Tradition 2016

In our family, Thanksgiving is a time when each of my siblings do their own thing (and some say it’s really nice to spend the day with just their own family).  Christmas has turned out a little different. For the second year, Karleen has opened her home for a party honoring our parent’s Christmas Day tradition. And for that we are thankful.

Over the years, we’ve experimented with various stocking stuffers and name drawing methods of gift exchange; now we seem to have finally found the perfect thing. Each year we pick a color and the gift for anyone who wants to participate must be in that color and a minimum value of ten dollars. No food is the only stipulation.

My gift is always of the alcohol nature. And usually over the ten dollar limit. In years past I’ve brought Gold: Goldschlager schnapps;  Purple: Steel Reserve Beer; Yellow: Yellow Fly Wine, Blue: Skyy vodka. This year’s black was Jack Daniels.

After a year or two I realized that certain unnamed relatives were searching hard for the alcohol gift, so now I wrap it in a large bag. My niece, Kristin tried to steal my thunder this year gifting some liquor also. That’s okay, I’m willing to share my gig.

We draw numbers then take turns picking and opening gifts. Once opening is done and everyone has scoped out the gift they covet, the trading begins. And that can be pretty intense. And fun. Somehow, people so interested (nephew Craig) ended up with all the booze. I drew towels which I didn’t need and traded for socks which I did.  Jeung Bok got hand tools (just what a single gal needs for apartment repair). A win-win for all.

My threat that I wouldn’t make my deviled eggs next year if any were left-over backfired terribly; that tradition survives for another year. The good side of social media was apparent listening to Calvin, on a smart phone from Australia, screeching in joy at his grandfather (brother Kurt) making many funny faces and growling noises at him. It was great to see and talk to Jeung Hwa and wish her well in the upcoming birth of Calvin’s sibling in February. As I said, the good side of social media.

Most honored and first time guest this year was Mark’s girlfriend, Rebecca. She commented that her family was quite subdued. I don’t think we scared her away, showing her our true side. She seemed able to handle it all.

We pride ourselves on the simple Christmas Day menu and casual agenda. I heartily recommend the pizza, egg rolls, deviled eggs, cheesy potatoes and various snacks and sweets that adorned our table. We missed Kent and Tami’s fresh veggies and dip. Don’t get me wrong, we missed them too.

image1This year’s new tradition involved naughty socks. Though many wore nice holiday socks, they were upstaged by my “f**k this s**t” socks and niece Kristin’s  ”A-hole” socks. Kristin says he was channeling her Carrie Fisher. I have no excuse. All I know is there was lots of interest in knowing where to buy a pair. Next year should be a hoot!

Long after everyone had gone home, I played a game with Mark, Rebecca and their friends, a game that stretched my imagination and sense of decency. Cards Against Humanity describes itself as “a party game for horrible people who are as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.”  That’s what they say about themselves! And they are right.

Of the six players, mostly in their thirties, I won, taking 24 cards. I must be the most despicable. All I know is, I learned more sex and body fluid terms than I thought existed and most of them I don’t want to know. Not bad for an old broad. It was an energetic end to a very long day.


A great time was had by all. We recall how Dad would comment after every family get together, how great it was that we all got along. I think he’d be happy today.


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