Traditions And Prognostications – The McLuxies

I love traditions.

As some of you know, among our family’s traditions, my very favorite is

The McLuxies

Way back in 1992, our pal, Ellie, came up with the idea of a prognostication competition in which we would predict the outcome of a series of events during the year and whoever had the highest number of correct predictions at the end of the year would be declared the winner.

the first McLuxies

The very first McLuxies. The notation in the corner says “at Lux’s 1/1/92”.

As you can see on this very low-tech scoresheet, that first year we predicted only 4 categories: Super Bowl, World Series, Presidential election (ironically, the other “Clinton” was running that year) and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Every year since 1992, Ellie and her husband, Archie, Peter and I, and our two children have made predictions and kept score. Along the way, our children have gotten married and their spouses joined in on the competition.

Like all good traditions, this one needed a name. Ellie, creating a mash-up of our surnames, coined the moniker “McLuxies”.

We even have hats.

McLuxies Hat

For many years the winner got nothing more that a feeling of moral and intellectually superiority.

Now we have a trophy.

McLuxies Champion

Please note the plaque on the front bearing our motto:

“Peritia, Fortuna, et Conjectura Temere”

Loosely translated: “Expertise, Luck, and Random Guesses”.

As we’ve gone along, our list of predictions has grown. We have permanently added:

  • NCAA Football Champions
  • NCAA Women’s and Men’s Basketball Champions
  • Master’s Golf Tournament Winner
  • Stanley Cup Champion
  • NBA Champion
  • Wimbledon Winner – Women’s and Men’s
  • Best TV Drama
  • Best TV Comedy
  • World Series Winner
  • People’s Sexiest Man Alive
  • Time Person of the Year

Heavy on sports and pop culture; light on anything really meaningful.

Over the years, however, the McLuxies have been a way to chronicle important, historic or iconic events.

In addition to the list of permanent categories, we have made random guesses about things like:

  • Gender of the Royal baby (more than once)
  • The O.J. Simpson verdict
  • The Clinton impeachment
  • Will Microsoft be in one piece? (I guess that was something about a monopoly???)
  • Major League Baseball teams to be eliminated
  • Combined weight of our twin grandsons, Chip and Dale at their final doctor’s appointment of the year
  • Dow Jones year ending number
  • What college will Malia Obama choose?
  • Number of Supreme Court vacancies at the end of the year
  • Post-election party in control of the House of Representatives
  • Married or not at the end of the year: Tom/Katie, Brad/Angelina, Britney/Kevin, Ben/Jen
  • “Number of countries that will have indicated their intent to withdraw the Euro as their official currency by year-end” (Nerd alert… Although you probably thought that the nerd ship sailed with the “number of Supreme Court vacancies” or “post-election party in control” questions.)

In Olympic, election and World Cup soccer years those are added to the list.

In 2012 we predicted whether the Mayan calendar was right or wrong.

“Will the world come to an end this year?” Spoiler alert: the correct prediction was “no”.

2016 McLuxies

Thanks to Annie our tradition has gone high-tech with our McLuxies google doc.

The 2016 McLuxies have some interesting aspects to them.

For years and years and years, we have had what we call “The Cubs Clause”.

The Cubs Clause states that if a person picks the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series and they actually do, that person automatically wins the McLuxies championship for the year. Game, set, match.

The Cubs Clause was created so that sentimental schmucks like me wouldn’t feel so bad about throwing away a point predicting a Cubs victory year after year after year.

Well, you might know that this year the curse has ended – the goat is gone – the Cubs are in the World Series.

We still have a long way to go but if by some wild chance, the Cubs pull this off and actually WIN the World Series, The Cubs Clause will kick in.

And, the six of us who predicted a Cubs victory will share the McLuxies trophy.

Go Cubs Go

Given that all predictions are locked in place during the first week of January, it’s quite remarkable that Jerry foresaw the Trump vs Clinton presidential matchup.

The Time Person of the Year is generally close to impossible to predict. But, this year six of us have guessed that, if she is elected as the first woman President in U.S. History, Hillary Clinton should find herself on the cover of Time Magazine.

