I'm going to admit something right up front: this is one of those posts where the actual content is really just an elaborate lead-up to reading your comments, because I'm far more interested in what you have to say than documenting my own blather. The topic is family rituals, and I want to hear all about yours.

By "family rituals" I mean the completely silly, difficult-to-describe things you and your family do or say on a regular basis. The secret language you share. The dumb dances, the awful singing, the nicknames, the comical expressions -- all of it. I was thinking about this recently when I asked my friends on Twitter if their families had a specific thing they did when they drove through tunnels, and it turns out that almost EVERYONE does.

So let's share ours, because it's the holiday season and it's fun to talk about good-feeling family stuff instead of focusing on shopping and whether or not that Shelf Elf is a minion of Satan. I'll go first:

The tunnel thing. Whenever we drive through a tunnel, all of us make animal noises until we come out the other end. Then, one by one, everyone shouts, "Oh! Not a [cow] [wolf] [kitten] [moose] anymore!"

Our version of saying grace. Before dinner, we chant, "Good food, good meat, good grief, let's eat! Teeeeeaaaam SHARPS!" Then we fistbump around the table.

The slow clap. If one of us does something worthy of a sarcastic response, we clap for them. You know, like this: Clap. Clap. Clap. Because in our family, we value snarkiness over manners, I guess.


"This ain't Disneyland!" What, you think this is Disneyland? is my husband's standard response to any child who isn't doing what they were told to do. "Get your seatbelt on, you think this is Disneyland? And you, stop kicking my seat, this isn't Disneyland!" One of these days we will actually go to Disneyland and the children will be so disappointed.

Making a sandwich. When all four of us hug each other, we pretend that we're each a sandwich ingredient. "I'm the turkey!" my 4-year-old squeaks, from the bottom of the pile. "I'm the lettuce!" says my 7-year-old. "I'm the tomato!" I say. "And I'm the mayonnaise," my filthy husband says in my ear.

Sunday night AFV. We are religious about watching America's Funniest Home Videos each week, an activity that involves the kids reenacting the falling scenes on the living room carpet: "And then he went like this: DONK!!"
 
Mahna Mahna. Somewhere along the line, the "Mahna Mahna" song became our version of Rickrolling. The way it works is this: you tell someone a fib designed to freak them out, and as soon as they react, you shout, "Mahna Mahna! Doot DOO di doo doo!" My 7-year-old did a great one a couple weeks ago when he called his father, and panicked over the phone that the toilet was filling with water and wouldn't stop. My husband: "But ... wait, is your mom--? Can you-- TELL HER TO TURN OFF THE WATER!!!!" Haaaaaa, mahna mahna.

Hurr Durr. To understand why all four of us sing/shout, "Hurr durr durr durr durr durr durr durr durrr, hurr durr DURR, hurt durr DURR" whenever someone does something silly, you'll have to hear a very annoying song. It's -- now, don't go clicking this link without turning down your speakers, okay? -- here.

Okay, quid pro quo, friends -- what funny/weird/silly/stupid rituals does your family have?


Image via Linda Sharps