Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas Surprise: The best tradition ever

Alright guys, I officially took down my holiday decorations yesterday, so let's wrap up the holiday posts with the story of a little tradition my family and more recently friends have come to love, called "Christmas Surprise."  It is a random and goofy game invented in my weirdo brain.  However, it's become pretty fun and something that my family and friends all look forward to - especially gaining a following with my group of friends from high school, with whom a small but devoted following has formed.  So I decided to share.

It started 6 years ago when my brother and I were arguing one Thanksgiving morning about who would sit in the front seat on the way to my grandparents.  Sitting in the front seat is the coveted spot, as everyone knows, and becomes even more important when you and a sibling have different tastes in music.  It's only a 45 minute - 1 hour car ride, but we're from Rhode Island and this is like a full on, pack a cooler, road trip for us, so it is it therefore fight-worthy to figure out who gets the front seat.

To end the bickering and feeling like testing the odds, I finally grabbed three little pieces of paper and wrote a different option on each piece of paper.

1.  One was that my brother could sit in the front seat both ways and pick out the music in the car -- and I would not complain at all.

2.  Another option was that he would get a hug.

3.  The third was that I could punch him.

I folded up the different pieces of paper and told my brother if he wanted he could pick one, but the option was that he HAD to do whichever that he picked.  No negotiations. He apparently also loves to test the odds, so he agreed and picked a piece of paper -- which, of course, was that he got to sit in the front seat both ways, so he LOVED it.

When we arrived at my grandparents' house, everyone asked the typical "How was the ride up?" question that you ask when people arrive from a car trip.  My brother eagerly answered, "Umm it was AWESOME because I won Thanksgiving Surprise!!"  Which then prompted excited questions from my cousins and family members, "What's Thanksgiving Surprise?!  We want one!"

And thus, a tradition was born.

The first few times, including that first time, I would just write anything that I could think of on the pieces of paper, based on what I had in my purse or what I could come up with creatively.  "You get 2 hugs." or "A noogie!" or "A piece of gum" or "A hair elastic" or "Let's hold hands and jump up and down."

Some of the original creativity and randomness of "Christmas Surprise" has stayed with it, but I've also begun planning more and incorporated small gifts or random items into the options.  A full pack of gum, lottery scratch tickets, a $5 bill, or a random funny holiday-themed item I picked up somewhere.  Mixed in with those "good" gifts are the made up fun ones, "A hug for 10 seconds" or free ones, "hand massage," or what has become popular, "I will write a poem dedicated to you."  I also mix in some not so desirable ones such as "A spank" or "Pillow attack!" or "A pinch" -- and now that we're older, "Chug a Smirnoff Ice" or "Take a shot" or "A drink of your choice" when I am at the bar with my friends.  As the tradition continues I've had to get creative sometimes and have utilized technology, "I get to post whatever I want from your Facebook page."  Or "Post a selfie to Facebook."

Everything gets written on a piece of paper, folded up and put into a Christmas Surprise box and every member of the group must choose one, one by one.  The rules are that you HAVE to do what is on the piece of paper.  You take a risk by picking up a piece of paper -- you could get $5 or you could get a noogie.

After years of doing this with my family -- at all holidays, including Easter and Thanksgiving -- my friends started to catch on.  They heard the ridiculous stories, knew to ask about what everyone had gotten, and would laugh along in the aftermath at the things I had made my family do.  A few Thanksgivings ago, I met up with some friends from high school in the evening, ended up giving them a full history, and at that point was begged to do one for them.

This brought me back to the basics of throwing together a "Surprise" based on whatever I had in my purse.  Which was what I did and my friends loved it.  Thus, the friends edition was born.  And then two years ago I put together THREE different versions of Christmas Surprise, one for family, one for friends, and one special one for my brother who requested a "bucket of Christmas Surprises" as his Christmas gift.  This year we went back to two.

It is SUCH a goofy and fun little tradition, that I LOVE that people love.  It makes it really fun for me to organize and having new people participate -- with the "Friends" version, it is a whole new crowd that continues to grow too!  It does take some work and a little bit of a financial investment on my part, but then again, I get the power to make my friends do whatever silly and ridiculous things I can think of.  So, there is quite a bit of fun in that :)

Many people, when they hear about it ask, "I'm sorry, they had to do what?"

But hey, that's part of Christmas Surprise. A rule is a rule, and you put your hand in the Christmas Surprise box, you have to be prepared for what comes your way.

Until next year, happy holidays!

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