‘Tis the season to spend with family, and like any other family, me and mine have our own little special quirks. Here are five random things about my (extended) family:
1. From a young age, I have been accused of being overcompetitive. All I can say to that is this: You should see my family. I’m pretty sure that every single one of my aunts could easily find over 40 words in almost any Boggle round (and that’s a regular size, little cube). So you’d better believe stuff gets intense when we pull out the word games at family events. (Coincidentally, after playing word games with me or any member of my family at least once, most people flat-out refuse to play them ever again with us.)
2. Another trait of the women in the family is that we all seem to have this habit of throwing back our heads when we’re laughing really hard. And apparently, the older you get, the more it turns into kind of a cackle. Combine cackle with the head toss, and you’ve got a regular gaggle of wannabe witches at our family gatherings.
3. For most of my life growing up, we had a family party with my whole extended family every month. Since getting older, the parties have gotten a little bit less frequent, but I can still comfortably say that I for sure see my extended family more than most other people (and enjoy it!).
4. Every year for my entire life (with the exception of my mission), I have attended my family’s extended family Christmas party, which always includes a white elephant gift exchange. We’ve had some real doozies over the years, too—-a leopard corset (that people tried on in front of everyone, thus giving us blackmail pictures), a speedo, a terrifyingly real-looking rubber mouse that squeaked and wiggled when you pushed a button that made my Aunt Terry almost dissolve into tears (literally)…and the list goes on and on. In fact, the gift exchange actually got so crazy that we even have a poem that one of my aunts wrote about it that we used to read aloud at the beginning of the exchange every year. I am not kidding.
5. Just so the men in the family won’t feel left out of this little list, all the men in the extended family take a “Man Trip” every summer, where they participate in mysterious man rituals like subsisting solely on caffeinated sodas and chips while not showering and staying up until 4 in the morning playing “Washers” (a game my grandpa instigated, and which has since grown into a tournament of epic proportions that has a golden washer for a trophy and everything.)
Are you close to your extended family?