Thursday, December 22, 2011

just reach into the hat....

on the evening of christmas day we have a tradition: our family always gets together with my husband's mother and his sister's family for a meal and more (the and more part is the lively part—i'll get to it in a second). the tradition started way back when all our children were infants, and even though our families have grown to include the husbands, wives and children of the original children, several of whom live far away, we still manage to gather for dinner at one of our houses.

hopefully the tradition will continue on in some fashion in the scattered pieces of the clan in the years to come—but who knows. at the very least, perhaps a few old stories from christmases past might always be recounted at christmastime. for example: remember the year grandma got the silky black thong in the yankee swap? and all the young women were trying to trade like crazy (translation: kill) to get it? and a certain young lady got them and brought them with her on her honeymoon the following summer?

oh yeah, that's the and more part of our tradition—the yankee swap, every year like clockwork.

and don't anyone try to change that tradition, don't even attempt to voice an opinion indicating that maybe since the family is growing and spreading out over so many states maybe we ought to consider discontinuing the yankee swap. if you dare suggest such a thing, i give you fair warning: some members of the family will bite your head off and make you feel so ashamed for suggesting a change in tradition that you will just wanna crawl in a hole and die. i won't mention their names on the internet—*cough*christina, *cough*alex, *cough*hannah—but these people know who they are and what they are—yankee swap junkies.

in addition to stuffing our faces with food and drink, we always play our official christmas game and that game oftentimes leads to other (unofficial) games. (that's a subject for another post.)

you know the game of yankee swap: everyone brings an inexpensive, wrapped gift (under $25). we all pick a number out of a hat (we often have almost 20 people) and go in order to take turns to choose a present of our choice, either a wrapped gift from under the tree or one of the gifts that someone has already opened. (that's right, you heard me correctly—we steal people's gifts on christmas.) the highest numbers are obviously the best (more choices), the lowest numbers, the worst.

sounds like a nice game, huh? well, you've obviously never taken part in our swap (anyone is welcome. you're invited; come on over—just bring a wrapped goodie with you.)

you see, our swap is a highly competitive version of yankee swap—a cutthroat, killer yankee swap. all in the wonderful spirit of christmas, right?

every year there are always the gifts that turn out to be rare and sought after. real economics is involved here (and you thought this was just a game for dummies)—you know, high demand, low supply kind of stuff. people will practically tear you apart from limb to limb to get these gifts.

i've already mentioned the lusty black thong. another year there was also a lovely string of highly desired F*R*A*G*I*L*E hanging leg lamps for the christmas tree (rent a christmas story). and once a chubby orange goldfish in a stunning bowl (the fish died a few days later), a bunch of tickets for a car wash, a board game called the simpsons (oh.that.andrew), a set of screwdrivers, and small, battery operated helicopters (those were seriously fun).

aren't all of these things worth fighting over on christmas day?

it's exhausting.

but we are sure to have a fun time and a wonderful christmas, even with all the bruises, scratches, and torn clothing.

on that note, merry christmas everyone!


BavarianSojourn said...

Sounds like a ball! We have a similar tradition in the UK - Secret Santa. This can be quite dangerous in an office environment! Hope you had fun! Emma :)

Christina said...
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Christina said...

And what fun it is! Don't you think dear Auntie?! :)

m said...

i do, i do! it is ever so much fun, dear christina!