Happy Christmas! I hope that, even with everything that’s happened this year, and whatever comes next year, you have a lot to celebrate and enjoy today, whether it’s a new present or two, or just a chance to catch up with family and friends, find some new ways to enjoy some old traditions.
Today’s show is about a pair of pants, Christmas tradition between two brothers-in-law, and the increasingly, shall we say, creative ways they found to keep it going.
As reported by Snopes, this story begins in 1964, with a pair of moleskin pants Larry Kunkel received for Christmas from his mother.
He wore them, and they were ok, but in extreme winter cold, they stiffened up. Not super useful, given that he lived in Minnesota.
So he did what people do in these situations: he re-gifted the pants, to his brother in law, Roy Collette.
Once again, the new owner of the pants concluded they were not up to the job of being regular use pants, but would be good for laughs next Christmas when he gave them back to Kunkel.
The brother-in-lawhood of the traveling pants continued like this for some time, with the two sending the pants back and forth each December, until the year Collette added a new wrinkle: he squeezed the pants into a pipe – three feet long, one foot wide – and gave that to Kunkel.
The tradition was no longer just about one of the men giving the pants back to the other.
It was about giving the pants back to the other in a really complicated way, one that didn’t harm the pants but was extremely difficult to open and to therefore regift the pants the following year.
The pants were, in various years:
- stuffed into a 600 pound safe that was welded shut;
- hidden in a giant concrete Rubik’s Cube weighing four tons and then covered in wood;
- and placed inside the glove compartment of a 1974 AMC Gremlin, that was then crushed into a cube.
The pants had their last hurrah in 1989.
Colette was trying to encase the pants within 10,000 pounds of jagged glass, but a large chunk of molten glass fell on the pair and that was that.
So Collette gave his brother in law the ashes inside a brass urn.
A 25 year regifting tradition/competition went up in flames.
You may also know that today is the day that TV stations across the country are broadcasting the last episode of Jeopardy! hosted by the late Alex Trebek.
We couldn’t help but mention on our pants-themed Christmas episode that in 2005 Trebek decided to break some of the tension during the Tournament of Champions by walking onto the set without his pants, which was a big hit.
We sure are going to miss seeing him on Jeopardy, with or without pants.
With that, we turn you loose to enjoy this holiday!
Wear whatever you like, and stay safe, healthy and hopefully very happy.
Jeopardy! Flashback: Alex Trebek Without Pants (Jeopardy!)
Pants photo by cherrysweetdeal via Flickr/Creative Commons