12 Days of Christmas- Day 7

16 Dec

I’m a sucker for Christmas traditions. Some people string popcorn and hang it on their tree. Some people sing Christmas carols. Some people attend midnight mass. I have fond memories of these lovely Tonic Family traditions:

  • Cussing up a storm as we try to figure out which bulb is causing the whole strand to blackout
  • Having tree sap stuck to my skin and hair for days after helping get the tree in the base
  • Waking up at ungodly hours because a tiny person in the house wants to get up before the sun does to open presents
  • My parents arguing because my dad forgot to charge the camcorder battery for the 900th year in a row
  • Feeling bloated and praying for a swift death after consuming too many sweets
Christmas 2009. This is me right before I "gave birth" to the cheesecake, rum balls and fudge I ate earlier in the day.

Christmas 2009. This is me right before I “gave birth” to the cheesecake, rum balls and fudge I ate earlier in the day.

Another tradition that has withstood the test of time in my household is that of the Christmas Pickle. Many people thought this was originally a German tradition, but according to Wikipedia, that’s a bunch of malarkey. I honestly thought it was something my mom made up because she used poor judgment and bought an ugly pickle ornament.

The way the Christmas Pickle works is pretty straightforward. After the tree is trimmed (this is how fancy people say “decorated”) the parents hide the pickle in the tree. The kids then spend time digging through the branches trying to find this pickle, and the first person to find it wins something. In my family, we’d get five bucks and major bragging rights. (Note: kids in junior high don’t find it as impressive as your family does when you find the Christmas Pickle. Learned that the hard way.)

Who wants to play "hide the pickle" with me?

Who wants to play “hide the pickle” with me?

Today’s challenge is sharing one of your Christmas/holiday traditions. I’ve got a lot of international readers so I’m looking forward to hearing about what everyone does this time of year.

Last, but not least, let me announce the winners from Day 5 and Day 6. Day 5’s winner is Lyssapants and Day 6’s winner is Tired of Previews! E-mail me at Sipsofjenandtonic@gmail.com to claim your prizes.

Adios for now, Hooked on Tonics.

74 Responses to “12 Days of Christmas- Day 7”

  1. GiggsMcGill Jill 12/18/2012 at 9:07 pm #

    My mom’s tradition is to try to spend as little time at home as possible. So until I was in college most Christmases were in exotic locales (Hawaii, Bora Bora, the non-snowy mountains of SoCal, etc). And she’d always bring a suitcase of just presents, so that we still opened some presents on christmas.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/18/2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Wait, you got to go to fun destinations AND open presents? I say this with love…you’re a jerk.

      • GiggsMcGill Jill 12/18/2012 at 10:28 pm #

        LOL! We covered that in your letter to Santa remember? The boobs thing…

        • Jen and Tonic 12/18/2012 at 10:29 pm #

          So we did. Good lookin’ out, Giggs.

          • GiggsMcGill Jill 12/18/2012 at 10:37 pm #

            Oh, I remember ev-er-y-thi-ng… … … … *eyebrow raise scary face??*

  2. travellingmo 12/18/2012 at 9:47 am #

    My boyfriend and I love to do a traditional Jewish Christmas. Chinese food and a movie!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/18/2012 at 10:22 pm #

      That sounds like the best Christmas of all time.

  3. benzeknees 12/17/2012 at 11:58 am #

    When my daughter was very little, everyone would gather at my house Christmas Eve where we would eat & drink so S could go to sleep in her own bed & leave cookies & milk near the tree. Then on Christmas morning everyone would gather at my house again to see S (the oldest & only grandchild for 5 years) open her gifts. I would get up early, put the coffee on & the “wife saver” in the oven. Everyone would arrive & have their first cup of coffee, then I would go in & wake up my sleepy daughter who even at 2 loved to sleep in! No one missed a minute of Christmas morning through the eyes of a child because of a late sleeper.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 4:03 pm #

      You had a 2 year old that liked to sleep in? That is TRULY a christmas present!

      • benzeknees 12/17/2012 at 4:54 pm #

        Since I was a single parent most of her life, having her love to sleep in was the gift that just kept on giving. She’s now 30 & still is not a morning person.

  4. SummerSolsticeGirl 12/17/2012 at 1:45 am #

    Aguinaldos. The best Christmas tradition ever! It’s a series of games played from Dec 16-24 and the objective is to trick your opponent to make them lose. There are many kinds of games and they are always played between two people. When you start, you decide the game and the price and you have till the 24th. Scores are kept and the one with more points win. It’s awesome :)

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:57 pm #

      Whoa, that sounds really cool! I would love to do this with my family since I’m so much smarter than the rest of them.

  5. davidhardingblogs 12/16/2012 at 8:27 pm #

    In Australia we dip our hands into the pouch of Pom-Pom the Christmas kangaroo. Will there be a present inside? Yes! If you consider lice a present.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:56 pm #

      I laughed out loud at this. Damn you, David.

