It is a very long-standing tradition in our family that at some time during the gathering someone will furrow their brow, rise up with mock angst and horror in their voice, and point to someone else with a quivering hand and say, “YOU RUINED CHRIIIIIIST-MAAAAAAS!”  (or Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, or Easter).


(I realize this is a quote from some movie but Googling without my speakers plugged in has caused me to give up.)


The first time I was the focus of this “tradition” was when I was late to a midnight Christmas Eve service and set off a building alarm by trying to enter the church through a side door.


I won’t tell you the name of this church or even the town lest you happened to have heard about that disastrous event.  But in short, their was not a lot of  “silent night, holy night” going on that night.


Listening to the polished delivery of the special narration presentation, complete with pregnant pauses, was physically painful due to the contrast of the performer’s solemnity and the breached and blaring security system that was later joined by a police siren.


Everything eventually silenced. . . but not until the middle of the closing prayer.


Following the prayer, I suddenly wondered out loud (no filter) if it was me that had set off the alarm?  And my siblings (there are six of them) pounced.  From that moment it was decreed that I “ruined” Christmas Eve. . . quietly at first. . . as we all red-faced scooted out of the pews.  And I got a short reprieve because I drove separately (remember, I was late?).  But when we got home, it was full-on ribbing.


I’m reminded of this every Christmas, and sometimes on other holidays.  Especially by my favorite brother-in-law.  (If he’s not mentioning the Christmas that I moved the couch and scratched his brand-new hardwood floors.  Yup, I’m a mess.)


But these things are short-lived when it’s the holiday season.  Within weeks, days, or even a few hours, someone could burn a turkey, under cook a pie, blow out the candles too slobbery, or forget to start the coffee and “ruin” the next birthday or holiday.  And you’ll be stripped of your title as quickly and unceremoniously as it was slapped on you.


But only officially.  Practically speaking, it can surface in discussion at any time.