Jordyn came home from school yesterday and said, all excited and exuberant, “MOM!” So with matched excitement and exuberance I replied
“WHAT!?” She laughs and says she has to interview me about traditions. What sort of traditions do we have, when did they did they start, etc etc. So, me, knowing full well that this wacked out family is so chock full of traditions that this homework would be a no-brainer. Oy… how wrong was I…

Since Joe and I created most of the traditions, we know them quite well. So I figured it would be nice to see what the kids think of when they hear the word “tradition”. So, once we got over the argument “But Im supposed to ask YOU about our traditions” from Jordyn and she finally realized I was just trying to see what her view of traditions were and she was game.

“OK… hmmmm” she pontificated… “favorite holiday tradition… Oh my God! HIDE THE PICKLE!”

Yes, its ok. you can spit out your coffee to, because I sure as hell did….


“Yeah! You know! The pickle ornament! You hide it and whoever finds it Christmas morning gets an extra present!”Yes, that is OUR pickle!

I know, Whew…right?

This German tradition of “hiding the pickle” is not made up. And its not pervy either, you freaks. Its real. But our coming across the tradition is not so traditional, since the only thing German about us is our affinity for sauerkraut and bratwurst. My kids LOVE pickles, especially TylerLee… While shopping for all new Christmas stuff in 1999 after we lost it all in a fire a week earlier, I came across a pickle ornament and thought instantly “TYLER LEE!”. We were living in the Residence Inn after our house fire, and one of Kylies nurses saw the pickle on the tree and asked us if we too, were German. Um.. with the last name of Monica…. I think not. She then told us the story. St Nicholas is involved, presents, and the pickle.. or to be exact. the HIDING of THE pickle. So, the tradition was born.

So, after I recovered from the coffee out my nostrils, tear ducts and every other orifice it found its way out of, I explained to Jordyn that MAYBE… just MAYYYYBEEEEE her teacher would be a little… um…. perplexed at the initial title of that particular Monica Family Tradition…

The next thing that popped into her mind was Elf on the Shelf. And to be honest… this was the first year we ever had one. How on EARTH, did I get thru having ten kids and never once hearing of Elf on the Shelf until NOW? Well, let me tell you, I plan on making up for lost time because that Elf…. well..lets just say in just a week he has been places no man (or elf) has ever been, and survived. Inside our shoe bench…Jordyn and Kasey’s closet, Charlie’s backpack…. I have found him perched on a toilet. He has been seen inappropriately touching himself and the Fiber Optic Christmas Angel on the mantle. Heck, upon discovery of an image of a scantily clad female on my laptop, the blame was placed on “that creepy elf.” Somehow I am not sure my children are “getting” the point of the Elf on the Shelf. Or maybe that’s just what I get for not discovering it until they were teenagers. But, alas, that poor Elf better re-up its hazard insurance with the North Pole and check with its Union Rep Elf to make sure they have a good lawyer on the books, because I’m pretty sure that Angel is going to file charges.

So Jordyn is discussing our new found friend Elf and how he is a tradition, (to which I tell her he is not YET a tradition to us) and I ask, “by the way…where is he?” After a little searching… we found him. Elf on the Shelf, was on the top shelf in the kitchen, lounging on the top shelf tequila….oh my.

Elf on the Shelf, on the Top Shelf, Top Shelf.

Elf on the Top Shelf, Top Shelf….

Looking back on the Elf’s brief journey in our house thus far, I’m thinking its not an apropos example of tradition fit for a school paper.


that Elf looks pretty damn happy doesn’t he????

In case you were wondering, I think she finally settled on

1.) “Decorating the tree by the fire place while we all drink hot cocoa”

(I had to remind her to leave out that mom and dad get “grown up” white hot cocoa, a holiday recipe to be shared on this blog SOON!)

2.) Family Fun Night.

Both mostly safe and innocuous traditions.

I think.

Live, love and laugh…always, my friends.