Twelve Days of Christmas Traditions: One Stinking Nativity

To help nurture my personal holiday spirit (and now that I have the time since school is done with), I present to you, my faithful readers (all _____(insert number of faithful readers here_____ of you) the Twelve Days of Christmas Traditions. In this series, beginning today and (ideally) ending Christmas Day, you can read about my favorite holiday traditions my family has observed since as far back as I can remember. Things have changed will continue to do so, but these will always hold as special place in the canon of Lambson family Christmas experiences.

Day One: Christmas Decorations Contest

An acceptable level of Christmas decoration.

At some point in the past decade, Dad got it into his head to pit his children against each other in a contest more fierce than those survived by the hardiest gladiators: see who can find X before Y to earn Z, where X = a certain kind of Christmas decoration, Y = everyone else and Z = top pick of a series of prizes (lately boxes of Russell Stover chocolates of varying varieties) given out at a gathering to be described later. It all starts after Halloween: at 11:59:59, we all finish saying "We who are about to die salute you," and at the chimes of midnight, which we have apparently heard, the barbarian bloodbath begins.

My money's on this guy to find a Christmas snowman first.

It started out simply enough - find a house with their outside Christmas lights up. That sufficed for a few years, but then Dad decided to dial up the danger. He got more specific in our tasks: this year, find a Santa. This year, find one of those outlandishly stupid blow-up lawn decorations. This year, find a nativity.

But the task didn't end there: we had to have a witness to support our claims. The honor system isn't enough - there must be corroboration, by gum. And it can't be anyone in the contest: my wife can't verify my sighting, Emily can't verify Beckie's sighting, etc. It must be an impartial witness who doesn't stand to gain anything by testifying on the sighter's behalf. Mom is the closest one can get to a family witness; Dad is permanently recused. Also, photos don't work.

Could you find a more reliable witness than Harrison Ford?

What is so frustrating is that everyone seems to wait until I can't win first place to put out the decoration in question. This year, for example, it took a literal eternity to find one stinking outdoor nativity set. Others found them, no problem - the first two sightings were side by side, for crying out loud. The only two nativities to be found in Columbia for 98.2% of November were next door neighbors! I dare you to tell me there's no conspiracy there.

An unacceptable level of Christmas decoration. They get an "A" for spirit,
but it's really too much (also, there's a nativity there. Jerks).

Yes, this tradition lends itself to a lot of frustration, especially when that house, that ONE house that ALWAYS has their decorations up the day after Halloween, fails to do so until AFTER first place has been claimed. Yes, it's infuriating when you live in a part of the world opposed to the very idea of nativities in the yard until Advent starts (apparently an upstate New York thing - not in Utica, it's an Albany thing).

But in this grand and gruesome game, gladiators we are, so gladiate we must to win the glad prize: gladiolas.

Or chocolate. It's really all about chocolate.

Because isn't this really why we do anything?


Kirsti said…
I am always envious of your hilarious writing when it comes to your blog posts. This tradition was well-put, and I, too, love this tradition, even if I don't win at all.
Emily S. said…
That. Was . Awesome. Amen, amen, amen. And haha.
Peeser said…
First of all, I know it's frustrating to not win first place, but you still saw one LONG before I managed to. At least there's that, right? No? Oh, well.

Second of all, I'm pretty sure that Lukas Haas was the witness in that movie, not Harrison Ford. If you'll recall, he also witnessed the re-enactment of a murder committed thirty years prior to his near-murder experience, so I'd say Lukas Haas is a better witness.

Third of all, You steam a good ham, Seymour.

That is all.

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