This time of year always makes me think about tradition and the fact that winter celebrations are common among most cultures around the world. At the macro level, lights, singing and festivals are all age-old traditions that help to dull the edge of a bleak season of long, dark and cold nights. What I enjoy even more are those quirky traditions that develop at the micro level among families.
For example, I grew up celebrating Christmas. Years and years ago, my mom gave my sister a shower squeegee. Let’s just say that “shower squeegee” was NOT on my sister’s list. What a priceless memory: the family joked and laughed about the very odd gift while my mom only added comical fuel to the moment as she went to the mat, adamantly defending the rich practicality of the shower squeegee. Whether the rest of us agreed or not, my sister needed a shower squeegee!
My family always took turns opening Christmas gifts, and at some point in that conversation, I pointed out that such gifts were like drawing a lose-a-turn card in the game, Monopoly. The label stuck and lose-a-turn gifts (many people call them white elephants) are now a Turner family tradition.
I thought about the lose-a-turn gift as I wrote this year-end blog. Year after year, it certainly does feel as though Congress has a lose-a-term tradition. In particular, though this year had bipartisan potential, it resulted in another year of partisan gridlock including a government shutdown.
Yet, perhaps the shutdown is like the shower squeegee. At first blush, it was really a terrible gift – the worst! (Sorry Mom.) But upon deeper reflection, the shower squeegee may well have been the best and most memorable gift in the Turner family’s history. Perhaps Congress will someday view the government shutdown as the Turners now view the shower squeegee. And perhaps its memory will truly result in bipartisan cooperation.
Hey, it’s the holidays. I dare to dream.