tradition… i do not think it means what we think it means

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.

watch it. 40-50 times at least. then judge me.

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:

our christmas tree last year… it’s the “tree” part of an agave plant.


22 thoughts on “tradition… i do not think it means what we think it means

  1. This one had me smiling as I read. I dig the agave tree – very unique! I’m going to write the at-home Blogger Idol posts too. I figure I can have all the fun without all the pressure. 🙂

  2. Karin says:

    We watched Christmas Vacation when we were young, too. Still do. It’s not X-mas without the Griswolds. Oh, we also watch A Christmas Story over and over and over again. 🙂

    • 50senseblog says:

      i was going to mention that our newest addition to the xmas video tradition was “bad santa,” but i’m afraid people will think i’m a total heathen. not that i’m not, but…

  3. *sigh* so refreshing to hear other crappy parents let their kids watch that movie too :0) my son is currently six and has seen it the past two christmases. HALLELUJAH HOLY SHIT! i know i should chastise him when he says that, and i never ever ever let him say anything else in the department of swear words, but just at christmas time, when he says that, i snort laugh.

    • 50senseblog says:

      i remember back when my kids were small the uproar over “the simpsons” and how bart was teaching kids to do bad things (i can still see the look of disgust on some of the other mothers’ faces). dammit, people, he was teaching them a sense of humor! everyone needs a sense of humor!!

  4. Teri says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun in your house at the Holidays! Great selection of movies. We are partial to 24 hours of A Christmas Story and the original Miracle on 34th Street. The remakes and the colorized version make my eyes bleed.


  5. What a fun post! It got me thinking about our holiday traditions. Like you, laughter is synonymous with tradition in our house. I confess the same movie is played in this house every year as well. Our response to the Christmas lights is rather Pavlovian…one of us invariably digs out the old favorite and the holidays can officially begin.

    That tree, though, is the coolest I’ve ever seen! I couldn’t help but hear little Cindy Loo Who begin singing as I studied the picture!

    • 50senseblog says:

      i seriously LOVED that tree… i think we finally took it down in March. it’s now on our back deck, and looking more like a skeleton, but i may hose it off and use it again this year! don’t put it past me…

  6. Angela Ryan says:

    I am loving your Christmas tree. I love Christmas Vacation growing up too. More on movies that are probably inappropriate for kids … one of my favs growing up was Blazing Saddles. In sixth grade, our teacher let us bring in movies to watch on the last day of school. I brought Blazing Saddles. She let us watch it! Clearly, she had not seen the film before! Great blog!

  7. You know I can’t read the word tradition without breaking into song … we did Fiddler on the Roof when I was in high school.

    And I think you did just fine with your little ones. BoyGenius watches “age inappropriate” movies and shows all the time, but he’s an old soul so he knows how to handle it; and I’m his mom so I know what he can handle.

    I’m really digging the agave tree.

    • 50senseblog says:

      funny you should mention “fiddler on the roof;” i spent countless minutes trying to figure out how to spell “tradition” the way zero sang it, but i could not, so i skipped it. as for “old souls,” i think my kids are, too. how lucky are we to know them?

  8. Bubblez King says:

    Freaking love that tree.

  9. dadblunders says:

    I really don’t want to admit this anywhere but Christmas Vacation is one of my favorite movies! I realize this probably make me a warped individual but then again I wrote about The Addams Family traditions….

    Honestly, traditions like this are great! Just remember you can always make sure that you give a copy to any future grandchildren you will have on their 3rd Christmas and let it drive the parents nuts! You even get the added bonus of sending everyone home! Just my two random cents for the day…


  10. I’m sorry this wasn’t in the competition, because it’s a slam dunk! Great story. Great tradition!

  11. Cricket Sosa says:

    I’ve actually watched that movie since I was younger as well, I turned out find 😀 as for your tree haha totally unique I’d be a total supporter!

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