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What are your family’s holiday traditions?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 11, 2005

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Photo of Katrina Ostmeyer

“We always put up lots and lots of decorations. On Christmas Eve, we go to my grandmother’s on my mom’s side, and on Christmas Day we go to my grandmother’s on my dad’s side.”

Photo of Mike Sutton

“Tossing quarters down at Ernst Hardware on Christmas Eve. That’s pretty much my only tradition.”

Photo of Courtney Shawbaker

“We go to my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve to eat a lot of food and open presents.”

Photo of Denny Smith

“We’re divorced, so we always fight a lot. It’s pretty much a big ball of tension followed by an ungraceful release. I usually end up hiding in my room and playing my guitar.”

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Comments

cigarettes_N_beer 8 years, 4 months ago

It's likely that at this late hour this will be the last entry posted and it probably will not be seen/read by anyone.

So, a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or (words of your choosing) to everyone that use anonymous, public internet forums as a coping mechanism for social dysfunction and/or as a replacement for real human contact and meaningful relationships.

A tradition in the making!

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sweatpeagj 8 years, 4 months ago

We started our own tradition when I had kids. It wasn't celebrated much by my family as a child. When I got adopted it was much better. We always go through the kids toys and get rid of the the old forgotten ones. Then we have them pick out their favorite, have them purchase another just like it ( or as close as you can get with the changing fads) then donate it to toys for tots. We have each of the kids adopt and Angel then wrap them to give..we also try to give more toys than requested. Most things they need are basics that everyone should have to begin with..Get a gift certificate to dinner for the entire family. We attend midnight mass and allow them to open one gift. We always wanted to teach them to give of their heart and energy because that is the real holiday spirit. I think it is important to think of others first. They also have to make a special coupon for a family member ie..good deed they can perform for each other. Christmas morning they all draw one then the other has till the following year to cash it in.

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ms_canada 8 years, 4 months ago

Thank you B G for the recipe. I am not much of a meat eater but this does sound yummy and I will definitely try it and who knows, I may change my mind about meat. Thank you, good sir.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

Sunny-sue, I'm glad you include another in your celebration!
that is very important.

and, glad the tongie library is so good! and in tongie, too.
good night all! today was a b+ effort on this board!

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

okay...E_M...not a bad try there!

and, "muslim" most actual muslims are not, and do not support, the homicide bombers and are often terrorized by their organizations and proximity.

now, ceallach and Ms_canada. I take three days to make a good roast because of my love of garlic, pepper, and a fine roast.
day one: get a nonplastic non metal bowl (i.e. glass or pyrex etc). put in, for example 1 1/2 C cooking oil. then, use at least one head of garlic, maybe more; chop garlic. put into bowl with oil. put a large amount of black pepper, ground, in, I never measure so must estimate maybe 1/4 C. the garlic and pepper should make the oil into a very muddy consistency. then, stir in salt (I use sea salt, kosher salt is good too), enough to balance the pepper. if you wish, also add whole pepper corns to the garlicy/peppery mud you've created. optional: chili powder/cumin/basil in much smaller quantities. cover. refridgerate.

day two: roast should be thawed. remove from package. cut slashes into the fatty side of the roast. if you've been soaking peppercorns, they're great in these slashes. rub the oil mixture all over the outside of the roast. put roast into roasting pan after the oil mixture is on. cover, refridgerate.

day three: roast...of course use a meat thermometer to achieve desired doneness. have foil ready for when roast comes out of the oven, remove at slightly rawer than you wish. immediately upon removal from the oven, put roast into the foil rap to seal in the juices. save all the dripping in the roaster, start making the best gravy in that roaster. after about fifteen minutes, your roast is done, and the stray drippings in the foil can go in for the gravy, along with the peppercorns/fat/ crust on the roast. your oil mixture will form a crust to come off the roast before you serve. in fact, take it off while you're making that gravy. yumm.

done.
I have not been specific about times and oven temperatures for roasting. I like the resource at the texas beef council's website for these, and they will vary according to your roast type and its size. my favorite: ribeye roast if we can afford it. however, a standing rib roast will give some nice christmas presents for rover!

must have mashed potatoes for that gravy!