      • davidhardingblogs 12/17/2012 at 8:13 pm #

        I live to give.
        Now I shall kiss at your screen and say goodnight!

        Goodnight!

  6. Lyssapants 12/16/2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Dude, my German family totally plays hide the pickle every year. And we, like proper Germans, always get excited about it.
    Growing up, since I was raised in California and both my parents grew up on the frozen tundra in Wisconsin, we would bring the frozen tundra to CA by making tumbleweed snowmen in our front yard. We’d find 3 tumbleweeds, impale them on a wooden stake in the front lawn, spraypaint them white, and then put on a hat, felt eyes, etc.
    We would send pictures to our relatives in Wisconsin and they would send back cassette tapes of themselves laughing.

    And yay prizes!!!! An email to you is now speeding through cyber space!

  7. writerwendyreid 12/16/2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Growing up, we never opened gifts until the morning of the 25th. My mother would get up extra early and start the sausage stuffing. This stuffing is to die for and I still make it every year. She’d stuff the bird and put it in the oven, and THEN we would sit at the tree, with my father pretending to be Santa and handing out the gifts. :-)

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:55 pm #

      Your dad pretended to be Santa?! That’s really cool. My dad pretended to be a guy who had charged the camcorder.

      • writerwendyreid 12/17/2012 at 7:47 pm #

        hahaha…that’s too funny.

  8. nikkix2 12/16/2012 at 3:22 pm #

    My ex husband and I have a tradition of drinking ourselves drunk till we semi like each other again,,,yep,,,we still get together for the sake of the kids they are 18 & 14 now, so now it’s a tradition,,lol

    • calahan 12/16/2012 at 5:01 pm #

      This made me laugh. :)

      • nikkix2 12/16/2012 at 5:39 pm #

        lol,,it is funny,,,,and it’s true!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:54 pm #

      That’s ingenious. You need to host seminars for the separated.

  9. Kelly 12/16/2012 at 1:51 pm #

    The Christmas Pickle!!! We hid the pickle when we were kids (heh.) I need one! Thank you for reminding me.

    I love Christmas. And I love Snoopy. We watch the Peanuts’ Christmas movie every year. And the kids hit the sack and I cry and get tipsy and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Good times.

    Stockings are out of control I love stockings. I wish there were birthday stockings.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Actually, birthday stockings is a kickass idea! Imagine how special you’d feel on your birthday if your stocking was up there for a whole week, and then suddenly there were gifts in it on your special day?

      • Kelly 12/19/2012 at 5:51 am #

        I think we are on to something.

  10. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 12/16/2012 at 11:14 am #

    In my family (the one I’m in now, not the one I grew up in)… My husband’s side celebrates Xmas eve, my family Xmas day. So my husband & I open up our gifts to each other (mostly stockings – we’re all about the stockings) at midnight so that we can do Xmas Eve & Xmas Day. Now with our son, we still do this and then have Santa Christmas day and hope we get at least 4 hours of sleep before we are woken up with gleeful shouts of delight and the cat running wild over our heads with a bow in her mouth….

    In my growing up family – we went to my Grandparent’s house and ate – and got yelled at for touching the 300 piece nativity that my Nanny had around her twirling, scented aluminum pink tree in the living room wrapped in plastic. Then Santa came, distributed gifts, we ate dessert and then at midnight we ate again. So basically we ate.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:52 pm #

      Do all grandma’s have a huge nativity set? This is why I could never have kids which would then lead to grandparenthood. I just can’t be responsible for that much porcelain.

      • Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 12/18/2012 at 5:01 am #

        I know! Well, she was a rigid Catholic (grew up in a convent in Italy) so I suspect that had much to do with it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be breaking MANY grandmother traditions if my kid has a kid…

  11. Bill Friday 12/16/2012 at 11:07 am #

    “A Charlie Brown Christmas”… once upon a time, on TV… then on VHS bought for a buck-ninety-nine at the Shell station on the corner of Crenshaw and Artesia… then on DVD from Starbucks with the accompanying Vince Guaraldi Trio CD thrown in for one “low” price.

    To quote Linus Van Pelt,

    “…That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:52 pm #

      I remember when you bought that, you really were like a kid at Christmas. “LOOK WHAT I GOT!”

  12. jdanryan 12/16/2012 at 10:26 am #

    We used to have the Christmas tradition of having an orange in our stockings come that morning. One year, we called out my dad on that, and he told us that back in the day, getting an orange in December in Buffalo was considered semi-amazing thanks to the train traffic through what was a major rail hub then, and so finding one on such a cold day so far away from the groves down south was thought of an an amazing happening.

