Monday, December 25, 2006

A traditional (haha, yeah right) Kurtz Family Christmas

If you were to attend a Christmas at our house (starting a few days in advance), you would find Joel and Dad hastily buying last minute gifts off the internet hoping that they will arrive in time. You will find Christy dragging her father off to the mall to supervise her gift buying while Mom goes about her normal daily activities, having bought her presents months in advance.

On Christmas eve, Mom (and Joel and Christy intermittently) bake festive breads to pass out to the neighbors. (Apricot Walnut Bread to be exact) No matter that there is no flour left, or sugar, or many other necessary ingredients. (Note: these missing items not all happened on Christmas eve. Some of them occurred on Christmas day) Then Joel and Christy practice their "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" singing techniques while Mom and Dad put on their jackets. Much to the chagrin of the parents, Joel and Christy proceeded to serenade them with an angelic boys choir version, a 'Grinch that stole christmas' version, an ear shattering, discordant, and headache-causing version, and various other new twists to the classic Christmas carol. After several minutes of this chaos, the Kurtz family tramps off into their winter wonderland, well, their wishful winter wonderland. Instead of snow this Christmas, we received many moosen fulls of rain. (not sure what that is but it sounded festive. actually, I do know what it is, but I deliberately used it incorrectly because I liked the way it sounded.) Our trip up and down our little street was uneventful except for the huge and ferocious dog that we encountered. Then we realized it was chained up so Joel and Mother (while Father and I looked on in innocence) proceeded to antagonize it with barks and cat "meows". Thankfully, the people at that house weren't home.

Now, in order to understand an important part of the Kurtz family Christmas, you need to know a little history. I don't remember a single Christmas when my Father had his Christmas presents wrapped before Christmas morning at, say, about 9:00 am. He, much to Joel's and my dismay, always waits until the last minute, and then proceeds to start wrapping his presents. And since he is so methodical about everything, it takes another good two hours until he is finished. This has caused a myriad of struggles over the years. Joel and I used to offer to help him wrap presents but we soon learned that that did tend to spoil a bit of the fun. But it all was good for our intertemporal discounting skills and we soon learned just to take it in stride. We even planned our Christmas's around the fact that Dad would need a few hours in the morning to prepare by also waiting until Christmas morning to wrap our presents. This way we had something to do instead of just running anxiously around the house. Now that you know this tidbit of history, we can move on with our Christmas story.

Joel however, decided that his year was going to be different, and so he began to nag, (yes, nag) at Christy to NOT wait until Christmas morning to wrap her presents. Well, if she was going to do it early, than Dad had to as well so she wheedled out of him a promise that he would wrap his presents on Sunday. So mother and Christy happily wrapped their presents so that Dad and Joel would have plenty of time to wrap theirs later on. Well, it was nearing 11 pm, and Mom was fast asleep. Joel and Christy were in the basement talking and Dad was upstairs reading. Christy had made CERTAIN that Dad knew where the wrapping paper, tape, and scissors were. At about 11:30 pm the kids hear rustling paper and happily assume that Dad is wrapping his presents. He comes down to retrieve a large and ominous looking box at about 11:45 pm. Joel and Christy talk for a while longer and around 12:30 am Christmas morning, Christy heads up the stairs for bed. Joel follows to get a drink of water. And what do they see? Dad, dutiffully wrapping the same big box that he had taken up 45 minutes before. Christy wryly comments to her brother that Dad must have started reading the newspaper that he was wrapping the present in and had gotten distracted and at Dad's guilty grin, they knew they had figured him out.

Now, about 20 minutes later, Dad is in bed, Joel is downstairs, and Christy is reading a chapter in her book. Suddenly Christy is startled by her boxer clad brother, looking slightly befuddled, inquiring after the whereabouts of his blanket. Christy is highly amused but calmly tells him to look on the couch in the basement. He walks away and Christy later finds out that the blanket was right where she said. And he had been searching the whole house in the dark. Then Christy remembers that Ande, the little elf that visits their house on Christmas eve, has not made an appearance, and she runs downstairs to ask her brother where Ande is. He pulls out the bag of Andes candies and Joel and Christy fill in for Ande the elf and hide little treats for the parents to find in the near, and not-so-near, future. That task completed, Christy goes back to finish her chapter and Joel, comfortingly assured of the safety of his blanket, goes contentedly to bed.

