Favorite Christmas tradition, new or old. Well, I sort of covered that already, with the sugar cookie story.
So I’ll use this opportunity to tell a funny story that came about because of one of my family’s other traditions.
I was an impatient child. I am a slightly more patient adult, but as a kid, I was a monster. I had to have everything now.
My parents mollified me (and got me to sit still through Christmas Eve services) by promising I could open one present after church, before bed. Just one. I think they did it first when I was five, but the tradition continued until I moved out of the house.
Eight-year-old me was fascinated by this one strange box under the tree that Christmas. It was small, about as big as my fist, but heavy. Really heavy. I could not figure out what it was, though I tried. It didn’t make any noise when I shook it, so there were no clues to be had except its size and shape.
One night about a week before Christmas, while my parents were watching TV in the other room, I took this strange, heavy box from underneath the tree and carefully, carefully undid the tape holding one end of the wrapping paper down.
I didn’t dare unwrap it completely–I was hoping there would be something printed on the box that would tell me what it was. Alas, all I saw was shiny black cardboard.
I folded the paper back down along the original creases, pressed the tape back into place, and hid the box behind some other presents, as if I could hide my guilty conscience along with it. (This was the only time I’ve ever tried to peek, and it didn’t even work!)
After coming home on Christmas Eve, I crawled under the tree and fished out the mystery box. I remember my parents giving me a strange look as I unwrapped it, maybe trying to remember what it was.
It turned out to be a power adapter.
Yes, a power adapter.
Then Mom says, “I guess we have to give her the other one now, too.” And she knelt on the floor beside me, searching through the boxes until she found the right one, which she handed to me.
I get a second present early?
That year, we’d moved, and in the move, we sold my mother’s piano. I’d wanted to learn to play, so they got me a kid-sized electronic keyboard, and that was the other half of the power-adapter present. The good half.
But not the mysterious half.
I was an impatient child, but a curious one. I had to pick the weird present, right?