1. Cousin Eddie’s package in the grocery store scene.
If you haven’t noticed it, peeps, then you’re either blind or you’re just not as big of a skank as I am.
I remember the first year that I noticed that thing, looming large on the television screen as it tried to pop out of that blue leisure suit. “Holy shit!” I said, leaning in to get a closer look. “Has anyone else ever noticed Cousin Eddie’s huge pecker?”
We all gathered in an excited bunch 3 inches from the TV, my dad shoving his way through to get a better look as we rewound two times, three times—countless times—and murmured wonderingly about how we ever could have missed the peni (that’s not a misspell) in the 2,000 times we’d seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
There was frenzied discussion all around as we debated whether or not the director had meant to include it. (“How could he not have?” Dad murmured, eyes glued to the screen.)
My younger brother, then about 21 and the only one NOT scurrying to get a better glimpse, cracked open a beer and plopped into the recliner, disgusted.
“Goddammit,” he said. “What the fck is wrong with this family? Can we not have a family gathering without being a bunch of damned perverts?”
I stopped my ogling, but only for a second and only to shoot him a dirty look. “No, we can’t.”
My older sister chimed in. “Seriously, Prince William. What the hell family do you think you were born into?”
The final time we rewound the video to the newly-coined “Peen Scene,” we hit PAUSE and let it sit the rest of the night as we drank our wine. After enough drinks, my little brother finally joined in on the fun. We caught him licking the TV screen at about midnight.
Okay, no we didn’t. But it would have been a better end to that segment if we had, right?
And anyway, I’ll bet he wanted to.
2. The Ugly Sweater Contest…
…especially when the winner is well aware that there is no ugly sweater contest and you’re all just making fun of his outfit.
“Dude,” someone will say to any random person who walks into the room, “you fcking KILLED ugly sweater this year! That has got to be the ugliest motherfcking sweater I have ever seen in my life. You win, man. Rock on!”
Here, the speaker will shoot his/her arm up for a high-5 as the award recipient’s whole body wilts, or, in my brother-in-law’s case one year, a single tear slides down his face.
I was so proud of my little sister one year because although someone had gotten to the joke first, she chimed in with this: “Yeah, but I’m withdrawing my nomination for ugly sweater this year, because Kurt’s totally got this one.”
3. The person who buys a real gift for the gift exchange…
…and then ends up with some shitty gag gift and starts crying.
Except when that person is me. Then I don’t love that part of Christmas.
I’ll never forgive my older sister for that goddamned set of Bubba Teeth.
4. Dancing with My Boys to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You
This damned sentimental bone in my body is HUGE—probably even bigger than Cousin Eddie’s package—and try as I might to bury it by shoving any meaningful, real feelings way down deep into the pit of my stomach where they belong, sometimes it just pops right out (in a much different way than Cousin Eddie’s package, I must add).
So Mariah Carey…well, she just gets to me, dammit. And her Christmas songs—well, I'll be damned if they aren’t the most beautiful Christmas songs in all the land.
They make me cry every fcking time.
Especially the one I mentioned above. I waited so long for my kids and went through all kinds of trouble before having them, so now that I finally do have them, this song makes me bawl like a baby.
The psycho in the living room traipsing around with a little boy on each hip and happy tears streaming down her face as the song plays full blast? Yup. That’s me.
I wonder if my boys will still dance with me to Mariah when they’re 16?
5. Watching It’s a Wonderful Life…
…because while we’re at it, we might as well make me look like even more of a sap, huh?
I love this movie. I take it to my dad’s every single year and pop it in right after we finish watching Christmas Vacation.
My older sister always complains, saying it’s too sappy for her taste, but I know it’s only because she’s so in love with Cousin Eddie’s sausage that she considers any time not salivating over it as she’s snarfing her corn casserole as time wasted.
6. Dad’s announcement that he’s making his favorite festive drink, a highball…
…and my husband’s unfailing reply: “If you squat down a little bit, I’ll have some high balls for ya…”
It simply never gets old, peeps. It never gets old.
7. My relatives.
Specifically, relatives that get drunker than I do.
I’ve waited a long time for this, peeps. I racked up at least 10 years of pre-kid Christmases that I hardly remember because I drank so much.
Now it’s my turn to sip my two glasses (because that’s all I have time to guzzle while chasing my kids around) and sniff down my nose at the new drunkies—the cousins who have just become old enough to drink, or the aunts and uncles whose kids are now grown and don’t require as much care, allowing them to go back to their own drunken holidays.
I never miss an opportunity to go “Um, ever heard of moderation?” while rolling my hypocritical eyes. Secretly I can't wait until my own kids are a little bit older and don't require as much care, allowing me to go back to my drunken holidays.
***You guys, I am a HUGE Christmas sap. I love every single thing about Christmas, both the silly and the real: The lights, the Christmas trees, the smell of snow in the air, the Advent candles being lit at church, the chocolate-covered pretzels with sprinkles that I make each year with my boys and their friends, the Kenny Rogers Christmas CD that I've loved since childhood…I love Christmas and EVERYTHING in the weeks leading up to it, during which my boys and hubs and I put on our jammies and snuggle up to watch movies and eat popcorn and drink hot chocolate.
But that’s just not the way my writing style normally rolls on these pages, peeps, so sometimes I just have to come out and say it:
Count your blessings and enjoy them and life and every moment of every day—and oh!—
HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!***