TRADITION! tradition…

mmm. holidays are the perfect time for quirky traditions. Like that my family’s viewing of Stalag 17? Not a “traditional” Christmas movie. It is does have a Christmas Tree, holiday cheer, snow and mention of, if not performance of “White Christmas.” But of course, it also has spies, William Holden, Nazis, and a man dressed as Betty Grable. I really like this tradition because so few other people would celebrate with it.

Die Hard is probably the more mainstream non-Christmas movie; John McClain is crashing his wife’s business’ Christmas party. And that terrorist dressed up like Santa in the elevator? Screams Christmas joy.

Opening one present on Christmas Eve? I would say a little passe as far as uniqueness.

Reading The Gift of Magi? More literary, still a little mainstream. And at my house, we always strive for the quirky.
For about nine Christmases, my dad has read me two stories on Christmas Eve. “The Peterkin’s Christmas Tree”by Lucretia P. Hale [which involves a family buying a too-tall Christmas Tree and raising the ceiling instead of cutting the stump] and Leo Rosten’s “Mr. K*A*P*L*A*N and the Magi” which is the sweetest story about an English night school for immigrants and their teacher and present.
The Peterkin Papers, probably my favorite children’s book of all time is in the public domain and available online here. Some of my favorite tales are “The Lady Who Put Salt in her Coffee,” “About Elizabeth Eliza’s Piano” and of course, “The Peterkins’ Christmas Tree.” They are all equally silly and wonderful.
If you do get to read them, I always imagined the Lady from Philadelphia to look like Katharine Hepburn.


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