Some families have very normal traditions. An angel on top of the tree, a special Christmas Eve meal, a story told around the fire during the holidays.
Our family, too, has a tradition - although not as conventional.
Ours, you see, involves a Beaver.
A scented Beaver.
THIS scented Beaver:
It's a little blurry here, but you get the idea.
Probably 7 or 8 years ago, my friend (JS) and I went to a holiday craft fair. In the 16 years that I have known JS, we've missed this craft fair only twice. Every couple of years we go crazy and make some less than stellar purchases, caught up in the excitement of getting ready for Christmas. This particular year, 7 or 8 years ago, was one such year.
We happened upon these darling women who had some very unique crafts going on - they had taken stuffed animals and dipped them in scented wax. So, they looked sort of like resin animals, but smelled really good. I, wanting something "Christmassy", concentrated on the animals with Santa hats and smelling of cinnamon, cloves, evergreen - you know... Christmas smells. There was this really cute little Beaver, about 4 inches tall, and darling. This was my purchase.
A scented Beaver.
The ramifications of which would not hit me until about a week later. When I mentioned to someone that they should smell my Beaver. At which point I knew it would become a Christmas favorite.
Which it is. Particularly of my young daughters - who have no idea on earth why this is as funny as it is. They love to bring out the Christmas Beaver, giving it a place of honor each year on the piano. Which is always funny, but now makes us howl with laughter. (And here is where our newest Christmas Story begins...)
Once upon a time JS and I took our daughters with us to a Holiday Craft Fair that we try to hit every year. The year was 2009, and my youngest daughter was not quite 7 at the time. We were having a wonderful time with our kids, running from craft booth to craft booth, dodging all the 4 million or so people that were there that night. (I had never seen it so crowded) When we stop at a booth with candles. So many candles - and the girls want to stop and sniff each one. Now, you know how sometimes - when you're in a really crowded place - all of the sudden a silence will hit? Like it gets REALLY quiet for just a few seconds? Well, in that unexpected lull was the precise moment in time when my youngest daughter decided to tell me, in her very loudest voice, "Hey Mom! This candle smells JUST LIKE YOUR BEAVER!" I kid you not when I tell you that all 4 million or so people swiveled around to try to see the woman with the holiday scented beaver. My friend, JS? She and her daughter ran from the booth, screaming with laughter. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor I smiled, looked down at my daughter and said, "Well yes, it certainly does" and, trying to salvage what dignity I had left, put the top back on the candle she was smelling, grabbed her hand and headed off to hunt down JS, who was halfway down the damn aisle by then.
Perhaps the most embarrassing moment of my entire life.
Solidifying that darn Beaver's presence at every Christmas for the rest of my life I suspect - as my husband now encourages the placing of the sacred Christmas Beaver in it's place of honor each year.
He'll probably have it buried with me.