Just for fun, I asked members of my staff to tell me some the holiday traditions in their families. I’ve included my own in this list as well. As you can see, my “peeps” focused primarily on food (!), and there are ethnic traditions seem to have been handed down over many years:
Here’s mine: Our son is 23 years old, but we still do the “Oh….what is that sound?” (Then we make the sound of hooves). “What can that be? It must be….no, it can’t be…it must be Santa Claus!” And this is when we give our last gifts.
From Kimberly Neill:
Opening one present on Christmas Eve, which is always Christmas “jammies” to wear that night!
From Benjamin Pratt:
Listening to Johnny Mathis’ “Merry Christmas” and Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song.”
And from the rest of the Dr. Laura staff:
* Reading out loud “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve
* On Christmas Eve, my daughter and I bake Snickerdoodles and leave a few with a glass of mild for Santa and his elves. Santa always takes a big sip of milk, and a bit of cookie, which we discover when we wake up in the morning. After Christmas dinner, we sit around the piano, open up our stockings (which my mom sewed back in the 1950s, when my brother, sister, and I were born) and sing Christmas carols.
* My family and I eat nothing but conch soup on both Christmas and New Year’s Day, and I’m not allowed to spend any money on the first of January, or supposedly it will result in a loss of money for the year.
* Every year, we prepare a nice big meal, get all dressed up, and we wait until Midnight to open our gifts. Sometimes, though, we start at 11:59PM!
* I’ve always loved English Christmas traditions. As a teenager, I found a recipe for classic English Christmas pudding, and ever since, I’ve made the pudding and the hard sauce (and it takes 6 to 8 hours to make it), and it’s always one of the desserts on the table at our Christmas dinner, which is a little unusual, since I come from an Italian family!
* Our Italian family continues the tradition of the Christmas Eve fish dinner that’s served over several courses and involves seven fishes. Supposedly, it signifies the seven sacraments in Catholicism. We start out with Frutte di Mare (with shrimp, scungilli, calamari and king crab legs), then move on to the pasta course (linguine with white clam sauce and mussels in red sauce), and continue to the course featuring baked lobster tails. We end the meal with coffee and Italian pastries.
* In Norway, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December, so my family and I go to the Norwegian church to hear the Christmas sermon that morning. Later in the evening, after dinner, it’s a tradition in our family to eat Norwegian rice pudding with berry sauce. In the pudding, there is one almond mixed in. Whoever finds the almond in their serving of pudding wins a gift. Growing up the almond “mysteriously” always ended up in my bowl, but now that I’m an adult, it’s fair game for anyone who is over at the house, sharing in the tradition.
I hope that you and your family either continue long passed-down traditions, or start new ones. Happy holidays!