If there is anything that Christmas brings out in people besides the spirit of giving and receiving, it has to be tradition.

To me, Christmas is tradition. But most people don't realize they are a party to a tradition. Christmas just brings out certain types of behavior in us that we don't exhibit during the rest of the year.So as Christmas season comes to a close, I would like to remind people of the traditions they have unknowingly participated inand suggest possible changes to those traditions so we can have an untraditional Christmas next year.

Tradition - eating a Christmas Day feast at your mom's house, your spouse's mom's house, your grandma's house and your spouse's grandma's house. And if you or your spouse have divorced parents, dinner at whoever's house I forgot to mention but if you neglected to have dinner at their house they would be offended.

Suggestion - Take offers, and eat Christmas dinner at whichever place offers the best and most food. (In case my mother-in-law is reading this, I'm sure that will be your house every year.)

Tradition - gaining 20 pounds during the last two weeks of December.

Suggestion - Give Aids as presents - the diet candy, not the disease.

Tradition - dragging children from one house to another on Christmas Day.

Suggestion - If you have children, stay home. (Or at least return home immediately after eating at the home of your choice.) Let your children play with their toys and reap the benefits of being such good little boys and girls during the month prior to Christmas.

Tradition - giving gifts to relatives that they probably won't like but you do it because they give you something, which you probably won't like either.

Suggestion - Give to your children only, because they are the ones who enjoy Christmas the most and they are the ones who you enjoy watching enjoy Christmas the most. Besides, how many children do you see exchanging gifts the day after Christmas.

Tradition - opening presents one at a time.

Suggestion - Do not wrap presents, just have your children take turns opening their eyes and looking only at one present at a time.

Tradition - opening one present on Christmas Eve.

Suggestion - Give your kids their new pair of pajamas and tell them to go to bed or Santa Claus won't come.

Tradition - building a Christmas morning fire and burning wrapping paper.

Suggestion - Haul the family down to the recycling bin and open presents there.

Tradition - making sure one child does not get more than another.

Suggestion - Give every child $300 and drop them off at Toys 'R' Us. Then on the way home make the whole family sing, "I don't want to grow up, I don't want to grow up."

Tradition - sitting on the couch and watching college bowl games for a week.

Suggestion - Take Christmas Day only off, and take your kids on a real vacation in the summer.

Tradition - the phrase, "The 12 days of Christmas."

Suggestion - Have someone define the 12 days of Christmas, when it begins and ends and who invented it. Give your boss a partridge in a pear tree and ask him if the 12 days of Christmas is a paid holiday.

If you feel I am missing the true meaning of Christmas, please feel free to write.

(Jim Rayburn, Springville, is a staff writer in the Deseret News' Utah County bureau.)