i'm a wee bit of a traditionalist. in my mind, if we do something one way once, it's a tradition and we must always do it that way again. for example, every election night from here on out should be spent with the crofts at rock bottom. partner and i should talk every monday. santa claus should always come.
i've argued this philosophy for years to much eye-rolling from my parents. but they've never really taken to it. this idea of traditions. despite all my endeavors at tradition-making, nothing ever really stuck. until now.
we wear funny hats at christmas. we didn't always do this. it started one pathetically sad christmas when my grandparents went to north carolina and left we three eatons to celebrate christmas by ourselves. it was only the second time we'd been left to our own devices and we were appropriately depressed.
somehow, in the midst of that, funny hats seemed the answer. (but then, aren't funny hats always the answer?)
the next year, my grandmother fell and broke her hip and funny hats were a necessity. now they have been seamlessly integrated into our christmas tradition. we eat the broccoli cheese soup, we open presents on christmas eve, we wear funny hats.
everyone whines and complains about it. they hate them. they don't want to wear them. about an hour into the present opening they invariably come off, only to be quickly donned again whenever the rebel's turn is up in the present rotation. there is an unspoken understanding that one's presents will be revoked if the funny hat is not worn.
we'd never really discussed the funny hats. they just kind of happened.
then i was talking to my grandmother the other day. she'd only just gotten to showing her christmas pictures around town and everyone had asked about the hats. she laughed and said, i just told them that's what we do. we have our christmas hats. she paused a second, as though hesitant to voice a horrifying thought that had only just occurred to her, then said, you'd better marry someone who's ok with that.