Everyone has a crazy family tradition that comes around once a year during the holidays. If you’re like me and have overly enthusiastic family members, the holidays get planned out day by day every year with the same wacko festivities. From the food we spend hours making, to the ugly sweaters we wear, the 25 days of Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the odd family traditions.
1. Food our Grandparents Make
My grandparents every year make the same Norwegian dishes that are very special to our heritage. Every dish takes up the whole day to make, usually we have to set aside a Saturday to make Lefse (Norwegian version of a thin tortilla) or Krum Kake (Norwegian version of a fortune cookie). On Christmas Day, my grandma will spend the entire day over the stove making Kumla, which is hash browns cooked in the water with ham, then squished together to make dumplings. It’s served soaked in melted butter and salt, with ham on the side. Of course, this dish tastes amazing and served with caution because modern medicine shows if you eat too much animal grease and butter you will die from a heart attack.
2. Cutting down the tree
I’m from the northern Twin Cities, which is arguably the best place to be on Christmas. Between the snowy trees and cheesy decorations that only Minnesotans would be ballsy enough to put on their front lawn, there’s no better place to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There’s nothing like driving up north listening to Christmas Carols, drinking hot chocolate and getting lost in a forest looking for a tree to tie on our car (to later put in our living room), and there’s no one better to do it with than family who likes to thrift shop for ugly sweaters and take family pictures.
3. Black Friday Shopping
Why this is a national holiday, the world may never know. Only American’s could somehow wake up at 3 am after stuffing our faces with food to go to a mall and buy gifts, and somehow call it a holiday. The malls and stores prepare for this special day for months, making sure they have enough in their stocks to sell to every soccer mom and crazy teenager that waits outside for hours in the cold. It’s funny that every year, black Friday is supposed to be the day we buy gifts for affordable prices, but somehow we all end up buying something that we’ve always wanted for ourselves. Face it, you’ve waited for the sales to buy the latest tv or fancy technology for yourself and saved about $200.
4. Decorating the house
I’ll be the first to admit, my family goes very far out of our way to prove we are excited about Christmas. My dad is afraid of heights, so he doesn’t usually put lights on the roof but he’ll make up for it by covering the lawn in plastic reindeer and Santas. In middle school, I would be mortified to take the bus home and have everyone see that the crazy house in the neighborhood was mine, but I grew up to think it’s hilarious. Not only does the outside of our house look like Christmas threw up on it, but on the inside my family has decorations from the ceilings to the floors. My parents collect Dickens Village houses, so they set up a whole glass town in the living room and have a train run through it all. Then we have two trees, one for the living room, and the other for the family room. From Christmas to New Years, we also have to watch every Harry Potter movie, but my dad falls asleep every time so for him it’s like a new series every year. Not only do we watch all the movies together, but we all get a new set of pajamas and can’t watch the movies without being properly dressed. It is a season of spending time with the people we love most and laying on the couch eating flour, sugar, and fat.I couldn’t imagine Christmas without all of these crazy traditions, and living far away from home makes me excited to see it all again and remember the crazy times that our family enjoyed together. Christmas is a time that we remember where we came from and celebrate the quirky habits that we try to hide the rest of the year. So enjoy these funny times that you get to spend with the people you know the best, and can laugh about the dorky things that we have to do every year.