Every year, with the exception of last year, my side of the family gets together before or after Christmas. I don't have a huge family like The Trophy's, she's number ten of thirteen kids but I have some interesting characters and we like getting together for the holidays. Last year we didn't get together because both my Mom and Dad were in the hospital at that point and seeing that they were the elders of the family, we figured we should hold off. This year though, in the spirit of my Mom, we are having the family Christmas at my house this year and we need to prepare...I guess.
It's always a simple get together and we limit gift giving to anyone under eighteen which makes it cheap to do also. We don't do a traditional sit down dinner like you see in Better Homes and Garden or in one of those cheesy TV movies. You see, we're Polish. We do things different.
One tradition we started many moons ago was after the per-eighteen years olds opened their presents we do a Yankee Swap. Unless you're from New England, it's probably called something different where your from. In a nutshell it's where you purchase a gift of a predetermined dollar amount, wrap it and then bring it to the party. You pick numbers out of a hat and and when it's your turn you can either pick an unwrapped gift of steal the gift from one of your family members. Sounds like a hoot doesn't it?
It started in our family as a nice thing to do, the gifts were usually thoughtful and there wasn't much stealing going on. As the years progressed, the Yankee Swap began to spiral out of control with presents that no one wanted and it became a hassle. "Oh shit, we gotta get a Yankee Swap gift...fuck."
So we upped the ante a little bit and raised the dollar amount you were allowed to spend. You can buy gifts much more crappy that way. One year though changed the family forever. Everyone bought some sort of popcorn item for the Yankee Swap and we had fun joking about how this wasn't planned and how that was the best Yankee Swap in years. Then the log appeared one year.
|Is that a beef stick or are you happy to see me?|
The last time the log was seen was two years ago, it ended up in the spare tire compartment of my Uncle's Subaru. He has moved to California since then. I fear that the log will not be gracing us with it's presence this year...or will it?