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-   -   What are your family Christmans traditions? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/what-are-your-family-christmans-traditions-212962/)

Jamin Dec 6th, 2001 04:58 AM

What are your family Christmans traditions?
 
Hi Cass:<BR>This is for you.<BR>All the best.<BR>Jamin

Cass Dec 6th, 2001 05:16 AM

{;-) Thanks.<BR><BR>Nice query -- esp. since it would be interesting not only to compare traditions in different regions but also to learn about family modifications of them. Can we open it up to include Dec. 6 (Petit Noel) and Jan. 6 (Epiphany/Kings), as well as Hanukkah, etc.?

Cindy Dec 6th, 2001 05:47 AM

I live in northern NJ and one of our traditions is a day trip to Pennsylvania to choose and cut down our Xmas tree. Then lunch at my sister's house and home. On Xmas Eve, we always go to an early evening mass at our church and then go out to dinner to an Italian restaurant. Presents are opened Xmas morning, followed by us hosting a big Xmas dinner with all the ensuing chaos for whatever siblings and family members are in town--usually around 15 or 20 of us. Other traditions include sending out lots of cards--a task I dread every year but continue to do.. and baking hundreds of Xmas cookies for gifts which I enjoy doing. One year my son and I made a gingerbread house, but that's too much work to do every year.. New Years is not a big party night for us--sometimes we go to First Night celebrations in a neighboring town; other years we spend it quietly at home.

canuck Dec 6th, 2001 06:02 AM

My brother's awesome omelettes on Christmas morning...wouldn't be the same without them. I have a fond memory of Christmas morning when I was a child. We had to wait upstairs until my grandparents arrived so they could see us open our gifts. My brothers and I would call them very early and beg them to get over as quickly as possible. And then we would wait on the stairs unable to see what Santa had brought. Every year my father would tease us that he must have missed our house and him and my mother would have a "chat" about how awful it was that there were no presents under the tree. We knew if wasn't so but it added to the anticipation and excitement as we tried to creep down a stair without them knowing....and then my grandparents would arrive and we would run down past them shreiking...both my parents are gone now and I remember this every Christmas and smile.

Jess Dec 6th, 2001 06:12 AM

One of the things we do for pre-Christmas revels is St. Nicholas Day (which, by the way, is today!). When I was younger, we'd leave our shoes outside of our rooms and in the morning, there'd be small presents and candy in them and around them (big word of advice: pick clean shoes!). I think it helped our Mom out a lot because we got some things before Christmas (so we wouldn't drive her crazy)<BR><BR>The other thing is that I was born on Christmas! So, we'd go to Midnight Mass, where afterwards our congregation would sing happy birthday to me. Then we'd get to go home and open a couple of presents before we went to sleep.

Jamin Dec 6th, 2001 06:25 AM

It would be interesting, that you post your place of residence, parents birthplace if any of your traditions are related to that particular country.

Ana Dec 6th, 2001 06:27 AM

I tried looking for the Christmas dinner thread, but it seems it's been deleted. Is this possible?

Jess Dec 6th, 2001 06:29 AM

Jamin: No problem! <BR><BR>My father is mexican-american and italian, he's from Texas. My mother is slovakian and scots-irish and from South Carolina.<BR><BR>We don't do the traditional New Years mexican tradition of tamales, but that's one too for this time of year.<BR><BR>I don't really know how we came about to celebrate St. Nick's day, we just did.

mother Dec 6th, 2001 07:00 AM

About a week before Christmas we go to our local forest to buy the tree. When the children were young, we would go to the school nativity play where a doll was baby Jesus and there were angels in bed sheets and shepherds dressed in dressing gowns with one of mum's tea towels on their heads. Nowadays Father Christmas leaves stockings full of goodies for the children (now in their 30s) which they open on Christmas morning. Because my children went to a school where some of the children's families were less well off than us, we always made sure that Father Christmas just left small inexpensive presents.<BR>The more expensive presents are from the family and go under the tree to wait until after Christmas lunch. In the old days, the children would be wild with excitement and could hardly wait until the table was cleared and everything washed up.<BR>Christmas lunch is turkey (a bronze one this year), stuffing, sausages with bacon wrapped round them, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots and the traditional brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, bread sauce and gravy made from the turkey giblets. We also have yorkshire puddings, not traditional but people like them.<BR>After the first course we pull the crackers, put on the silly hats and read out the even sillier jokes and riddles. This gives everything a few minutes to settle before the entrance of the pudding. This is brought in flaming and is served with brandy butter. We get everything into the dishwasher, open the presents and collapse in a heap.<BR>My grandparents would follow this lot with a huge Christmas tea, but our feeble generation can't face that.<BR>