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 4 months ago

OK, Tines may have bombed, but Danni Boatright made my day! Way to go girl!!!!! YaaaaHoooooo!

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killjoy 8 years, 4 months ago

Muslim, you are so lucky to avoid the xmas blues like boogeyman. Interesting that you both have suicide connections. Merry xmas

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killjoy 8 years, 4 months ago

cig n beer,

You're right about the sausage. That's a good idea

You know I'll be there as long as my favorite cousin is there - she is sooooo hot. I'm bringing some blindfolds for the kissing contest.

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cigarettes_N_beer 8 years, 4 months ago

Actually, I must aploogize. I wasn't entirely honest about our tradition. Daddy hasn't been with us for several years.

But this year we all decided to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We're all taking a special trip in my uncle's 1978 Mercury to visit daddy. He's been living with my two older brothers in the state prison ever since they robbed that 7-11 of malt liquor and cigarettes.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 4 months ago

Gnome, Tongie has a very nice little library. They also keep all of their children's books coded like the school's which comes in very handy when the kids are doing their reading lists and need books from certain categories. Go figure! I can also get on-line and borrow a book from another library and have it sent to Tongie. (More than you wanted to know):)

About holidays being depressing: If I know a person that will be alone on a holiday, I invite them to join in my family's celebration. My most memorable Thanksgiving was when I was 20 yrs old and invited this little old man (that I barely knew) to my sister's for dinner. He was so gracious it made a huge impact on me. That was his last Thanksgiving...I'm so glad I didn't wait. He passed away a month later from cancer. No one knew he was sick. I held his hand in the hospital. A minister was there and he read the 23rd Psalm. Whew! That was hard for that young girl but he just squeezed my hand harder and smiled.

This year I'm again having someone over who would otherwise be alone. I think it's important to not just look the other way. Everyone has the power to make a difference in someone's life. And always, IMHO, the more the merrier!!!

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one_more_bob 8 years, 4 months ago

Tons of history on the evolution (can I say that word?) of the dating of Christmas and where various traditions came from: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

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Tanya Spacek 8 years, 4 months ago

thank you for the well wishes, right back at you.

does anyone else wonder if Christmastime has always been a depressing holiday for people, or if that's just popped up in this last century, with the advent of "perfect holidays" being portrayed in the media as something everyone should aspire to?

no disrespect intended to Christians, I seriously prefer to think of its original intent, as a Winter Solstice festival to celebrate the return of the Sun. that's how I'm explaining it to my boys, and it hasn't taken any of the magic out of it. in fact, putting it in that perspective has helped me to not be so depressed.

do you think there were 19th-century Christmases where someone got up from the table, screamed, "YOU RUINED ANOTHER CHRISTMAS!" and ran crying from the room?

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muslim 8 years, 4 months ago

Christmas traditions? Are you serious? We usually get together and make some belts then we take the bus to the shopping district. Maybe we'll see you there?

Merry Christmas everyone!

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even_money 8 years, 4 months ago

Howdy all, b_g here.

Day 1: Hello cow! Just follow the barricades, it's alright. Day 2: Whoa Millie... Day 3: Say 'grace' and eat.

Nite nite Santa :)

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ms_canada 8 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Gnome. I also want to know about the 3 day roast of beef. I won't sleep until you reveal all. When I was a wee girl, we, being Catholics, always went to Midnight Mass. Hard to stay awake but the thought of opening our gifts upon returning home was enough to keep the Sandman at bey. We would have our supper early that night so as to leave plenty of time to put the tree up and decorate it. It also gave us plenty of time to shake, rattle and roll our gifts. We didn't get many, but they were precious and we could hardly wait to see if what we had wished for would be found under the wrapping.

