The holidays are a time for family. Or that’s what you’re lead to believe your entire life once the whole Santa thing loses its luster. You gather ’round, sip hot cocoa (or booze, y’know, whatever floats your boat), exchange gifts, play games- and most importantly- you tell stories. Stories from holidays past, ones you might not remember but your family sure as shit does- funny ones, or sappy ones- or really horribly embarrassing ones that you dread going to family get-togethers for the sole reason that you KNOW that story is going to be told once again, and you’re an adult now and really don’t need to hear about the time you were two and crapped your pants but didn’t want to tell anyone so you took off your soiled clothes and hid them behind the Christmas tree and they weren’t found until Christmas morning and everyone was opening gifts and someone got a shit surprise. *GASPS FOR AIR*
That never happened to me (promise… or not that I can recall anyway), but I’d imagine someone somewhere on earth did something similar and 30 some odd years later has still yet to live it down. Isn’t that what family is for? You can bet your sweet ass I’m going to be regaling embarrassing tales of crap my kids do for YEARS to come- it’s actually one of the things I look most forward to about them getting older and LEAVING ME….
Okay, I’m calm-
As I’ve grown older, the family dynamic has changed. A lot of people moved away or lost touch- and no longer are there huge family gatherings at my grandma’s house by the water in the middle of nowhere.
Sure, I still spend the holidays with my family- but it’s not exactly the same. My Dad remarried before my mother passed away, and it wouldn’t make sense for he and his wife and her family to go to my mom’s mom’s house for family gatherings- they already had their own thing going on, and naturally I wanted to spend time with my Dad since my mom was no longer around- so I joined them. It might be kind of awkward telling my mom’s family’s stories to my dad’s new family- so do you know what that means?
I am now going to subject YOU to them. Revel in the ultimate weird that is my freaky ass maternal family and all the stories that may never be told again in the same glory as they were with the family gathered round and the adults eggnogged within an inch of consciousness.
Oh, and it might be best to sip yourself a merry little cocktail while reading. Anyone’s family is easier to deal with that way.
America’s Funniest Home Videos:
For some reason, my family REALLY wanted to be on AFHV. I don’t know if it was a 90s thing- but every Christmas we would try to capture the funniest thing on camera in hopes of scoring a sweet ass 10,000 prize. Was it 10,000 back then? Whatever; money’s money. This was when my mom and aunts and uncles were all still in their early 30s I would imagine.
Needless to say- the camera was ALWAYS out.
One fateful evening, the camera was rolling and focused on my uncle. The loudest uncle, naturally. Out of nowhere, his teeth fell out. We’re talkin’ a BUNCH of teeth. Now, imagine a man talking who suddenly has a row of teeth fall out of his face and no one even knew he had false teeth in the first place. Big ol’ dentures, floppin’ around in a mouth. The adults found this hysterical. The children found this horrifying. We fleed like the teeth were going to spring to life and eat us. I don’t think that videotape ever went in the mail to be submitted for the grand prize, but it probably should have.
The fish and the tennis ball
Just like on big holidays, we also gathered at my grandma’s for small holidays. Or even no holidays at all. During the summer it was the place to be because she lived on the sound and two of my uncles had boats. This meant going tubing. Fuck yeah! The cousin closest to my age was another girl, and man were we thick as thieves. We almost always tubed together in the same big tube. It was always a grand old time, until one day when we were being whipped around behind the boat- a fish jumped out of the water and smacked her straight in the forehead. I’m not kidding. This is serious. Out of the water, to the head. She was in hysterics and I could not stop laughing. There was a red fishy smelling mark on her head for a LONG time- and for some reason she kept blaming me for us, so when we got back to the house she chased me around the yard with a tennis ball. Why the hell I was fleeing from a tennis ball like it was going to kill me, I have no idea- but I was scared y’all.
Bad boy cousins
Snip, snails, and puppy dog tails doesn’t quite cover the awful that were the boy cousins in my family. They got away with all of it up until the time they decided to have a “match fight” on the family trampoline and burned so many holes in it, that they all fell through the center while bouncing.
Remember that cousin who chased me with a tennis ball? She is 5 months younger than me, almost to the day. I guess because of this, we were seen in my family as twins. And as twins, we had to get the same thing every single Christmas. And not just did we get the same gifts, but we were forced to dress alike as well- no not with store bought clothing… dresses my grandmother would make by hand. It isn’t that she wasn’t good at it- it’s just that they were horribly frilly and uncomfortable (both the cousin and I were known tomboys). There were some Christmases where not only were we dressed alike, but every other female cousin as well. And all the boys too. Well, not in dresses… but vests.
Straight out of the shining, I tell ya.
Santa’s Elves and their sick ass moves
|eat your heart out,
Santa was a HUGE deal to our family. Every year at the family Christmas gathering, on Christmas Eve, Santa would show up and pass out presents to each of us to open. Everyone got one. Of course, the big guy couldn’t come without a grand entrance, so to welcome him, his elves would come first and perform a show for everyone. There was dancing. Or what was supposed to be dancing. It was my most favorite shit EVER.
And then once I got old enough- I was given the opportunity to be one of these elves. With the same costumes that had been used for the ten years prior to securing the task for myself. It didn’t matter that the costumes didn’t fit. It didn’t matter that the stockings had a hole in the crotch and I was likely flashing those poor cousins younger than me who looked forward to the elves as much as I had- I was ballin’. QUEEN ELF! This was right before boybands stormed onto the scene with their sweet ass moves- so you can imagine that we didn’t have a lot to go off of.
Whatever. I still remember being the best elves ever.
Oh, and then there was the time I got run over by the family golf cart. Or the time the family golf cart got driven into the sound. Or the time every adult got plastered and the kids hid under the kitchen table. I remember that there were SO MANY LIGHTS inside my Grandmother’s house that you could see them dancing through your eyelids when you closed them, or my uncle snoring SO loud from one of the guest rooms that no one could sleep, and my brother falling out of the top bunk. How it took an HOUR to go around the adult and child table to say what each of us were thankful for and how much trouble I got in for cracking a joke instead.
I loved family gatherings growing up, but every year before arriving I would always wonder to myself what was going to blow up THIS year? Who was going to get their grannies in a wad and hide in a room crying or drinking or break a bone or cause some kind of stupid drama over something I was too young to understand? I even brought friends a few years to act as a barrier if the crazy got TOO crazy. I guess with age comes perspective because I look back and think about all the absolute and pure INSANITY that was and still kind of is my family- and I can’t imagine it being any other way. We have so many stories and memories, even if they all aren’t exactly good- we have them.
Now I have to wonder how insane my kids will think I am and what stories they will tell of past family Christmases once they are old enough. I don’t plan on forcing them into any tiny holy elf costumes… but I might consider it. I’ve already given them half eaten peanut butter sandwiches and swiffer dusters just for shits and giggles under the tree, but who are we kidding here? I bet I could do even better!
Challenge Accepted. Let’s make some damn memories, people!
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