while i did not win a spot in the blogger idol competition (no, i am not surprised even one tiny bit), i am going to try to “play at home” as often as i can. sorry about that. anyway, here is the first prompt asking us to write about our family traditions. simple, right?
i could think of only one tradition we have as a family. one. i had to poll a couple of family members (my husband and son) to see if i was forgetting something. i was not. we do not have traditions… WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? i’ll get to that in a bit…
our one tradition, which we’ve honored faithfully since 1992, has been the annual viewing of “christmas vacation.” please to note that my children were almost 4 and 6 that first christmas viewing. almost. which means they were 3 and 5. whatever. if you have seen the movie, you are probably doing the math and trying to figure out if it’s too late to call child protective services. it is. they’re 23 and 25 now.
here’s the deal… all of my side of the family was here for christmas that year. and all of my husband’s family lived nearby. give or take a bajillion, there were 2o bajillion people in my house at any given time. there was no “peace on earth” in this house. it was loud. it was raucous. it was fun. and the soundtrack to that fun was the non-stop, auto-rewound, VHS tape of “christmas vacation.” my 4 (okay THREE! stop judging me!) year old son watched that movie over and over and over and over and over again. and the rest of us absorbed the dialogue via osmosis. no one seemed to notice the complete inappropriateness of a 3-4 year old watching this particular movie. frankly, i don’t think i noticed until the next year when we watched it again. but by then, the kids had already seen it 40-50 times. there was no turning back. whatever damage to be done was done. i was hopeful it would all come out in the kids’ therapy when they were much, much older. oh! and because i’m a giver, i gave each member of the extended family their own copy of “christmas vacation” so they could relive the hell, i mean the wonder, of the christmas of ’92. it’s the gift that keeps on giving, much like the jelly-of-the-month club.
so, every year, every DAMN year, we watch that movie. here’s the kicker: my son, when he was about 12, told us he liked to watch that movie when he was little because of the cartoon santa at the beginning of the movie. he didn’t know how to rewind the tape, so he let it run to the end and it would auto-rewind. 40-50 times. no joke. “holy shit! where’s the tylenol?!”
tradition might mean something else to the rest of the world, but to us it means laughter. and memorizing movie lines whether you want to or not. “shitter’s full!” “get off of me, ya fungus.” “does it really matter, eddie?” “the lights aren’t twinkling, clark.” “thanks for noticing, art.” “bend over and i’ll show ya.” i could go on, but you get the picture.
oh! i thought of another tradition we have! okay, not “we,” but “i.” my family really is not on board with this at all. but they humor me. we have the most bizarre christmas trees in all the land: