Hazel Nutt — and all the other Nutts

Holiday Blog #4 – Traditions

Some of you may be wondering why, with the leaves turning their lovely red and gold colour and the temperature frosting the soil every night, I decided to contact the Lees and begin writing a “holiday” blog. Well, the Nutt family takes their holiday traditions very seriously. Not merely content with roasting chestnuts or building our own wreaths from twigs and leaves (no holly! The grandchildren could eat the berries and they’re poisonous!), we Nutts begin the season by standing on the roof of our two-storey treehouse and shouting “Merry Christmas!” “Happy Chanukah!” “Joyous Kwanzaa!” or even “Sol Invictus!” Sometimes the neighbours stand on their own roofs and shout back. Most of their replies are unprintable but at least it’s in the holiday spirit!

These holiday calls are followed by the ritual burial of nuts and seeds: walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and especially acorns are planted, often next to other trees, along a chosen acre of our orchard. This ensures healthy saplings in spring; at least it would if we didn’t forget where half the nuts were buried by the time spring rolls around.

There is also the “car vault.” September always delivers one or two more days warm enough to leave our sports car’s top down, and we can usually ride it with the top up for at least a month after. Upon its retirement to its garage however, the youngest Nutt (currently my grandson, Chester) stands in front of the sports car as it drives into the garage, staring at its headlights as if willing it to stop – only to jump away at the last minute.

Finally, there is the traditional Nutt holiday bridge game, which is followed by the airing of grievances. So as not to offend our family member’s feelings, the grievances are delivered in a high-pitched, twittering noise only the speaker can understand.

So, those are our holiday traditions! What are yours?


Luise LeeNovember 17th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Back in the days when we used to have a fresh christmas tree, my mom would invite family members over to our house. We all met in the afternoon and headed out to the local tree farm to cut down a fresh tree, and then we’d all go back afterwards for a warm meal, sing carols and enjoy good family company. We called it our annual Christmas tree-cutting party.

Even now, some 30 years later, we still call it our annual christmas tree-cutting party, even though no-one cuts down a tree anymore. We invite the whole family and everyone brings a dish to serve at a pot-luck dinner. My mom and dad provide the ham, and everyone else brings something. We never really organize what each person should bring to the dinner, but it usually works out. (Except for that one year when we had one entree, one salad, and the rest sweets and desserts — you should have seen the kids at that party… wow, they were flying!)

I think last year we saw more than 50 people come through this very tiny semi-detached house. (It’s a good thing my grandmother lives next door, so we could spread out for a bit of breathing room!).

It’s a really special tradition, and I always look forward to the party. When you have a big family like I do, there’s always something extra-special about having those large family gatherings with everyone happy and in the mood for a good celebration!

Hazel NuttNovember 17th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Wow! Your family sounds even bigger than mine – I had two brothers and a sister, and each of them had four children (I also had a third brother who married our first cousin; we don’t talk about him), so you’d THINK I’d have a big family, but a surprising number of Nutts die within their first year, most of them in car accidents – it’s like a family curse. On the upside, it’s given us a healthy sense of humour about death.

On behalf of all the Nutts, we are very grateful you no longer commemorate the season by chopping a tree!

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