People Break Down Their Family's Best Unspoken Traditions
This time of year, many families take part in their respective holiday traditions.
Our family's festive ritual was nothing unique, but special to us nonetheless.
Now, we were not a fancy family and we hardly went out for dinners – save for the occasional trips to the golden arches.
But when we went out for our annual Christmas Eve dinners at Lawry's Prime Rib in Beverly Hills, we spared no expense.
We could always count on the Dickensian carolers to entertain us in the enormous dining area festooned with garlands and wreaths as we feasted – me with au jus reliably dripping down my chin.
That was how we rolled on Christmas Eve.
Curious about other families, Redditor TheAwesomeJunk asked:
Three-Hour Gift-Opening Session
"Even though there are numerous Christmas presents under the tree, the family tradition is this:"
"Only one present can be opened at a time so that everyone in the room can see what the other person received."
"It makes the gift-opening session last up to 3 hours, which sometimes seems like an eternity when everyone is hungry and wanting to have Christmas dinner."
Make Way For Santa
"All 'children' must vacate the living room at 9 pm on Christmas Eve so 'Santa' can put out the gifts."
"The youngest 'child' is 30, but it makes my mother happy to put out the gifts and have us surprised on Christmas morning."
Kids Go First
"We open ours in the morning. The kids like to dish the presents out to everyone from under the tree and we have our own piles then each person opens their presents in turn, usually the kids first. We only have Christmas day the four of us and told everyone else when we first had the kids that we won't see anyone else on Xmas day to save potential arguments with whose turn it is. We then chill out until dinner which we have about 3pm."
Leaving A Mark
"When someone in the family turns 16, they have to sign underneath my grandmother's kitchen table. It has to be something witty/funny/personal and then their name and the date. Of course, those who 'join' the family late (by marriage/long-term relationship or even just very good friends who have been to a family function or two) sign whenever they're inducted. It's a big deal and everyone takes pictures. Very neat to go under the table from time to time and see some of the faded sayings from old family/friends who are not with us anymore (either from passing on or falling out). All the grandkids looked forward to turning 16 so we could finally add our names under the table."
"I wonder who will get it when Grandma passes."
On Noche Buena
"Christmas Eve dinner is always after 10 pm. I don't know why but it always is. If you're Cuban, you know the tradition of la caja china on Noche Buena. My uncle always does the pig roast and even though he claims he starts early every year, we never eat earlier than 10 pm. It's rare. Last year we didn't eat til almost 2 am and we didn't leave his house until 4. It's always worth the wait though. That and my grandmas Thanksgiving turkey are both the best dinners each year."
"Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Been doing it for 32 years. I'm sad that I can't visit my parents this Christmas due to the risks involved."
"It's A Book!"
"One non-close-family gift can be opened on Christmas eve. This usually turns out to be something a bit rubbish."
"All presents get opened before breakfast on Christmas day. We take turns. If (when) you open booze the bottle must be opened immediately and then passed to whoever also drinks to try."
"Brother gets drunk and starts a fight or skips actual Christmas dinner (dinner is at lunch time)."
"Pretty much every gift gets a little squeeze and an exclamation of 'it's a book!' (last year I did this with a clearly not-a-book mug and there was a tiny book hidden inside it - well done dad)."
"No matter how many times we get her gifts, no matter the quality or quantity of said gifts, my mom will go through 20 minutes of: 'This is too much! Why did y'all do all this? I didn't get y'all anything this nice!'"
"For the past few years we start saying it all before she can, but she still keeps doing it."
"I live in Iceland and there we traditionally open the gifts after dinner on Christmas Eve. Aaaaallllll dishes, cutlery and everything must be HAND WASHED after dinner before we get to open the presents."
"Getting high/drunk and having intimate conversations that end up really therapeutic."
