When they can't hear the jingle bells... anymore

Real Estate Sales Representative with Fieldstone Real Estate

Do you know the movie Polar Express?  Remember how the kids who believed in Santa could hear the jingle bells and the grown ups, who no longer believed, couldn't hear the jingle bells any more? 

It's sad, but when your kids reach that age, it can seem like a little magic disappears from your holidays.  I wonder how other families adapt to this changing dynamic... but in our household, we managed to keep some surprises even after the jingle bells stopped ringing.

A tradition in our household is practical jokes.  Every year, we pull some prank on our boys.  This year, as we were sharing stories with friends, it was interesting to me that my boys (now 19 and 21) can tell you what joke happened what year - even if they can't remember anything else.  Here were a few favorites:

- It started small...the first year, I picked up gag gifts of candy that tasted like fish and put them in their stockings.  Watching them - then about 7 and 9 - sneak the candy before breakfast and then spit it out... well, it was such fun for my husband and I, that it simply caught on.

- In 1999, we bought our first home computer for Christmas.  But, before letting the boys unwrap the computer, we let them unwrap everything else, including a few computer games.  When they opened them, we played dumb and told them we thought they were PlayStation games and promised to exchange them.  After breakfast, we "found" the one last present - the computer - and let the boys open it.  They were thrilled.

- One year, my husband found an old stereo in terrible shape with paint splatters on it everywhere, and only half working.  We wrapped it up, and gave it to one of our sons who was asking for a stereo for Christmas... we told him it was all we could afford.  Of course, later, while he was taking a shower, we tip-toed into his room and set up his new stereo - the real one!

- Each Christmas Eve, the kids get a new pair of PJs.  But, one year, we pre-treated them with itching powder.  That was hysterical!

- A couple years ago, I bought each of the boys a pack of sodas called "Thanksgiving Dinner". One of the boys just thought it was gross and threw it in the trash... the other one actually drank every drop.  He didn't like it, but said the curiousity was killing him.  Have YOU ever had turkey flavored soda?

- This year, the 19 year old asked for a new cell phone, but I simply wasn't able to get his phone before Christmas morning.  So, I printed a picture of one that I picked out for him, and wrote an IOU on the back of it.  Then, I wrapped the IOU in a box from an old (really basic, boring) phone my husband had.  It was quite fun to see him open it, looking at the box and thinking I got him a lame out dated phone for Christmas....and, then opening it to see there was no phone inside!  It got even better because all day he kept pretending to use it, showing it off at Christmas dinner with my sister and her in laws (who don't know us very well). His real one should be arriving in another day or so.

-Perhaps my favorite was the accident.  It wasn't a joke at all... but it was hysterical.  Along with the PJs, each kid gets a Christmas Ornament to hang on the tree on Christmas Eve just before we go to bed.  One year, Joe, then about 16, opened an empty box.  I guess I bought the box empty - it was a Hallmark box and I didn't check before leaving the store.  However, so used to practical jokes, Joe was sure I was pulling another fast one on him.  He kept waiting for the punch line.  About 11:45 he came into my room and asked where it was... he said he just couldn't sleep until he'd put the last ornament on the tree, and he knew there was still one for him somewhere.  Up until then, the kids would tease me every year about my silly Christmas Eve gifts - the PJs and ornament... but finally, there was a little appreciation for the tradition!  Luckily, I remembered we'd gotten a free ornament from CVS that year with a purchase, and it was still in my car.  I threw on a coat and went and got it for him.  THAT was when he realized I was serious... but he was still grateful for having an ornament for the tree.

I am curious... what unique family traditions do you have at your house?  Please, share...


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Richard Mielke
RE/MAX Results - Gettysburg, PA
REALTOR, Gettysburg Pennsylvania Real Estate

Vicky, when I was a kid, we used to get a stocking for the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th. My brothers and I would wake up in the morning and find a stocking under each of our beds, filled with navel oranges and nuts. I swear I would lay awake all night listening to hear someone come into the room and put it there. We finally figured out that it was our Dad, but we never caught him doing it.

Jan 03, 2009 02:10 PM #1
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