We were sitting in the living room last week when I introduced a dilemma to the family.
We need to think of a good Mother’s Day thing.
Suddenly, I stopped short and let out an audible gasp. Everyone looked at me as I began chanting.
As I tapped my hands on my lap to the rhythm of the beat, Olivia joined in and soon we were both chanting in unison. With that, we began plans to make this year the first one with our latest tradition – a Mother’s Day Piñata.
We’re still working out details on what to fill it with. Initially we thought we’d fill it with Mother’s Day presents, but felt it might cause many broken gifts in the process. Olivia suggested we fill it up with my wife’s Mother’s Day Brunch, but that’s freakin’ ridiculous. We still have a few weeks to work the kinks out.
The Mother’s Day Piñata is just one of a many insane holiday traditions in our home. Growing up, we’re all accustomed to the same old traditions. Grandpa might carve the turkey. The youngest child breaks the wishbone. Uncle Walt does a trick. That sort of thing.
Once you become the adult, however, all bets are off. You get to make up your own traditions. No one can tell you what to do in your own house and, the more insane I can make them, the better. Those are the most fun to play out from start to finish and the ones that don’t get deleted from our brains.
It all started on Veteran’s Day four years ago. My kids were home from school and I was tasked with keeping them occupied. Olivia was despondent because she hadn’t done anything fun for about a minute. I offered many ideas, all pulled straight from her overflowing toy box. She wasn’t down with any of it.
No! That’s not fun. None of that is fun!
Luckily, I had recently cleaned out the giant storage closet in my office. That’s why all the Easter baskets and plastic eggs, hidden undisturbed from six months prior, were readily available. That realization lead to a new tradition and, that Veteran’s Day, we had our first annual Noveaster Egg Hunt.
Noveaster is a real thing in our house now. We look forward to it and she even makes little signs in anticipation of the event. Of course, it’s not as intricate as the one that the professional “Easter Bunny” does, but it’s a good attempt from her unrabbitly father. The Veteran’s Day Easter Egg Hunt – it’s just something insane we do now.
I never really wanted to be the dad who read “The Night Before Christmas.” It works for some fathers, but it’s not my thing. I actually tried it one year, but it was kind of boring and we’d all rather be reading “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” anyway. I find that any story that involves tearing open a sash and crest of new fallen snow doesn’t really enthrall most children.
What does enthrall my kids? Beating me up. Both of them love to come racing towards me at full speed to try and take me down. It’s become a thing. Olivia begs me to fight her and then whales away until she accidentally hurts herself. That’s the only way the game ends…and even then, it’s back on within minutes. So, given her propensity for combat sports, why not create the best possible Christmas Eve Combat tradition?
Beat Santa Claus in a fight and earn a major gift.
Seriously. That’s what we did. Clad in one of the most ghetto Santa costumes known to Amazon, I emerged from my office to shocked laughter and Christmas Carol theme music. My wife introduced us both as if we were Ali and Frasier and the Christmas Chaos commenced.
The match was short and I, as Santa, took a dive. In the end, Olivia won the battle, the war, and the Hatchimal that we spent weeks slamming our heads into retail store walls to find. It was one of the most memorable Christmas Eves of my life and I’m already trying to figure out how to add to the whole concept this December.
I know she’ll remember this. How could she not? I find it hilarious to flash forward to her as a young adult visiting a friend for Christmas and getting confused looks when she asks, “What time do you guys fight Santa?”
Is it weird? Yes, but that doesn’t matter. No one can tell you what’s right or wrong as it relates to celebrating. When you have a family, you make the memories. However you do it is up to you. Fight Santa on Christmas. Hide eggs on Veterans Day. Smash a piñata on Mother’s Day. Run a makeshift obstacle course on Groundhog’s Day…. Hey, now there’s an idea.
Glad I wrote that one down. Groundhog Wipeout, here we come!