Family traditions are funny things. We follow them for years, and often have no idea why.
Nothing hammers that home like getting married and having to navigate the combining of old traditions, even as you make traditions of your own with your partner and family. It often means taking a long look at the traditions you have, and why, and which are worth continuing. And no time of year has more tradition than Christmas.
When my wife and I got married, some holiday traditions we agreed on keeping for our new little family quickly and easily and without much need for conversation. Going to church on Christmas Eve, and spending time with family? Both were a given. Other things really depended on if one of us had a preference. Like, having a Christmas tree? Of course we would. But she had opinions re: Douglas Fir versus Noble Fir, and I did not, so we went with her preferences.
Then there are the traditions that have required more negotiation, and raised lots of questions about why we do the things we do.
Why did it become tradition for my family to eat Chinese food, pizza, sushi, and tourtiere (French Canadian meat pie) every year on Christmas Eve? Why, for my wife, is it always soup at her grandparent’s house? Why did my siblings and I always open one present on Christmas Eve? Why did my wife always spend it with her cousins, taking turns trading goofy gifts and secret stories? Each of those traditions has their own story.
But there’s one other element to my Christmas Eve growing up that needs no story or excuse beyond “Because it’s freaking’ delicious!” and that’s the annual overconsumption of my mother’s eggnog.
It’s been a family tradition for as long as I can remember, that eggnog, and drinking way, way too much of it.
It was always alcohol-free, so it was a treat the whole family could enjoy as soon as we were old enough to drink from a mug. It’s thick, and rich, and so creamy, with floating clouds of meringue and great sweet dollops of vanilla ice cream. Drinking so much I got sick became as much an Important Family Christmas Tradition as hanging stockings and a decorating the tree.
It’s also a tradition my wife was happy to let me continue, once she tried it. (Well, she supported the making of the eggnog, not the getting sick from drinking too much eggnog. But when it comes to my mother’s eggnog, moderation is in short supply.) I made it for my new extended family one year, and it was not only welcomed but became one of my assumed contributions. “You… are making your mom’s eggnog, right?”
As I get older, the effect of so much rich, sweet, creamy goodness on my stomach has, I have to admit, only increased. Which is why I was so glad to get this adorable package early this week, from my new best friend, @Pepto, who amazingly seemed to know I was going to have a nog-induced need for something to calm down the roiling gurgle inside me after an evening of festive family time.
And thank goodness the folks at Pepto-Bismol know me so well, because an evening of eggnog and meat pie, soothed by my favorite pink drink, was, of course, followed by a morning of bacon and eggs and coffee, and a tin of sweet, sweet almond toffee in my stocking, and more coffee, and a giant afternoon feast of the most succulent braised beef brisket and roast potatoes and Hawaiian rolls, followed by this delectably moist cake, and…
Well, you get the picture. All of that (over)indulgence can lead to some unexpected sounds from within, and urgent sprints to the gentlemen’s room.
Suffice to say, today, when I finally take my two little Jedi-in-training to see the a certain new movie, you can bet I will have my little pack of pink chewable tablets tucked safely in my jacket pocket. Because I don’t want to miss a second if, y’know, something other than the Force awakens inside of me.
Disclosure: As mentioned above, the good people at Pepto-Bismol were kind enough to send me some samples of their product, just in time, and compensated me for this post. All opinions are my own.