Twisty Holiday Traditions


Jingle bells,
Batman smells,
Robin laid an…oh! Ahem. Hello!

That time of the year is well upon us, folks! Soon, the Hootenanny will descend right here smack dab on Women & Words and take us all for a goofy, whirly, wonderful, wordy-ful trip. What a crazy time of the year, filled with ever so much good cheer, and, of course, lots and lots of books! Books from your fav authors and books from hot-off-the-press new writers, and elves working hard behind the scenes to make sure Santa has the right reads for the right peeps in his big red sack!

The Hoot is a tradition here at W&W, and that got me to thinking about traditions and rituals and all sorts of holiday thingies we might find ourselves involved in.

A couple of years ago, Betty and I moved a ways north of Minneapolis to an awesomely big house (compared to our old joint) in a small town named St. Joseph, Minnesota. Along with our bestie, Angel—our crazy friend of over twenty years—came her delightful, creative, drama-loving twelve-year-old daughter Kayla. Yeah, about now I know you’re wondering how this goes with my new traditions theme, but bear with me 🙂

With new situations came new traditions and new ways of doing things that commingle with the established stuff Betty and I did for the holidays. (See? There it is!) Angel brought with her and shared with us the tradition of St. Nick’s Day, which apparently is always December 6th. I’d never heard of it, and Betty had never heard of it, but it involved presents, so I was certainly in.

Since this was only our second St. Nicks, and I have a super-crappy memory, I’d forgotten all about this new tradition. About a week before December 6th, out of the blue, (so I thought) Angel asked me to go rustle up a few zip-ties. I gave her a weird look, which she returned. “Just go,” she said, and gave me an encouraging nudge. So off I went, rooted around the ice cold garage, and eventually hunted them down.

When I came back into the house, Angel had ten different holiday stockings strewn on the living room floor.

“Ten?” I asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” she said.

“But there are only four of us in the house.”

“That’s true. There are also sometimes four but usually three dogs, three cats, and Kayla’s best friend. Start zipping.”

I zipped. One right after the other, on the bannister running along the stairway to the basement.

So I was reminded to look for little, inexpensive gifts to stick in the zip-tied socks on St. Nick’s Eve—the night of the 5th to the 6th. Yeah, I just made up St. Nick’s Eve, but it makes better sense to me now. Anyway, where was I?


That’s where I was! Looking for Tuna-y treats for the cats, bony treats for the dogs, and doo-dads here and thingamajigs there for the humans.

On St. Nick’s Eve, I waited till everyone was snoring, all happily tucked in their beds (including the cats and dogs) and snuck out to deposit my booty. what to my wondering eyes did appear? Stuff already in the stockings! There was plenty of room for more, but lo and behold, St Nick had already come a-calling!

I doled out my goods, crept back into bed, and closed my eyes for an all-to-short St. Nick’s Eve nap.

The next morning, we ooh-ed and we ahh-ed and with happy grins on everyone’s faces, showed each other our newly-gotten treasures. I’m totally down with this St. Nick business!

What traditions or rituals do you and your family have? Anything weird, unique and unusual? Doesn’t have to be for this holiday season…it could be for any season at all.

From this crazy household to you and yours, Happy Holidays!


  1. We have several traditions, but I’ll mention two. We all receive new pajamas and warm socks on Christmas Eve, and the children search for the Christmas Pickle on Christmas morning to win an extra gift (although we hide It within the room instead of on the Christmas tree). Happy Holidays, Jessie.

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  2. “St. Nick’s Eve” is also Krampusnacht in Germany and the surrounding regions… so if anybody needs switches or coal in their stocking, you have the perfect excuse! 🙂


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