504 Main by Holly Lefevre: Merry Cluckmas!

12.17.2009

Merry Cluckmas!

This week, I choose...
4.) Describe a funny or favorite gift that you’ve gotten or have given.

 Merry Cluckmas!

When I dream about Christmas and family gatherings, I see perfectly wrapped packages, each selected with the utmost of care; a delicious meal; cousins, aunts and uncles greeting one another with hugs and kisses. When I arrive at the N family's Christmas Eve gathering, my reality is a far different...there are wrapped packages - not necessarily beautifully wrapped, there is food - a 6 foot burrito and oyster stew, and the cousins, aunts, and uncles are either greeted with a beer or "What the hell you been doin'?" (that's he PG version) How festive it that? Doesn't it just scream CHRISTMAS!?


Traditionally, when it was time for the gift exchange, Uncle Rocco would give each kid a silver dollar and tell them to “Stay on the straight and narrow.” (As if he had!). Then we would gather around the Christmas tree. In an attempt to prevent anyone from going broke buying presents for 50+ people, we had a rule: each family was to bring gifts for one other family. Well, that fell apart the year my aunt decided I did not need anything…explain that to an 8 year old. (yes, and that was Crazy Aunt M of the Chili Brie fame).

As we, the cousins, got older, the gift exchange wasn't working so well. In time, this tradition morphed and transformed until we were finally all able to come to an agreement...a white elephant exchange. Sounds simple...not if you are a member of my family!

Our white elephant's main rule was that the gift not be newly purchased. It could be new, but it had to be sitting-around-your-house-I-am-never-going-to-use-it-new. This worked for us. Of course there was trading..uh, stealing...of gifts, and we finally had to make up a specific rule for this as well. Oh you think I am kidding...on no less than three occasions, members of one family did not speak to members of another family for at least six months based upon the outcome of the gift exchange.

Along the way, gifts included some good, some bad, and some ugly. I once re-gifted Hilary Clinton's Book, It Takes A Village (I never read it and was not going to). The recipient was thrilled. So, see a thoughtful, useful (I guess) gift. Antique oil cans, old cameras, and boxes of hockey cards made their rounds, but then the game began to digress...or get really fun, depending on how you look at it. Over the next few years, the gifts became a mixture of half used toiletries, the contents of a junk drawer (I will admit that was me), and obscene T-shirts. Our little white elephant exchange had evolved into "Who could find the most useless or offensive gift?" 

(not my family...I bought them)


As a prelude to the best/worst-gift-ever-given at the N's Family Christmas, one year the grand finale was the rusted car door of a 1970's VW Bug. What a useful item, eh? I actually do not even remember who "won" that, but it caused a great roar and uproar!

So then next year, there had to be something bigger and better...and more useless. That night we all gathered around the tree, a tower of gifts awaited us. There were big ones, medium ones, and small ones. We picked numbers to determine order (remember rules!), and were ready to rock-n-roll! I could hear my three cousins snickering every time anyone would touch Cousin A's gift. It seemed safe...it was small...no matter what was in there, it could be easily disposed of...again it was small...how bad could it be?

Coming to the end of the exchange, we discovered Crazy Aunt M was last. And lo and behold, the only gift left is Cousin A's. She thinks about it...she could steal someone's gift and risk a family feud, or just take the small one, end the game, and go home...

She picks the small gift, and right on cue we hear "Cluck, Cluck, Cluck" and a chicken races into the family room - no, we do not live in the country (this is L.A. baby!), no this was not a pet...yes this was the gift...a live chicken. All I can say it that at least it was alive.

Merry Clucking Christmas!
Holly

PS - OK, the gift was not from me, but close enough!

PSS - If you would like some background about
my warm and fuzzy idyllic family visit this post.

36 comments :

  1. Hi There...sounds like a blast..the chicken is great...those are the times to remember..!! Thanks for visiting..!!

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  2. Are you sure you didn't steal this from a Hollywood movie script? This is just too funny that it has to be true. A car door? A live chicken?
    And I can't even imagine not talking to a relative over a present. This is movie stuff Holly. All you need to figure out is who plays you.

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  3. A VW door? You know things are getting out of hand then. Funny stuff--I am sure the chicken brought the house down.

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  4. We have an Uncle Rocco....he's 62 and still lives with his mother.

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  5. Oh good grief! That is a great Christmas story:) (and a fnd tradition)

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  6. So what, pray tell, became of the chicken!!! Inquiring minds want to know!