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Ceallach 8 years, 4 months ago

e_m is nothing, if not subtle :)

gnome, I know that you are a gentleman, so I'll ask you to tell us what about the three day :)

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

Tonganoxie has a library? [re employment ads this page]. what'll they think of next?

"every thing's up to date in Kansas city!" ..... "they've gone about as fer as they kin go!"

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Ceallach 8 years, 4 months ago

Just this afternoon I bought the crushed pineapple for the topping of my next pineapple upside down cake!!

Christmas eve we will gather at my sister-in-laws house, dine on appetizers, sandwiches and desserts. We all buy gifts for the 1st Christmas babies. We also have an ornament exchange that is in the form of the white elephant game. This year we will begin the day by attending Christmas services at church. When Christmas is not on Sunday I traditionally make an early breakfast of chocolate gravy and biscuits for my brood. This was my grandmother's special occasion breakfast and later my mother kept it going and now I do. Chocolate gravy and biscuits are really, really goooood!!. Chistmas dinner is either at my or one of my children's homes. We sometimes go to the movie together depending on the current releases. This year "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" both look good.

Holidays that are traditionally family centered are also depression magnets. For those of you who believe in the power of prayer, please pray for the students at KU and other universities around our nation. This is the time of year our students are most vulnerable to depression and suicide/suicide attempts.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

christmas traditions: on christmas day we always read from the Bible some of the Christmas story. my favorite: luke 2 RE the shepherds...country boys like me I guess, w/beards.

mrs. gnome [on here as yellowrose] makes wonderful sweet potato pie.
for three days, I make a very fine beef roast, ribeye/standing rib roast, roasted on christmas day, with a crust mostly of oil garlic pepper, and a little salt. if some one really cares, I can explain the "three days."

we enjoy the christmas tree, especially for the scent, but this year cannot for space. we miss that. there's something special get up christmas morning, smell the sweet potato pie and the tree.

lucky-nun, I was particularly moved by your post, thanks for sharing and may you have a huge number of very blessed christmases.

MSC, yes, the board certainly got off to quite a start! some had to work hard on some rather intense humor. nice note from you the other day BTW.
now, lawrence is mudville. we just need kasey at the bat.

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Purell 8 years, 4 months ago

We have a roundabout mold that we use to make fruitcakes with.

e_m, You get the award the most subtle use of 'first'

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

want that recipe for: "pineapple unside down cake!"

sounds 4-dimensional.

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boogeyman 8 years, 4 months ago

Depression runs in our family. My parents both killed themselves in December, but different years. My kids are on anti-depressants and I spend the month on suicide watch; I guess that's the tradition in our family.

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canyon_wren 8 years, 4 months ago

My mother's birthday was the day before Christmas, too, and that actually helped make Christmas Eve extra special (certainly better for HER than the day AFTER Christmas!).

I agree that Easter is the more important Christian holiday, and it IS nice that it is not quite as commercial as Christmas--but the wonderful thing about Christmas for Christians is that it was the fulfillment of a long-standing prophecy and brought about the beginning of God's unfolding of His grand plan for mankind. Christ's birth, and His death and resurrection are equally important.

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ms_canada 8 years, 4 months ago

Beatrice - I need to thank you for pointing out the reason for the levity. I now see that they are indeed making fun or criticising the commercialism of Christmas and I apologize for my harshness in my first post. Although the burning of the entrails did rather turn my stomach. But I see the point.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 4 months ago

Smitty, you touched on something that I've said for years. My hubby once said that Christmas was the most important holiday for Christians. My Mom and I just looked at him like he was crazy (he didn't do too much church growing up...but is a Christian). We pointed out to him that Easter is the ultimate Christian holiday, as it was His resurrection that was so important. After all, we all have a birthday. Glad Easter is still (mostly) a religious holiday.

