Cozy mittens and crackling fires. Crunchy leaves and snowflakes on noses. And all the Ugg-clad girls storming the walls of Starbucks picking up the battle cry, "Pumpkin spice! Pumpkin spice!" whilst snapping selfies.
Thanksgiving marks the eve of holiday traditions and cheer. What's not to love? I'll be the first to admit that I love the holiday season. There are certain things I look forward to every year that have become an indelible part of our family.
However, the other day something happened that got me thinking...some holiday traditions are just ridiculous. For starters:
Pumpkin spice is here to stay. In the last couple years, for some reason, this is the new hot flavor of the holiday season. And this is what got me thinking about hilarious holiday traditions. My mom decided to make a delicious holiday smoothie (read that in Napoleon Dynamite's voice for added hilarity). So she got on Pinterest and found a recipe for "Pumpkin Spice Smoothie- (description) 'This is like crack. Warning! Drink this and you won't be able to stop. So good it brought tears to my eyes.'"
Promising. But by the time my mom started dumping honey and ginger into the blender, I knew it was one of those healthy vegetarian type deals and started to get a little nervous. Now I'm very open-minded when it comes to food. Clearly. I don't have too much of an issue there. But I just have to say, this concoction tasted like blended water chestnuts pureed in ginger and olive oil. I very much believe with all my heart, if I were a baby bird, and momma bird spat in my beak, it would taste like this.
This is one of those holiday treat things I really don't get. Maybe I just haven't had the right dessert/beverage/sandwich flavored with pumpkin spice yet, but none of it has really done it for me yet. Maybe because it tastes like "Sixteen" magazine? Not sure. The majority of my encounters with pumpkin spice has including Sepia-colored Instagram-like photos of cardboard cups captioned: #OMG#spiceforlife#dunkinindapunkin#wherehaveyoubeenallmylifeyoutearsofthecherubsyou
The other day I tried Hershey Kisses Pumpkin Spice flavor. I deduced that, in an effort to go green, Hersheys melted down the wax from their leftover Pumpkin Spice candles and marketed them as candies. Mad props for the attempt to recycle, but I'll be sticking to more original flavors. Thanks very much though.
Hallmark Holiday Movies
My mom's favorite tradition might be Hallmark holiday movies, as evidenced by the DVR being in a constant state of "1% Memory Remaining" and my brothers' complaints that their UFC fights have conflicting recordings going on. Typically the watching of said movies goes something along the lines of:
Chad: "Are you watching one of your gajillion movies, Mom?"
Mom: "Yes, dear."
Chad: "Oh. Is that the one where the girl and the guy meet and get in that big argument, but they end up kissing in front of the Christmas tree in the end?"
Karla: "It is! See! You do like these movies!"
Me: "Mom, he's being facetious. That's the basic plot line of all Hallmark movies."
At which point there is much whipping of pillows at the son's head and statements that "nobody around here will watch these movies with me."
Christmas Lights Tour
This may be one of our most consistent holiday traditions. It nearly always ends the same way, but for some magical reason, every year we'd climb into a van and scour the town for the best lit streets. They typically ended something along the lines of:
"Mom, he's poking me over and over on purpose."
"Corinna, don't be a tattle tale. Tyler, don't act like you're four."
*we share a conspiratorial wink*
Mom: "Turn down that road! I think I see lights."
"Great idea! Let's go down the super dark, creepy driveway. What if an ax murderer tried to attack us."
"It might make this more exciting."
"Nobody uses an ax anymore. More like a sub-machine gun."
Dad: "Knock it off! You're all going to love each other, or I will knock you into next week!"
"Good street pick, Mom! I see someone's Christmas tree lights through the window!"
"Why can't you all love each other?"
"We do! See!"
"Ow! He's poking me again!"
"I'm hot! Turn down the heat!"
"Did you bring Patch the Pirate tapes too? That would be perfect for this adventure."
I have to honest, this is something I've only tried once although it is a concrete Christmas tradition worldwide. The one time I did try this was with my college and career aged Sunday School class. We thought we would give it a try and drove twenty miles to an elderly woman's house to sing her several songs. After arranging ourselves meticulously in height and age order on her porch, we burst into song as she opened her door. After we finished our first number and beamed our smiles in her direction, she smiled back with a concerned expression and said, "That...wasn't very good...are you going to very many houses?" After we assured her that we were not, she thanked us.Bravely, we plunged ahead with one last song. After we finished she said, "That was a little better. Good night."
We never got cookies.
So while some traditions may have slightly more amusing family origins that others, I've learned something in the last year as I've begun my own family. Things are rarely as perfect as they appear in Hallmark movies (love you, Mom). But the traditions themselves create wonderful memories. And though our parents may remember the kids bickering in the backseat during Christmas light tours, my brothers and I remember that we were spending time together as a family. And we were genuinely having a good time picking on our parents by pretending to fight in the back seat.
And guess what. Last year I asked my husband if we could drive around town and look at lights. And it made me smile to think that one day we may have a van load of squabbling kids behind us. I'm still looking for that delicious Pumpkin Spice beverage, but the other day I actually caught myself watching a Hallmark movie on TV. When I realized it, I gasped and changed the channel to a UFC fight. Maybe I'll get there someday too.
But I'm definitely hanging up my hat on caroling...
How about our readers? Holiday traditions? Memories? We would love to hear from you!
Picture Credit: leanitup.com