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Thread: Christmas Cliches or Neurotic Traditions (AIB the hannukah gif)

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Christmas Cliches or Neurotic Traditions (AIB the hannukah gif)

    This: reminds me of my mom: if you don't take 2nds and 3rds at her table, you have insulted her cooking. Then she criticizes you for being so fat. She is always either trying to feed you or put you on a diet. My sister once remarked to me that we clearly don't have the genes for schizophrenia in our family or she would have made us schizophrenic by now.

    I know, we kind of did this already: Maister started a thread called (other) Thanksgiving Traditions. I went looking for it so I wouldn't have to start a new thread, thereby avoiding my personal tradition of inspiring everyone to ignore me when I want attention (which is neatly counter-balanced by my hobby of getting all kinds of attention of the wrong kind when I am not looking at all --- gee, it sounds like my relationships to men too, ). But this isn't specific to Thanksgiving so I feel compelled to take my chances and start a new thread.

    So, I guess the question would be: What Christmas Cliches and/or Neurotic Traditions do you have personal experience with?(OR OTHER HOLIDAYS -- HANNUKAH, ETC -- I haven't attended church in years and the title is not intended to be discriminatory. But "Holiday Cliches" just doesn't have the same ring to it. Okay?)

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    My inlaws are some of the most dysfunctional people you could meet and fight incessantly at Thanksgiving, so it should surprise no one that much the same occurs EVERY Christmas. And it's the same fights every year. They have refined their arguments to a science. Here are three neurotic Christmas traditions.
    1) My parents and inlaws live in the same town and we stop at both places on Christmas. We alternate years which place we visit first and which one we do dinner at later, but it does not matter which order as my inlaws will always be deeply offended that we spent 'real' Christmas with my parents and visit them as an afterthought (in truth, we usually spend about 2 hours longer at my inlaws but that's beside the point).

    2) There is (was) always some drama revolving around my sister-in-law trying to stop my brother-in-law from getting too inebriated at this festive family function.

    3) At my parents place we can always expect my almost 90 year old grandmother to bequeeth some.... interesting.... Christmas presents (which I have mentioned in another post). Some classics include a big box of tampons for the wife, and I got a hoop and ball toy a few years ago that I might have appreciated much more 35 years earlier, and a package of dreidle/Star of David napkins.

    4) We do have one non-neurotic tradition my wife and I do every Christmas eve and that is going on a 'light tour' where we drive around various neighborhoods enjoying people's often garrish/sometimes tasteful holiday decorations. It's one of my favorite holiday activities.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    We all cover our heads with the bows and ribbons from our gifts and take pics of each other? Does this count as strange or neurotic? I thought nothing of it until I did it, not thinking of course, with my bf and his family last year and they all looked at me like I had 3 heads. Now he knows why we all but COVER our gifts with bows-more to stick on us!
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm....

    We've taken to watching Christmas Vacation every year......just good clean fun.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    My great aunt (gandmother's sister) would always buy us either tins of poppy **** or danish butter cookies. Despite her passing, they still seem to be under teh tree every year, 15 years later.

    Mentioned this one before, we have home made waffles with home brewed maple syrup from our old house and home made jams and preserves from the local berry patches.

    not sure what is going to happen this year as my parent's don't arrive until at least the 26th or 27th and as mentioned I won't be going to my sisters.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Oh, I just remembered another tradition.... there is this fruitcake that changes hands every year since 1789. No one would ever think to actually eat it, although I am sure grandma used the finest ingredients available (under the Eisenhower administration) when she made it.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    We've taken to watching Christmas Vacation every year......just good clean fun.....
    We also watch it each year; actually my father starts watchig it around Thanksgiving and continues to watch it over and over till New Years...it makes him laugh every time he watches it...they have bought my brother and I both a copy so that we can watch it as much as they do

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I just occurred to me that any of my stories about Christmas traditions would mostly be about my childhood. I used to watch a lot of movies every year on TV that only came on once a year, around Christmas time. I always watched "Little Drummer Boy" and cried. There were others but that one stands out in my mind. Another one that stands out in my mind is one that I cannot remember the name of. Anyway, we are not big on Christmas traditions with the hubby and kids. This will be the 4th year in a row that we haven't had a tree, in part because I was too sick to care and in part because we live in a tiny, overcrowded apartment.

    But, really, one of the last 'big Christmas's' we had -- in Southern California, where we lived in a 2200 sq. ft. McMansion (IMO) -- I bought an additional controller for my kids' game system and let them have it early so they could play with all their friends while their friends had time off from school. And I stuck the unwrapped, empty box beneath the tree. On Christmas, I told my oldest "Act surprised and tell me it was exactly what you wanted". That year, he announced with great, uncharacteristic enthusiasm "This is the Best Christmas EVERRRRRRRR." It turns out, like me, he can't stand suspense and found it torturous to have presents under the tree, taunting him. Since then, birthdays and Christmases have been less and less "festive" and he is much happier. And that phrase -- "Act surprised and tell me it was exactly what you wanted" -- gets applied to more and more things, like when I take them shopping to pick out their own birthday present.

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    We have ODD traditions, especially considering we live no where near the coast. But everytime time my family gets together for Christmas, Usually a small gathering as I am an only child, we always have crab legs and wine the night before. This is usually followed up by more wine and Christmas movies, and sometimes the bottle of whiskey purchased for my Dad and I (from Mom) gets opened early too.
    To continue the seafood tradition, it's lox and bagels for breaksfast followed by gifts.
    No family squabbles like Maister (BTW, we all enjoyed the Thanksgiving ones, you shared. And I do like the gifts you recieve from your Grandmother), but there has been some interesting stories regarding my grandfather and his new wife... But anyways.... more on that later.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Our family Christmas tradition was we did not open presents until after my father had his coffee. As kids, you can imagine the joy we felt when we heard my mom going down the hall with the tray. To this day the clinking of china coffee cups reminds me of Christmas.