OK, there is my dose of posting religion for today. Have a good day ya'll.

p.s. my Mom's b.day is also at Christmas time so I'll often celebrate it in July or some other odd month. I just surprise her with a "You didn't know it, but today is your birthday" party. I'll get the whole group together and take everybody to Stroud's for some fried chicken. WAAAAAY YUMMY. (and you can't beat eating at a place where their motto is "We choke our own chickens!"):)

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Azure_Attitude 8 years, 4 months ago

Every other year we go to the NH moutains and spend time with my family. Christmas eve we traditionally have several kinds of pate' and wine, shrimp, many varieties of cheese and wine, ma-a-a-a-aybe some beluga caviar *I hope, I hope, I hope . . . * presents, laughter, love, good times and wine . . . and the resort has arranged for "elves" to read stories to the kids at bedtime . . . then we see what Santa brought in the morning . . . these will be wonderful holidays this year.

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

Sweet potato pie and allowing the youngsters to open only one package on Christmas eve. Then before bed milk and cookies are left out for Santa. Lo and behold the milk and cookies are gone come Christmas morning.

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GreenEyedBlues 8 years, 4 months ago

Christmas Eve was always spent going to an early dinner out and then Mass. It was always fun seeing the other kids do the pageant. It seemed so funny to me that they always had a real baby to play the part of baby Jesus. Our parish had only about 100 people, mostly blue-haireds. But as in any Catholic Church, there's a whole "cry room" full of babies year-round.

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smitty 8 years, 4 months ago

LuckyNun, the influence of JW's(not journal world) has been the opposite for me. Until the JWs reminded me that it is not the birth but the death of JC that is held sacred by the scriptures I went around with that familiar empty x-mas feeling you described so well. Odd how the same information effects us all differently. May the only depression you have be from the sugar crash.

Anyway my favorite seasonal tradition comes from the fact that my father's birthday was close to x-mas that he got shorted in the presents category. Grandma would bake him a pineapple unside down cake as a special treat to compensate. For years I have baked that same cake for the hoiday season and now give them away for soltice.

Oh yeah, Dennis Smith and I might be related from his description of family.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 4 months ago

Every Christmas Eve, we have a wonderful family friend that has an "open house". Tons of people come by to celebrate. My young girls enjoy talking with grown-ups and it makes them feel very important. It is always fun to catch up with people you maybe haven't seen in a year. When we get home, my kids are allowed to open one gift.

Christmas morning is always eating my Mother-in-law's Eggs Benedict (she does make the best) at their house with all of my hubby's family. Christmas dinner is usually at my house with my family. We enjoy playing games and spend the evening laughing about anything and everything and generally giving each other a hard time (in a fun way). Gifts are given to the little ones, grown-ups will get a "gag" gift. Not real big on gifts but I always enjoy ones of the gag variety. I do make most of the gifts I give...gives me something to do:)

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Gootsie 8 years, 4 months ago

I think Denny reads our boards, and maybe even posts on them!

I love seeing my family during the holidays. And our biggest tradition is to pick on my older brother until he has no comebacks. That's a tough job but we have a great time. My kids are now even helping with that. I certainly have it coming after growing up with him. And I love him dearly.

My Dad's birthday was New Year's Day so we always think of him then too.

Just everyone be safe and happy, for whatever you call this time of year!

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beatrice 8 years, 4 months ago

Good morning Ms_C. Hope you are staying warm. Regarding today's posts, I must respectfully disagree with your take on things. Yes, these comments are sick and twisted, but several are quite funny, too -- with exception of the anti-Semitic comment. I don't believe they are, all and all, intended to mock the Christ part of Christmas. Comments like these are having fun with the secular holiday that has evolved from Christmas. (Similarly, I don't believe stores that use Christmas in their advertisements for everything from bras to i-pods are mocking Christ, but referring to the "holiday" -- rather than Christians' holy day.) So I suggest you relax, roll your eyes, roll with the punches, and realize these are just people having fun, and no harm is intended. Besides, when one of the OTS pictured questionee is a "therapist" who talks about his nasty divorce, what can you expect. And haven't we all experienced at least once that "Well, Merry Christmas everyone!" delivered in a heavily sarcastic tone by a family member who had their feelings hurt over some trivial incident?

