Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas with the immediate family (Mom, Dad, my sister, and I) in my house was a very special occasion.  Until my sister got married, it always took place on December 23, because we had two family Christmas gatherings on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning was for Santa Claus and breakfast with my grandparents.  Christmas Day was always a day when the family just spent together.  We probably all have certain family holiday traditions.  Over the next three days, I want to tell you about my family’s traditions.  The posts for the 23rd, 24th, and 25th are all about things that my mother read to us as children, generally on the 23rd or the night before.

Our dinner on the 23rd was always a special meal.  My mother used her fine china, crystal, and silverware only once a year, and this was the night.  My mother prepared the meal, which began with shrimp cocktails and salads, then we usually had Cornish game hens, various vegetables, and real yeast rolls.  Dessert was usually a homemade cheesecake.  While my mother prepared the meal, my sister and I were to set the table.  She would get out the Auburn Extension Cookbook which had the diagram above for setting the table, and my sister and I had to have it just perfect.  We always had the meal by candlelight, and when we were finished, we then were able to sit in the living room, which was next to the dining room, and open presents (These were the presents that Santa was not going to bring us; Santa always brought the big stuff).

Since my sister has been married, we have move this tradition to Christmas Night, which seems more appropriate anyway.  So what family traditions do you cherish the memories of?

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

6 responses to “Family Christmas Traditions

  • silvereagle

    When the children were small, we had three Christmas celebrations — one with each set of grandparents (one local, one 2 hours away)and then the Christmas morning at home each year. We would rotate the order of the grandparents around each year, depending on who was to come from out of town, etc. On Christmas at the out of town grandparents we would have one of the children read the Christmas story from the Bible before opening the gifts….And my mother (a local grandparent) woould make one of the biggest spreads ever as you never knew who would show up during the day. Good Memories and thanks for sharing yours!

  • Kevin

    My family has made tourtière for Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. It's a traditional French Canadian meat pie served at Christmastime. I'm about to go make them for this year's party–the pressure!

  • Anonymous

    Christ is born! Happy holidays to you, Joe.I'm wondering if you have the same absence of the following common tradition that I have (being raised in the Church of Christ): Going to church! Unless Christmas was like this year and on a Sunday, we did not have any services. And we never had a Christmas eve service. As a result, the Christmas day of my childhood was secular – Santa, presents, large family meal with lots of relatives. My partner was raised old-style Roman Catholic (Polish), so his traditions (which slowly are becoming my own) include a creche w/the baby absent until Christmas morning, fish and pierogi dinner Christmas eve, mass Christmas eve, and oplatek passed around at the dining table Christmas day. Running joke between us is that my Church of Christ Christmas was the Christmas celebrated by the Whos in Whoville. Gratitude, family, and happiness. Works for me! Fahoo fores dahoo dores.Dan

  • fan of casey

    Joe: Breakfast at my nieces' place to open presents on Christmas morning. Then off to bring flowers at family members' grave sites.

  • tamayn

    I think my favorite family Christmas tradition will always be frosting Christmas cookies. We'd spend the 24th baking the desserts we'd take to the grandparent's house on the 25th. It was the best way my mother found to distract the five of us until our father got home from work at midnight.

  • Anonymous

    We have a big dinner, too. Then we go out on a Tacky Light Tour to see the Christmas lights. Before we go we checkout http://www.tackylighttour.com

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