyranny and can be equally ascorbic in my retort – And that won’t do, will it? It’s Christmas after all!
That being said, this Christmas I have decided that I will share Christmas this year with MY immediate family in Columbus, OH, where the biggest argument we have looks something like this:
“Who made the daiquiris?”
“CJ. She always makes the daiquiris.”
“Ain’t enough rum in it.”
The speaker holds up a paper cup for emphasis.
“Dag,” says CJ. “I’ll put some more rum in it…But aren’t you driving/breastfeeding/have to give a dissertation tomorrow?”
“Yeah…but that’s tomorrow! I need some more rum in my drink tonight!”
The rum is provided and the ‘argument’ is over.
Christmas eve is always spent at my cousin Sue’s house these days. After a hearty meal of Cheetos, some pecan and white sugar cookie thingies, and chicken wings, we all gather around the Wii and take turns playing whatever games the kids have procured during the year. After giving the secret signal (a wink or a nod), the weed smokers will file out in 2 minute increments and disappear one by one to their designated smoking place. The rest of us will pretend we have no clue where the 3 or 4 of them have run off to.
“Must be in the bathroom,” someone will mutter if asked by an elder member of the family.
Gift giving is haphazard and disorganized. If you don’t show up for Christmas Eve, you may or may not get your gift. My Uncle Gary keeps a staple of Victoria Secret lotions and soaps on hand for all the ladies, and since all the guys smoke, I assume he gives them some sort of paraphernalia – I don’t know. I’ve never seen what he gives the guys. Slugger hands everyone a Target gift card with your name on it, signed just after you walk in the door. If you don’t show up, you get no gift!
I’ve been to exceptionally well-planned Christmas parties with high end decorations and fancy china and crystal glass bowls…but there is no cheer. Or if there is cheer, it’s forced. Sucks big time.
Forget all the fancy presents that you may or may not have under the tree this year. The economy is crap for everyone – don’t get depressed! My grandfather died over 20 years ago, but go ahead and take a cue from his lead. Get drunk, get naked, get loose, and have a Merry Christmas!