i come from a fairly sizeable family and i’m close with my immediate family. even after several years of college (without becoming a doctor, well, a medical doctor), i moved back to the same town (we don’t have any cities in South D, despite what sioux falls wants you to believe) that my parents live in.
my little brother just graduated in may and did the same thing. its great, we see each other often, watch the local pro hockey team (sure, it’s not the nhl, but they are still getting paid to play hockey), and my brother and i even play on the same hockey team (remind me to tell you about that later).
we don’t really have any family on my dad’s side within 350 miles and my mom’s side does xmas with their inlaws. so, for the past 15 years or so, it’s been just the four of us for xmas. our first xmas together, just the four of us, accidentally beginning a tradition that we’ve stuck with ever since: tacos.
that fateful xmas eve, we chose to have tacos for dinner. why? i have no idea. my guess is that my parents were more or less ‘wingin it’. then we decided to open gifts because, well, because we did, i guess. then we played cards or a board game while the folks consumed non-eggnog type beverages.
eventually my brother and i came to embrace these beverages and the enhanced gaming experience. we never really had a ton of board games growing up and short of a few rousing rounds of yahtzee, i can’t tell you a single board game we owned.
except my personal favorite, the original 1982 Trivial Pursuit.
(as you can already guess, my family got sick of me beating them all. one year, though, we teamed up and in what can only be described as a christmas miracle, my father and brother beat my mother and i.)
(my secret to dominance: memorization. i cannot explain it, but when i was just a wee lad (okay, i was never small, so back when i was shorter than my mother, i couldn’t help but memorize everything. i loved school—so many tidbits of information to store away, so many things to know.
then, while i’d like to tell you there was a time i realized how dorky that is, i never really grew out of it. but i’m pretty sure my brain got full. like that old computer with the hard drive you filled full of napster finds, i had no more room.
now that there’s actually stuff worth knowing, i have no room to retain it. seriously, i forget my stories halfway through (and the financé would tell you that’s because i need to stick to the sprint version rather than the marathon…). anyway, i forgot where i was going, but i can’t remember stuff anymore and i’m pretty sure there’s a finite amount of stuff you can remember so don’t waste it on trivial pursuit.)
still love that game. but my family got tired of it and we’ve since upgraded and added a few other titles. then i got a wii.
remember when you were a kid and you’d stay up all night (or like till 11 since you passed out standing up at that point) playing with your new toy. that was my dad with the wii. i had one game: wii sports and as far as he was concerned, bowling was all he needed. and he needed it like a smoker needs a cigarette: it was fun and kind of new and cool at first, then it quickly turned on him and became an absolute addiction.
(which is kind of ironic since at the time, he was a smoker. i’m pretty sure he smoked fewer cigarettes because of it since he didn’t want to go outside for a smoke break. but i’ll let you decide for yourself the irony of a smoker being addicted to virtual bowling instead of real bowling where the ashtrays are newer than any bowling ball or pair of shoes in the place…)
so that was it, my family’s tradition for christmas eve: go to church (our annual appearance), eat tacos, open gifts, play games and imbibe, and politely ask my father to give the wii a chance to rest until morning (i now understand why my parents were so annoyed when we got our first nintendo and my brother and i would wake them up while fighting over the controller at 6 am).
and while it was fun to create one and see it grow, we’re building a new one. this year marks a new tradition: bringing the financé’s family and mine together for what will no doubt be a raucously merry event at our house. (and thanks to what can only be termed a temper tantrum, there will be tacos).
so, to you and yours, whoever you’re with or without, regardless of what you eat or drink, be merry. there is no tradition greater than simply being part of one. feliz navidad.