"We are huge fans of the Disney Parks and we go all the time. A common method they use to make things look taller (Like the castle) is forced perspective, which is basically trying to orient the angle of which you see an object to give the illusion that it's taller than it actually is, just to increase immersion. Also Florida has a rule where any building over 200 feet tall needs lights on top of it for planes to see, and Disney wouldn't want to do that. My grandfather is very supportive about this and one Thanksgiving he claimed to have one fact/trivia that none of us would know about the Disney Parks, and then went on a 10 minute rant about forced perspective that he probably found on Google, while we all acted amazed. Now whenever the words 'forced perspective' come up, or if we are in the parks and encounter a building that uses it, we all act amazed, even though it's one of the most basic facts someone who is really into the architecture of Disney Parks would know."
That my uncle will always carry a dirty tissue in his left back pocket, "Just for emergencies." There has not yet been an emergency where a dirty tissue was needed.
At Christmas we take ages to open presents (6 of us).
Starts with mum/dad picking a present at random from under the tree and giving it to person on label. Person opens it and everyone has to wait until they're done and then they pick another gift (can't be another one of their own) and vice versa. I actually quite like it
we have this pickle ornament which we hide in the tree and the person who finds it gets to open the first present
Every single time
Everytime we all meet up, everybody starts talking about politics and half an hour later we all hate each other. This is usually fixed with alcohol later.
In a galaxy far away
My family always watches the Star Wars series at Christmas time. It isn't really something we acknowledge, we just do it.
While opening gifts, if someone is taking a while/struggling to get a gift open, someone else yells "HURRY UP, THE PUPPY CAN'T BREATHE IN THERE!"
Going strong for at least 25 years.
The cook serves him/herself last. I thought this was a common thing, but the number of times that guests will insist that I get my plate before them ("You go ahead, you cooked!") makes me think otherwise.
Wrap it up
Every Christmas someone gets to spend extra time unwrapping their 'special' gift. This is because wrapping just gets layered on, usually tripling the size. It also isn't limited to just wrapping paper layers, duck tape is common. I also have once created a cage of hot glue for a smaller gift.
This year my sister is the lucky victim. She's getting some pots and pans per request, however every piece is getting individually wrapped at least once before being put in a plastic tub to also be wrapped.
Alternating between who has the "job" of sitting next to my dad in church and nudging him every time he starts to snore
Cat's out of the bag
If the cat is on you, you're not expected to move (doing the washing up / taking out the rubbish and so on)
During the Christmas dinner, noone can leave the table. I heard that it´s a custom in other households as well, but my mom takes it extremely seriously. Everything must be within arm´s reach of someone sitting behind the table. Since most of the time we spend Christmas at my grandma´s place, where the living room is quite small, we put when we can on the table, and the rest is on a small side table, or on the bed and sofa. Also, before the dinner, we take turns on the toilet, and try to do both number 1 and 2 even if we don´t feel like it.
Also, back when we could (when everyone had jobs that would allow them to take vacation for Christmas), all of my mom´s siblings would gather at grandma´s place. Since me & sister found out the truth pretty early on in our lives, we had the duty to take them out to wait for Jesus to come around (in Slovakia we don´t have Santa, we have Jesus, holy f*ck catholicism is wild). We would light sparklers and stick them in the snow outside of the house while the elders put the presents under the tree (I once fell into a drain full of snow, my shoes were full of sewage water, and I had only my head sticking out of the snow). Then, some elder would ring a bell from inside the house, and we´d run in.
We hug each other every single morning, if we're all at home. You could be mad, happy, grumpy, dying, doesn't matter. You get hugs. If we have people over, well, they get hugs too.
Skipping it this year but in the past The whole family would bring all their presents over to whoever had the biggest living room at the time and put the gifts under THAT tree on Christmas Eve.
At Christmas, the oldest child (the duty passes to someone else once you hit like 17) sits at the bottom of the tree and distributes the gifts to everyone (throwing gifts is only acceptable if you KNOW the gift isn't fragile, and the receivers capable of catching it).
