All you wanted for Christmas was for the Packers to make the playoffs.
All throughout fall you cheered on your team, and when the weather turned cold, you simply threw on a couple more layers before heading out to tailgate. There was even that one winter when the whole family stood in line for a chance to shovel out Lambeau field after an especially snowy week. Your green and gold pride runs deep.
Sledding was your favorite winter sport.
You constantly begged your parents to take you to the local hill, and each year you and your friends compared newly acquired sleds. The hard plastic saucers were fun but hard to steer, and everyone knew the fastest rides were had on the inflatable inner tubes (which usually doubled as floats in Lake Michigan during the summer months).
You didn’t have to wait until December 25 for presents.
Santa wasn’t the only guy bringing gifts to your house. On December 5, you made sure to put out your stocking or a pair of shoes and went to bed full of anticipation. The next morning, you’d wake to discover a handful of treats left by St. Nick. Whether it was candy, a new book, or a long-awaited video game cartridge, having Christmas come early was always a special treat.
Your Christmas tree had a pickle ornament.
When you were little, whoever found the pickle first got a treat. These days the treats are self-serve, but you still always take a look for that knobby, green cucumber every time you see a Christmas tree.
You know Tom and Jerry isn’t just a cartoon.
When the snow started flying, your parents would bring out the Tom and Jerry cocktails. The original recipe – a concoction made of eggs, sugar, and brandy – is fairly time-consuming, so most Wisconsinites skip the labor and buy a prepared mix from the store.
You’ve been stuck in countless blizzards trying to get to Grandma’s house.
The holiday feast may have been delayed, but that didn’t stop Dad from hopping on the highway in near white-out conditions and driving ten miles an hour all the way there. Wisconsinites are notoriously hardy winter drivers, but even you were a bit unnerved when cars started sliding off the road.
Picking out a Christmas tree always required patience and long underwear.
The whole family would pile into the car and head to the tree farm, visions of pinecones dancing in your head. The Christmas joy started out strong, with the bright lights and cheery Christmas music. But then, this tree leaned a bit to the left, and that other one had a bare spot toward the bottom. The best tree was too tall to fit in the house. At long last an agreement would be made, the tree would be chopped down, and everyone would help hoist it on top of the station wagon to be carted home.
You learned to ice skate on a frozen lake.
At some point someone would decide the ice on the lake was thick enough, and once it was plowed out, you’d spend all weekend skating around the frozen expanse, racing with your buddies from one end to the other or twirling around pretending to be a figure skater.
Your holiday feast likely featured some type of locally-sourced game.
Most commonly it was the wild turkey that your uncle shot during hunting season and saved for a special occasion, but sometimes it would be a nice, lean cut of venison instead.
Looking at Christmas lights was the evening entertainment.
You’d drive around the neighborhood with family or friends looking at light displays, judging each home on its creativity, enthusiasm, and overall concept. The two dueling neighbors on the north side of town were the perennial favorites, and the inflatable snowmen, homemade nativity scene, and blaring Christmas carols were so tacky they were almost beautiful.