Saturday, December 26, 2009

Overlooked traditions and under-appreciated icons

There must be hundreds of traditions of Christmas. Many of these customs have become so popular that merely mentioning the word conjures up vivid holiday images:

Reindeer. Holly. Mistletoe. Wreaths. Stockings. Elves. Sleigh bells. Jingle Bells. Silver Bells. Snowmen. Candy Canes. Fruit Cake. Caroling. Egg Nog. Candles. Icicles. Sugar Plums. Figgy Pudding. Poinsettas. Ornaments.

I think there are other perfectly-good traditions which have sadly been overlooked. They’re just as much a part of the Holiday Season, but for some reason, they’ve never made it to the big time.

This week, I’d like to correct that oversight. I want to mention a few of the other traditions of the holidays.

Here they are: Rod-Boy’s list of Overlooked and Under-Appreciated Traditions, Customs, and Icons of The Christmas Season:

The Attic. Twice-a-year, I visit the attic: Once to bring down the Christmas stuff, and once to take it back up for another ten-and-a-half months. Basically, these are the only two times of the year I ever see the inside of my attic. So why isn’t the attic a symbol of Christmas, just like the tinsel that’s scattered about all over the attic floor?

Hearing relatives snore. This, too, seems to happen at only one time of the year: the holiday season! Maybe its Thanksgiving afternoon, maybe Christmas, or maybe even New Years Day… but at my house, it’s a pretty good bet that at some point during the holidays, I’m going to get to hear at least one relative snore. (And it’s a REAL safe bet that my relatives are gonna get to!!!)

Lbs. – Gaining weight! Happens every year…because of all the goodies! But we focus on the yummy instead of the tummy. Truth in advertising: Wouldn’t it be better just to go ahead and anoint “blubber rolls” as an official custom of The Season. (And, by the way, can anyone tell me how “lbs” is an abbreviation for “pounds”?)

Batteries and extension cords. Tis the season of bright lights, musical toys, and dancing Santa bears. They all require batteries or extension cords to supply their kilowatt needs. I cannot recall a single holiday season in which I purchased neither batteries nor extension cords.

Those hideous holiday sweaters. (I personally also have holiday suspenders, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) Starting with the color combination – bright green and bright red -- holiday sweaters are, by design, unflattering. In my case, however, it tends to be an improvement over my normal attire. Every year, friends and family alike encourage me to keep wearing my Christmas sweaters for an additional few months. As a bonus, they do tend to distract attention away from the holiday blubber roll… so you’ll understand when you see me wearing a Holiday Sweater in August.

Musically-gifted animals: Barking dogs and singing chipmunks on the radio. At Christmastime, apparently anything goes on the AM/FM airwaves. When the animals aren’t chirping their versions of the songs, we’re often singing about them, like the songs about an airplane-flying dog and, of course, the antlered Rangifer tarandus with a glowing nose.

Assembly instruction sheets. These don’t really affect my holidays anymore: it’s been a couple of decades since I had kids in the toy-assembly age range. And since I don’t, I can smile fondly at the memories… especially the ones at 3am on Christmas Eve… and the ones where they left two bolts and a hex-nut out of the package… and, I’ll tell you what tickles me most… the fact that, nowadays, I’m pretty sure all the toys are made in China, so the assembly instruction sheets are now written in a close imitation of the English language. Ho, ho, ho!!! That’s gotta be fun through those bleary 3am eyes!!! Assembly instruction sheets are a jolly good Christmas tradition… when you’re not the one doing the assembly!!!

Re-gifting. I think re-gifting has been given a bad rap. I see it as a noble tradition. Suppose you get a gift, put it on the shelf for 50 years, and then give it away. You would be parting with a precious heirloom. When I re-gift, I think of it the same way: parting with a precious heirloom, except this is better, because it’s still in like-new condition!!!!

Scotch Tape and scissors. I think this under-appreciated tradition is pretty much self-explanatory. (We’d all have a pretty hard time ripping the gift wrap to shreds it there was no such thing as Scotch Tape, wouldn’t we.)

Wondering if we’re going to have a White Christmas this year. A wonderful tradition, not to be confused with actually HAVING a White Christmas. I’ve never experienced the actual White Christmas…. because I’ve lived my entire life in Lexington County, South Carolina, where we can usually wear shorts or flip-flops on Christmas Eve. But that doesn’t seem to stop every person I know from wondering aloud, each and every year, if we’re going to have a White Christmas. GET A CLUE. It’s South Carolina!!!! Still, what a warm and wonderful holiday tradition, just to wonder aloud, so that all your friends can “ooooh” and “ahhhhh” and “I hope so!” like they’ve never even heard of the Weather Channel.

That’s my list. Now back to the attic for the clogging reindeers. (I just hope I haven’t misplaced those precious heirlooms.)

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