Traditions are fun. Christmas traditions are always the best. Goofy Christmas traditions win hands-down.
I'm not sure when this started, but it was a fact that by the time I was twelve, we Midway siblings had created our own tradition regarding Christmas morning and how it should be spent. A typical Christmas for me went something like this...
IT'S CHRISTMAS!!! my brain screeched at me, jolting me awake at 6:30 in the morning. I snapped my eyes open to gaze around the room, noting the distinct lack of light, and gave a happy wiggle. Rolling over, I braved the Kracken under my bed to reach an arm down and fumble around on the floor for my glasses. I snatched them up an instant before a tentacle curled around my arm. An active imagination was a fine thing.
My younger brother, Nemesis, must have already been up. He poked his head over the side of his bed, looking down at me. He occupied the top bunk, due to the facts that 1) I was lazy and didn't want to climb up there, and 2) I'd fallen off the top more times than I could count due to inherent clumsiness. "Merry Christmas, Radar!" he stage-whispered.
"Merry Christmas!" I replied, grinning broadly and high-fiving him quietly. Nemesis' hair, like mine, was an absolute rat's nest in the morning, and his glasses were making him look like a rumpled owl. "What time is it now?"
"6:32 and 14...15...16..." Nemesis told me, glancing at the wristwatch he had strapped to the rail on his bunk.
I sighed. "I suppose we should let Mom and Dad sleep in."
Nemesis looked about as happy with the path of patience and virtue as I felt, but nodded dutifully. "I wonder if the girls are up yet?"
I gaze up at the slats on the underside of Nemesis' bed. "Probably," I mused, raising a foot and pushing up on his mattress. Nemesis made a small squeaking sound and rolled away from the sudden lump that appeared in his mattress. For some reason, that struck me as immensely funny, so I buried my face in my pillow to suppress the laughter that was dying wake the household. When I had caught my breath, I sat up. "Hey, Nemesis, I have an idea for a game!"
The next thirty minutes passed pleasantly enough, with a quiet yet rousing game of "Avoid the Mattress Moles." Nemesis and I both had our faces buried in our pillow to suppress our maniacal laughter when the door creaked open. I poked my head around the side of the bed to peer at the door.
"Oh, good, you're awake," Quill whispered, Squirrel squeezing under her arm and entering the room. "Merry Christmas!"
Both girls had the same hair problem we did, multiplied exponentially by the amount. They looked a bit like angels who had gotten caught in a wind tunnel, the frilly nightgowns that were currently their favorite sleeping apparel probably restricting their walking more than they would appreciate for a pillow fight. I threw a pillow at them to test that theory. "Merry Christmas!"
Quill caught the projectile with all the deftness of girl stuck with two brothers. Nemesis and I leapt eagerly out of bed. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" I asked everyone. There was much nodding and grinning, so I led the way out of the room and to the stairs.
This is where the tradition really starts. There is a hard and fast rule that you DO NOT PEEK AT THE TREE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, with the rest of your siblings ready to quash the slightest temptation. We don't even go downstairs where the tree is, but instead wait on the stairs for Mom and Dad to wake up. Sometimes, we facilitate the waking up without ever actually admitting that we do so. There's a lot of whispering about what we think might be under the tree, and what our presents to each other might be. Nemesis tried to sneak down the stairs, but I put him in a headlock. Despite the muted thud that was created when we hit the banister, there was no sign of movement from the parents' room.
I was getting hungry. Quill didn't help. "Dinner's gonna rock."
"Lasagna!" I grinned.
"Lasagna!" Nemesis repeated, finally shaking my headlock and heading back up to take his place at the top of the stairs.
This, of course, sets off a chanting session, whereby we try (albeit in a lowered voice) to wake the parental unit by singing "Lasagna" in as many different styles as we can think of, but even our off-key whisper-yodeling isn't enough. I fell down the stairs to see if that would help. Nothing.
"Nice," Squirrel congratulated me. I made a face, rubbing my shoulder. "Ow."
"That didn't work?" Nemesis complained.
"I think I should go now," I suggested, with a nod towards the bedroom.
"No, not yet," Quill protested. Everyone else groaned. Nemesis' groan was louder than everyone else's, so I shoved him. He shoved me back, and we started wrestling on the stairs. Quill suddenly capitulated. "Okay, Radar, go ahead," she announced. "Make us proud."
I leapt off my brother, saluted, and ran for the bathroom, which was right next to Mom and Dad's bedroom. I flushed the toilet several times before washing my hands with both the hot water and cold water turned up all the way. I walked back out with a huge grin on my face. "That oughta get their attention."
We waited for a while, but nothing happened. It was almost 8:00 by this point, so we decided to send in Squirrel, as the youngest but second noisiest. She beat my record, though, when she accidentally (or so she claimed) sideswiped an open drawer with a resounding crash. We all high-fived her.
"That was awesome!" I announced.
"Shh! I think I heard something!" Nemesis hissed.
We all froze. Nothing. I belched.
"RADAR!" everyone hissed at me.
"Sorry," I snickered, trying to figure out how I was able to pull that one off since I hadn't eaten anything yet.
"Nemesis, do you want to try now?" Quill suggested.
"How about if I just peek to see if they're up?" Nemesis returned, obviously not wanting to follow a performance as awesome as Squirrel's.
"I guess so," Quill decided.
"Maybe they've wised up to us," I suggested.
Nemesis snuck towards the closed door. The second his hand touched it, we all heard Dad announce, "Come on in. I know you're out there."
The three of us still by the stairs almost flattened poor Nemesis on our way into the room, yelling "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!" at the top of our lungs.
Like I said....traditions are fun.