Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Nontraditional Tradition

Every family has its beloved holiday traditions, and mine is no different. However, I doubt many families have a tradition that involves a tacky, fluorescent pink negligee.

It started one fall about 40 years ago when my mother and aunt were lamenting their status as football widows. As a joke, my mom sent my aunt Bobbie a gaudy, tasteless two-piece nightie in an eye-burning shade of pink. Her thought was that perhaps Aunt Bobbie could use it to lure Uncle David away from the television set. We never knew if it worked, but the nightie took on a life of its own. It began appearing at various family occasions over the years, such as the going away party Bobbie gave my parents the year they won a cruise. And when I opened my suitcase on my honeymoon, there it was.

Then it took a starring role during the Dirty Santa game at our annual family Christmas gathering. My siblings and relatives were incredibly devious with their covert nightie operations. It’s been found tucked into pockets of shirts, hidden underneath a layer of chocolates in a candy box, and lurking inside a duffle bag. The most ingenious hiding place was the battery compartment of a really nice flashlight.

Sadly, my aunt passed away a few years ago, and my mother followed soon after. I was the lucky nightie recipient the last Christmas my mom was alive. At the time, I wondered if perhaps it were time for the nightie to retire (so to speak). The game had lost some of its sparkle without the two instigators. But then I thought about how much joy Mom and Bobbie’s playfulness had brought our family. We missed them both terribly, but we knew they were giggling together somewhere and making mischievous plans. I made a decision. The nightie went into mourning for one year, and then reappeared the next year. I must say, it’s more loved than ever before. Each Christmas, I like to think that Mom and Bobbie pull up ring side seats to watch our madcap gift exchange. And that they’re very pleased that we’ve continued this unorthodox tradition.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nightie.


Christy said...

Too funny, JoAnn! I love these kinds of stories.

We have an odd Christmas tradtion of a sombrero. One year, early in our marriage, my husband found the hat in my Mom's attic and came down the stairs singing Cisco Kid. It became a family tradition after that. Every year, he's finds the sombrero and we get a rendtion of Cisco Kid.

I heard it on the oldies radio station this past summer and asked my husband why they were playing a Christmas song in August!

Carla Swafford said...

What a lovely story, JoAnn.

Hey, Christy, how about a pink nightie for that perfect gift?

MaryF said...

That sounds like so much fun! That would never happen in my family!!!

JoAnn said...

Christy -- a SOMBRERO??? That's hilarious! Isn't it funny how such non-Christmas items can become beloved Chirstmas traditions.

And maryf, if you saw some of my family sitting in the second pew of the Baptist church each Sunday, you wouldn't believe such a thing would ever happen at our Christmas parties. :-)