It’s December already. And it got here so soon.
I was reminiscing with some writing buddies about family traditions and the discussion reminded me of a tradition I’ve decided not to pass on to our now-adult children.
My father was a very generous man. He loved giving gifts and blessing people whether it was family or friends or the wait staff at a restaurant. He was like this all year round. He was an amazing example of generosity.
But, being Irish, he had a bit of the touch of a leprechaun in him, at least when it came to my sister and I. When we blessed him with grandchildren—four from my sister and five from me—it seemed like he couldn’t give enough. At Christmas, however, his giving came with a twist.
On Christmas Eve, after suppertime, the big gift from Poppy would arrive at the house. And, it was always something that had to be put together. One year it as a complete drum set. Another it was a spring-mounted hobbyhorse. In a box. With assembly instructions poorly translated from the Japanese.
And I swear he somehow opened the package and removed one or two screws or other parts. At least it seemed that way to this less-than-mechanically inclined son. I often thought of putting a labels on my tools that said, “This end up.”
At any rate, while the children snuggled in their beds, warmed by their dreams of Christmas morning, I was in another part of the house trying to quietly put together some contraption that was supposed to amuse and entertain them. One that was supposed to be the highlight of their Christmas morning. So it had to look right and work perfectly. No pressure there. Putting the gizmos together did help me to learn some very creative cursing.
When Poppy came over on Christmas Day, he would smile and wink and poke me with his elbow.
“See, I knew you could do it,” he’d whisper.
Seeing the kids’ faces on Christmas morning made it all worthwhile. Many times over.
Let’s reminisce. What was your family’s weirdest Christmas tradition?