    As he was telling us that, a young audience that was used to seeing citrus year-round in the super markets, we were thinking about our own forming traditions, the once a year airing of the Rankin-Bass stopmotion specials like RUDOLF THE RED NOSE REINDEER and SANTA CLAUSE IS COMING TO TOWN. Shows that we thought were a real sign that, yes, it was the time for the holidays, shows that by the time my son was that age were downloadable any day of the year on YouTube.

    Which makes me wonder: Can we come up with a holiday tradition that the inevitable march of progress can’t f’ up for us a mere generation later…?

    • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:51 pm #

      No, I don’t think so. The only thing that has withstood the test of time is “because I said so.” That tradition lives on and on and on and on and on.

  13. vyvacious 12/16/2012 at 10:22 am #

    We used to have to sit through an hour an a half of pictures before we could open presents. You can imagine how difficult this was as a small child. Horrible, horrible torture.

    In my household, it doesn’t feel like Christmas until I walk into my uncle’s house and I hear Dolly Parton belting out Christmas songs. We have a very country Christmas in my family.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:37 pm #

      WHAT? Pictures of what? Unless it’s pictures of what’s in the boxes underneath the tree, that does qualify as torture.

      Dolly Parton at Christmas? Now that’s a party.

      • vyvacious 12/17/2012 at 1:37 pm #

        Pictures of everyone in front of the tree with the presents underneath it. It was torture. And I don’t mean multiple continuous group pictures. I mean like every factorial combination possible of everyone. So one with just me. One with just me and my cousin. Now continue with every single one of my family members. Goodness gracious.

  14. artsifrtsy 12/16/2012 at 9:45 am #

    M Christmas tradition involves trying to get a sugar cured ham through airport security without having to pay for an extra bag. They don’t sell them in the west so it’s something I have to carry on as I head out from Arkansas every year.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:36 pm #

      Do you smuggle it under your shirt and just tell them you’re pregnant like the woman above?

      • artsifrtsy 12/16/2012 at 7:00 pm #

        No – but that’s a great idea. I try to put it in the overhead as one of my pieces of luggage. The TSA agents are always stunned to see a ham in a burlap bag. Last year they made me check it – $50 to get the $40 ham to Las Vegas – Happy Holidays :)

  15. Combat Babe 12/16/2012 at 8:43 am #

    I don’t think I want to birth my own child now. It was enough hearing what could possibly go on during labor, but that’s just too much. Adoption is where it’s at.

    Our tradition is ornament themes. I’m reindeer and Santa Clauses. My sister is polar bears (especially the coca cola ones) and … I forget the other one. I also forget my nephew’s because that’s how much I pay attention to detail.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:36 pm #

      Right? The thought of something growing inside of me is quite terrifying. Add to that the possibility of having eight humans inside of you….well, forget it.

      I’ve never heard of people having themes, that’s really cool! And who cares what anyone else is doing when you have reindeer and santa clauses. That’s pretty much the cream of the crop.

  16. daniheart21 12/16/2012 at 8:03 am #

    hmmm we usually get the cats new jingle balls and watch them chase them until they lose them under the furniture. LOL Our kids are grown so our Christmas’s are low key for the first time ever and it’s nice. :)

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:34 pm #

      Cats chasing things is one of the simple pleasures in life :)

  17. saradraws 12/16/2012 at 7:02 am #

    Holy hannah, I hope there’s there’s never that many babies living in me. I’m tired just looking at the poor woman. Of course, I’m always tired, really.
    Speaking of Christmas…no traditions at our house yet. Except for me panicking. Holiday anxiety is de rigueur. At my folks house, there’s always stockings…even at my age. Also, Wilson family fudge. And my family making fun of me while I try to save all the fancy ribbon and paper because I am cheap as fuck.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:31 pm #

      If I had that many babies ion my body, I would cry every single day. How is she even standing up? That’s EIGHT PEOPLE inside of her. I once ate a big burrito and hated having that inside me.

      Family fudge is the best. And what’s wrong with saving the paper and ribbon? It’s COST EFFECTIVE.

      • benzeknees 12/17/2012 at 11:49 am #

        Kate actually only had 6 babies in her at one time. She had twins with her first pregnancy – that’s how it became 8.

        • Jen and Tonic 12/17/2012 at 3:45 pm #

          Ah, you’re right! Shows what I know about women who have too many kids in them at once ;)

      • saradraws 12/18/2012 at 8:47 am #

        This why we’re engaged to be married.

    • nikkix2 12/16/2012 at 3:18 pm #

      Sara,,,,saving the fancy ribbon and paper is ok,,it’s when you start ironing that shit!

      • saradraws 12/18/2012 at 8:47 am #

        Phew. I can’t find the iron in the bedlam of not-yet-unpacked boxes. OCD avoided!

  18. mabukach 12/16/2012 at 6:38 am #

    I can’t stop staring at the pregnant girl…can’t….wise men…..baby jesus….nativity navel.

    • Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 12/16/2012 at 11:10 am #

      That’s a watermelon in her body

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:29 pm #

      According to the internet, that’s Kate Gosselin who is the lady who had eight babies. I think the moral of the story is not to be on television and be a horrible human being or this might happen to you.

      • mabukach 12/17/2012 at 5:36 am #

        Yikes….that thing needs its own segway!

  19. Carrie Rubin 12/16/2012 at 6:16 am #

    We have the Pickle, too. It was my husband’s idea. I think it’s a little lame, but whichever kid finds it gets to open the first present. Five bucks sounds like a sweeter deal.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:28 pm #

      I think your husband is doing it the correct way. My mom probably didn’t want mutiny on her hands.

  20. Christopher De Voss 12/16/2012 at 6:09 am #

    My Christmas tradition is to pass out drunk into the tree, knocking it over, then leaving it there for the kids to find in the morning explaining that they decorated the one side of the tree too much.

    • Carrie Rubin 12/16/2012 at 6:17 am #

      Ahh, so sweet and Christmasy…

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:28 pm #

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, how lovely is that puke in the branches…

  21. aliceatwonderland 12/16/2012 at 5:55 am #

    We have an ornament collection. Ornaments celebrating different occasions – I have one for when we moved here, one representing the university I work for, and the girls have chosen an ornament each since Thing Two was a baby. The Christmas Thing Two was 18 months, we bought her a stuffed ornament that said NAUGHTY on it in jeweled letters. There was a reason for this. The weirdest ornament I ever got is a pregnant mermaid. I don’t think it’s supposed to be pregnant, but it looks like it is. My cousin gave it to me. It’s bizarre but kind of cool. Anyway, I love pulling out the ornaments each year and remembering.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:27 pm #

      That’s really cool! For quite a few years, my mom would take me and my sisters, and let us pick out our own ornaments. We now have ten bajillion ornaments. I think it stopped as we started moving away, and our garage became overrun with tree decorations.

    • GiggsMcGill Jill 12/18/2012 at 9:00 pm #

      I do the same thing! I was actually freaking out today because I couldn’t find our ornaments! I wasn’t home for the unpacking/repacking of christmas decorations, so when they weren’t in their usual spot I thought they’d been lost forever. (We found them – the world can go on. Until Friday anyway)
      But I love family ornaments – they’re so much more interesting than just ball ornaments!

  22. Le Clown 12/16/2012 at 5:44 am #

    Jen,
    Sara is the one that keeps Christmas together in our house. And I follow her lead. She goes above and beyond her ways to make cards, take the decorations out and give a bit of the holiday spirits to our home.I’m more like her elf, and listen to the master… during XMAS that is.Only. Of course.
    Le Clown

    • Combat Babe 12/16/2012 at 8:38 am #

      Mmhm, Mr. Le Clown. We totally believe you bow down to her lead only during Xmas. ;)

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:26 pm #

      I bet Christmas with Sara is amazing. She’s so crafty and loving and can probably bake cookies that don’t taste like sand.

      And right, “you’re the boss” *wink, wink*

  23. Brother Jon 12/16/2012 at 5:14 am #

    Here is something that I dealt with for about 15 years. It’s not really a tradition, but it did become traditional….and something that could really piss a couple of kids off on Christmas morning.

    Waiting for Grandma to show up before we opened any Christmas Gifts.

    Every Christmas morning we would get up and be in awe of the mountains and mountains of gifts under the tree. We would then consume the most wondrous cinnamon rolls…and then wait, for what seemed like hours. While we waited we were allowed to dig in to our stockings. It was about ten o’clock EVERY Year when we finally got to open presents. The last few years this hasn’t bothered me one bit. Another tradition was to drink ourselves silly on Christmas Eve, so getting to sleep in was awesome.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:25 pm #

      WOW! That’s torture for small children, especially since older people tend to move a little slower. Talk about building resentment towards grandma! ;)

      Drinking yourself silly on Christmas Eve sounds like a tradition I need to start this year.

  24. Daan van den Bergh 12/16/2012 at 4:11 am #

    I have only one Christmas tradition: PUUUAAARTEEEYY!

    During my childhood, Christmas was horrible. I mean, presents and Christmas-trees was all nice. But there were so many traditions, it was so controlled, so much etiquette, I got sick and tired of it.

    So the tradition in my house, with my family is: party all day long in any way you want.

    For my son that probably means wrapping the cat in Christmas decoration and I’ll probably cook delicious, while my wife is getting drunk and bothering me with all kinds of not interesting gossip about her friends and family. GO BANANAS!

    It’s totally responsible fun, though.

    • Jen and Tonic 12/16/2012 at 1:24 pm #

      I have a friend whose family had a very “classy christmas” and he hated it. He said it was like he was on a schedule, and he hated that.

      A family party sounds good to me!

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