Keeping in mind that Time Person of the Year is someone who has had the biggest impact on society – good or bad (past recipients include Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin(twice), Ayatollah Khomeini and Vladimir Putin), other strong contenders would be Donald Trump (son-in-law Jerry’s prediction) or Julian Assange/WikiLeaks.

My first choice would be, of course, that the Cubs emerge victorious and Time Person(s) of the Year are Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon.

But what do I know? It’s all just a bunch of conjectura temere, right?

“Who I Am” is a writing project hosted by Dana from Kiss My List and Bev from Linkouture.

Each month we are given a prompt regarding some aspect of our life. The goal is, at the end of the year, to have twelve chapters in the book titled Who I Am.

This month, Chapter 10, the theme is Traditions.

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10 Commandments of Grandparent Gift Giving

How sweet was yesterday’s Kelly post about Henry and Meredith’s snow globe?  Today it’s my turn again as I bring you day six of:

Partners in a Pair Tree – Kelly and Mo Celebrate December

In the almost 15 months since I became a grandmother, I’ve come to realize a few things about grandparent gift giving. Now remember, my 10 Commandments are just my thoughts and suggestions and are not meant to come across as bossy.

Although calling them commandments definitely reads “BOSSY” in all caps.

Oh well, here goes.

Grandparent Gift Giving

1.  Parents get veto power – always.

As noted in my grandmother manifesto, this is the golden rule of grandparent behavior.  Sometimes we think it is our prerogative to spoil or grandchildren and buy them things their parents say no to.  Not a good plan.

Please seek input from the parents before buying a drum set or a chemistry kit or some toy with 10 million pieces.

2.  Follow the age guidelines on packages.

Of course we all know that our grandchildren are profoundly gifted and capable of tasks far beyond their years but keep in mind those age ranges are put on toys for a reason. It might be that there are small parts that would be dangerous in little hands or the toy might require assembly that would create unnecessary frustration without the right level of fine motor skills development.

3.  Always include batteries.  

Actually this should be a guiding principal for all gift giving.

4.  If thank you notes are important to you, let the parents know.

Writing thank you notes is a wonderful and valuable skill to learn.  But it’s up to the parents to teach and encourage that skill. Don’t blame the kids if they’ve never been taught. And maybe don’t make thank you notes a condition for future gifts. That’s a little passive-aggressive, no?

5.  Quality not Quantity is important.

Your grandchildren will not measure your love by the number of packages under the tree. What’s important is your thoughtfulness.

6.  Don’t play favorites.

I know that girls are easier to shop for than boys and that younger children are easier to shop for than teenagers but that doesn’t mean that you should shortchange your 16 year-old grandson in favor of his 3 year-old sister. No favorites – even if you really do have a favorite – which you shouldn’t.  (Boy, the bossy-meter is really lighting up on this one.)

7.  Time with you is sometimes the best present of all.

Consider a gift of a special day with grandma and grandpa. Maybe you can start a new tradition of a trip to the zoo or out to lunch.  Your grandchildren get your undivided attention and their parents get a little time to themselves. It’s a gift for both.

8.  Consider a gift for the future. 

Does your grandchild have a saving account? Or a college fund? How about contributing a little to that each year. Even at today’s super low interest rates, money left in a savings account for 18 years will grow and grow.

9.  Start a gift tradition.

As my kids were growing up, Peter’s parents gave them an ornament each year.  Each one is a sweet reminder of their childhood. My friend Nora’s sister gave each of her nieces and nephews a set of Christmas pajamas every year (and not the pink fuzzy bunny footie pajamas that Ralphie’s grandma gave in The Christmas Story). These are the kinds of traditions that are appreciated by children more and more as they grow up.

10.  Whatever you do, do it with love.

No matter your budget, no matter your circumstances, all that is really important is the love you show for your grandchildren. They will feel it and it will bring them great comfort and joy.

Love, comfort and joy.  Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?

Did I miss anything? Be honest, was I too bossy? Do you have a gift tradition in your family?

Partners in a Pair Tree

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