It’s official, Figs: the weather is getting frightful, the mistletoe has been hung, the lights are twinkling–the holidays are upon us! To celebrate, we’ve asked some of our favorite authors to share holiday memories with us. Tune in all through December to get in the holiday spirit!
Sara Grant is the author of the dystopian novel Dark Parties about a sixteen-year-old girl desperate to escape from her over-protected society. Riddle me this, Figs: what’s Sara’s advice about the best way to harass your relatives this holiday season? Read on to find out!
At the holidays, some families volunteer together–feed the homeless or surprise a less fortunate family with a tree and presents. Others go caroling, or exchange homemade gifts. For some, a special recipe is dusted off once a year. But in my family, we end each year with a riddle and a quirky competition. It may not sound festive, but let me explain.
On New Year’s Eve, if you are in any way, shape, or form related to someone with the last name Murray . . . you calculate . . . you strategize . . . and you endeavor to be the first to ask ‘the riddle’–a riddle that has been handed down through the generations and that can only be delivered on the last day of the year.
Some might wake their husbands with a kiss on New Year’s Eve. I wait until mine stirs anytime after midnight and then pounce with the riddle–whether he’s actually fully awake or not. I call my 71 and 86 year old parents and don’t wait for or give a greeting. I immediately launch into the riddle. On more than one occasion–thanks to blasted caller ID–my parents have actually answered the phone with the riddle. Oh, the shame of defeat and the anxiety of waiting another 365 days for my chance at victory.
And we’ve evolved over the years. My cousin Brent emailed the riddle to relations near and far last year. Though I’m a purist (face-to-face is my preference, followed by the phone call), I’m planning to Facebook and Tweet the riddle this year. Why keep such a touching family tradition secret? I think it’s time to go global.
It may seem strange, but the riddle-telling has become a beloved family ritual. I can guarantee that I will speak to every member of my family on the last day of the year. The question leads to conversation. I’m not sure if it’s what my grandma intended–or maybe it was her grandfather who started the tradition. No one knows for sure how it all began, but it keeps a scattered and growing family connected on one day each year.
So . . . have you seen the man walking around with as many noses as there are days left in the year?
Yeah, it’s a silly little riddle, but I vow I will be the first to call my parents on New Year’s Eve this year. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.