Every family has holiday traditions. Some may go to midnight mass on Christmas eve, others may be ordering Chinese food and watching action movies. No matter what your religion or anything else, you most likely have a holiday tradition for yourself and your friends. While readers got a small hint at my traditions on day 3 of Blogmas, today I’m diving deep into old and new traditions my family and friends follow during the holidays.
Christmas Eve with the Family
Since the beginning of time, my mom’s side of the family has gotten together on Christmas eve for a party. For the most part, the only thing to have changed over the years is who attends. We always have the party at my Granny’s house, what is my house now, which is a small-ish cape cod style. This, plus only having one bathroom can make a group of forty five people seem infinitely larger. Good thing we have a huge back yard.
Christmas Eve traditionally used to be a full sit down dinner with the whole family. The grandparents and some of the aunts and uncles would take the table in the dining room. The young kids and some of the parents would sit at a couple of card tables around the living room. Everyone else would be set up at a long table in the big upstairs bedroom that is now mine. Luckily we’ve since moved on from this formal dinner– and started allowing meat. For years we followed the traditional, seven fishes Italian Christmas dinner until one of my cousins brought salami. That was the end of that.
The food is only a small party of our Christmas Eve traditions. Our big main event each year is our family grab bag. Everyone who wants to participate has to bring a gift (usually with a $5 limit that no one follows) and then the fun begins. We usually draw numbers to determine who gets to pick first from the grab bag but in some years we’ve done family trivia or something even more complicated. In the end, everyone gets to pick a gift to open or steal from someone else. Depending on the gifts, this is the biggest challenge of the night. We’ve had gifts such as Santa Banana (he’s made over fifteen appearances at Christmas Eve) to the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. Santa Banana is always the most coveted prize of the evening though but holds the most responsibility as he has to be returned each year.
While some of the evening may seem odd to outsiders to the family, there is a reason that Christmas Eve is always my favorite night of the year. There’s magic, wonder, family, and Santa Banana. Who could need anything else?
Friends are just as important at the holidays as family. Throughout high school, a group of us would make a yearly trip before winter break to a hibachi restaurant for a night out. We would do a secret Santa and eat all of the fried rice and chicken teriyaki we could. Afterwards it was time for games or some hours put in being mall rats. It was a simple night but something that everyone always looked forward to every year.
What are your family and friends traditions at the holidays?