Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christmas Traditions: Mom throws the gauntlet down

I said in an earlier post that I wasn't a big fan of traditions. I realized this Christmas that I'm not a fan of traditional traditions. I'm not a fan of doing things because everyone else does. My family does, like most families, have numerous traditions. I guess I don't really think of them that way though. It's more of just "what we do." Maybe that's just what a tradition is.

When I was a kid, like most kids, I liked to guess what my presents were. It was really easy to tell when I got it right because my mom would get upset. She'd deny it, but it was always quite visible.

As I got older it got to the point that it was a game. My mom would double or triple wrap my presents, or wrap them in larger boxes just to throw me off. She would avoid putting name-tags on gifts, which inevitably led to her forgetting which gift belonged to who. It was always great to see the joy on Miranda's face as she opened a controller for a Nintendo that she didn't own, or on Josh's face as he opened that Barbie Dream House that wasn't exactly on his list.

One year, the only major item on my list was a Super Nintendo and my mom had told me in advance that it just wasn't in the budget. That was a typical mom tactic and I wasn't falling for it. Since she had protested so much that I wasn't getting a Super Nintendo, I had extra motivation to screw with her.

It just so happened that my friend Mike had gotten one for Christmas, and his parents had let him open it early. This made my job quite easy. I walked in to the living room, where my mom was sitting, and called Mike.

"Wow, a Super Nintendo. That's great dude. My mom says with the new house and all they couldn't afford one this year. Hey, you wouldn't happen to have the box lying around still would you... Oh, you do? Hey, just for the heck of it could you get out a tape measure and tell me the exact width?"

As I asked I pulled out a tape measure, and grabbed the present that was under the tree that I thought for sure to be my Nintendo.

"24.2 inches you say?" I asked rather loudly as I measured the box. "Wow, what an odd coincidence. This present that is obviously NOT a Super Nintendo is the exact same width. What are the chances the length is the same?"

This continued on for a while until my mother, now less than thrilled with me, left the room. I started laughing, thanked Mike, and hung up the phone.

On Christmas morning we woke up at the traditional 6 am and rushed to the living room. In my family, the gifts from Santa would be unwrapped and under the tree. Those were usually the "fun" gifts and we'd mess with those for about an hour until mom finally gave us the okay to tear in to the wrapped gifts. This year I came down the hall to find my "fun" gift from Santa was... a set of bed sheets and comforter. It would be an understatement to say that I was less than thrilled.

It didn't take me long to start in on my mom, "Alright, lets open presents". After about a half an hour she finally gave and said, "Okay, you can open one now since Santa didn't bring you anything to play with". I hopped up, grabbed the "Super Nintendo" box, and tore in, and I was right. It was in fact a Super Nintendo. Overjoyed I opened the box, ready to hook it up, but instead of a Nintendo, inside was a baseball cap that read, "NOT!" and enough odds and ends to give the box the same weight as a Nintendo.

My mom and dad laughed for a while and finally agreed to let me open the rest of my gifts. It turns out I had a lot of gifts under the tree that year since, after my box measuring, my mother had unwrapped the Nintendo and individually wrapped each cable, controller, item, etc from the box.

Needless to say, the years following this incident it was on.

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