Monday, November 19, 2007

Holiday Traditions

Every family has their Christmas tradition. At one point, my in-laws were passing around a Chia-Pet as a gag gift (I wonder who ended up with that thing). And when we were little, my sister and I would ask our dad what we're getting for Christmas. His joke answer would always be the same: "a box of Jell-O". So for many years, I would gift-wrap a box of lime Jell-O and give it to him.
And some families have no tradition at all...which really is a tradition, if you think about it.
One of our holiday traditions is the post-Thanksgiving viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Watching the Clark Griswold debut his garish outdoor light display never gets old. And then there's the subtle humor. Like the when Clark and Eddie are shopping at Wal-Mart. If you watch closely, you'll notice that Eddie plunks a 30 pound bag of dog food in the cart right on top of Clark's light bulbs. One of my favorite movies, indeed.
But perhaps our most loved holiday tradition is the wrapping paper fight that ensues right after all the Christmas gifts are opened. We've been doing this since the boys were small, and we all have a blast. Just as long as we're not using mylar wrapping paper. The fight was a bust the year I bought that stuff. It doesn't wad up as good as the thin wrapping paper from the dollar store. Also, the best throwing distance is achieved with tissue paper.
This year, we're trying a new tradition. Everyone has been assigned a family member. And armed with a $20 budget, each one of us will buy, find, or make, all the stocking stuffers for our person.
I brought this idea up last night at dinner. We even assigned names right there at the kitchen table: we will each fill the stocking of the person to our left. Very scientific, indeed.
The ideas began flowing immediately. Kyle has already asked me to take him to the dollar store. Lucas and Q were having a very hush-hush conversation. And I spent a good part of the evening on eBay.
There's only one rule to this project. Everybody has to do their own shopping. Nobody can ask for help in buying stuff for their person. The only exception is that rides to the store will be given to those who can't legally drive themselves. I will also allow for help in locating a specific item. But that's it. This is supposed to be an exercise in individual creativity.
In the past, Santa Claus has done the stocking stuffing duty for our family. And for the most part, he's done a pretty good job. Every year, his goodies include those chocolate coins from Cost Plus World Market. When frozen, those things are downright addictive.
Everyone seems excited about taking on this task. Santa may no longer have stocking detail--he has enough on his plate--but he may still bring coins. After all, they have become a tradition in their own right.


Menchie said...

Your traditions sound like a lot of fun. I like your idea of the stocking fillers. I think I'll do that when the kids are older. :D

RainbowDishes said...

Excellent traditions! :)

My whole family does the secret gift exchange. We draw a name out of a hat. Each year we think up a new theme. Handmade, color or material (metal, wood, earth, etc.) are some of the themes we have used in the past. The only rules we have are budget (have to be under a certain $ amount), can't have the name of somebody that lives in your household, and the whole thing has to be secretive. The dollar amount is usually so low (I think last year was $10) that you have to be very creative sometimes. In the end, it is a good time for everybody, and that is what counts.

PS, Christmas Vacation is the best Christmas movie around. I never get tired of watching that every year!

Ms. Val said...

Thank you. I'm anxious to see how the stocking experiement takes shape. I'm always looking for new ways to make our holiday celebrations just a little bit different.

Our extended family has a Dirty Santa exchange with $10 gift cards. It's fun if the cards are from stores that nobody would think of. Some years, more than half are from Target or Starbucks. Nobody in my household drinks coffee, and I've never been stuck with a Starbucks card, but if I did, I'd probably give it to my brother-in-law.

BTW, I didn't know you read my blog! Welcome, and thanks for commenting. I just checked out your blog, and I'd like to add you to my blogroll, if you don't mind.

RainbowDishes said...

I have been a secret lurker to your blog for awhile now. Even though I have been posting quite a bit recently on my blog, I go through major dry spells sometimes. You are more than welcome to add me to your list....I will do the same for you.


kj said...

happy thanksgiving, val.

i love my christmas stocking more than shoes....