My family tradition -- we always sit and look at photos from past Christmases (Christmi? -- what is the plural of Christmas?). Always brings out laughs, and a few tears for those no longer with us, but mostly laughs. (Nothing nasty or sarcastic, just for you ms_c.)

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offtotheright 8 years, 4 months ago

Every year on Christmas Eve (can I say Christmas on here?), we go to church, then to my mothers for Oyster Stew (Oyster stew is a must, once a year and only on X-mas Eve), and other soups and sandwiches. Open the g-zillion gifts under her tree (which takes about 10 minutes), and drink a few bottles of wine. Christmas day back to a family members home for a huge Christmas dinner to listen to all of the little ones tell what Santa brought them. It will be quite sad when they all grow up.

Every year...the same thing.

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offtotheright 8 years, 4 months ago

Poor Denny sounds like he needs a good therapist!

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italianprincess 8 years, 4 months ago

Ever since I was a little girl it has always been tradition to leave all the decor up until the middle of January. I think think year I will leave it all up until the last day. It looks to pretty to take down so soon.

We have always had our traditional Italian dinner. I will make my grandma's ( God rest her soul ) Italian Wedding Soup and Lasagna. I refuse to break tradition when we have had this dinner probably before I was born. The soup takes a long time to make, but I have my grandma's recipe down to a tee now everyone says it tastes just like hers.

My second oldest sister wanted to break tradition one year and have prime rib and yorkshire pudding. I told her to go ahead and eat all you want. I made our traditional dinner and my dad, brother and third oldest sister came to my house that year. My Aunt makes it also and now that my uncle has moved back to Cali they can make it together.

The snow is melting, the ground looks ugly and muddy now. Enjoy your day today as I think I will get out there and conquer the stores. Drive safe everyone, take your time........lifes to short and have a great day.

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Arschloch 8 years, 4 months ago

Our fight club is always open, but I can't talk about it.

In general though, fighting helps keep our minds off thoughts of suicide. Inflicting pain on others to keep the pain away from ourselves.

The last person interviewed seemed to have a good way of dealing with the season...must be his profession.

Just in case though, I'll say good-bye to everyone now.

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ms_canada 8 years, 4 months ago

You are most welome Canyon wren. I have changed my mind about posting today because there is something I wanted to point out. It has to do with the post by Luckynun. She brings out the real reason that we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. Luckynun knew all along that Christmas was not about gifts, trees, puddings, fruitcake or cards. It was about LOVE. This is the message that Jesus brought to earth from our Heavenly Father. He loved us so much that he died for us. Luckynun knew all along that if there was a loved one to share the pudding and turkey with, it would be a wonderful Christmas. Luckynun, I am so glad that you have found that and that you were such a good mother that your children did not have the sense of loss that you experienced. God bless you, dear lady and your loved ones.

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canyon_wren 8 years, 4 months ago

I have lots of old traditions--one of the main ones is going to the Christmas Eve service at our church--haven't missed a single one since we moved here in 1973. It's at 7 now, and I liked it better when it was at ll and we got out at midnight. Last year I took my son-in-law's mother to Midnight Mass at the Catholic Church and as we were driving, we saw 15 deer running down one of the main streets. Not a red nose in the bunch.

My new tradition is going to be making ms-canada's pudding. I am going to make it today. ms-canada, I don't blame you for not reading this anymore today, but if you ARE reading it, I wanted you to know I actually DID find dried currants in our grocery store, here out in the Boonies! I was so pleased. I am going to make just half a recipe as there are only three of us for Sunday dinner. I will freeze the leftover currants and save till next year. Thanks again for the recipe.

