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Charlie & Debbie

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In 1973, my (Charlie) parents built and moved us into “The House That Built Me” in suburban Houston, Texas.  That first Christmas there, one of my gifts was a toy racing car that came in the box you see above.

I can’t tell you what happened to the toy, but the box has become a legend in our family.  For years it was just a great box-perfect size for so many things-but sometime in the 1980s, it became much, much, more.

I do not remember how it got started, or who was the first recipient, but “The Box” became the source of an annual gag gift given to a family member who was deemed deserving for the year.  And receipt comes with responsibility:  the one who receives is in charge of not only “The Box,” but for choosing the next year’s “victim.”

This is a picture from a couple of years ago when my sister, the former Baylor Homecoming Queen, Austin Junior League President, paragon of all that is prim and proper, got the box from me and inside…a ginormous “Poop Emoji” pillow.  To say that this sort of thing would never be allowed to be discussed-much less displayed-in her house is an understatement.  In fact, what is pictured below is her on the phone with me (in North Carolina), as I explain to her what it is, as she thought it was a Hershey’s Kiss.

I know, PERFECT!

Anyway, this year…Debbie got “The Box.”  Now before I show you THAT video, it’s important for context to show you THIS video from July 4th.  Most people who took up a hobby during quarantine did things like learn to bake bread or learn a new language.

No, Debbie set about to learn to play the harmonica part of Billy Joel’s “The Piano Man.”

Debbie-Piano Man

My wife's quarantine self-challenge? Learn the harmonica part of Billy Joel's "Piano Man." NAILED IT!

So…here’s “The Box” for Christmas 2020.

Debbie Gets "The Box"-Christmas 2020

"The Box" has been in the family every Christmas since 1973. Since we became adults (high school), "The Box" is passed down family member to deserving family...

I guess it pretty much sums up all you need to know about our family to find out that the biggest family tradition we have at Christmas is a old toy box containing a gag gift. <g>