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'We Perform Surgery Every Christmas'—27 Stories Of Strange Families With Weird Traditions

Maybe it's a certain type of food consumed every holiday, or a very specific activity done every week, but each family has their own traditions that are different from the norm, and some are just outright...strange.


Below are stories of strange families with odd traditions that they still follow, as told on AskReddit.

"Pretty Normal"

The aunts fight. I mean like literally fight. They will get wasted and just get louder and louder and then one will shout something along the lines of, "You want to back that up?" and then they will go outside and fight.

We all watch and cheer for our favorite aunt to win and sometimes we will even video tape the fight so that we can watch it later and laugh about it. It is pretty normal.

-Stregano

Potatoes For Luck

Whenever anyone of us has to take an exam they take a single uncooked potato with them. This has been tradition ever since my gramps found one in his pocket after acing his driving test.

We're not a particularly superstitious family otherwise, but The Potato has proven itself indispensable.

-schnitzli

Ice Cream Entertainment

When I was a kid, the aunts and uncles would get all the kids a gallon of their favorite ice cream on the 4th of July. They would sit us down at a table and give us all our ice cream at the same time.

Here's the fun part. The first kid to tackle the entire gallon of ice cream got $5. This always lead to all of us kids eating ice cream very quickly, and thus getting brain freeze (ice cream headache). Within minutes there are a half dozen children roaming the backyard clutching at their sinuses in pain while adults laugh at them. I'm so glad I finally caught on.

-LordofMylar

No Regrets

We always call each other after boarding a plane and say, "I REGRET NOTHING!" before hanging up.

My daughter-in-law is horrified by this.

-YesRocketScience

Wolf Pack

My brother-in-law thought the "three wolf moon" shirts were hilarious so he bought one. My husband also thought it was funny so he bought one with more wolves on it (to up the ante). My sister and I then bought a wolf shirt for my dad so he could fit in with the guys. They wear these shirts in public when they are all together and call themselves the "wolf pack." My parents even named their boat "three wolf moon." My sister and I are both due to have little boys this winter. We are on the hunt for wolf onesies.

-swankengr

Celebrate With The Whole Family

I don't know if it's too over the top, but in my family, we go to the graveyard on Christmas eve and pour the dead relatives favorite drinks on their gravestones. I am from Denmark.

-MissSmoking

Birthday Platypus

My mom couldn't remember if there was a "mythical creature" associated with birthdays like there is for Christmas, Easter, losing teeth, etc so in a panic she made one up, hoping it was the right one. We grew up with the Birthday Platypus.

My mom's logic after inventing the Birthday Platypus was that she couldn't get rid of him without probably also destroying Santa Claus so she kept him around. It didn't help my brother and I with not being the weird kids at school when asking other kids what the Birthday Platypus brought them. 20+ years later and we still celebrate with the Birthday Platypus.

-sonicwombat

Family...Bonding...?

For the last eight years my brothers and I have surgically removed a cyst from my mother's head every Thanksgiving or Christmas (one year both). It started Thanksgiving 2005, two of my brothers had just finished their first year as surgical technicians, and we had a couple nurses and an anesthetist around. My mother had always grown these horrible cysts on her head, but refused to go get them taken care of because she hated doctors and logic. So that Thanksgiving my oldest brother had enough and after lots of ribbing, convinced mom to let us cut one out. We cut out the first one using discarded medical supplies from the hospital and some local anesthetics that my brother had liberated in anticipation of his plan. The procedure was successful, my youngest brother only passed out once and we've cut one out every year since. Mom no longer looks like she has aliens coming out of her head, and we all get to work out our childhood frustrations by safely and carefully taking a scalpel to her head.

-canarygirl

Pretty Sure It's Not A Fry Anymore

It's more between my brother and I than our whole family. Whenever we'd eat at a fast food place we would play "The last fry", and it was just that, the one that ate the last fry won, sometimes we'd hide it for hours then eat it and say "MMMM IT TASTE SOOOO GOOD WHEN IT'S THE LAAAAAST FRY!!!" One time I put my fry in my backpack and found it a couple weeks later, totally won that time.

