Weekly Five: Holiday traditions that drove you crazy as a kid

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With Halloween right around the corner and Thanksgiving and Christmas just months away, family traditions are on everyones minds. Some of them bring back memories of happy family times, while others remind you that your parents really are in charge during the holidays. Here are a list of some things your parents might have done during the holidays when you were a child (and maybe even still do) that felt like the end of the world.

1. Your parents thoroughly checked your Halloween candy before you could eat any of it.

You just spent several hours dressed up like a princess or a superhero, roaming the neighborhood gathering as much candy as your pumpkin-shaped bucket could carry. At the end of the night, all you wanted to do was go home, trade out all the candies you don’t like with your friends and eat yourself into a sugar coma.

And that’s when your parents stepped in. Before you ate any of your treats, they had to inspect every wrapper to make sure no one was trying to poison you. Your favorite Halloween was the first time your parents let you trick-or-treat on your own and you could eat all the candy you wanted. The fact that you might get poisoned didn’t even cross your mind.

2. Every year they changed where the Christmas presents were hidden.

The holidays seem to pique kids’ curiosities more than any other time of year. You can’t walk by the Christmas tree without shaking a few presents to see if you’re going to get everything you asked for. But sometimes, simply shaking presents isn’t enough.

Kids just want to know what the big, finale gifts — the ones that won’t find their way to the tree until Christmas Eve— are going to be. It doesn’t matter how big or small your house is, there are an infinite number of hiding spots for these gifts because they are rarely in the same place two years in a row. Proof that parents really are smarter than their “clever” pre-teens.

3. All your siblings had to find their Easter baskets before you could dig into yours.

When you’re younger, everything has to be “fair” between siblings. This is especially true on Easter when the Easter egg hunt begins. No one can see what that magical bunny brought them until everybody finds their basket. When you had younger siblings who didn’t know all of the bunny’s favorite hiding spots, the wait was really painful.

“My parents always made us wait at the top of the stairs to start looking for Easter baskets,” said Tyler Morrison, an economics major from Keller, Texas. “Then we’d spread out to search the house, and most of the time I always found my basket first…. It was frustrating when someone took longer than the rest of us; sometimes we’d even help them look so it’d go by faster.”

4. You can’t touch any Christmas presents until Mom and Dad are up and ready for the day.

For some reason, Mom and Dad always want to look good in the pictures on Christmas morning. You and your siblings were up before the sun, ready to see what Santa and his reindeer brought, but your parents weren’t as eager. After several minutes of jumping on their bed trying to get them up, they tell you to give them 20 minutes to shower and get dressed. And those were always the longest 20 minutes of any kid’s life.

5. They continue to treat you like it’s your first holiday.

Whether it’s taking a picture with the Easter basket you’ve had since first grade, or striking what feels like several hundred poses in front of the Christmas tree, the holidays always seem to remind us that we are never too old for traditions.

For David Westenhaver, an undeclared major from Tualatin, Ore., Christmas morning could not begin until his dad had the camcorder out. Every year, Westenhaver and his sisters are filmed walking down the stairs and into the living room to see what Santa left for them under the tree.

“The tradition obviously began when we were small children,” Westenhaver said. “We were much cuter and camera-friendly. As we became teenagers, we began to believe that my parents just did it so they had an excuse to keep us from opening our presents at 6 a.m., because we are not even allowed to place a foot on the staircase until the camera is out.”

At the time, these traditions may have seemed like the most unfair thing a parent could ever do to a child; however, the memories students have now of past holidays are well worth the minor annoyances. And chances are, they will carry on some of these traditions with their own kids.

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