“YOU CAN PICK YOUR NOSE, YOU CAN PICK YOUR FRIENDS, BUT YOU CAN’T PICK YOUR FAMILY.” A quote that’s true for all us as I write this month’s column —Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror and Christmas Day is just up the road. The holidays are that wonderful time of the year when we reconnect with family. The Ruffings have our own saying; “our family put’s the fun in dysfunction.” The “dysfunction” I’m referring to is the quirky, eccentric type of dysfunction. Example: my first Thanksgiving out on my own I was proud as I took the golden turkey out of the oven, only for my brother to discover the bag of giblets and other “parts” still inside the poor bird. I also overlooked the cranberry sauce and only an emergency run to the restaurant I was managing to pick some up saved the meal. There was another Thanksgiving where my Dad thought we should smoke the Turkey instead of just popping it into the oven. Well, after many hours in the smoker the turkey finally got done at about 8 that night. That’s the time we would usually be eating the leftovers. Needless to say, we haven’t smoked a turkey since. We did deep fry a turkey one year, but I don’t have enough space in this column to share that adventure. What is it about the holidays that bring out the best and the stress in us? What can get lost in all of the frenzy of shopping, traveling and parties is family and what the holidays means to each family member. Sometimes, I need to remind myself I wouldn’t be where I am without my family, even as dysfunctional as we all are. One of my fondest memories was opening up a present from my older brother and finding out it was a sweater of mine that he had taken away to college. The best Christmas present I ever got came a day late one year. That was my wedding day, 14 years ago. I get grief from my family that I chose that day because after-Christmas mark-downs made buying an anniversary gift cost effective. Not true, but still a nice perk. No, we chose that day so that our holiday season means more than gifts. So, this year when you’re surrounded by family and friends, smile and appreciate the true meaning of the holidays and remember to put some “fun” in your family.
Pete Ruffing is the Sales Director at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. He and his wife of 14 years Brenda live in Okemos.