7:55 am? What is Christy doing up? She was awakened by the roaring of the blender in the kitchen. Joel and mother are starting to make the Sour Cream Gluten! (Sour Cream Gluten is a MUST HAVE Kurtz tradition. Any holiday is not complete without it. ) Christy sleepily resigns herself to the fact that she will get no more sleep on this morning, and starts to help with the food. Joel and Dad soon drive off to take some loaves of the holiday bread to the homeless, and Christy stays back to help Mom. A few hours later, Joel and Dad traipse back in and it's time for presents! Yay!!!!! oh wait.... WHAT! Joel hasn't wrapped his presents! That silly boy. He got everyone else to wrap their presents early, even Dad, and he has yet to wrap his! With a stern reproof and a lot of prodding, Christy shoves him encouragingly towards his room. A half hour later, he's done. And it's time for presents! Yay!!!!!! oh wait! ....Mom forgot a present! 5 minutes later: It's time for presents! Yay!!!!!! oh wait.... Mom just remembered another present. But she can't find it! Where can it be? Christy offers to help but mother firmly escorts her out of the bedroom. "I know I had it in here somewhere!" Mother exclaims. Oh here it is!!! 15 minutes later: Yay! Present time! Finally! oh wait! we can't forget the Silk nog. 4 minutes later: Presents! and this time it was for real. Christy got to be Santa's little helper and wear the fun hat. Present time is always a fun occurrence in the Kurtz house. Dad always waits until last and then when he does proceed to open his gift, he takes as long as he can, carefully peeling off the tape so he can save the paper. Christy or Joel finally gets too impatient and helps him rip the paper off. He looks forlornly at the wasted paper and tries to avoid opening the lid of the box. Joel is just as bad. As soon as he receives a gift that is in the form of any type of book he forgets all else. He's too busy reading his new material and he tries to hide any new presents that Christy hands him under the wrapping paper so that he can go back to reading his book.

After that, I suppose our Christmas was probably pretty normal. We ate our YUMMY YUMMY meal, then went and opened our Christmas stockings. Christy was sneaky and put her biggest gifts in the stockings. Daddy rediscovered his favorite childhood treat: Halvah, and Joel got to taste some Chili Lime dried mango's. And Daddy got the pink toad! That's another Kurtz family tradition but I suppose this blog is long enough. That's another story for another time.

I hope that your Christmas was filled with as many laughs and fun times as ours was. Always remember that you are welcome at our house any time. If you want the infamous Sour Cream Gluten, try to visit around a holiday. Oh, and you don't want to miss out on my Mom's Tofu Cheesecake. It's tastes almost exactly like the real stuff.

Love Always,
Santa's Little Elf,
and Elf Ande's little helper,

Christy Kurtz

p.s. I woke up this morning and lo and behold my mom had found another Christmas present. I do believe that she's just a bit too good at hiding them. :D


Johonn said...

Haha...You're dad sounds like my brother...minus the meticulousness, that is...he also was wrapping presents this morn, while we waited downstairs.
A highly amusing recounting was this post :)

Caitlin said...

hehehe... though I've not spent a Christmas with the Kurtz family, I can atest to the kurtzishness of the entire account!
I love you guys!

by the way, where ever did you find a pink toad? I thought that until now it had only been a figment of our imagination... you should post a picture of it on your blog... it could be a mascot for philosophical debates ;)

Kristin said...

First, I must say that I laughed many, many times throughout this blog :)
This all sounds very much like your family, with a few exceptions... I was rather shocked to read that your mother joined Joel in antagonizing a helpless, chained dog ;) Somehow, I can't quite picture that. I was also surprised to discover that Joel was successful in getting others to wrap their presents early, yet somehow managed to neglect his own present wrapping. Maybe he just wanted to be the one to make you all practice your intertemporal discounting skills instead of your dad :P
Anyway, this was a wonderful blog! Thank you for the Christmas recounting :) Oh, and I think it would have been rather fun to hear your variations on "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" although, I can understand your parents' dismay at being serenaded with said variations.

Joel said...

Well, other than the inaccuracies, this is a fairly good account of what occurred at our house this Christmas:) *Kristin, said dog was most definitely NOT "helpless." If you had seen this slobbering ferociously snarling specimen, I have a feeling you would have found yourself in agreement with me! And Mother has had her own encounters with attacking Rotweilers on her walks so I guess she was just expressing her gladness that this was one she wouldn't have to get rid of with Mace:) But anyways, the food was delicious, the presents were amazing, the books are being read as we speak;), the rain has finally turned to snow, and God is good!

CJK said...

Notice that Joel did not mention which inaccuracies he was speaking of. That's because there were none!

Kristin said...

Joel, I suppose the use of the word helpless was just said to provoke :) Hence the winking smile afterward. However, even if it was a ferocious dog and your mother has a bad history with unfriendly dogs, I still was shocked that she joined you, and can't quite incorporate that image into my mind's portrait of your mother.
And Christy, it sounds like someone is trying to push buttons to provoke an argument :P

Christen said...

So who was right? That'd be me. Christy has a secret talent! I love how you wrote this story! And by the way, I'm fascinated by the Sour Cream Gluten, Chili Lime Dried Mangos, the Halvah, and the pink toad. These are foreign to me. Perhaps you could embellish sometime. How fun! I want to have Christmas at your house!!!

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