By William Yeomans
Every holiday season is filled with different traditions that families partake in and the Yeomans family is no exception. We start our Christmas break with a trip to New Jersey. Every year we dread the ride due to the treacherous holiday traffic. To make it even worse, my dad, brother and I have to sit through the five-hour car ride while listening to my mom’s old Christmas playlist and are forced to hear her try to sing all of it. When I asked my brother about his thoughts on her singing, he said, ”She thinks she’s the best singer ever, but it’s so bad I have to put my headphones in.”
In addition to my mom singing the whole ride, my dog used to bark and cry throughout the rid which would make the ride torture. However this year our new dog will be able to make the trip with us and hopefully, she will be a better traveler than our old dog.
Once we arrive at my aunt’s house in New Jersey, we are greeted by an influx of family members from second cousins to great uncles. If there’s snow on the ground, my brother and I will relive our younger years and play snow football or other games with my little cousin and some of the more limber, older relatives. When our feet start freezing over, we head inside and are greeted with cookies and hot chocolate from our grandmothers to warm up. My younger cousin Rob said, “Playing with you guys is my favorite part of Christmas.”
Throughout the day my mom and aunt make the family dinner. They normally make a pork roast that takes all day to cook with lasagna as a side, but my favorite part of the meal is the dessert. My mom makes homemade apple pie and whipped cream from scratch, while my aunt makes fresh chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. The kids are forced to set the tables for dinner and then we sit down to say grace led by my grandfather. Once we’re done with the meal, half of the family takes a quick nap before they eat the dessert.
After we’re done with dinner and naps, we set up Yankee Swap. Also called White Elephant, it’s a game where you buy presents to put in the middle and people claim and swap with others. It’s a fun tradition that allows us to talk and laugh with family members of all ages and it’s usually when the best jokes come out. When I asked mom what her favorite Christmas game was she responded with Yankee Swap.
Once we wrap up our game of Secret Santa, normally everyone begins to settle down to watch a Christmas movie. My mom’s favorite is The Polar Express so when we were younger we used to watch that before every Christmas, but I think everyone got sick and tired of it so now we normally look for different movies such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. All the older people start to fall asleep during the movie, so my brother and I help my little cousins’ setup milk and cookies for Santa and track him on Santa Tracker until we tuck him in to go to bed.
Before we go to bed, my brother and I help my mom and aunt bring all the presents under the tree so my cousin will wake up to a lot of presents. Then we finally settle down and head to bed. I fall asleep easily because of the long and day and I’m excited for Christmas Day.