Monday, December 8, 2008

What? No Snowman Butts?

What do you mean you don't have a snowman butt tradition???

Christmas is the quintessential time of year for sharing traditions. Some traditions are handed down through the generations from the "old country," some traditions happen by accident, still others are nothing but premeditated ways to spend time with our families.

I love Christmas because of all the happy traditions I remember from my childhood. But if I'm honest, I have to admit that I prefer the traditions of Christmas Eve to the traditions of the actual Christmas Day. I remember spending Christmas Eve driving 60 miles through the snow to spend the evening with my cousins. Half the time the roads were treacherous and I'm sure we were lucky to arrive in one piece. Once we arrived, the best part of the evening was watching the nativity story in the form of a homemade slide show. The slide show was created using photos of all of us dressed as Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds, the angels, etc. The best part of this tradition was waiting for that most favored photo.

Our favorite snapshot was not the one with Mary smiling sweetly at baby Jesus. It was not the one where we were standing in the neighbors pasture among the sheep, pretending to be shepherds (but really fearing for our lives--those child-eating sheep!). It wasn't even the one where the plaid pants are sticking out of the angel's flowing white robes. No, our favorite photo was the carefully posed shot of the angel standing on the stoop to deliver his message of good cheer to the shepherds who waited at the bottom of the porch stairs. The reason that we love this particular photo is because of the big, black work boot that inexplicably sits on the window ledge in the corner of the photo. I don't know why it's so funny--it probably has something to do with my aunts gasp of distress the first time she noticed the unfortunate oversight. Cost of one gasping aunt, priceless...

My family has a new tradition. Several years ago I bought a cute table decoration with a family of snow people. I placed it on the kitchen table and thought it gave the kitchen just the right wintry touch of whimsy. What I didn't count on is the contention it would cause at dinner time. It seems that while the family was adorable from the front, nobody wanted to have to look at the "butts" during our evening meal. And just so you don't think these were anatomically "correct" snow people, let me assure you that the backsides were just round balls of snowy fluff--no details--completely G-rated. However, night after night, all we heard was,

Why do I have to sit here and look at those snowman butts?

The snow family was starting to look a little worn, so I decided the place of honor on the table was probably a thing of the past. Last year I placed the little family in the Christmas tree. I thought everyone would appreciate getting to eat their meals without taking their turn with the butts. But no! Now everyone is grumbling because I've ruined the snowman butt traditon.


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