Enid families celebrate the holidays in unusual way

Tuesday, December 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ENID, Okla. (AP) _ Who needs a stockings hung by the chimney with care when you can have a holiday luau instead.

That's how the Kirk family feels, anyway. They are having a Hawaiian Christmas.

Buster Kirk said he won't be wearing a grass skirt, but his nieces are dressing up with skirts and coconut tops.

``They're at the age where they really like it; they get into it,'' he said.

For more than 20 years, the Kirk family has centered Christmas around a chosen a theme by using decorations, food and dress.

Susan, Buster's sister, said the tradition started when her mother remarried.

``When my mother and my stepfather, Oliver Rikli, got married they started the themes to get our family together,'' Susan said.

When their mother died a few years ago, the siblings decided to keep the tradition alive.

``Every time we drug our feet about doing it, she'd just get fired up,'' Buster said. ``She was really good at keeping us together.''

Each year, a different family member hosts the holiday feast. This year, Buster and his wife, Charlie, are the hosts. Each family keeps its plans a secret.

The Kirks have had several themes throughout the years, including Mardi Gras, western, beach and the cultures of various countries.

The most unusual theme was rock 'n' roll, Buster said.

``My brother Darrell and his family dressed up as KISS,'' Buster said. ``My brother Steve's family dressed up as the Village People and danced to 'YMCA.' My brother Ed's family was ZZ Top.''

About four years ago, Carol Ellis and her family also began having Christmas themes.

``Everybody was grown, and in order to have something a little more exciting we decided to do something different,'' Ellis said. ``Every year I ask if they want to go back to the old way of celebrating Christmas, but they say they're having too much fun.''

The family celebrates the culture of a different country each Christmas. Ellis researches each country to find information on music, food, facts and traditions for each culture.

``We learn as much as we can about the country,'' Ellis said. ``I'm always looking for music, because that's a little tricky. It took me a while to find Chinese music.''