Illustration by John-Ross Boyce

Every holiday, people head home to their families for some time together. It’s a tradition, or maybe it’s something buried deep within us, that need for people close around these highly celebrated times. Or maybe it’s that we’re all gluttons for punishment.

Having a family celebration is not easy for my family; we’re scattered all across the US, but we manage to get everything sorted out one time each year for our Thanksmas celebration. It’s a way to celebrate both holidays as a family – Thanksgiving for lunch and Christmas for dinner. It works out pretty well, and it’s at my aunt and uncle’s house, in Texas, where it’s warmer than here.

Now, I’m expressly forbidden from writing about family traditions; my family would disown me. Our traditions are a little strange, and by a little I mean a lot. I guess I can write about the people in my family. They come in all types.


First there are the holiday only drinkers. You know this type: They never touch anything all year, but as soon as a big family occasion rolls up, the margaritas start flowing. So does everything that’s on their mind. I have one of those in my family and it’s not bad; there’s always an interesting story that comes out of it.

Second is the one-upper. Everyone knows this guy. Anything you can do he can do better, and he will tell you so, over and over again. My brother is the definition of this guy. I try to impress my family with my tales of college and work shenanigans, but guess what? Cameron got a B? Brandon got 18 A’s. I don’t even understand how that’s possible, but he managed to do it.

Let’s do me next, the center of attention. At least I can admit that I have a problem. I crave my family’s attention, and I will do almost anything to get it. Every family has a guy like me, and there’s only one way to win against it. One-up him, that’ll shut me up.

The last one you need to worry about is the food fighter. This guy’s a little rare, but he’s still someone to worry about. It can mean one of two things, either he actually is a food fighter, or he fights you for food. My other brother is this guy. He loves my aunt’s banana pudding and I swear he will shank a man for it – I’ve seen him try.

You don’t get to pick your family; you just have to live with them. They are easy to hate, but in the end, don’t you love your family because of the things you hate about them? Without that, where would the great stories you tell your friends after the holidays be?