Weird Holiday Traditions

Hello, friends! Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and hope you have a great start to 2023!

One of my favorite things about the holiday season, is all the traditions. While there’s a general outline we all tend to follow with decorations, gift giving, and celebrating our beliefs, everyone does it a little bit differently. For example, for the past few New Year’s Eves , my wife and I (and later joined my Parker) have gone to our friends’ house. We exchange gifts and for dinner, we dine on the unusual combination of Little Caesar’s Pizza and Chinese food. Weird, right? Well, like most weird traditions, there’s a story that started it all….

In 2019, the Peck family of four and the Witzel family of two met for their holiday gift exchange and dinner. It was a week or so into the new year, and through text messages hours earlier, we had decided we would have Chinese food for dinner. We placed a delivery order around 4:30pm in hopes of eating around 5-5:30 but it had begun to snow. Heavy enough snow that driver’s should slow down a bit, but not so heavy that it was dangerous to be out. We waited for our food…and waited…and waited. We conceded the thought of Chinese food and began making new plans, we called the Chinese restaurant and asked for a refund, but were denied. We were told “Just a few more minutes,” and “we can’t do a refund over the phone,” so, we waited some more. Somewhere in the 6:30-7:30 range, our hunger pangs reached an unbearable level, and so we called once again. Still, “just a few more minutes,” and no option for a refund. We couldn’t take it any more, so Halley volunteered to go to Little Caesar’s and pickup a Hot N Ready pizza and some Crazy Bread for our meal. Halley left, and about 15 minutes later she was back, pulling into the drive way…with another car following behind her. Sure enough, just as Halley returned with the Little Caesar’s, there was our Chinese food delivery driver. She apologized profusely and explained the situation one more time before heading out to her next hangry customers. It didn’t take long for us to find the humor in the situation. We went from annoyed complainers who just wanted to eat, to jovial goofballs laughing at our bizarre plates filled with pepperoni deep dish, sweet n’ sour chicken, egg rolls and breadsticks. What started as a negative experience, turned into a laughable memory. We remembered the laughs so fondly, that when it came time to decide our 2020 menu for our gift giving night (now celebrated on New Years Eve) the decision was unanimous. Chinese food and Little Caesars. While we found the humor in the situation, we also learned a lesson and in 2020 we switched from delivery to carry out, too!

What I enjoy most about this tradition, is how, as a group, we took something negative, leaned into the chaos of it, and came out the other side laughing. It would have been really easy to stay mad, and let it ruin our night. But that’s not the kind of people we chose to be that night. And for me, that was the lesson I learned from it. Bad things are going to happen. Mistakes will be made, problems will find you, and screw ups are never 100% unavoidable. But when those bad things, mistakes, problems and screw ups happen, we get to choose how we react to them. We can put the Chinese in the fridge and eat our pizza with a frown. Or, we can sit down and enjoy the craziness that comes with life. We can look for silver linings, lessons and/or humor. I believe this applies to even the absolute worst things that happen in life, like losing a loved one. We can dwell on how it “isn’t fair” that they are gone, or celebrate their life and remember all the great memories together.

Many good things will happen to us in 2023. Bad things will happen to us too, and when they do, I hope you lean into the chaos, and can find the positive.

Happy New Year!


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