Friday, December 23, 2011

A Modern (and Adult) Take on Holiday Traditions

Cropped screenshot of Rosemary Clooney and Bin...
I love the holidays.  But being that for the last nine or so years there has been no "kids" in our family, Christmas can get pretty boring.

Have no fear, the Curtis clan is here!  Over the course of the last nine years, my family has come up with a new set of holiday traditions we enjoy that don't just involve watching little ones open gifts.  Now that we do have a little one in the family, it is pretty fun to do the Santa thing, but our other traditions still exist.

  1. Shortbread with peppermint coffee.  Every year, I get out pounds of butter and make a GIANT batch of shortbread for us to enjoy with our peppermint coffee.  Shortbread is so easy to make, and granted, it's seriously fattening, but hey, it's only once a year!
  2. Port and chocolate.  Apparently, my family loves food and drink.  So we follow up every dinner with a small glass of port (our favorite is Chateau Bianca, Dallas, Oregon) and a piece of fine chocolate.  This tradition started with my grandma, whose French grandfather used to serve port on the evenings of special occasions.  We would sit in the living room with port and listen to stories about our Great-Great Grandpa and the tradition just sort of stuck.
  3. Elf Bowling.  This is a new tradition.  In fact, we are headed "elf bowling" tonight.  On the 23rd of December, we dress up in our favorite "elf" costumes (usually Christmas pajamas and a Santa hat, but this year it has turned into a sort of masquerade with my husband decked out in capris and jiggle bells, and my brother dresses as a D*ck in a Box).  Once all dressed up, we hit the local bowling alley for a little competitive elf bowling.  I do not know why dressing like an elf and bowling is so just is!
  4. Touring the World.  My brother, sister, father, and I are quite into beer.  Maybe it's because there are 13 breweries just in Bend alone (making it the No. 1 microbrew per capita capital of the U.S.), or maybe it's just that we like to pretend we know what we're talking about when we drink.  Either way, this tradition started about seven years ago when I picked up one of those "Beers from All Around the World" 12-packs from World Market.  We had fun saying, "We've just landed in Japan" as we collaboratively sucked down a Sapporo. But now that we are a little more beer savvy, we realized those beer kits are just cheap macrobrews that taste like dirt.  So, instead, we head to the specialty markets and pick out our own twelve beers, each from a different country, and enjoy tasting something new as we "tour the world."  Hard to admit, but after seven years, we are running out of beers to try!
  5. Stockings on Christmas Eve.  We used to do the whole sha-bang on Christmas day, but it's almost too overwhelming.  So a couple years ago, while trying to figure out what to do on Christmas Eve, we decided to open our stockings a day early.  You know, you just appreciate floss so much more when it's the only thing you open that day!
  6. White Christmas.  OK, OK.  Other than my husband, the men in my family hate this tradition.  But every year, on Thanksgiving night, we cuddle up with a glass of wine and watch White Christmas.  It reminds us of my Grandma who is no longer able to travel to see us for the holidays, and it lets us bring a little "piece" of her to every holiday celebration.  A night of White Christmas just wouldn't be complete without talking about how "Bing Crosby would beat his kids," (says my Dad); "Did you know their shoes were two sizes too small but they had to wear them anyway," (me); and "Oh, yeah, tell the fat one she's hungry and needs to go eat a sandwich in the middle of the night," (all the women). 
  7. Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Ever since we were kids, my mom has insisted that there's nothing better than a new set of pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve.  But now I see there are two advantages to new Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve: 1) Looks good for pictures/video; 2) Elf Bowling (see item No. 3).
  8. Ten Dollar Limit.  What's the point of buying expensive gifts for each other when you are old enough to buy yourself anything you want?  But...put a $10 cap on the gift giving, and all of a sudden things get pretty interesting!  For example, this year, I contemplated making my brother a mini-me of "D*ck in a Box" using a Ken doll and mini present confetti from the craft store.
  9. Home Movies.  This is one of my favorite traditions.  My dad would always get out the 8MM film and play old Christmas movies to Christmas music as we hosted our Christmas dinner.  It gave people sitting on the couch something to watch, brought back memories of Christmases past, and was just something sentimental to do.  But the 8MM proved to be a huge pain for my dad, so five years ago, we transferred the film to DVD's.  Maybe the best Christmas gift ever.
  10. Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning.  What's delious and easy to heat up on Christmas morn?  Why, Cinnamin Rolls of course.  I look forward to their sweet smell every Christmas morning. Click here for my recipe.
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