Wonderfully Wacky Holiday Traditions

  • It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

    The holiday season always walks a fine line between wacky and wonderful. After all, most American families aim for the iconic Norman Rockwell christmas, but end up with something more akin to Christmas Vacation with the Griswolds. Mishaps and quirkiness are what make our families unique, and the following stories are all heart-warming and interesting takes on this special time of year. Here they are: 10 stories of wonderfully wacky holiday traditions. Photo Credit: miss pupik
    The Christmas Web of Yarn
  • The Christmas Web of Yarn

    Finding the presents might be a game for some families, but this one takes the cake. Leilani Gushiken's parents would create a spider web with yarn that she had to follow to find her present on Christmas Eve. "My parents would take a skein of yarn (one skein per child) and wind it throughout the house, over and under chairs and tables and around light fixtures. Nothing was off limits," Gushiken said. "Then they would give each of us one end of the yarn, and we would rewind the skein, until we got to the present at the end. It was a lot of fun, and depending on how wicked our parents were feeling, rewinding the yarn could be very difficult and challenging." Photo Credit: Angel Schatz
    Skiing. Water Skiing.
  • Skiing. Water Skiing.

    A normal holiday tradition: Hitting the slopes with your friends and family to ski. The wonderfully wacky version: Water skiing in New York during the holidays. It must be cold, but Brian Hooks says his brother has been going to the Great South Bay on Long Island's South Shore for 29 years to keep with tradition. Why? Brian says it started in college as a "great hangover cure." If so, maybe he should do it on New Year's Day instead. Photo Credit: Ted Van Pelt
    The Godfather, the Son and Holy Spirit
  • The Godfather, the Son and Holy Spirit

    A plethora of holiday movies will get your family in the Christmas spirit. But The Godfather isn't one of them. Still, that hasn't stopped Dawn Falcone from watching it on Christmas Day with her family. "We watch any movie featuring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro or directed by Martin Scorsese," she said. "My mom refers to them as the Holy Trinity. It could be Scarface or a Bronx Tale one year, Mean Streets the next." Hey Santa, you talkin' to me? Photo Credit: Robbert van der Steeg
    A Collection of Christmas Tales
  • A Collection of Christmas Tales

    Any bookworm out there can surely appreciate Todd Thompson's holiday tradition. A self-proclaimed "rare book collector and an old soul at heart," Thompson goes on a treasure hunt each year for a rare or vintage copy of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. But the tradition doesn't end there. "[We] read it to our kids (and any other kids) who may be sharing Chirstmas Eve at the house with us," he said. "Each year, I write down the name and age of each child who joined us that year for the reading inside the front cover of the book, and now I have a modest little collection which we now use as holiday dressing on our 12-foot (all-Santa) Christmas tree." Photo Credit: Evelyn Saenz
  • HanuKwanzaaMas

    The diversity of cultures that makes America so special is truly what makes Vanessa Peter's multicultural home unique each holiday season. "I'm an African American woman who converted to Judaism after marriage and raised a bi-racial daughter with my Caucasian Jewish husband," Peter said. So Christmas is a hodge-podge of many traditions. "It's a big melting pot of latkes, gumbo, mac and cheese, lots of candles and a music mix of klezmer, Christmas standards, brass band, hip hop, soul and latin," she said. "We invite everyone from every faith to eat, commune and have multiple gaming areas (Cranium, Rock Band, Just Dance, Scrabble, etc)." Games and mac and cheese on Christmas? That's a holiday I can get behind. Photo Credit: Jennifer Woodard Maderazo
    It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
  • It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

    A day of giving means a full 24 hours of presents for Liz Shulof. Since her twin stepsisters share a birthday with Jesus, the family makes a big deal out of the holiday by giving presents every hour on the hour. "My stepdad started a tradition years ago where everyone gets a few presents in the morning, and then he hands out gifts to everyone every hour on the hour until midnight on Christmas Day," Shulof says. "The 'midnight gift' is always the big gift. It’s fun because it spreads the gift-giving out throughout the day, and you get an hour to enjoy your present before opening the next." Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Birthday Cake
  • Birthday Cake

    Everyone complains about the meaning of Christmas being lost in the consumerism of the holiday and the focus being on Santa instead of religion. Enter Bridget Gilbride's grandparents, who have a unique way of getting Jesus back into the spirit of the season. "Every year for Christmas my grandmother buys a birthday cake that reads 'Happy Birthday Jesus,' and my family has to sing' Happy Birthday' to Jesus before cutting the cake. Needless to say, my grandparents always get some confused looks when they order the cake." Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Crazy Kitchen Gadgets
  • Crazy Kitchen Gadgets

    Sometimes it's not the tradition, but the present that makes a holiday tradition wonderfully wacky. Lara P. Wilson says her father created one of her family's holiday traditions in the 1970s when he started giving her mother odd kitchen gadgets. "He'd find these strange gadgets that you might use once a year, but never felt you ever needed to buy," she said. "They included a tool to remove the top of a strawberry stem, pastry crimper in two different sizes for both large and small tarts, double sided melon baller, scalloped party cutter, a pot sticker mold, and even one gadget that we're still not quite sure what to do with." The tradition didn't just extend to Wison's mother, though. Her father started giving the gadgets once she was living on her own after college. "That tradition has now been taken over by my husband with my dad offering his assistance," said Wilson. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Ringing in the New Year ... With Shrimp!
  • Ringing in the New Year ... With Shrimp!

    If you have a shellfish allergy and were hoping to adopt a New Year's Eve tradition from this story, don't try this one from Janice Hermsen. "At midnight, since I was a little girl, we have always had a tradition of eating shrimp for good luck. Our Dad always made sure we had the shrimp made EXACTLY at midnight." I've never heard of eating shrimp for good luck, but Hermsen says she'll keep up the tradition. "Has it brought us good luck? I guess that depends on how you look at luck. We are a strong family with a couple of family businesses that are hanging in there. We still like each other, too. So, in my estimation, yes, it works!" Photo Credit: Getty Images
    A Different Kind of Angel
  • A Different Kind of Angel

    Most tree-toppers are angels or stars. But not in author and speaker Dayna Steele's family home. "Our tree angel is a Godzilla figure that a friend flew on the space shuttle. Put it up there as a joke one Christmas and been there every year since." Photo Credit: Getty Images
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