Sounds like a blast
Every New Years Eve we have a family bottle rocket fight. The youngest one of us is 28. My dad is 60. All adults who know better. My mother does not like fireworks at all, and every year we try to get her to join. My dad always yells from the yard that if she doesn't come out and join the fight then we are going to bring the fight inside to her. So far she has called his bluff.
But for real, nothing brings a family together like shooting consumer-grade explosives at each other.
Let them have cake
12 layer chocolate cakes are the only "acceptable" birthday cakes and you never tell which baker you got to make it- everyone has their own secret baker. ~never reveal your sources~
Everyone gets scratch offs in their Christmas stockings and we have to do those first before anything else on Christmas. It has been this way since my earliest Christmas memories.
Playing dress up
My grandmother has been forcing me and my two cousins to do a corny Christmas pageant. I think the other two like it because they are sisters and they are thirst for attention. But I am an only child and hate attention. She forced us to start this when I was like two. I am now 12 and I am t he middle cousin. I just hate it
A game of nose-goes at dinner where we talk about what the best/worst part of our day was. The person who loses nose goes then gets to say it next at any time in any discrete way.
While starting a family and having children is a goal that many people have, some do not realize that it's not easy, fun, and loving one-hundred percent of the time. Rather, it's expensive, exhausting, and hard, though it might be worth it in the end.
With this in mind, people shared what they felt were the hardest hurdles of their parenting.
Redditor ApprehensiveShock655 asked:
"What's the worst part of having a child?"
Fear of Not Doing Enough
"The constant anxiety that you’re doing enough to shape them to make good choices, a good life, be a good person and for them to have the life they deserve."
Like the Energizer Bunny
"It's incessant. It never stops. You never get a day off."
"Going from having two days per week to relax and do whatever to literally never having a moment free from responsibility."
No Break In Sight
"I’ve always wanted kids and still do, but this is the only thing that has come close to giving me pause."
"Both my siblings have young kids and I cannot get over how CONSTANT it is."
"From the second the kids wake up to when they finally shut their eyes, it’s non-stop. Then they get maybe an hour or two to themselves, which is mostly spent tidying up, etc., before the nighttime stuff starts with the baby crying, the toddler coming into bed, nightmares, etc."
"It requires years of not getting a full night's rest. You can never just go out whenever you want. No sleeping in, even on weekends because someone has to be up with them at 6 AM."
"Raising human children is an insane task."
Mom's Body After Baby and Dad Bods
"The weight gain is the worst! During the pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds. My belly has stretch marks. My boobs are all saggy."
"And it’s not even fair because my wife only gained like 15."
The Meal Planning
"Coming up with three meals to eat per day EVERY DAY stresses me out so bad."
"This sounds like such a small thing, but it really wears on you over time. You can’t just make something for yourself or something you and your spouse feel like eating: You have to constantly be thinking about if the kid is hungry and what they might be willing to eat."
Keeping Them Safe
"When people ask me this I say, 'do you know those video games where you have to escort a character to a destination without them being attacked?' That's parenting. Those missions are a pain in the a**."
Seriously, Keep Them Safe
"Having to deal with their total lack of self-preservation. They are creative and come up with all kinds of ways to try and kill themselves. Keeping ahead of the game is exhausting."
"They’re just always there. On you, behind you, in front of you, just a little speed bump impeding every task."
Letting Them Live Their Life Their Way
"Having a kid is like having a little piece of your heart running around in the world. When they're sick or get disappointed or just feel sad, it's worse than having it happen to you."
"Yet at the same time, you need to let your kids work through those things to learn to handle them. If you give into the worry and try to shield them from everything, you risk creating harmful co-dependence."
"So it's a constant struggle. But worth it!"
What Is "Sleep" Again?
"I'm only nine years in, but so far, it's been the sleep deprivation. Hands down."
And What Are These "Sick Days" You Speak Of?
"Having to take care of a sick child when you are also sick. For me that has been the most challenging part so far."
Another Full-Time Job
"It's like taking a second job that lasts 18+ years with a 24/7 schedule with no holidays or sick days."
"…And no second paycheck. It's actually like YOU are paying your second salary instead of getting one."
