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My Family Tradition This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The assignment to write about family traditions made me unsure what I should do. Should I tell the truth and reveal the fact that my family doesn’t have any? That would make a very boring essay. Should I make something up? You are a horrible liar; don’t go there, I thought. Should I steal someone else’s traditions and call them my own? I was totally stuck until an intriguing thought popped into my head. Why not do all of the above? You are so going to hell for this ….

So, as I mentioned, my family doesn’t have any special traditions, but I asked my mother, hoping I had forgotten something. Unfortunately, I was quickly back at square one: she couldn’t think of any. So I looked to my friends for help, which resulted in the advice: “Just say something obvious like, ‘On the twenty-fifth of December, my family opens presents left under an artificial tree by an obese man with strange ­obsession with red clothes and nonexistent animals that can fly.’” That wasn’t much help either.

I began to ponder why we didn’t have any traditions and came up with several reasons. One, my dad was in the Air Force when I was growing up, so we moved from place to place and didn’t spend much time with relatives. I hate to say it, but my immediate family and my ­extended family aren’t exactly amigos. There was some sort of ongoing fight on my dad’s side, which eventually spread to my mom’s side. So my family really isn’t much of a family. Maybe that’s part of the reason why we don’t have any traditions.

I remember reading a magazine that described people’s strange holiday traditions. They really were quite odd. I vaguely recall one involving pickles on Thanksgiving, and playing pranks on a sleeping grandmother on Christmas. I wondered if I should create my own, going into elaborate detail about how we hang old movie tickets on our Christmas tree instead of ornaments, but the thought of lying about something as important as family ­traditions seemed like one of the seven deadly sins. Perhaps Moses would come back with the Ten Commandments and one of them would read, “Thou shalt not lie about family traditions.” Probably not a good idea.

My friend Jessica has one hilarious family tradition. When somebody in her family turns 16, her parents sneak into that person’s room while he is sleeping, pick him up, carry him outside, and throw him into the pool. I remember how nervous my friend was – and she had a good reason to be – her birthday was in January! Lucky for her, the night before her sixteenth birthday she stayed at a friend’s house, so she was safe from the icy-cold wake-up call. Part of me thought it would be great to borrow her family tradition: it was funny, unique, and would make for a great essay, but eventually, my shoulder angel pushed the thought out of my head.

All of these ideas really didn’t seem to work. But in the end, I discovered that I had written my essay: one talking about how I shouldn’t lie or steal family traditions, describing how not every family has a tradition, and showing that my family’s tradition is actually being completely untraditional.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 11 comments. Post your own!

otherpoet said...
Jan. 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm:
This had such an approachable voice to it! I remember that my second standardized testing essay was to be about a family tradition, what a disaster that would have been! I really enjoyed your writing!
 
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lit.roxThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 31, 2011 at 6:18 am:
interesting! keep it up!keep writing...
 
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AWScienceGeek This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm:
So funny! I loved it!
 
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tweedle dee said...
Jan. 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm:
i liked it a ton. it was casual, truthful, and from the heart. great job!!!
 
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agp1995 said...
Jan. 25, 2009 at 11:35 pm:
i like how you just wrote it and you didnt care you just had it come striaght out and on yhe internet you did so well!
 
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inkreader said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm:
I really like the candid writing style of this author. That was a very interesting essay. I don't understand why someone would think she has a horrible life. No family is perfect!
 
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wee girl (L) wee boy! said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm:
well done! I would sooooooooo hate to be that teenager!! Lol!! BTW, your tone of writing was explicably written, very well done!! :)
 
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Sina said...
Jan. 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm:
Well done from many angles. Kristee's writing is mature for a teenager; she could have a future in writing should she choose
 
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paco60.3 said...
Jan. 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm:
I think that your story was vary well writen. It sounded like you put tones of thought in to it.
 
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cole246 said...
Jan. 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm:
I would hate to be that sixteen year old
 
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blinkingandbreathing said...
Nov. 30, 2008 at 4:49 am:
wow!! am i truly the first person to comment...? any-hoo, you have EXCELLENT voice in your piece. I can clearly sense who you are from what you write and thats an incredible talent. congrats.... P.S. and by the way, i also have no family traditions that come to mind *gives you a high five*
 
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