-Totesmcgotes702

At Least It Wasn't The Chicken Dance

Every year on Christmas before we could open anything my dad used to make us do the Ninja Turtles dance He would take lead and my sister and I would have to do it behind him while my mom recorded it. Thinking back I find it hilarious.

-VSavrek

What's A Little Bloodshed Between Family

The men in my family have epic towel fights at most get-togethers. We've been doing it for nearly a decade and we play pretty rough. Welts, bruises, and some occasional blood is shed. It's barbaric. It's painful. It's a good show.

-Thousands_of_Spiders

Every year our Thanksgiving consists of all the neighborhood strays, usually around 25 people. The food is glorious and wine is plentiful. When everyone is seated for dinner, my dad does a toast and then turns on the song Alice's restaurant. Our entire family and regular guests sing the song as it's being played. The newcomers are usually a little mortified and stunned that A) 20 people are singing the same song around the dinner table. B) we know ALL the words C) the song is so long. I've grown to love this tradition.

-LilySapphire

Irish Catholic Jenga

Thanksgiving. Pass the spoon. After we've eaten and your sitting around the table someone puts whatever on a spoon and hands it to the right. Then next person repeats the process. Pepper, food, sugar, paper, a hair, booze etc. Whoever spills the spoon has to eat it's contents. It's like Irish Catholic Jenga.

Worst. Game. Ever.

-Spatacuulous

Pretending to be asleep. Whenever a family member or a guest arrives at our home, everyone, no matter what they are doing, will be fast asleep snoring obnoxiously.

-User Account Deleted

Who Are They?

My sister accidentally started a tradition when she was a kid. She wandered into my parent's room one evening after watching TV and asked them, "Who is John Belushi?" I think she was 8 or 9 at the time. My parents, who were big fans, told her who he was and then asked her why she wanted to know. Her response was "oh, he died" and she wandered out of their room. She did the same thing about a week later with another celebrity and my parents, having forgotten about how she asked about John Belushi responded the same way, explaining who the celebrity was and then asking why and got the same response from my sister "oh, he died". Now whenever there is a celebrity death, everyone in my family and several family friends rush to call/text someone else in the family so they can be the first person to report it and the call/text always starts with "Who is ___?!" and usually the other person responds with "oh no, how did they die?!"

The person who manages to tell someone else first usually is referred to as "winning" that round. We're a little morbid.

-carpecarp1

Never Enough Traditions

Every once in a while, my mother gets this idea that we don't have enough traditions. So... she makes some up! "Oh let's hold hands during prayer like we always do!"

We have literally never done that.

-teakwood54

Have A Slapping Good Time

Whenever we make a turkey or goose for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have to slap it. I don't know why the slapping takes place when the turkey is in the roasting pan, you just slap it with moderate force, about the force you would use to slap a fly or mosquito on your leg.

Whenever I asked my grandmom she would sing "it's tradition!" and never answer the question beyond that.

-shaven_craven

This One Is Too Relatable 

We have this great one where on every holiday we start drinking right before dinner and by 9 o'clock we all hate each other.

-TrepidaciousFatGuy

Egg Hunt With Weapons

My extended family, we have insane Easter egg hunts. My youngest first cousin is 12, but the only way to get out of egg hunting in my family is to spawn someone to take your place. So we have a bunch of 20- and 30- somethings (plus a couple teenagers and 1 8 year old) running around with Nerf swords beating each other up over plastic eggs filled with candy. It's excellent entertainment for my aunts and uncles.

-faeryjessa

At Least It's Only Once A Year

It might not be the strangest thing, but it's certainly the most pretentious thing I do. Every year on Easter after church we go to the front lawn in our Sunday's best and play croquet.

