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15 People Share the Family Traditions They Didn't Realize Were Strange Until Years Later

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Every family has its weird little quirks and traditions. Growing up, my family never had a microwave. My parents didn't feel like they needed one, and I'm pretty sure my mom was nervous about them giving you cancer, so we just didn't have the appliance. I didn't use a microwave until I got to college, and I had no idea what I was doing. 

I remember wanting to soften up some ice cream (a thing I could never do before!) and asking my roommate, "How long should I zap it for? Like a minute?" Luckily, she took my hand and educated me on the nuances of the microwave. I still made mistakes, but eventually, I learned. A recent Reddit thread of bizarre family traditions is completely fascinating and might make you feel a little less weird about the things your family used to do. 

1. Vitamin Tupperware

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Source: iStock Photo

Fla_john explains that their "wife's family used to pass around a Tupperware full of vitamins after dinner. Like just random pills as if they were mints." Um, what?! Just a bunch of different vitamins floating around loose in a Tupperware? How did you know what you were taking? Not all vitamins are created equally and not everyone needs the same ones. This is beyond bonkers and I just don't get it!

2. Christmas underwear

OK, now this one is a super kooky tradition that I can totally get behind because of how absurd and silly it is. At Christmas, Hashtagbarkeep's family all give each other a set of underwear. Normal enough. But it's not over. 

Once you receive your underwear, "you have to say, 'Ooh thank you' really loudly, stand up, then put the underwear on your head to show everyone." And it has to stay on your head until every present has been given out.

3. Unrefrigerated leftovers

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Source: iStock Photo

This one is truly disturbing. Kibblesundbits wrote that their family doesn't refrigerate leftovers. Like, at all. They store pizza in the oven, turkey from Thanksgiving in the oven, and fast food in the microwave. 

Only when they got older did the kids realize that's super unhealthy and you have to refrigerate things to keep them fresh. "I'm surprised no one's gotten seriously ill from it," they wrote. Yeah, me too.

4. Taco dressing

Remember French dressing? I feel like it was big in the '90s. My dad used to like it and we would put it on our salads sometimes. But Miss-Chandler-B0ng's family used to put French dressing on their tacos whenever they had taco night at home. They didn't realize how weird that was until they were at a friend's house for taco night and asked for French dressing to pour on their tacos. The friend thought they were crazy!

5. Mango time

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Source: iStock Photo

This one sort of makes logical sense, but you would still think this family was insane if you saw them do it. Soullesssenpaiii's family loves mangoes. Who doesn't? They are one of the world's greatest fruits. But they aren't super easy to eat, and it's easy to make a huge mess when you do. So when it was mango time in their family, they'd take off their clothes and all sit around eating mango in their underwear. To keep themselves clean. Makes perfect sense; still makes them seem crazy.

6. Firefly murder

When you're a little kid, it's so much fun to go outside at night and catch fireflies! You might put them in a jar for a little while or something before releasing them again. But something much more sinister was going on in jacluch34's household. Their grandpa told them that if they put fireflies under rocks, there would be a quarter under the rock the next day. Kind of like the tooth fairy, but with fireflies. And that's how their grandpa convinced them to catch and smash a bunch of fireflies under rocks.

7. Three days of Christmas

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Source: iStock Photo

Eclantanfille described their family's Christmas traditions, and I honestly think this is how everyone should celebrate. They go at it hard for three whole days. December 23rd is Ham Day, the 24th is Turkey Day, and then they have Christmas breakfast on the 25th. They also always eat pork chops and sauerkraut together on New Year's Day, which just sounds like a lovely way to ring in the new year.

8. TV by the hour

Parents lie to their kids all the time to get them to behave, and that seems to be exactly what happened with tr0utpout. To keep them from watching too much TV, their dad told them that they only paid for one hour of TV per day, and if you watched more than that, the family would be charged extra. What a sneaky lie! They only found out the truth when they went to a friend's house, watched TV for hours and hours, and asked her "how much TV they paid for."

9. The Blue Binder

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Source: iStock Photo

Unhingedwhale's mother owned a book called The Blue Binder, which "lists all sorts of aches and pains and tells you what emotional or ancestral issue is causing that pain." For example, if you have seasonal allergies, The Blue Binder might tell you it's Because "your dad never forgave his father." Sounds like a fine substitute for modern medicine, and I really want to track down this absurd-sounding book.

10. Talking during movies

Opalesence3051 explained that their family talked and chatted their way through movies whenever they watched them. Until they went to a friend's house and everyone just silently watched the screen, they didn't realize it was weird. It seems normal enough to talk through a movie when you're watching at home, but what I want to know is what did they do when they went to the theater? Did they still gab throughout the movie when they were at the movie theater?

11. Zenon

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Source: iStock Photo

What do you call "doing a load of laundry"? If you answered, "doing a load of laundry," you're not alone. That's what most people call it. But not mojojo1025's family. Their family calls a load of laundry a "zenon." For example, their mom will ask their dad "to do 'half a zenon,'" which means putting the stuff from the washer into the dryer. A "full zenon" is moving everything to the dryer, folding the stuff that's in the dryer, and starting a new load. How? Why? I have no idea.

12. Cardboard family

This one is truly bizarre and completely amazing. Cortolillo87's family had life-sized cardboard cutouts of their dead relatives, specifically their grandfather and their cousin who had passed away, that they would bring out on family holidays. I guess it was a way for those dead relatives to be with the rest of their family on these special days. I think this is hilarious and perfect has to end up in a story or a movie or something.

13. "The buttons"

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Source: iStock Photo

Turns out there are a lot of different nonsense words that various families used to refer to the remote control (or the "clicker," as we used to call it in my house). QueenRowana's family called it the "beep." Other words for it in this thread were "kachonga," "flickey dickey," "con," "the buttons," "squeezie," and "paw device." What?! These are all complete nonsense. But I guess the "clicker" doesn't make much more sense.

14. Tragic stranger stories

Shanelv's family and mine seem like they're cut from the same cloth. To amuse themselves when they were out in public, their family would make up tragic stories about the people around them. My family does sort of the same thing. We like coming up with names for strangers we see. "He look like a Thaddeus," we'll say, and then we'll make up a story about Thaddeus' history. We don't go for tragic stories, usually, but it's a very similar habit.

15. One dirty rag

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Source: iStock Photo

Sorry to end on a gross one, but here goes: Dragime84's family didn't use paper napkins. Woo for the environment, I suppose, but what they did do instead was pretty disgusting. They had one damp dish cloth that they used to pass around the dinner table to wipe all their mouths and hands with. All of them. Used one dish cloth. I think I just saw my entire life flash before my eyes. Truly disturbing on so many levels.