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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What are your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions today as an adult?

In addition to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we also celebrate St. Nicholas Day by hanging our Christmas stockings. The stockings are usually filled with a few candy items, and a video game or movie. When they were younger it was small dolls and Matchbox cars. One year I was having a real hard time with discipline. Telling them that Santa was watching, faking phone calls to Santa, nothing worked. So I went to the garage, got a few pieces of unused charcoal for the grill and put them in the kids stockings along with a note from Santa reminding them that he is watching and that the behavior he saw was not good. The note asked them to improve and if they did he would stop by before Christmas and fill their stockings, otherwise, more coal on Christmas. I wanted to make the letter look official, but I didn’t have anything to do that, nothing to emboss it, no glitter even. Instead, I took glue and signed “Santa” in cursive and then sprinkled cinnamon over the glue and let it dry. The kids were quite impressed. Their behavior improved long enough not to have to go back out to the garage for more charcoal for Christmas.

For our Christmas Eve tradition now I make a couple trays of Sfincioni
for Christmas Eve. I also prepare veggie and cheese trays. I bake 2 quiches, one quiche is warmed up Christmas morning, the second we warm up the day after Christmas. It takes the craziness out of Christmas morning and makes it special, because I only make quiche for holidays. Lately my 13 year old son has taken to baking, so he will usually bake a batch of cookies so he has homemade cookies for Santa.

One thing that we don’t do, that we would really like to do, is to go as a family to Midnight Mass. We have yet to find a church in our area where we feel comfortable. Anastasia and I were both brought up Roman Catholic, and being that we live in the community where she grew up, she is not comfortable at the local church.

Christmas Eve we watch Christmas movies as a family. Sometimes we will stop at Anastasia’s Mom’s house and hang out for a while. My son sets out the cookies and a beverage for Santa. When the kids were little we would read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.
Twas the night before Christmas
If Anastasia and I have any last minute Elf work, we send the kids to bed early, otherwise we let them stay up late so we have some hope of sleeping in a bit Christmas day. I don't put any gift tags on the gifts, just in case the kids find my hiding places. Remember "hiding in plain sight"? I pick a different gift wrap for each family member and all of their gifts are wrapped in that one wrap. A few times Anastasia has messed me up by getting into my color coded stash of wrap, but since she uses tags, it all worked out.

Christmas morning we open our gifts while breakfast warms in the oven. We usually head out to Anastasia’s Mom’s house after that to celebrate with her very large family. We usually arrive home after dinnertime and graze on any leftovers from the night before.

It’s hard to incorporate some of my childhood traditions because most of my family has passed away. Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles have passed away through the years. I moved out of state and the few elder relatives I have left have also moved away. It always makes me sad around this time of the year that we’ll never have the kind of Christmas I had growing up ever again. As much as I try, I know it will never be the same. But then I also think that making new traditions can also be enjoyable and hopefully cherished memories for my kids. I really look forward to everyone’s posts. Maybe by sharing our traditions we can glean a few new ones for ourselves.

Traditions are important. Cherish the memories.


ordinarymomss said...

It does get sad when your family separates and gets smaller. My tradition don't seem to matter much to me this year. My mom passed in July and I just can't wait to get the holidays over with. But I do have to keep up my spirits for my kids. Perhaps I will post our traditions on my site. Im having a hard time figuring out what to write anyway.

Love your blog btw.

JD at I Do Things said...

This year I'm so not in the X-mas spirit, I don't know if we'll follow ANY traditions. But usually:

It's just me and my husband (and our 2 cats) on X-mas Eve, tho we don't usually do anything special, except maybe watch "Rudolph." My mom, brother, and his girlfriend come over on X-mas. My mom always makes the most delicious coffeecakes, and we have those with coffee while we open our gifts. Dinner is usually ham, etc,--pretty traditional, except one year we did have ziti. I always get those Christmas crackers that you pull apart and make everyone wear the paper crown that comes inside. My husband I and do giant stockings for each other in addition to wrapped gifts, and I make a smaller stocking for my family members, tho this year, I'm making everyone do a stocking for someone else.

Hmmm. I'm starting to feel more in the Christmas mood already!

JD at I Do Things

fidget said...

ooo signing in cinnamon is a cool idea. i saw someone else talking about "elf on a shelf" as a reminder for kids to behave during the holidays.

Lola said...

My condolences on the loss of your mother. That first year is the most difficult. All the holidays seem almost hollow. Many times the family doesn't want to do anything. I remember when my mother passed away in 1984, most of the family wanted to call off the usual holiday activities, but thankfully one of my Aunts spoke up and said that wouldn't be what my Mom wanted. Of course she was right. We went through with our regular traditions. There was a teary eyed moment though, when it came time for someone to make the mashed potatoes (always my Mom's job). My sister and I joke about it now every year, in fact I brought it up when she was over for Thanksgiving. We had a good laugh.

I'm not all that much in the holiday spirit this year either, but I am trying. I think my reminiscing via these posts is helping alot. I think that once I start gift wrapping that will help too. I usually watch old Christmas movies while locked up our bedroom wrapping like a madwoman. I don't know if it's the wrapping or the movies. Probably both.

Actually that 'Elf on a Shelf' post sparked my memory. My kids thought the letter was sooo cool. They still talk about it. They also talk when they were little they heard Santa's sleighbells.

Our old house had front and back staircases. The back staircase was closer to their bedrooms and rarely used. Somewhere we got a leather strap with large bells attached, like sleighbells. On Christmas Eve after the kids went to sleep I'd sneak up the back stairs, quietly, so as not to make the stairs creak. I'd shake the bells for a minute or so, then sneak back down the stairs.

Tamika said...

We don't have any traditions yet. I'm hoping to change that now that we have a Little One. This year we'll visit family so they can spend time with the Little One and then I think starting next year (the Little One will be two), we're staying at home and starting traditions with our little family. I want to have something that we do and look forward to every year like you do. I think it would have been nice to have that when I was younger and want my son to have that and maybe he can continue those traditions with his family. I just have to think of what we can do.

Lola said...


It's so much fun when the kids are little. I'm sure whatever traditions you begin with your little one, they will make wonderful memories.

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