Christmas Slugs



It doesn’t matter how old I get; going home for Christmas still gets me excited for family traditions and rituals—the gifts, the food, the decorations…and of course, those wonderful Christmas memories your siblings bring up at the dinner table every year. You know the ones: They either make you nearly spit out your drink, hysterically laughing to the point of tears or crawl under the table in shame. (Why don’t families forget anything?)



I have one brother, and I think he takes pride in remembering (and re-remembering) those priceless sister moments of Christmases past—the year I put the wrong names on nearly all my presents or the time I gave our mom a sky blue enameled dust pan with an embossed happy face on it. To this day, nobody knows what I was thinking. I blame it on the fact that I finished my Christmas shopping that year while in labor with my third child. That means I should be excused from the humiliation of an epic gift fail, right? NOPE! Not in my family.


For me, gifting has become far more sport than I like to admit. It’s my one opportunity a year to give something that comes from the heart or go all out with a gift so ridiculous that the recipient wonders what to do with it, where to put it and who (if anyone) should see it. Once I watched as my brother stumbled through thanking me for a gift, even though he didn’t have a clue what it was. It was an egg separator. (What can I say? He likes gadgets and making breakfast on the weekends. BOOM! Perfect gift.) Since then, my gift-giving shenanigans have continued. The next year, I gave my brother a can of escargot (shells included), a much better choice than the practical leather work gloves on the top of his Christmas list or even the egg separator. From his look of confusion to his gullible acceptance that “Everyone is eating them!” and “They’re all the rage!”, I knew I’d hit the jackpot. The gift was nicknamed Christmas Slugs, and its re-gifting has become one of my favorite Christmas rituals.


The Christmas Slugs are just one of the fun family rituals I look forward to during the holidays. Knowing the joy of tradition that’s ahead helps lift my spirits, even during the harder years. You might not think it at first, but a gift of snails is truly priceless, and so is my brother, even if he gives me a hard time every year. Now, where did I stash those Christmas Slugs?

BY Lizzi Clobes is a Rochester native, homeschooling her 3 children in the neighborhood she grew up in while running a small remodeling company, and immersing herself in landscaping, writing & visual arts.