Thursday, December 30, 2010

5 Unsung Holiday Traditions

I am sure you imaginary readers have enjoyed many of the usual holiday traditions that are so common at this time of year. Tree decorating, gift giving, and enjoying family dinners are all widely celebrated rituals. But let us take a moment to reflect on the unsung traditions that get less fanfare despite their omnipresence in most of our lives.

Here are 5 that seem ubiquitous:

Threatening your children
The only known way to make kids get along all day and then eat vegetables at dinner, is to remind them that Santa will judge them harshly if they do otherwise. This is the most constructive and perhaps enjoyable of all the traditions at my house. With Christmas behind us, I am not anticipating the consumption of much broccoli until next December, when the specter of lost gifts regains its salience.

Assembling a bicycle in the garage at midnight, under poor light
This is not an annual ritual but a semi-regular ceremony held at odd intervals until all offspring reach adolescence. While it is almost a rite of passage into fatherhood, completing the task in any less than 2 hours, 3 beers, and 5 skinned knuckles is not common. Left over parts, on the other hand, are very common.

Lost toy pieces
Here’s a holiday staple for those of you who are married with children. Nothing says Christmas afternoon like venturing into the cold to search the outside trash bin for lost instructions and missing toy parts. This usually happens after a pan of turkey fat has been poured into the bin adding an additional dimension to the unpleasant experience.

Keeping the cat out of the tree
I’ve never had one myself, but every cat-owner I’ve ever met has a story about the seemingly irresistible proposition (in feline eyes) of shiny bobbles that dangle within paw’s reach among twinkling lights.

Puzzling over the identities of those people in the Christmas card
Yes, most relatives are obvious and all good friends can be clearly recognized in their cards. But let’s be honest here, sometimes you just don’t know who the hell those people are, right? And if they only signed with their first names, well, it can be tough to figure out who they are. Or does that only happen to me…


  1. Jeff Ryer12/31/2010

    #6 those card senders that drop their cards in the mail on Dec. 22. We received one from a certain family in Southern Cal this past Tuesday Dec. 28.
    Too bad Xmas is not on the same date each year, that would make it easier to remember. If the king of the world would just make the date, say Dec. 25, it would help ........

  2. Anonymous12/31/2010

    How about the arguement of decorating the tree.....when it will happen, who is going to help and How are we all going to remain happy during this blessed event! In the Roy house, swearing helped....In the Hartley home, chocolate bribes and lots of begging seems to work!

    Happy New Year from Maine and
    With Love from the Hartley's!

  3. Anonymous1/01/2011

    And don't forget the ritual of returning the inevitable broken toy, usually something electronic and made in a foreign country, and where is that one missing receipt??? Jd