I have never thought of our family as being very competitive.
But after the fervour of our most recent Great Pumpkin competition, where we all decorated pumpkins and voted on a winner, I am starting to think otherwise.
In fact, right after the yearly competition that often sees hurt feelings, contesting of votes and accusations of voter fraud, and where I prevailed as this year's winner (my painted pumpkin tea pot and little pumpkin tea cups garnered the most votes) I heard my niece coyly ask my husband, "are we both doing potatoes for Christmas dinner?"
And so it begins again. I hadn't even had the chance to admire my prize —an old bowling trophey with the bowler removed and replaced by a plastic pumpkin—when they were already on to the next battle.
From pumpkins to potatoes.
It's a challenge that happens every year in our house: who makes the best whipped potatoes for Christmas dinner? My husband has been doing it for years and has coined his creation "heavenly whipped." But a few years back my niece and her husband arrived with a pot of whipped potatoes where they sassed it up and added cream cheese to the recipe, it was then guests were asked several questions (actually harassed is more like it) by each chef as to which potato dish was better. The Christmas - dinner competition also expanded into sweet potatoes, where we all find ourselves careful to take equal spoonfuls of each concoction so as not to incite a brow beating. We also avoid direct eye contact with them.
Our Christmas Eve celebrations aren't much better. For the past few years we have decided to all show up at my sister's house in ugly things. One year it was a friendly competition to determine who had the ugliest sweater, one year it was ugly pajamas. Not sure what it will be this year but since we will have two brand new babies with us this holiday season the next logical step would be a cutest/homliest baby contest. I could see the evening ending with both fathers of said fetuses rolling around in the snow and taking out the giant inflatable santa with one rogue punch.
Our competitive spark usually ignites in the fall and colder months. We tend to rest in the warmer weather. Other than the odd heated game of washer toss or horseshoes, we really don't get all up in each other's grills when the temps rise. And by grill I mean faces, not BBQ grills ... although that gives me a good idea:
Gentlemen, roast your wienies!
Terri McCormick’s column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.