Everyone has those moments: they share a story about growing up, and they approach the anecdote nonchalantly. When people react with surprise, they’re overcome with a realization: wait, what? Not everyone did that when they were younger? It’s Always Sunny had a great Christmas episode revolving around these epiphanies. Wait, not everyone went into other houses and took presents? Wait, that was stealing? Wait, not everyone’s mother had elves come and visit her? Wait, those elves were actually inappropriate with her? Gross, etc.
Last night as my roommate and I put up our tree, I knew my Christmas tradition wasn’t one that other people follow, but they should: my family has caveats on our Christmas ornaments. Well, ornament in the singular. Or a series of ornaments, if you will.
Our New York Giants ornament(s), when unwrapped from their packaging, always become part of a contentious debate. It is usually my mother (the eye-roller), vs. me and my father (the superstitious). I’m no longer around for the tree trimming at my parents’ house, but the fight goes on without me.
A typical conversation began with:
Mom: Are we putting up the Giants ornament this year?
This is followed with a sigh. She knows it isn’t a simple yes or no question. She receives any one of the following responses with varying degrees of anger (directed at the team, of course, not at her):
“No way! They’re terrible! They don’t deserve to be up there!” or
“Well, they’ve won three in a row without the ornament. Let’s keep it off the tree for now.” or
“Heck yes! We survived another dismal Coughlin-coached November! Put that dang ornament in a place of prominence!” or
“Hrm. I’m not quite sure they deserve it. We’ll put it up for nowww, but it’s on thin ice.”
Usually at this point, whoever was in charge of putting this ornament on the tree would then speak directly to the ornament, as if it was transmitting our message directly into the locker room. “Now, Giants, we’re giving you a break, but if you get much worse, well, it’s not too late to take you off the tree”. As if being on our tree had any influence at all on their upcoming games*.
Our collection of Giants ornaments has grown over the years. Some are due to Super Bowl victories (hooray!), some are because they were cheap gifts us girls could get our dad since we knew he liked the team. There were enough in storage that, when I moved into my own apartment, I inherited a precious one: the 1986 Eastern Division Champion ball. It joined my Colorado Avalanche ball in the tiny box of ornaments I took with me for my own tree.
This year, both of those ornaments are walking the tightrope. The Giants ball received a stern talking to last night after their performance on Monday. It was made very clear that if they don’t bounce back this week, it’s getting put back in the box until they learn to behave themselves. My Avalanche ball? I had a really hard time reconciling with it. I put it on the tree because the NHL and NHLPA were meeting yesterday, but it knows that any day it could find itself in the doghouse (also known as our bright Christmas-y storage container). And based on how the talks are going today, that day may come sooner rather than later.
*It absolutely does. We are notorious for doing those superstitious things so nicely summarized in the Budweiser commercials. If they’re winning, don’t you dare switch seats halfway through the game. If they’ve won two in a row when you’re wearing your jersey, you must continue to wear it each Sunday until they lose. And don’t ever, ever, say “the game’s almost over, they won, what can happen now?” because in 2003, my mom jinxed the Giants and lost them their playoff game. True story.