by Dani Stone, contributing author, SLEIGH RIDE: A Winter Anthology
Christmas is a holiday steeped in tradition. From hanging mistletoe, stringing popcorn, and pouring the first glass of eggnog, every family has something that triggers the start of the season. For me, it was always the Christmas Cheese.
I’m the oldest of five children and in our house, setting up the Christmas tree wasn’t a chore, it was an event! The Christmas Tree Decorating Party included snacky food like cookies, summer sausage, Ritz crackers, cheese cubes and homemade fudge. The sugar high was especially helpful in keeping my father’s mood festive while he wrangled and cursed at the tangle of Christmas tree lights. “Another bulb burned out. Quick, somebody get Daddy a peanut butter cookie, STAT.”
When it was time for the kids to take over, Dad would take his place as the Decorating Party DJ, literally spinning Andy Williams, Elvis, and Nat King Cole records, filling the room with music. We would sing, dance, munch our treats and take turns hanging multi-colored bulbs and crafty school projects. It was a sad year when my construction-paper Rudolph had to be thrown away because it was practically disintegrating. You made it 10 years, buddy, it was a good run.
The first year my brother placed an ornament hook through a cube of cheese and inconspicuously hung it on the tree, he did it to see if anyone would notice. With all the blinking lights and assorted accoutrement, we didn’t. When he finally pointed it out on Christmas Day, we howled with laughter and a tradition was born.
Each year thereafter, once we’d flung icicles like crazed elves, coating each branch, most of the floor and each other in silver strands, my brother would ceremoniously hang the Christmas Cheese.
My brother now has a son of his own and I’ve got the perfect gift in mind. . . cheddar.
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www.ihearlaughtracks.com. She's one of seven author featured in Sleigh Ride: A Winter Anthology, available in trade paperback and ebook. www.buzzbooksusa.com. Sleigh Ride is edited by author Malena Lott. A portion of the proceeds of the book will benefit the domestic violence prevention cause through the Alpha Chi Omega foundation.