-Slimjeezy

I Scream, You Scream

We have a couple but my favorite is "ice cream runs". On a school night my mom would tuck me into bed, turn out the lights and pretend to go to bed too. Then ten minutes later she'd come barreling into my room, flick the lights and scream "ice cream run!" The whole house would get up and go for sundaes in our pajamas. I'm definitely going to keep this up when I have kids!

-ashleighlynn

To Absent Friends

My mom has always been the "cool" mom who took in stray friends of mine who had problems at home or other needs. One year one of the stray friends I had living at the house had his necktie get accidentally packed in the Christmas decorations. So every year when we decorate we place his tie in a prominent place to remember friends not there. He has since passed and it seems fitting to look at "Bernard's Tie" on the mantle and think about those we still care about who can't be with us.

-Cncgeek

Elephantine Chipmunks

We have a family reunion every year at Christmas and hold a White Elephant gift exchange. There's this really awful statue of two chipmunks that gets re-gifted every year, always with something new added to it (paint job, little outfits, etc.). Everyone dreads getting it.

-rhombus2210

Celebrate The Rodent

We celebrate Groundhog's Day as the biggest holiday of the year. We get each other cards and have a party and watch the movie. We don't really give a crap what if the little guy sees his shadow or not; it's more of a family celebration.

-StickleyMan

For Good Health

When someone in my family loses a baby tooth we have to chuck it onto the roof after reciting a chant. Something to the effect of "take this rotten tooth and bestow me with a healthy one", but in Portuguese. I don't understand it myself. Cultural superstitions, I suppose.

-scencion

It All Ends In Disappointment

Every time someone has predicted the end of the world (The Rapture, December 21 2012, etc.) my family has a get-together and a teaparty.

Over time the teaparty evolved into a "teaparty with crazy-hats", as my aunt has a crate filled with ridiculous costumes. So we're all a group of people sitting around a table drinking tea while wearing tophats, WWII helmets, turbans, bunnyears, etc.

Then at the end of the day we gather outside and watch the sunset as we prepare for the world to be destroyed. Then we get in our cars and drive home disappointed.

-WGMindless

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Here are a some people admitting strong opinions they no longer have, and what it took to change those views. Redditor u/segafarm asks:

What is the strongest opinion you once held but no longer hold, and what make you change your mind?

Jade-Colored Glasses

I used to think that being cynical/negative was realistic and somehow smarter than being positive. I've since realized that a "be prepared for the worst but expect the best" is far better. We can't control the outcome of anything in life. Being negative makes you miserable rather than protected from bad things happening.

nanaimo

Cant' Have A Conversation With A Parrot

I used to be a conspiracy theorist. Believed that 9/11 was committed by the US government and that we never landed on the moon.

Once I started looking outside of the echo chamber I was in and started looking at alternate explanations, theories and listening to different viewpoints I soon realized how ridiculous those notions were.

Not-A-Real-Subreddit

A Big, Mysterious Universe

I used to be a strict, hardline atheist. I was the kind of bastard that would bring the subject up for no reason, just to argue. I don't know what the hell my problem was. Now I feel like, the universe is big, I don't know what all might be out there, I don't really care. I live as if there is no afterlife, because that makes sense to me. But if you don't, and you believe in one, that's perfectly fine, and maybe you're right. Who knows?

CDC_

Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

I used to believe anyone can be a successful artist if they just put the time and effort into it. There is no such thing as talent, only hard work.

What changed my mind: Art school. There were quite a few people that tried hard, but just weren't able to achieve professional level art.

berfica

You're Not Your Emotions

For the longest time, I thought my emotions were in a sense the most "real" part of me. I was always a very emotional person and I didn't make a real effort to control it as I thought it was a good thing, that I was just being honest with myself. Over time though, I started to become very depressed and the negative emotions just keep adding on and on. I thought "this is just how I am I guess". Unfortunately it started hurting other relationships I had, and everything changed when my girlfriend broke up with me. After a lot of reading I found that emotions are not who we are at all. They're just reactions and there's nothing that requires us to act on them or feed them. I'm learning to let it go through me instead of hanging on like I used to.

inca829

Don't Forget Big Willie Style

I used to think that hip hop was bland, repetitive, and all about clubbing and sh*t. Then one of my friends pointed me towards people like Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Nas and Run The Jewels, who all have great songs and clever lyrics, and I realized that Hip Hop is pretty great.

