Big red pants nearing a 50-year Christmas tradition for Sask. family

A tradition of re-gifting a pair of oversized red pants is now into its 49th year for a Saskatchewan family.
Members of the Klaassen family have been re-gifting a pair of big red pants every Christmas for almost 50 years now. (Submitted to CBC)

A tradition of re-gifting a pair of oversized red pants is now into its 49th year for a Saskatchewan family.

Ruth Klaassen bought the pants around 1962 and decided it would be fun to give the pants to family members, as a thing to do at Christmas.

"We had no idea at the time that it would take off the way it has," Klaassen told CBC radio host Craig Lederhouse Thursday.

The first recipient of the pants was her husband. He dutifully wore them and, per Klaassen's directive, made a present of them to a son the next Christmas.

Over the years, the Klaassens' big red pants have made the rounds of the family, including uncles and grandchildren.

No one knows who will get them, from year to year.

"The person who gets them has to decide where they will go," Klaassen said. "What we have found, over the years, is that it has gathered momentum."

She explained that, as Christmas approaches, there is great excitement in the family about who will be the recipient that year.

"This kind of tradition seems to bring us together," she said, because family members are now quite far flung from home. "So, its been a good link, in that sense."

Klaassen noted that a silly hat, a wig and red shoes have been added to the package.

"You put it all on," she said, explaining that as part of the tradition the recipient is obliged to wear the pants — and the other gear — on Christmas and have a picture taken.

Over the years the tradition has been shared with a 2-year-old great-grandson and a 90-year-old grandfather.

She said the cotton pants, which she bought for about $2, have held up well. Mind you, she added, they are only worn for an hour or so once a year.

Klaassen has been the recipient of the pants twice.

"Its a good way to bring the family together," she said. "This has given us a very interesting kind of fun tradition."

Young and old have taken part in the tradition. (Submitted to CBC)