as far as anyone knows…


not me, nor anyone in my family, but i love the spirit of ‘pocket pancaking’

all families are unique, with their own quirks, traditions, and ways of communicating – and the holiday season often serves as the perfect showcase for these interconnected elements. so when tonight show host, jimmy fallon asked his viewers to tweet funny examples using hashtag #myfamilyisweird, the responses did not disappoint. one person shared their relatives’ tradition of hiding leftover pancakes in each other’s pockets, while another posted a photo of a ‘hideous hand-me-down elf ornament their mother keeps trying to throw away each year, but hilariously ends up back on the tree. customs we cultivate with our kin can do more than just make us laugh, studies have long shown that establishing family routines and rituals positively benefits our health, relationships and well-being.

does your family have any unusual traditions? in my family we had a super creepy automotron mange-y looking furry toy cat that kept coming back. we bought it for a visiting grandie and just thought it was an ordinary stuffed animal, but what we soon discovered was that it would move or make noise at random times. people who received this gift ending up reporting that they kept in their garage or basement or closet, because it creeped them out so much. even with all that, they housed if for a full year, just for the opportunity to ‘gift it’ to someone else in family at the next christmas gathering. people went to great lengths to disguise it when wrapping, so the recipient would let down their guard and open it. we gifted it back and forth to each other for many years, until one year it just disappeared….

“remember as far as anyone knows we’re a nice, normal family.”

— homer Ssmpson

70 responses »

  1. My aunts had the head off of a small saint’s statue that broke off (probably thought they shouldn’t throw it away!). They would hide it in one another’s homes over the years. One year one of the aunts received a cellophane wrapped box of chocolates (common back in the day). She opened it and found the saint’s head in one of the pockets for a piece of candy! They got quite creative. My dad used to leave empty beer or pop cans hidden in places around houses he would visit. Some people didn’t find them for years, but knew who they were from. I have to say, I love the pocket pancakes.

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  2. We have a few quirky traditions. One is wrapping Christmas gifts in a blue Tiffany box or other ultra expensive gift bag or box — only to disappoint the person getting the gift. It’s funny when our kids still fall for it.

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  3. We have a lot of memories but no traditions like this. Finding something as out of place as a pancake in my pocket would freak me out. When I plunge my hands into my coat pockets, I expect gloves. Nothing but gloves.

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  4. Too funny, Beth! When my boys were young they’d take a few leftovers and out on a toothpick and leave in random places at Grandpa and Grandma’s. On Thanksgiving there was a tasty toothpick under the toilet seat? Yikes. I’ll take pancakes in a pocket!

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  5. Don’t know of any weird traditions we have. The stuff a pancake in somebody’s pocket without knowing sounds like something my buddies and I might have tried in college. We wanted our parents to know they were getting these moments of brilliance for helping to pay for our college education. 🤣

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  6. When I married into my wife’s very large extended family, some of the aunts and uncles from back on the farms in Minnesota would send small gifts like Christmas cards with $5 bills in them for all the children. So one year I slipped some gag gifts from Uncle Ezra under the tree. I was such a peripheral member of that family that it took a several years before I became a suspect. Someone once actually claimed there was a real Uncle Ezra. Eventually Uncle Ezra received gifts in return and the tradition thrived.

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  7. Hilarious…. really like that. I am afraid we never did that. But I friend of mine gifted lovely paper napkins to a birthday party friend, only to be severely scolded by another invitee ’cause SHE gifted them earlier to my friend….
    Si, next time she brought nice paper napkins to an invitation I gave, I said to her: oh, you got those from me…. she was flabbergasted for a moment until I burst out laughing 😃

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  8. This was fun to read but we didn’t have holidays in the same town or country twice very often for a tradition to start. Rarely, if ever with extended family. My poor unfortunate children were also gypsies with us for many years. Very adaptable gypsies though. Even now, no two are alike. Last year my daughter and I were in a hotel somewhere in Germany. 🙂

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