"The loss of freedom. I can't just... go somewhere. Even with older kids, there's so much planning and thinking and getting ready."
"I miss being able to just decide to go somewhere, and go there."
The Time Flies
"The best advice I got was from an ancient hospital security guard in an elevator. 'The days are long, the years are short, cherish them while you can.'"
"The phrase I hate is, 'You don't know it, but one day you pick your kid up for the last time.'"
There are all kinds of troubles that come from being a parent, many of which people don't necessarily think about until they already have a baby in the house.
But reassuringly, many people in the subReddit pointed out that no matter how hard some of these hurdles are to get over, it's still worth it in the end, and it goes by far too fast.
Positive emotions are high among people in the blossoming phase of relationships.
Everything seems more romanticized for people in love due to the amorous joy in their hearts–which also influences their desire to frequently get it on under the sheets–or any other daring location in the heat of the moment.
But for those who've declared "'til death do us part," devoted couples may find that they are not always on the same wavelength sexually compared to when they first met.
Curious to hear how people keep their passion alive, Redditor Rude_Phone6841 asked:
"Married people, how do you initiate sex with your partner?"
When verbally articulating isn't enough...
Let The Book Dictate When
"There is a book called 'How to Subtly Tell Your Partner You Want More Sex.' If you sleep on the right side of the bed, you can casually open it up and your spouse will see the giant printed title on the front. Sometimes, I’ll just get the book out and leave it on his side of the bed. Once he was messing with me and acting like he was oblivious to my not-so-subtle hints, so I threw the book at him. The book is effective and hilarious."
"ETA: Sadly, we haven’t found the book since we moved. Fortunately, we’ve started communicating with our words instead. Words are just as effective."
Save The Date
"I send her an outlook calendar event and if she accepts, IT'S ON."
"You know when I’m down to my socks it’s time for business."
These couples find that verbal cues are best.
Now's The Time
"Honestly when we have the time one of us usually bluntly says 'let's go have sex right f'king now before we can't' and we go do it. Lol"
Option A Or B
"I have a 2 month old and a 2 year old. Some of the best sex we had was because I said 'after 2 year old goes down and if 2month decides to sleep do you want to meet in the basement' well she decided to sleep and damn that was good."
End Of Day Reward
"We just ask each other tbh. We’ll bring it up earlier in the day so we build up the anticipation with each other throughout the day, flirt with each other, gas each other up. All that. Then when it’s finally time at the end of the day, we usually fall asleep cause we’re so tired."
"But the cycle continues the next day!"
People continued offering their wisdom.
Afternoon Hanky Panky
"The trick is to initiate sex during the day. We are both too tired at the end. Plus hanging out all day after is somehow more rewarding."
"Same goes for dates. Have sex at the beginning the date, then go enjoy your time together without any pressure."
Kids In The Equation
"This literally happened today with my wife and me. We have two toddlers so we’re extra exhausted. Earlier today we had the sexy initiation of 'hey, we both showered today, want to have sex after the babies are asleep?' 'Sure.'"
"Then when the kids were asleep, and my wife and I were getting settled into bed, she asked if I still wanted to. I said if she wants to I’m down, but I’m pretty tired and would be fine without it. She said she was also tired and could do without it. So we kissed each other good night and she went to sleep. I’m just winding down on Reddit for a few minutes before I also fall asleep."
"I know this is boring. I didn’t write this to tell an exciting story. Just to share what married life is like for me and probably the large majority of married couples, especially parents of young kids."
Shadow Puppet Technique
"Use my phones torch to shine a shadow of my member up against the bedroom wall."
"Kinda like a bat signal of sorts."
"Turn off the lights and switch on the red lamp beside the bed."
"Walk by him while taking my top off. He follows me wherever I go and it's been 30 years and counting."
Every couple is different, and usually establishing a strong communication bond makes everything else in the relationship–including sexy time–falls in line effortlessly.
