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December 17, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Beef Eve…aka: Tradition Overkill

Traditions…I’ve always liked the idea of traditions.  This is possibly because I didn’t grow up with any regular, reliable traditions (at least that I can remember) but now with my own family, I can tradition-away all year long. 

Growing up, we never took an annual summer trip.  We couldn’t light fireworks that made noise because they would give my dad ‘Nam flashbacks (and there is nothing lamer than a ten year old kid with smoke bombs and snakes when the kids across the street got M-80s and got to blow up mailboxes).  We stopped going to church for Easter because everybody got jobs and started working every Sunday.  We didn’t have green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. 

To this day, I’m still not sure what a Yule Log is.  We never put lights on the outside of the house, because my mom was certain that the lights would catch fire and we would have to live in a cardboard box behind Albertsons all winter.  We usually got to open a present on Christmas Eve, but sometimes we just opened everything on Christmas Eve.  Then we’d have some kind of big dinner, and that would be really nice.  The menu changed every year.  We never, ever ate ham, because none of us liked ham all that much. 

The only thing that was certain in my house was that you could never be certain of anything.  Would dad steal my car after too many beers and bring it back with a huge dent in the side?*  Would the cat that rode around on my shoulder decide to be brave and cross the street in front of a speeding vehicle, and die?**  Would we decide to go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, and would my dad, after too much wine at said restaurant, start retelling (loudly) about the time he got a tapeworm on the farm?  And would the ten other tables of patrons in the restaurant be so horrified that they would all leave?  Would the rest of us want to jump in the river, drowning ourselves?*** 

So in the midst of trying to struggling to find traditions in my past, I am totally over-doing traditions in the present.  I noticed this recently when my son and I were making Christmas cookies (Okay, I was making the cookies; he was smearing red icing on the dining room chairs).  I realized that I lost my cookie cutters.  This really, really upset me.  I managed to fashion some snowmen shapes from various sizes of glasses and lids; however I had to freehand the trees (they looked like arrowheads, according to Wasband), and forget about attempting to make stars.  Mostly, we made circles.  I tend to be a bit OCD about things anyway, but the fact that the Christmas cookie cutters were missing made me break into a cold sweat.  So maybe I am taking the need…the need to make Christmas cookies with my son a little too far?   

Here are some of the traditions that we have established so far…these are just the Christmas ones:

 – Put together a gingerbread house

– Christmas card assembly line, where each person signs the card

– Find or make one new ornament for our Wildlife Tree theme

– Make colorful Christmas cookies  (note to self…buy new cookie cutters for ’08)

– Watch Charlie Brown Christmas

– Make hot chocolate with real marshmallows and whipped cream

– Beef Eve

…what’s that you say?  What is ‘beef eve?’  Well, Beef Eve is our new tradition idea.  We have a bunch-o-family to visit due to various divorces, remarriages, etc. and of course everyone wants to eat dinner together on Christmas Day.  So instead of being the one to make Christmas Day dinner, we decided we will eat somewhere else that day (this year it will be ham at J’s mothers).  But Christmas Eve will be ours, and on Christmas Eve, we will roast a giant hunk of cow.  Forget about turkey or ham.  We ordered a 2 lb Chateaubriand from Kansas City Steak company this year, and while I was hoping my family would come visit, alas…it will just be us on Beef Eve.  (We’re glad…if you’ve ever had Kansas City’s Chateaubriand, you wouldn’t want to share the leftovers either)

Most of all we just like to say it.  Come on, say it:  “Beef Eve.”  It’s fun.

* This really happened, near Christmas 1995

** This also happened on Christmas Eve, 1991

*** This too happened, the day before Christmas, 1996

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3 Comments

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  1. pikespeakdenise / Dec 24 2007 7:12 am

    No green bean casserole?!

    I’m remembering the year I dared have a Seafood Fest for Thanksgiving. This made perfect sense to me and my family in Florida. But, someone’s mother had to make a big fuss and tell us after she returned home that her best friend felt bad for her and roasted a post-Thanksgiving turkey.

    Beef Eve rocks!! But reminds me of “Grape Ape” when I try to say it.

  2. Aaron Brown / Dec 17 2007 2:52 pm

    Even though I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12, I’m seriously considering changing the name of our Christmas Eve to Beef Eve. Of course, to make up for the lack of dead cow, we might have to institute a policy in which each person has to think up 5 things they find wrong about everyone else at the table. Beefs galore!

  3. Cherikooka / Dec 17 2007 1:55 pm

    Awe inspiring. I love Beef Eve. We have decided to forgo our traditional Christmas dinner this year. I have always, for over 15 years, made ham and ravioli for Christmas dinner. This year, it is crab legs, scallops and shrimp. We are having a Seafood Fest.

    I used to bake an Angel Food cake on Christmas Eve and we would sing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning when my son was young. But in recent years, we have not done this. Maybe I will this year!

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