    And of course every Christmas we recount the Christmas day when just before opening our gifts, one of our cats ran across the room and went straight up the Christmas tree. The tree toppled, fully lit, and there was a staccato of broken Xmas lights and ornaments. We had to stop and clean everything up before we could get to our presents. It was funny, though.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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    Like every Christmas for the last 25 years:
    1. My sister will wait for me to go back home so we can decorate the tree together. She insists on this even though I hate decorating the tree. Then we hang some stuff, and she moves everything I hung because she doesn't like how I distribute them over the tree. She always hangs the one I made in third grade on the very back.
    2. We still beg our parents to let us open a present on Christmas Eve. They say we can pick one to open and then we'll take it down to the homeless shelter and give it to some poor family. We wait til Christmas morning.
    3. At some point, after all the presents are opened and a big meal prepared and consumed, someone must sigh and say, "Too much Christmas." Then everyone else agrees, "Too much Christmas."
    Edit:
    4. We watch a lot of "A Chrismas Story." Some channel plays it 24 hours on Christmas Day or Eve or whatever and we watch it for awhile, then leave it on to annoy the parents, then grow more annoyed ourselves after the 8th time through but continue in a test of wills to not be the first one to turn it off. Favorite parts are when Ralphie's little brother falls in the snow and can't get up because he's too bundled up in a snowsuit, and when one of the kids sticks his tongue to the pole and the bell rings and everyone leaves and he pleads with Ralphie for help but Ralphie's like "The bell rang." I was a real rule-follower when I was younger so that's something I would have done. Sorry, buddy, you're out of luck. The bell rang.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mentarman
    4. We watch a lot of "A Chrismas Story." Some channel plays it 24 hours on Christmas Day or Eve or whatever and we watch it for awhile, then leave it on to annoy the parents, then grow more annoyed ourselves after the 8th time through but continue in a test of wills to not be the first one to turn it off.
    When I'm at home with Mom and Dad, we leave "A Christmas Story" on in the living room almost all day on Christmas, whether we're in there or not. It's part of the Christmas ambience, much like the tree or the presents underneath.

    I've got a leg lamp in my window; it's my sole Christmas decoration. All the ornaments are in Buffalo, and I'd have nothing to put on a tree.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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          mentarman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    When I'm at home with Mom and Dad, we leave "A Christmas Story" on in the living room almost all day on Christmas, whether we're in there or not. It's part of the Christmas ambience, much like the tree or the presents underneath.

    I've got a leg lamp in my window; it's my sole Christmas decoration. All the ornaments are in Buffalo, and I'd have nothing to put on a tree.
    I've been looking for a leg lamp for my sister forever. That's hilarious.

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    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Another one that stands out in my mind is one that I cannot remember the name of.
    Can you smell that? That's irony.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
    Bill "Spaceman" Lee

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          Downtown's avatar
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    When I was in the fifth grade, my parents made a deal with Santa Claus that he'd visit our house first, while my dad took us out to see Christmas lights. My mom would stay home, to let Santa out of the wood stove (where our chimney went to). And my parents always enjoyed sleeping in on Christmas morning.

    We still go look at christmas lights every christmas eve.

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    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    When I lived in L.A., I started two Christmas traditions. After Christmas dinner (on Christmas day) my best friend and I would drive down Candy Cane Lane, an eight-block area filled with more lights and moving figures (and live caroling, etc.) than Disneyland... and then we would go to the movies that night.

    Since Edmonton doesn't have a Candy Cane Lane that is quite up to the same size (takes 20 minutes instead of several hours to go through), the only thing I still try to do is go to the movie on Christmas Day. I don't know why I like to do that so much... just some last vestige of a tradition I started I guess.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by Downtown
    When I was in the fifth grade, my parents made a deal with Santa Claus that he'd visit our house first, while my dad took us out to see Christmas lights. My mom would stay home, to let Santa out of the wood stove (where our chimney went to). And my parents always enjoyed sleeping in on Christmas morning.
    Thats what my parents said!! Someone's parents are lying!! We don't look at lights anymore but that was always the tradition, even if we were out of town on Christmas eve somehow Santa found out where we were staying and visited us when we went out to look at lights. My mom inherited that tradition from her parents and I am sure if I am ever insane enough to have kids I will do the same.

    Now my only tradition is that I have a Gin Martini on Christmas. I used to not like them too much ( I prefer my Gin with tonic water) but when I turned 21 I asked my grandpa to make me a martini (his favorite drink). and every year since then I have had that christmas martini. I guess I am not in the Christmas mode until I actually drink a christmas tree flavored drink. It is rare that I will order or make a martini any other time of the year (Although I am beginning to favor the occasional Dirty Martini when I go out).
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

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    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Oh yeah, BME has the tradition of staying up late on Christmas Eve once everyone has gone to bed and just relax and look at the lit up Christmas tree. Just kind of soak in the atmosphere with some Christmas music and enjoy a few moments of peace. Luckily, he lets me in on this tradition, too.

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Breed
    Can you smell that? That's irony.
    The story stands out in my mind, silly. Most folks here know that I am extremely bad at remembering the names of songs, the names of the group that sung them, names of movies, etc. I frequently quote lines from such things and ask people if they know the name of it. Most folks here are extremely kind about supplying such info, which just doesn't stick to my brain very well. Now, do you really want to turn this into a lengthy droning discussion of learning styles and how different kinds of minds process and access different types of information? I homeschool my special needs kids and generally make folks here nuts with my comments on topics like that.

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