"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Driving my husband to work this morning he asked me how long I thought you had to be doing something for it to be considered a tradition. My first answer was - more than once with plans to continue. My second answer was - you can make the statement "we're starting a new tradition" and thus it is a tradition, yet you have in fact, not done it yet. What do you think?

When we were first married we lived in the same town as my parents, his parents, my brother's family, my sister's family, and my brother-in-law who still lived with my in-laws at the time (being in high school and all). This made it so we were bombarded with family on the holidays. Like Thanksgiving lunch and Thanksgiving Dinner. I'm sure many of you have endured similar. By our second Christmas we were sick of it, and we had a child. So we embarked on some traditions of our own. Like we blew all meals off on Christmas Eve and our family goes out for Chinese food, which is actually a family tradition that we stole from my brother-in-law's family in Virginia. I think the whole family has since stolen this tradition as well.

Also when we were first married we sat down and discussed the traditions we had growing up, and which we'd like to keep and which we'd like to do away with. Here's what we came up with, some his, some mine, some brand new to the both of us.

  • On Christmas Eve Eve (the 23rd) we exchange ornaments. (His/New)
    • this one we sort of modified. His family always did ornaments for the kids each year. But they also opened family presents Christmas Eve and Santa presents Christmas Day. That didn't leave us any special ornament opening date, so we do it Christmas Eve Eve each year. This way also, if any presents are late and show up the day after Christmas, my husband, whose birthday is the 27th, has basically an entire week of present opening, which he of course loves.
  • We eat at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve. (New)
  • Christmas Eve we open family gifts (His)
  • Christmas Eve, one of the presents the kids open is PJs and/or slippers (Mine)
  • Before coming downstairs Christmas morning, the kids have to drink a glass of orange juice. (His)
  • The kids do not however have to brush their teeth before drinking the aforementioned orange juice. (New revision)
  • Christmas morning we open Santa presents (His/Mine)
  • Our kids know that we are Santa (New)
  • An orange in our stockings - although it'll probably be a Clementine (Mine)
  • We eat Danish aebleskiver's for Christmas breakfast (Mine)
    • My dad is half Danish and at some point in my parents' marriage they decided to adopt some cultural traditions... they once lived in Santa Barbara, which is next to the Danish town of Solvang, and so the aebleskiver tradition was born.
  • We sit around in our PJs a lot (just sort of happens)

What are your holiday traditions... new, old, revised?


Jamie said...

I like the revision of not having to brush your teeth before drinking the orange juice.

We do Chinese food on Christmas Eve as well, except we make everything and eat at home. I love Chinese food on Christmas Eve!

Breakfast/brunch on Christmas Day was always huge-whatever it was. Usually my dad made fancy omelettes with everything in them. I want to do a brunch, but something different every year. I have a friend that makes those abelskievers every year. I have a pan but haven't tried them yet. Are they hard to make?

We also put an orange at the bottom of the stocking. Are clemetines tangerines?

We open pajamas on Christmas Eve. I wonder how that got started because so many people do this, right?

We are still trying to figure out how we want to do Christmas Eve. The nativity acted out? Make treats for Santa? Read Christmas books?

My dad drove us all nuts growing up because he would only open one present, saying that if he opens one per day Christmas would last all week long. Sometimes he wouldn't let us go in the living room where all our presents were or even see what Santa brought until we had all eaten breakfast. That was so frustrating!

You guys have a lot of good ideas. I have to stop myself from saying, "that's lame" when Jake wants to share what he did when he was little and wants to continue in our family. There's plenty I want to do away with, so it's fun to figure out the traditions we want to have.

Oh, and we want to start driving around on Christmas Eve in our pajamas to look at Christmas lights displays in neighborhoods. That's a new one altogether.

Jamie said...

wow. that was a really long comment

Nance said...

clementines are oranges... i'm pretty sure. but small, easy to peel ones with no seeds. it's like the kid friendly orange.

aebleskivers aren't hard to make... hard to perfect though. my dad's are super spherical and fluffy. mine look sort of like squished versions of his. i've only been making them since we moved to kansas, so a couple years. you just pour the batter into the little hole in the pan and when it gets bubbly, use a skewer or cake tester to turn it over.

we haven't really decided on a christmas eve program... usually we read some sort of scriptural account of jesus's birth. we haven't acted it out yet.

wendys said...

First of all... my husband's family calls Christmas Eve Eve... Christmas Adam. I think that is pretty funny. It's easier than saying Eve Eve. We also let our kids know that we are the provider of gifts on Christmas. After 7 years of marriage we are still going to family's houses for Christmas so have been unable to create our own traditions yet. Hopefully we can start next year.

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