One of the coolest things about being married is starting our own holiday traditions. And the best part about starting traditions is letting them form organically, as if we had nothing to do with them. It’s as if traditions come unexpectedly crashing through the door Christmas morning, greeting a small family stunned and embarrassed to be discovered still situated in their polar bear pajama pants and unbrushed bed hair.
When Dan and I were engaged, I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to register for wedding gifts. Wedding registry is pretty typical, but I gotta be honest — that whole process really threw me. I felt so greedy and selfish. Sure, we didn’t have plates. Or silverware. Or you know. Bedding. But why should our poor wedding guests be forced to buy us those things and, even worse, buy the ones I wanted? It seemed wrong. Wasn’t I supposed to get random, hand-me-down gifts with quirks, character, and story? Was I really expected to start my new life with all new appliances on someone else’s dollar? Were my poor wedding guests assuming I only invited them because I wanted to capitalize on my nuptials? (It reminded me of my seventh birthday party. I hand-wrote in undoubtedly the most illegible handwriting known to seven-year-olds the world over on each invitation one toy I wanted to be bought for me. Each invite had a different desired gift written on them. At the time I felt like I was just helping out, you know? Just in case you didn’t know me well enough to know exactly what I wanted, I was there for you. Several years down the road I’d realize how tacky and crass I’d been that day and that action would be filed away in my failodex forever. I still feel bad about that. Sorry to anyone who I invited to that birthday party and a special apology to those who were invited to both my seventh birthday party and my wedding.) But at any rate, I did it. I registered for things I thought I’d use everyday (a waffle iron) and I ignored things I (stupidly) thought to be completely useless (a garlic press.) And, for the most part, I got everything I registered for including a waffle iron.
When I saw the waffle iron in the store, I had such high hopes for it. I had visions of me waking up before the sun every Saturday morning to make my slumbering husband waffles before he sleepily followed his nose to the kitchen to find a spread of a sweet, simple, yet elegantly prepared breakfast orchestrated by his domestic goddess.
On Christmas morning last year, we realized we hadn’t used the waffle iron at all yet. And I wanted waffles.
We Googled a from-scratch waffle batter recipe and went for it. The waffles tasted more like eggs than waffles, and we didn’t have any syrup. But we had waffles on Christmas.
This year, we kept the tradition alive and had waffles after we opened our gifts.
We also started a new tradition this year.
About two weeks before Christmas, Dan and I were driving somewhere and he just blurted out, “I am SO going to win Christmas this year!”
I was stunned. “What do you mean ‘win Christmas?’ How can you POSSIBLY win Christmas?!”
“Well,” he started, “you totally won Christmas last year. Your gift to me was so much better than my gift to you.”
He was right. I did “win” Christmas last year. I took my Chicagoan husband to Disney World for the first time EVER.
Now, for those of you who don’t know my husband very well, he is the most competitive person I know. He’s so competitive that he makes his sweet, passive wife a competitive machine. A monster, if you will.
“Oh no,” I said to him defiantly. “I’M GOING TO WIN CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR AGAIN! YOU WATCH!”
I didn’t win Christmas this year.
Dan got me all of the Harry Potter books because I was never in a financial position to buy them myself and therefore just bummed them off people. (He bought all of them used of course — used books are so romantic and fascinating to me.) He also got me a used copy of Quidditch Through the Ages and a Harry Potter themed journal.
All of that would have been enough for Dan to win Christmas because it was such a testament to how he really knows my heart (blah blah blah mushy stuff blah.) But at the bottom of the box there was a message in his handwriting: “Look in the fireplace.”
I looked in the fireplace to find a stuffed owl clutching a folded piece of parchment sealed with wax. I opened it to read my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, that is, my invitation to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Friday, January 7th!
I could not believe my eyes. It was the best Christmas present I’d gotten pretty much ever. What I got Dan doesn’t matter because it doesn’t even compare. (I also can’t put it on my blog because it’s one of those presents married people give each other. Okay?)
I think for next year I’m going to have a Christmas champion trophy made. And mark my words, it will be MINE NEXT YEAR.
So. Waffles and the Christmas champion. These are our traditions so far in our second year of marriage.
What crazy traditions do you have during the holidays?