Here’s a brief description of my typical Christmas Eve:
- Walk into my mom’s or aunt’s house. Mutter to myself about how the place smells like fish (because we don’t do the turkey thing in my family; there’s no meat on the eve of Christmas).
- Sit down at the table and watch people eat fish. Grab myself a fourth scoop of mushrooms and olives.
- Slap my older brother when he tries to poke me with a lobster tentacle or claw.
- Tell my uncle for the umpteenth time, that “No, I don’t want to try that lumpy blob that you call ‘mussels’ and ‘delicious’.”
- Make fun of the same brother mentioned earlier when he inevitably spills something on his shirt. Start explaining how this tendency he has is known as a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” then launch into a definition…then decide against it when he starts to roll his eyes.
- Clear the table.
- Grab some dessert, because at this point, I’m starving for something other than mushrooms and olives.
- Watch people play cards. Shake my head disapprovingly at the whole notion of spending hard-earned cash on a poker hand.
- Wish I was a good poker player.
- Play Bingo until midnight.
- Open gifts.
- Go home.
I’m all for heartwarming traditions, but this year, I thought I’m thinking of introducing a few new ones. Feel free to try them out too. (Disclaimer: I’m kidding. Don’t try these at home).
The “Leave your issues at the door” Protocol
Mix family dinners and eggnog and you’ve got a recipe for senseless, pointless fights. If you’ve got a beef with someone, hash things out before you cross the threshold: Throw snowballs at each other, fill the other’s person’s mouth with snow, or stick pinchy pine needles in their pants or down their shirt. Once you’ve worked out your differences and expended your anger, dust yourselves off and head in for a peaceful and harmonious dinner.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
Tired of being the only one who has to wear an itchy, red and white wool sweater with a reindeer because your grandma bought it? Don’t suffer alone! Throw an ugly sweater party! Bonus tip: Give out prizes. Third place goes to the ugliest sweater, second place goes to the itchiest, reddest skin, first place goes to the person who has both!
Double Surprise Dinner
Hide Christmas presents inside the dinner!
“Oh my God, there’s a scarf in my mash potatoes! Thank you!”
“This turkey tastes like season three of The Blacklist. It is season three of The Blacklist!”
“You got me a faux fur coat? Where is it?”
“Check the lasagna. Bam!”
Christmas shopping is such a drag, but this game will make all the pushing, shoving, no parking, and credit card maxing worth all the trouble! On Christmas Eve, everyone brings a gift of equal value, and then battle it out in the living room, gladiator style. Whoever is left conscious wins all the presents.
Bum Darts Tournament
It’s sportsmanship and hilarity all wrapped up into one fun game. You’ll need the following tools:
- A jar
- A lot of quarters
- A whole lot of impulse control
- Place the jar on the other side of a big room, or preferably, a long hallway.
- Stand at the other end of the room.
- Stick a quarter between your cheeks. If you don’t know which cheeks I’m talking about, please refer to the title.
- Waddle to the other end of the room, stand over the jar, and plop quarter in.
- Person who gets the most quarters in wins the money in the jar.
The family portrait, take two
You’re always going to have that one person who isn’t looking at the camera, who’s sneezing or making a face. After the 5th take everybody is fed up and ready to give up. Stop torturing yourself. Just have everybody do something ridiculous in the picture and you’ll have a perfectly imperfect photo.