kate Dec 6th, 2001 08:39 AM

From England:<BR><BR>As a child, we would always go round our friends house on Christmas Eve for a big get together of many families - I think this was to keep the kids quiet as we would all be getting over excited at this point. They were a very musical (violins, violas, clarinet, piano etc) lot and would always play carols. I didn't play an instrument so was generally given a xylophone to bash away on.<BR><BR>We'd then go home to bed to await Father Christmas - my father always told me that he wouldn't arrive for ages as he had to visit all the hospitals and orphanages first so it was pointless me trying to stay awake for him.<BR><BR>Then during the night my father would creap into my room to leave a stocking at the foot of my bed - this eventually became a pillow case as the boxes were too big. We would always wake up really early and force ourselves to stay in bed - just creeping out now and again to feel the outside of the pillow case. The about 7am we'd all pile onto my parents bed to open the presents. Each pillow case would hold all the presents from my parents (sorry, Father Christmas), including the obligatory satsuma, chocolate coins and box of Cadbury's selection.<BR><BR>Then breakfast and opening the presents under the tree which came from aunts and uncles.<BR><BR>I often asked why my parents didn't give us presents - they said it was because they had to pay Father Christmas.<BR><BR>Then big Turkey dinner with crackers, followed by the annual Queen's speech on TV at 3pm.<BR><BR>Watch an afternoon film on TV then round to our next door neighbours in the evening for cold turkey buffet and party games.<BR><BR>This year for the first time in 31 years I'm going away to Salzburg - my parents are less than impressed.

Carolyn Dec 6th, 2001 08:54 AM

My family always has Cherries Jubilee on Christmas Eve.

jhm Dec 6th, 2001 08:54 AM

Not Christian -- we therefore take advantage of the empty movie theaters.

Frank Dec 6th, 2001 09:47 AM

Our family always celebrated Christmas Eve with an all fish dinner. The rule was that you had to have 7 different types of fish included in the meal. Fried Shrimp, Spaghetti with Lobster Tails, Fried Eels, Calamari Salad, you get the idea. The tradition was imported from southern Italy and related to the fact that Catholics could not eat meat (at least in Italy) on Christmas Eve.<BR><BR>Alas that 7 fish tradition came to an end when the church allowed followers to eat meat on Christmas Eve and the older generation passed on. Although many Italian-Americans still do not eat meat on Christmas Eve.

ana Dec 6th, 2001 01:35 PM

From Venezuela as a Catholic our big celebration would be on Xmas Eve. <BR><BR>When small, the middle to larger kids would go from one neighbors house to the next, singing "aguinaldos" (equivalent to carolling). We would be given small sweets as treats at each house.<BR><BR>At around 11 PM, a big dinner of hallacas (it's like a filled tamale wrapped in banana leaves), hen (not chicken) salad, roast pork, pan de jam&oacute;n (ham bread) Lately also turkey with stuffing. Traditional drink - egg nog (without the nutmeg). Dessert: Dulce de lechosa (green papaya in a syrupy sauce), turron (from Spain).<BR><BR>"Misa de gallo" (midnite mass, celebrated with hand held candels and much singing).<BR><BR>Back home, the survivors would open their gifts after mass. <BR><BR>The smaller children would eat early and open their gifts before midnite mass.<BR><BR>All through the nite, massive display of fireworks, strenghtened at midnite.

Danna Dec 6th, 2001 08:07 PM

My mom let each of us choose whatever we wanted to eat on Christmas eve. Then she cooked it. We still do this to this day, even though we usually choose the same things, seafood, prime rib, and wild rice. Can't wait!

?? Dec 7th, 2001 05:38 AM

Nice thread. What's satsuma?

Thanks, Gene Dec 7th, 2001 05:47 AM

In the best "A Christmas Story" tradition, we started going to a local Chinese restaurant for Christmas eve dinner, pretty much the only restaurant open that night in our small college town. The owner, "Charlie," brings out his single-stringed Chinese instrument and plays Christmas carols on it, and sometimes his granddaughter sings along with it. Everyone is very fond of "Charlie Two-shoes," who has a special relationship with a Marine battalion and who recently received US citizenship amid much fanfare. So there's a special warmth in being there with others of the town who appreciate the man, his spirit, and his food. We are travelling this year and won't be there -- will miss it.

nina Dec 7th, 2001 05:50 AM

Also from New England<BR><BR>Tomorrow our neighbors hold their annual Christmas tree-cutting party. We have a tailgate party for about 60 people at a Chirstmas tree farm, then fan out, find our trees and cut them. After that, we bring the kids home, change and go to their house for a very nice adults only dinner.<BR><BR>Christmas eve, at our home, my side of the family comes for an Italian style Christmas eve, pasta and fish. I'm leaning towards perhaps combining the 2 with a sea scallop and angel hair dish. We exchange gifts and after dinner we will try to go to midnight mass.<BR><BR>Christmas the kids open the gifts that Santa brought them, then it's off to my brother-in-laws house. He lives in a very quaint village and is an excellent cook, so we know we're in for a delicious meal. After dinner he traditionally crawls under the dining room table and catches a nap. It's a holiday tradition.<BR><BR>Of course, it's been a little difficult to get into the holiday spirit what with temperatures in the 70's the past few days. In fact, my mission for today is to finish decorating the house. Merry Christmas all!

xmaskid Dec 7th, 2001 09:49 AM

We have several, including a 7-fish dinner for 20 on Christmas Eve -- which happens to be my birthday.<BR><BR>But the one I really like is the Advent Calendar. When our kids were younger, she bought an Advent Calendar that has little pockets for each day. My wife fills each pocket with a small treat that the kids can't touch until that day on the calendar. Now, the "kids" are in their 20s, and they still come home to get their treats from the Advent Calendar. I think they enjoy that more than the big gifts on Christmas morning.

moshe Dec 7th, 2001 11:38 AM

Kosher Chinese


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