6quid

The A**holes Will Always Find A Way

I used to think that the catholic church was responsible for all of the hateful people in it. I gave people the chance to challenge my opinion and someone explained it very nicely to me. Basically, the hateful people use the church as an excuse, if you remove the church they will gladly find another excuse.

TianaLeFong

High Times

Giphy

I used to tell myself that I would never stop smoking weed, and that I'd be happy if my kids grew up to be pot smokers... Now I have a kid, don't smoke, and realize what an idiot I was when all I did was smoke all day. I could probably be in a much better position if I hadn't smoked all through college.

But I mean, I still think pot's okay... Just in moderation.

edgar__allan__bro

The Road Less Traveled

"All taxation is theft, man! I made my money without any help from public institutions or the infrastructure they support, I should be able to keep every last dime of it!"

Naturally that was when I was 18, living at home rent free, and working at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver who relied upon public roads for pretty much every cent I made.

ExtremelyLongButtock

All Those PSA's Didn't Do Much

The whole D.A.R.E anti-drugs. Yes crack and heroin is bad, but they over dramatized what happens when you do smaller drugs. Weed isn't even a gateway drug, alcohol is more of a gateway drug. When I saw weed for the first time I thought it was tobacco (This was after all the D.A.R.E training too). Letting the government teach you your morales and philosophy is a thing that sheep do. Don't be a sheep.

PlantTreesForToday

Where Would We Be Without The Kindness Of Strangers

I used to think people on welfare and state assistance just weren't trying hard enough. I grew up spoiled and entitled and it seemed like any kind of charity was a stigma.

Then, my husband became chronically ill, and the economy took a shit. My family has been close to homelessness more than once, and have relied on state insurance and assistance off and on throughout the past few years. There are definitely people out there who abuse the system, but some just get stuck in a horrible cycle of poverty.

I also work in a school that has a high number low income and refugee families. It has really opened my eyes to the struggles that some people face.

BuffyandtheHellcats

He's Still There For You, The Best He Can Be

I could go through life and could seek meaningful advice from my Dad who has always been there for me.

Now he has been reduced to a feeble condition, I am starting to understand I'm out there on my own, and even what he's sure of is suspect given his mental and physical facilities have been rapidly deteriorating in his late seventies. I feel horrible that I have noticed this long before he did - or at least admitted as much.

june606

Clear Your Mind

This was before I received an ADHD diagnosis. When my doctor referred me to an ADHD specialist, first of all I refused to believe him and was kind of slighted that he even suggested that I could possibly have ADHD.

I had a very strong opinion that if I get a diagnosis that I would refuse to take prescribed amphetamines because they are "bad" and "addictive" and that they would ruin my life.

Then I actually tried the prescription and it was like magic.

Xingua92

Going Through The Whole Spectrum

Used to be fairly open with my views on immigration policy. Then I worked for a while down near Corpus Christie doing immigration work. I'd say one out if every hundred people that came through our office was going to somebody who actually wanted to work and try to make a living here. So many people simply wanted to exist enough to get welfare. Many were young men who we would later defend against exportation as a result of their criminal activity. I began to despise the work of defending these men and wished they would be deported.

Now, I'm dating a foreign girl and we are in the legal immigration process. She has advanced degrees and skills, so that makes things a little easier. But it does make me resent people who just bypass the system. We can't bypass the system because I imagine my participation in immigration fraud could get me disbarred.

RogerDeanVenture



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