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  7. CHICKEN UPDATE:
    Crazy Aunt M lives in Texas - she couldn't take the chicken back with her (and oh she was so sad!). So, Cousin A took it back to its original owner somewhere in Corona , CA

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  8. OMG! I wish I could've been there to see that--how funny & crazy! What great memories you have. I love this tradition and am thinking we need to start something similar.

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  9. I wish someone cared enough to get ME a live chicken!! Though, I think my hubs would just kill it for dinner. Poor thing wouldn't have a chance!

    ~WM

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  10. That was so funny!

    We had the family gift exchange too.

    Your family sounds FUN!

    I am a little fearful of chickens. I hope I survive in the country.

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  11. OMG! What a story!!!

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  12. WOAH!!!! ;) what a story!! Happy Thursday!

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  13. Great story! Btw I finally got to my lemonaide stand!

    http://familysoup1.blogspot.com/2009/12/10-blogs-with-great-attitute-or.html

    Nessa

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  14. That is too funny, aren't families great :)

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  15. GREAT post, I love reading about family stories and seeing how the kookiness of families varies - gotta love them. White Elephant exchanges in particular are hilarious. :)

    http://candyflosspersie.blogspot.com/

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  16. Oh my gosh! Too funny!

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  17. Great story!We played one kind of like that but I wasn't really into it. Now we don't do anything and it doesn't even feel like Christmas. By the way I was born in Corona, CA..yea I knew you wanted that info:)

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  18. Hey Beautiful. Loving this. Finally had the good sense to grab your button and put it on Sandwich. You are one of my all time favorite peeps. And I'm not just saying that. I mean it. Merry Clucking Christmas to you too. That photo of your family makes me cry. But then a lot of things make me cry (mentalpause you know).. Glad to have you in my virtual world, you're great. Happy Everything, Keri (aka Sam) www.samwich365.com

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  19. You've gotta admit...your family is very creative!

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  20. Merry Clucking Christmas back to ya! Never a boring moment at your house I see.

    I do remember one year my sister-in-laws gave everyone thongs from Victoria's Secret and I mean everyone - from grandma down to the wee little ones. LOL.

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  21. So hilarious Holly! I don't know what I enjoy more, your sense of humor which makes reading you so pleasurable or hearing about your family.

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  22. Oh my gosh... that is AWESOME!!! That's a memory that wont ever be forgotten!!!

    I love that families didnt talk for awhile one year... hilarious!

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  23. I don't think that you can top the chicken! LOL!

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  24. What a creative group! Love the Chicken! So funny. We had one of those dreaded singing trees that danced. That was regifted every year to some poor soul that had to store it until the next year. My dad had an ugly chandelier he gave away and that was also re-gifted each year. Have a great day Holly. Holly

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  25. Wow, your family is pretty creative with the crappy gifts! We are starting to only do gifts for the kids now, since it's getting too expensive to give gifts to everyone. My mom is the only one who still buys gifts for all of us, but that's what moms do, right?

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  26. That's classic!
    My boy cousin once gave my girl cousin a potato for a Christmas gift... she cried.

    LOL
    Merry Cluckmas!

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  27. I loved everything about this! Right down to the family you bought. Freaking HILARIOUS : )

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  28. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! What a hilarious story! So glad I stumbled upon you today!

    Joanne @ Ready, Set, Craft!

    http://www.readysetcraft.blogspot.com

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  29. I love your blog. I'm glad I found it!
    Have a wonderful day!
    -Elizabeth
    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest

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  30. That is amazing and now I would like to surprise everyone with live chickens for Christmas.

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  31. I'm afraid to ask what happened to the chicken! Too funny!
    ***Ally

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  32. LOL!! ur family has such fun white elephant gift exchanges haha!=D love it! a live chicken?! what did aunt m do with the chicken after? haha thanks for sharing this awesome story, holly!

    TheOwlsCloset.blogspot.com

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  33. Oh my gosh that is hilarious. We have a white elephant gift exchange too, and the same nasty smelling chocolate scented candle gets re-gifted every year!

    I refrained from writers workshop this week, couldn't think of a thing to write!

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  34. You may have a different family and different Christmas gift exchanges, but you also have lots of blogging material. What could be better?

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  35. Hey Holly! Merry Christmas!! I couldn't email you for some reason so posting this here. I bought my hubby that tea infuser using the loose tea and O M G IT IS SOOO GOOD!!! I remember you suggesting that to me in a blog long ago so I bought my hubby one for Xmas and it's one of his favorite gifts! We are hooked :)

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  36. Hi Holly! Thanks for visiting! I love this story (and all your craft ideas). Always looking for some fun holiday tradtions- especially as my family gets bigger (we think there will be a proposal of marriage here soon). I'll be following....

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