the magic of christmas

Friday, December 26, 2008

This Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day... you gave it away.

No. What I was going to say is: this Christmas, I've been thinking about traditions a lot. This was our first married Christmas, so I felt an obligation to either officially start new traditions or officially adopt the traditions of my youth as our own. Or both? Coming up with new traditions is tough, it turns out. And even if I came up with new ones, they'd never be as awesome (cough:weird:cough) as the traditions of my youth. To wit:

1. Ugly ornaments
It started with a handmade felt ornament in the shape of Texas, grew to include such classics as "Squirrel Birthing A Leaf" and "Six Pound Cheesecake" and hit an all-new low this year with "Blown-Glass Hawaiian Shirt." A few years ago, the ornaments earned themselves their own ugly tree: lavender with pink flamingo lights. It has reportedly become a bit of a neighborhood spectacle for my parents, with mere acquaintances scouring the local handicraft booths looking for the most dreadful and tacky ornaments. But it seems no matter how awful the subject (pig in tutu) or bizarre the technique (pinecone aardvark), the cashier's reaction is always the same, "Oh, this one is just darling."

2. Soup on Christmas Eve
As a child, I remember waking up Christmas Eve morning to the smell of (scones? bacon? chestnuts?) farty-smelling pinto beans roasting on an open fire. The tradition of chili and clam chowder on Christmas Eve is a little strange, but it feels normal to me. Then again, coming from someone who is proudly displaying a wooden goose ornament, I wonder if I'm in a position to deem what is normal and not.

3. Cookie Decorating
At the Hall house, we handle cookie decorating a lot like we handle the game Balderdash. Everyone starts out giving it some real effort, some authentic creativity... but it doesn't take long for it to turn into a contest of who can offend Mom first. In hindsight, I see that it really was unfair. I mean, she went through the trouble of baking all 400 Santa-shaped cookies and dutifully frosting them... the least we can do is give him a pair of pants.

I'm proud to admit, we carried on each of these traditions this Christmas! The ornaments were a hit with our guests and the soup was delicious (straining to pat myself on the back). The cookie-decorating remained mostly G-rated, but that's because my Mister is a more refined individual than I. Or maybe it's because we only had hearts and stars... neither of which require pants.


Christine said...

Wow, things are way too perfect without children! You need to get started before they don't fit into your puzzle! Oh yeah and those baby pictures you created online...not so cute! I'm not buying it. Merry Christmas! :)

Rupper Family said...

we made salt dough ornaments this year for everyone and came up with some real beauties. There was a baked potato sure to offend anyone who saw it without paint, bacon strips, creepy representations of family members.. a few that would really look great on your tree of uglies!

Also, we started a few new traditions including an ugly Christmas sweater contest, a Christmas eve pinata, and white elephant gifts in lieu of real gifts-much more fun and a fraction of the cost. Of course, there was the traditional Chinese food and the consumption of several pounds of bacon, Bradshaw musts!

Mmmm...isn't Christmas great!?!