Bizarre Holiday Family Traditions... What's Yours?
Dave Hamrick
United States
Moore
OK
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It's Christmas Eve here in the US (for those that celebrate, of course). In my household, we celebrate the night before Christmas by incorporating a lot of our favorite traditions that we've developed over the years.

What are some of your holiday traditions that could be considered "off the beaten path," "odd," or just plain abnormal?
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Dave Hamrick
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Each Christmas Eve, instead of having a big holiday dinner, my family and I order Chinese takeout. The tradition probably developed from laziness (as I suspect a majority of mine--if not others'--have), but has since become a major part of our night-before-Christmas celebrations.
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Dave Hamrick
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I always do my shopping on Christmas Eve. This is another tradition that came out of laziness but has since become a typical part of Christmas Eve. I plan on teaching my son the value of this tradition when he's old enough.

[I might also drop this tradition, since paying MSRP for anything can be a terrible burden on the ol' wallet.]
 
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J Weintraub
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My wife and I have a tradition of taking a walk one evening during the holiday season, and judging everyone's holiday light decorations. People make hideous color choices, hang things all askew, etc. and it just looks awful. So we mock and malign our way around the neighborhood, coming up with new and innovative insults. A good time.
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4. Board Game: Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:8264]
Malachi Brown
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My father's extended family has the tradition of The Table.

It dates back to when my great-grandfather was alive and was a professor at UT Knoxville. He would often work with foreign graduate students who did not have anything to do on Christmas. He would open his home to his extended family, friends, and anyone else friends and family decided to invite. It would often be crowded with 20 or so people.

Dinner was always a potluck and it was more potluck than usual since a non-trivial percentage of the guests would bring their own comfort food that reminded them of home. After everyone had a nice dinner, preparations for The Table would begin.

Throughout the year, my great-grandparents would collect all manner of things, from random junk that got sent to their house to mail order items they either ordered and didn't like or ordered for The Table to oddities and keepsakes they had collected in their travels around the world. The large banquet tables we had dinner on would be cleared and box after box would be brought down from upstairs and unpacked onto the tables.

The tables would be overflowing with things. Over here would be books (my great-grandparents loved books and did not own a TV until their final years) they no longer had room for on topics ranging from new age crystal healing to wildlife identification. Next to that might be a toaster or a waffle iron (true story, that year we found the last waffle to be made... still inside the waffle iron... just a dessicated husk its former glory.) and next to that would be calendars from every nature related club in North America.

At this point the gathered crowd would start looking through all the items. Not taking anything, just scoping everything out. Meanwhile, the numbers were being handed out. A number from 1 to n where n was the number of people present, including children, would be put into a hat. Then, everyone would draw a number from the hat. Once everyone had a number, they would call them in numerical order. When it was your turn, you would go up to The Table and pick out one item. Then the next number would be called, etc. Once every number had been called, they would call for number 1 again. Repeat until a) everything is gone or b) everyone is tired and tags out.

My family still continues this tradition although it is not as robust since the passing of my great-grandfather. We still have many of the extended family members and some family friends, but we don't have the infusion of random graduate students nor do we have my great-grandparent's collection of assorted and sundry items. However, it is still fun and it has partly become a re-gifting table, as anyone is welcome to contribute items to the table if they think someone else will appreciate them.

If you every find yourself at loose ends in East Tennessee on Christmas, drop me a line.
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