5 Christmas Traditions!

I’m sure all you people with nice, normal families have nice, normal Christmas traditions like “baking cookies” and “singing carols around the piano” but my family is neither nice, nor normal.  Our Christmas traditions make Clark Griswold want to hide in the attic and never come out.  But family is family, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to our weird traditions this year:

1.  Scaring the dogs with Five Golden Rings  you know how, in the Muppet version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” Miss Piggy totally slays that line?  Well, we are a competitive family and so, when it’s time to ham it up (get it “ham” SHE’S A PIG), everyone screams in robust falsetto along with Miss Piggy:  “FIIIIIIIVE GOOOOLD RIIIIIIINGS!!!”  Hey, I don’t know if you can imagine this, but the family dogs don’t exactly share our sense of humor. So when everyone in the house starts *screaming* this line, they all start panicking and barking cuz what do they know of the Muppets?  They’re too young to get that reference!  And we have to spend the rest of the song (it’s a long song) calming them down from the initial shock.  Ba-dum-bum-bum.

This fragile little doll is so ready to lose his shit when we all sing…

2.  Tempura for Christmas Dinner  tempura is deep-fried battered vegetables (and shrimp, yum) that takes a whole day to prep for and and hour and a half to cook, and like five minutes to eat. Last year we brought it with gluten-free flour mix and special GF soy sauce for the dipping sauce mix, this year I want to see if we can switch out to tamari for the dip ingredient.  It’s a labor of love, but everyone LOVES tempura, so it’s worth it!

3.  Betting in Church
  I’m an atheist, but I still go to church on Christmas Eve because it makes my mom happy (and she spends her whole night afterwards making tempura so it’s a fair trade-off).  I like singing, the kids’ pageant is cute, and I ALWAYS try to strike up bets as to which carols will be sung.  If “Joy to the World” isn’t the recessional hymn at your Christmas Mass, you need to reconsider your priorities.

4.  Crying at Charlie Brown  I pretty much turn on my eyelid-faucets at the first notes of “Christmastime Is Here” and don’t stop until “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” at the end.  I cry at the ennui of Charlie Brown, Linus’s monologue, “I killed it!,” “It just needs a little love!” basically the entire piece.

5.  “Feliz Navidad”  Ughhh so we’re really competitive in my family I realize.  Beyond “who can scream ‘Five Gold Rings’ the loudest” and betting on recessional hymns (Jesus approved of gambling in churches, yes?), there’s one competition that has been largely overlooked this year.  According to tradition, the first person in my mom’s family to hear Jose Feliciano’s festive hit “Feliz Navidad”   IS THE WINNER  and has the responsibility of stopping whatever is going on at the moment of hearing the song, and calling all the other family members to hold the phone up to the radio and play it for proof that she (usually she) has won and is the winner for ever and ever until usually next November when the competition starts up again.  If you can believe it, as I type these words, I have yet to hear “Feliz Navidad” so I am deliberately putting it here.  When you press “play,” pretend you are the winner and get very excited and call someone and put the phone up to your laptop speaker so they can wonder what the hell is wrong with you.  Traditions are meant to be shared, after all:


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