I knew a couple who made a game out of foreplay and agreed that whoever got home first from getting off work at the same time got to choose the sexual position that night.
They may no longer be together, but I remember them recalling how that technique was fun for them at the beginning stage and it took the pressure off of establishing when they were going to have sex.
Don't take get too anxious about it. It's just sex, and it's fun.
There are a number of things people partake in spite of the known possible ramifications they have on their health and safety.
Up to and including smoking, bungee-jumping, recreational drug use, or simply bike riding without a helmet.
Indeed, even though they know that doing any or all of these things could possibly lead to their death, they do it anyway.
Sadly, even though many people go out of their way to avoid doing these things for that very reason, that still doesn't mean they keep themselves completely out of danger.
Sadly, there are a surprisingly large number of things that lead to an even more surprising number of deaths each year.
Frighteningly, these are things that the majority of the world's population does on an almost daily basis.
"What causes death more than people realize?"
When In Doubt, Call Your Doctor!
"Your body will become septic, in which it essentially kills itself trying to kill off whatever infection one has."- cacarrizales
"Infections that are left untreated."- raptor-99
Tread Carefully. Seriously.
"On average around 17k people a year in the US die from injuries incurred after tripping and falling."- EdithWhartonsFarts
When In Doubt, Don't Drive.
"Driving while sleepy."- latchkey_adult
The Handrail Is There For A Reason.
"20 million severe injuries each year and at least 200,000 death from consequences of the fall."
"Both my grandparents died because of a fall."- OnTheGoodSideofLife
They Happen To The Best Of Us
"Especially among the elderly, a fall can create a cascade of events that results in death, even if it seems minor at first."-AdmiralBofa
Never Rush Chewing
"Statistically the most choked on food."- SpecSanders
Never Skip A Check-Up
"High Blood Pressure."
"It sneaks up on you and you don't know about it or don't care but it's the underlying cause of so many deaths."- Fear51
Never Underestimate The Importance Of Self Care
"Your body can only handle so much of it and it’s labeled the 'silent killer' for that reason."
"With your high blood pressure and the 5 hours of sleep a night because of the stress, It will creep up on you sooner than you think."- DroppedDonut
Don't Forget To Floss!
"Untreated dental problems."
"A cavity left untreated can lead to heart attacks and strokes."- Lastalmark
"Just regular old flu."
"Many people ignore it thinking it'll go away on its own."
"Globally the number per year is usually between 300k and 500k."
"In the US it can be anywhere from 12k to 50k per year."- PhreedomPhighter
Don't Feel Ashamed If You Need A Break
"I have two family friends pass from heart attacks associated to shoveling the snow."- JD054
There Are People Who Will Help You
"Alcoholism causing liver failure and it's on the rise in the USA."- Interesting_Drop8236
"Peruse your County ME’s records."
"The amount of people who die from alcohol is astounding."- hockenduke
Sometimes, It's Just Best To Mind Your Own Business
"You watch some Hollywood blockbusters and some MMA fights and you think you can do it too."
"I've seen stories of a guy minding his own business and gets rocked on the side of his head. It disconnected his spine and he was dead before he hit the ground."
"There was another story maybe a year ago of a scuffle where a guy was stabbed in the neck and bled out to the point of being unable to stand within 10 seconds."
"Stop f*cking around, it's not worth your life."- Choiceofart
We never know when our number is up or how we'll end our days.
However, with a little bit of care and good judgment, we can at least likely avoid falling victim to all of the above.
When Americans visit a foreign country, they tend to notice immediate cultural differences from the minute they step off the plane.
Unique bathroom designs, how you might have to be more specific when ordering coffee in Australia, how many businesses in Spain tend to shut down for a few hours to take a siesta.
Needless to say, this goes both ways, as when people from all over the world visit the United States, they tend to be surprised and amazed by a number of things.
Ranging from the amusing, such as portion sizes and ineffective tea brewing (at least for the Brits) to the truly baffling (HEALTHCARE).
"Non-American people, what’s a thing that you don’t understand about America?"
