Josh likes to start Christmas traditions, or at least try out other people's traditions to see if they are fun. Last year, he decided we should borrow a tradition from the good people of the United Kingdom and have Christmas crackers. These are little paper tubes full of Crackerjack-type prizes that you pull apart with your neighbor at the dinner table, sorta like a wishbone. They generally contain a joke, a paper hat, and then a small trinket or toy. They're supposed to make snapping noises when you pull them, thus the name. You can buy crackers already assembled, but we're contrary types, so we put together our own. We bought a bag of small toys from the thrift store. I had the good fortune to visit my sister on Christmas Eve, who had used store-bought crackers at a dinner the night before and so had some leftover paper hats and jokes. The things inside are supposed to be fun and silly, rather than necessarily anything you'd want to keep and treasure forever. It's about the experience, not the stuff.
He decided that he liked crackers, so we did them again this year. They were completely homemade. Like last year, the tubes were paper towel rolls with tissue paper wrapped around them. For the surprises, I found some old international coins at the flea market. Then I bought a bunch of Mexican wrestler finger puppets out of the quarter machine at Food Lion (Random passerby: "Those are for children, you know."). I made the paper hats out of more tissue paper, and Josh wrote the jokes. They were uneven in funniness and some of them didn't quite make sense. My favorite:
Q: What letters does Jesus draw in Scrabble?
A: M, N, U, L
My boyfriend, ladies and gentlemen!
We all had a good time reading aloud the jokes to each other, then asking Josh to explain the more obscure ones. The coins were interesting, but the finger puppets were the big hit. Sitting there on Christmas, reading silly hand-written jokes, wearing silly homemade hats, and playing with luchador finger puppets, I thought that I like being me.
It is a easy and leisurely sort of existence where I can spend time thinking about what kind of person I want to be. As I have no major strife, I might as well try and be the best Sandra I can. I have many people in my life that I use as models of being that I can strive for. Pretty much all of them demonstrate much nobler qualities than providing excellent homemade Christmas crackers. But it is a pleasant, if small, victory, to look at something that you have done and think that if you were someone else, you'd think you should be more like that.