Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Traditional Christmas

Well, if tradition is defined by the past dozen or so years!

Every single one of these family traditions are probably from the mind of Partner the Better, but no one is complaining around this house.  Mind you, the religious significance of the event is not forgotten, although the church service chosen varies from year to year.  For some reason, this year we chose the most densely packed Christmas Eve 4:00 PM Mass.  The fifth year in a row that I have stood for the entire service.  Ho Ho Ho!  For anyone inquisitive about the best times for Mass at a Roman Catholic Church for Christmas, it's the earliest service on Christmas Day itself.  You will always get a seat then!

First up in our secular world of Christmas is the annual trip to Sheetz for free coffee.  I am abstaining this year to enjoy a Mountain Dew or two instead.  There is room for change in our tradition!

Next, the incredibly sized potful of creamed chipped beef on toast (SOS in military terms).  The ceremonial buying of the finest in dried beef occurs on Market Day closest to the day of days. Butchers compete in earnest to attract our 1 1/2 pound purchase. This year's award winner was Godfrey Bros. Meats. When completed with toasted English Muffins instead of toast, it is guaranteed to fill everyone up.  And trigger somnolence and lactose intolerance for me for the rest of the day!

A minimum of family gifts is exchanged either before or after the Breakfast of Champions, also depending on church times.  I don't think I have received a real gift in 5 years.  The reason for the season means I don't mind.  Besides, I know I will be getting just one present later on in the day...

Next up is a chance to jog on the treadmill while watching the continually running A Christmas Story on TBS.  This run is notorious for its slothfulness and discomfort, (see SOS from above).  Distance varies from the minimum 1 mile required for "streaking" and the 3 miles I promised my knee surgeon.

Most years, a nap can be had, as long as you sneak away and let no one know what you are doing. Or outright lie about it.  I don't know how Joseph and Mary would feel about this lie.  I'm pretty sure that at least Joseph would be on my side.

Some years, when Partner the Better loses her mind, we make a dinner and invite family members and others to help celebrate the season.  This is always met with, "it isn't that big a deal" and ends with all-day activities involving hundreds.  I'm also sure that Joseph would probably be rolling his eyes with me on this one.  Today's feast includes a rib-eye roast and a spiral-cut ham both purchased from Aldi's.

The last, and certainly the coolest tradition is the final one.  Bowling for Jesus is a family tradition that has taken the town by storm.  Well, every year there are more and more lanes occupied next to us, anyway. 

Everyone invited buys a present worth relatively the same amount (currently $50 or so) and brings it unwrapped to the Bowling Alley.  (Always open because the adjoining bar is open for football fan clubs.)  All prizes are placed on tables for perusal by the combatants.  And then two games of usually rather poor examples are bowled by everyone.  The totals are added up and the winner gets his (or her!) choice of prizes.  The process continues until all the bowlers have their prize. Then the non-bowlers present randomly get to choose from the stack.  No one is left unsatisfied, as everything is of equal value. 

On those years that a dinner is not on the schedule, pizza and bar food suffices.  This ensures that no one has to clean up their house or cook anything extravagant on the Big Day.

Feel free to adopt any of our family traditions.  You can even join us if you wish. Merry Christmas

  UPDATE: This year my fourth place finish netted me an Amazon Echo Dot and Bluetooth speaker. Not really sure what any of that means?  I was notably beaten like a rented mule by Daughter the Younger, while Daughter the Elder's hand has healed enough to almost beat me too!

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