You Mean, People DON'T File Their Own Taxes Elsewhere?!?!
"Does every worker have to file their own taxes or am I just confused?"- ThePencil67
"Why they make you calculate your own taxes, if they know what you owe."- redder2023
"So, why do you buy politicians' merchandise? "
"Shirts, caps, banners, stickers, etc."
"They're public servants, not rockstars."
"Also, usually the more boring they are, the better."- akashyyConor Mckenna Influencer GIF by FoilArmsandHogGiphy
"Scottish person here but the work/always available for work culture."
"Minimal vacation time, minimal maternity/paternity leave and the fact you can pretty much just be let go."
"It makes me sad to think about it!"
"But I do love that you guys cram so much into your time off - you guys love a road trip!"- Frosty_Dragonfly_682
Definitely Something To Consider...
"What is up with Homeowner Associations?"
"Why would you pay to let a nosy neighbor dictate what you can and can not do on your own property?"
"I understand living in an apartment block and paying maintenance fees etc, but in a suburban home?"- Skoodledoo
There Are Some Good Observations
"The amount of National Parks!"
"My dream came true in 2017 to make an RV trip southwest off USA."
"Yosemite blew my mind away."- Independent-Ad9787national parks GIF by Visit The USAGiphy
"How you can say the word 'mirror' without the use of any vowels."
I Ordered A Small!
"Why everything is just SO damn supersized."
"My first time in America I went to get ice coffee from Dunkin Donuts, I ordered a large and my friend is like, 'are you sure you want large'?"
"Yeah no biggie, in the UK a large is not overwhelming I feel so I was expecting the same kinda thing."
"Oh my god it was like a god damn bucket of coffee."
"I think maybe a small would have been equivalent to a UK large, lesson swiftly learnt."
Some People Are Lucky To Just Have One Roommate...
"How you have to share a room with some complete rando when you go to college."- ChoppingOnionsForYouRoommates Move In GIF by James Madison UniversityGiphy
Some People Just Can't Stop Talking
"The culture of just talking to people, strangers you don't know and just up and start a conversation with them or join a conversation."
"I'm British, and we go through great lengths to not talk to people, let alone open up and pour our hearts out to a random person."- MrGlayden
In Other Words: Severs Deserve to Be Paid More!
"The tipping culture is so foreign to me, I would be so scared to make a mistake or not tipping enough if I ever go to America because it's not something which is common here in Denmark."- Cupsuu
The Commercials, Maybe?
"I’m American but I’ve worked with a lot of people who aren’t."
"The one thing they always wonder is why Americans are so obsessed with the NFL."
"They think it’s a boring sport."
"They explained 'you wait for 30 seconds, they hike the ball, you get about 5-10 seconds of action, then you wait another 30 seconds, another 5-10 seconds of action, then commercial break'."- yougotthesilver12Kansas City Chiefs Football GIF by Fighting Illini AthleticsGiphy
School Is No Place To Have Fun!
"My mom is from Moscow during the Soviet Era, and she is confused why there is no teacher-student hierarchy."
'She thinks it's weird when teachers participate in school plays or speak to students informally."
"She also DOES NOT GET pajama day."
"To her, it's just the weirdest thing in the world."
"In Russia, there is an important distinction between 'clothes for home' and 'clothes for outside'."
"They have a concept of 'home clothes', like your cozy or ugly clothes, that you are supposed to change into after school or work."
"At bedtime, you change out of your 'home clothes' into pajamas."
"As a result, pajamas, for both adults and children, are considered extra-extra private in Russia."
"My mom perceives pajama day as something extreme like wearing only undergarments to school."
"That's how private pajamas are considered to be in Russia!"- racheltolmach2022
A Debate Which Will Likely Never End
"MM/DD/YYYY"- SuvenPananimation domination calendar GIF by gifnewsGiphy
Living in America comes with a number of advantages and a number of detriments.
Speaking personally though, had I known I wouldn't have to file my own taxes in Australia, I would have expatriated long ago...