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Tanya Spacek 8 years, 4 months ago

Back when I was a single parent, I used to spend Christmas in my apartment with my kids. I'd try to act enthusiastic, and then I'd go in my room and cry because I was so lonely for another person to talk to who wasn't in grade school or diapers.

Christmas was the biggest letdown in the world for me. I was raised by Jehovahs Witnesses, so I always had this burning curiosity about what it was like to celebrate Christmas, especially after seeing all those tv commercials and movies and secretly reading the Readers Digest Book of Christmas. Again, what a letdown. Christmas is sitting in your apartment, crying, realizing that a tree and lights and presents can't make you happy unless you have people to share it with. and yeah, I admit it, my kids weren't enough to cheer me up. I felt WORSE when I realized that, too. Don't worry, apparently I hid it well and my kids have always thought Christmas is wonderful.

Then I started dating a guy who came from a large, loving family. Only, he was afraid at first to bring me around because I was unmarried with kids and his family was very traditional. So I spent the first two sets of holidays without him. He finally realized what a jackass he was being and I got to experience a good Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. We spent Christmas Eve with his mom's side of the family, and Christmas morning with his dad's side.

We were married this year and now we're going to my mother-in-law's parents' for Christmas Eve and then this year we're spending Christmas morning at home. If I concentrate on the fact that the sun is coming back, and not so much on what tv commercials would want me to believe, I'm okay.

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tempter1972 8 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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l_eustacy 8 years, 4 months ago

We read, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson to the kids.

Then then we have our own betting pool on who's going to prison, who's going to die an unnatural death, etc. next year. We pay off last year's pool.

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ms_canada 8 years, 4 months ago

I am not going to tell about my family traditions. I would not dignify the tone of this board this morning. Instead a plea, plea, please all regular normal, decent posters ignore this board today. It has gotten off to a really bad start and the whole thing should be wiped off the mapl It is not at all funny. Just sick. LJW please wipe it clean and change the question. We have talked about Christmas stuff ad nauseum this week with fruitcake, decorating, food, gifts etc. Enough is enough.

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cigarettes_N_beer 8 years, 4 months ago

killjoy,

Nice to know you're still out there "cousin". Are you coming over to gramda's trailer for cigarettes and beer on Christmas? If you're coming over then don't waste the entrails on a bonfire. We can make sausage from it.

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killjoy 8 years, 4 months ago

Christmas morning is a hunting morning for everyone in our family. For us, it is open season on any living animal on the property. We don't eat them all, but we do kill them. We all get up early and the first one to bring back their own weight in carcasses is the winner. Yes, we do help the girls carry some of the heavier loads - we're not heathens. Then, instead of a Yule log, we have an entrails bonfire.

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goatdog 8 years, 4 months ago

We kill as many christian pigs as possible.

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nudist 8 years, 4 months ago

We drop the kids off at naught but nice and do their shopping. Then we take lots of pictures at xmas.

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Hannibal_Lecter 8 years, 4 months ago

it puts the lotion on it's skin or it gets the hose again

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cigarettes_N_beer 8 years, 4 months ago

My dad would always make a special trip to 7-11 early in the morning on Chrismas day and pickup several quarts of malt liquor and cartons of premium brand cigarettes.

Then the whole family would walk down the dirt driveway to grandma's trailer to join my two aunts, three uncles, their current girlfriends or boyfriends and all my cousins.

They weren't really my cousins because they were not my aunts and uncles biological kids. They were from previous one night stands of the boyfriends and girlfriends of my aunts and uncles .

Once we were all together my dad would pass out the malt liquor and cigarettes. It was the one time of the year that us kids were allowed to drink and smoke.

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even_money 8 years, 4 months ago

Our family holiday tradition is to 'first' secretly plot how we can lobby the city for more roundabouts.

Then we gift-wrap the fruitcakes.

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