Holiday traditions are funny things if you think about it. Imagine what aliens from another planet might think if they honed their high-tech scopes in on a typical American household at Christmas. Dead trees, brought indoors, adorned with twinkling lights that make us curse as they are applied to the boughs. Piles of boxes, painstakingly wrapped to be torn open in an elaborate game of peek-a-boo.
“These Earthlings are a primitive and irrational people, Zork. Perhaps we should go.”
…And that’s before they learn about our Christmas bills.
But we stick with it because that’s just what we do. Participating in holiday madness binds us in a “Peace on earth, good will toward man (kind) kind of way.”
Some traditions border on bizarre, like putting a mixture of oatmeal and salt on a child’s head to protect them from Halloween spooks. Others, however, make perfect sense.
Take for example our Halloween ham. The practice was born about seven years ago when my toddler was still toddling and my older kids still needed help tying their shoes. Halloween was upon us, and there were three costumes to tweak and pictures to take and grandparents to visit and trick-or-treating to accomplish And there was no way we could manage all that on an empty stomach.
Plus, friends would be stopping by. What if they were hungry?
In my fridge, was a free ham from ShopRite, so I figured, why not?
I sent the hubby out for rolls and we stuck the free ham in the oven on low heat as we left to go haunting. Our friends, John and Korri Carlson, whose family included three tiny goblins, similar in size to our own, accompanied us.
We packed up the wagon with whatever the kids needed plus a few adult-style treats of red wine and beer, and we set out to celebrate. It was like Christmas caroling, only better…no singing.
Later, when we came in out of the chilly night we were greeted by the warm smell of a holiday–yummy ham sandwiches with potato salad and pickles and candy for dessert. The children spread their goodies out all over the living room floor for a massive candy swap. And our husbands, both professed sandwich men, stuffed themselves like turkeys.
It was a perfect night, and one we have repeated every year. In fact, we’ve been quite protective of it, even as our children get older and their growing social circles and busy calendars could easily lead us in different directions.
The old wagon is long gone, but the kids don’t seem to mind us still tagging along, red cups in hand, carrying our own treats in a backpack, while we walk around the neighborhood visiting family, friends and neighbors. And then they visit us, as well.
It’s a good tradition…one I think even the aliens would understand.