A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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May Your Holidays Be Merry and Weird
December 25, 2014
If you're looking for a thoughtful, sweet, and inspired post about Christmas, you've come to the wrong place. But, if you've unwrapped all your presents including a fake bag of crystal meth from Breaking Bad, your weird Aunt just told a story about her past lives, and all the cousins are playing a game of who can make louder fart noises, this post might be for you.
Okay, so maybe that doesn't paint an EXACT picture of what your holiday looks like, but the point is that part of the holidays is spending it with your, sometimes, weird family. And that includes weird traditions. And THAT is what this post is about.
Now, I would be doing a disservice to my mom, who works incredibly hard to put together a beautiful Christmas for my family every year, if I said that the above description was our family. It's not. Well, except for the crystal meth part. I definitely gave my brother fake crystal meth rock candy that looked like evidence. Which did in fact scare my mom because it arrived before I did. So she essentially opened a package on her doorstep that looked like crystal meth, which she didn't order. That part DID happen. But as for the rest, it's usually quite a refined Christmas over at our house, with a delicious dinner of fancy appetizers, exceptional wine, going to Christmas eve services, and a sugar cookie decorated to look like a murderous Jason which we all hide around the house.
Yes, you read that one right. Our family has a somehow developed a weird tradition of hiding a scary looking cookie around the house for each one of us to find. I say "somehow" like I don't know how it happened. Here's the full story of my family's weird tradition:
Every year, my mom painstakingly hand makes sugar cookies before we all arrive, so that we can decorate them with frosting and sprinkles when we show up. It's one of those things that makes Christmas Christmas for me. Every year when decorating, I try to get a little more creative. Some years, that involves masterpieces like trees with realistic branches (just use a toothpick to drag the frosting), and some years, that involves me using sprinkles to create eyes on a gingerbread man that just looks plain terrifying. So one year, in my artistic attempt, I made this terrifying cookie:
Yes, his eyes are red because he's always watching.
I don't remember if it was my brother or my husband who called him a Jason cookie (a la Nightmare on Elm Street). And I also don't remember who hid the cookie first. But it started out as a joke, to jump out and surprise the person who found him. But then it escalated into a full on game, which over the years has included hanging Jason from a fan cord, placing Jason in each other's cars, and even bringing Jason cross country for the year we celebrated Christmas in Boston the year Chewbacca was born. We normally make a new Jason cookie every year, but I remember it got mailed to me at the end of January one year, so Jason has some miles on him.
Don't let the beautiful supplies fool you. Look at which cookie was the first one made this year.
This year, my favorite was when my husband put a pre-frosted Jason cookie on my brother's dashboard as a warning. So now we've escalated into pre-frosting hiding. Which frankly is a little bit cleaner:
So that's our family's tradition. It's certainly one of the weirder ones, but so are a lot of holiday traditions. I mean, how much weirder is it than hiding a pickle on a Christmas tree? Or the whole elf on the shelf phenomenon? It might definitely be weirder than both of those. But it's our tradition, and it makes it my family's tradition, and I love that. The whole thing makes me think of The Family Stone (which is a surprise crying movie, but is fantastic. Just consider yourself warned that you will almost certainly unexpectedly start crying) There's this great scene at the end of the movie, which is about bringing home a new girlfriend for the holidays and asking the mom for a ring, or the family stone, to propose to this girl who the family doesn't like. Toward the end of the movie, when everything has gone horribly wrong, and the new girlfriend finally cries out in exasperation "what's so great about you guys?!" and Dianne Keaton laughs and cries back "Oh nothing. We're just all we've got!"
And every year, when someone hides that Jason cookie REALLY well, and makes all of us laugh and plot the next great hiding spot, and pause and think to myself I'm so lucky that I've got the family that I've got.
So maybe this was a sentimental post after all. Either way, happy Everything to each of you., and may your holidays be merry and weird!