family traditions...

So, Vanessa over at A Fanciful Twist inspired me to write about my own family's holiday traditions, because I love them :)

For as long as I can remember, we have always done our immediate family's Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. We used to go to a Christmas Eve service at church, though we haven't done that in a while. Then we would come home and we'd have a dinner of all kinds of yummy snacky type things (these days we just start there). We always have fresh crab, which my dad and I crack while the girls are whipping up some of the other treats, which often include cheese fondue, reuben dip with chips or crackers, olives, veggies and dip, fruits, etc. Basically really yummy stuff that we don't have to spend a lot of effort on making :)

Then we have dinner, in the living room rather than at the table, usually with wine, sparkling cider, hot chocolate, coffee. Once we're done, we all tidy up the kitchen, then we usually whip up spiced cider, more hot chocolate or coffee, more wine, whatever works :)

We all go and sit around the tree. Usually one of us will read the "Christmas story," which is just kind of a set number of verses that give a brief overview of Jesus' life and the reason he came. Then we all grab our stockings, and we go around the room from youngest to oldest and open one present at a time. There's kind of an unspoken game that gets played, that we all try to guess what the presents are before we open them, as many of them are always the same kinds of things, certain kinds of candy, socks, guitar strings for me, etc. We always have a good time teasing each other for getting the same things (which are always things we want, anyway).

After that, one person is chosen (usually my sister) to be Santa's elf. They are in charge of finding and passing out the gifts. We again go around from youngest to oldest and pass out one gift at a time, and we all (with some exceptions) watch while they open each one. This gets interrupted from time to time with flying paper, bad jokes, bathroom breaks, The Far Side comic books, flying paper hitting candles, all kinds of things :) A couple of years ago, my mom got my dad the complete collection of The Far Side comics (it's two large volumes), and he continued for about 15 minutes to just giggle with tears streaming down his face, and couldn't be pulled away from them for anything. It was one of the best things I've ever seen.

And usually after we're finished opening presents, we are all given time to play with them, and then we'll usually break out a movie or music, and just sit around with drinks and talk or fall asleep or relax. In general, it's just such a nice, warm, comfortable time, we all get along so well. And it's been so great as my sister and I have gotten married that Trina and my brother in law Josh have gotten along so well with my family. And this year we have a new member of the family, little Blake (Amy and Josh's son). They are actually some of our favorite people. Our relationships in our family haven't always been perfect, but we've worked through things and it's actually brought us closer as a family.

This year Trina and I are thinking about going to a Midnight Mass somewhere in town - we just really like the ceremony and reverence and kind of magic about Catholic services. We lived in Lithuania for a year, which is a very catholic country, and we didn't go to a midnight mass, which we still regret. Anyway, we may have to make that a part of the yearly tradition, we shall see.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you're doing. I'll make sure to post pictures of our evening afterwards. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Get ready for some more crab, Dave!! You never know...maybe you will get a new surprise in the stocking : ) We like to keep you guessing!