When I was a kid and even well into adulthood, there was a cigar that was passed around from one family member to the next each Christmas. If any uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, etc., were to be among the gathering on Christmas Day, one of them would probably be included. When I married, my husband was initiated into the annual exchange. I don't recall if any of his family were invited to join the group or not, nor do I remember exactly who started it.
All I know for sure is - if you were the recipient of the cigar one Christmas, it was your responsibility to watch over and guard it until the next Christmas and only then could you pass it along to another lucky person.
Various wrapping disguises were used ... cigar boxes, clarinet cases, whatever one's imagination could come up with to try and hide the fact that someone in the family was about to be honored with a cigar that - over the years - deteriorated almost to the point of extinction.
It was a lot of fun. Some years we couldn't even remember who had gotten the cigar the year before! When that happened, the person in whose safekeeping the cigar had been entrusted never admitted that they had it, but would go along with the group in their quandary. I wonder whatever became of that cigar?
A tradition that I began, and my daughter has continued with her own daughter, is a sort of treasure hunt on Christmas morning.
My husband and I - along with a whole lot of other parents, I'm sure - were usually bleary-eyed from all the frantic activity the night before, and really didn't want to be awakened and have to get up bright and early Christmas morning just because Santa had been there!
And so, we instituted this policy whereupon our daughter could open her stocking and nothing else until we were out of bed. In her stocking, in one of the small wrapped gifts, I would place the first clue to where she would eventually find her 'big' gift. This bought us maybe five more minutes.
She'd sometimes come in to our bedroom and want either her daddy or me to give her a hint. Or she'd ask, "What's this word?" (And as the years went by, of course, the clues had to become harder and harder.) I tell you, it was a stitch! He and I would be lying there, giggling softly and listening to her rummaging about until her shout of triumph would indicate that she'd found the next one.
I probably made up ten or so clues altogether. And like I said, it bought us another few minutes. Worth every second!
Now I've seen some of the clues she makes up for my granddaughter. Heavens! I would have trouble deciphering them!! But then, what can I tell you? My granddaughter's a genius. Trust me. You have the word of an unprejudiced grandmother.
Polimom published a post just the other day of a tradition in her family. It has to do with this picture ...
If you'd like to learn more about the history of those teddy bears, go here.
What about your family? Do you have any stories you'd like to share?