Ever the optimist, I’m trying to find a bright side to our global pandemic, and maybe, just maybe, there is one.
Here it is. If ever there was a time that you could take all of your family Christmas traditions and just tear them up, pour gas on them and burn them, this is that time.
And who doesn’t have stupid family Christmas traditions that they wish would just disappear like a puff of magic elf dust or whatever?
Nobody. Nobody doesn’t have stupid traditions. That’s who.
If you have annoying relatives that you don’t want to see over the holidays, the pandemic is giving you the perfect out.
You can just tell the extended family that they are uninvited to Christmas dinner or Christmas Eve apps or Boxing Day games. And you can tell your friends, neighbours or coworkers that carolling or nogging or ugly Christmas sweatering is off the table this year.
The only excuse you need is that you have to keep a tight bubble. If they push back or try to twist your arm, just drop a word like, immunocompromised or comorbidity, and they will leave you be.
So there, you have a get out of Christmas stuff free card, thanks to COVID.
But there are other traditions that I don’t know if even COVID can help save us from. Like Christmas scones.
You know how you do one thing one time, and it sticks with you for life? Like you bring fish chowder to work for lunch one day and stink up the whole office, and 30 years later, people are signing your retirement card, “We’ll miss you, Chowder.”
Or you let out a little gas in a store, and someone notices and tells all their friends, and word gets around that you tooted in the cereal aisle, and your new nickname that everyone calls you behind your back is FartBob.
Something similar happened to me and scones. One year when I was a kid, my mother made scones for Christmas breakfast, and you probably could have fed me a dirty insole or kale, and I would have just mindlessly taken a bite and got right back to playing with my awesome new Commodore VIC-20, and you could incorrectly assume I enjoyed the scone/insole/kale.
I did not. Scones are dry cakes of tastelessness in their best moments.
Yet, from then on, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without homemade scones.
Mom’s Christmas Scone recipe even followed me to marriage. On my first married Christmas morning, my wife quite proudly and happily announced that breakfast was ready, and it was … scones. My mother secretly shared her recipe, telling my wife what a wonderful surprise it would be to have my favourite scones for Christmas.
Here’s another Christmas tradition I could do without — the teeny, tiny oranges. What are we doing with these things? They’re barely bigger than a grape but with the added “fun” of having to peel them.
So you fumble around taking the peel of this tiny piece of fruit, and by the time you eat it, you’ve burned more calories than you’ve taken in, and you have to eat two or three more of them.
Oh, and they come in this so-fancy wooden crate as if these little oranges are too precious to be sold from a common bag like the rest of our fruit. I’d understand the crate if it held 50 pounds of these things and they were shipping straight from the citrus grove, but this is a case of the packaging far outshining the product.
Stop with the miniature fruit and let’s just work on making the normal orange the best orange it can be.
How about the tradition of not opening presents until Christmas morning? Who says? Christmas morning, we sit there with hair that looks like an angry rooster wearing our slobbery pyjamas with breath smelling like rotting asparagus.
If you want to live like this, go right ahead but don’t do it just because it’s tradition. Open your gifts on Christmas Eve. What else are you going to do? You can’t play Pictionary the whole night. Open the presents while you look your Christmas Eve best and then sleep in Christmas morning.
You only have to do this once to make it a tradition. Thanks to COVID, this is your time.