'Tis the Season - Reflecting on My Family's Christmas Traditions
My family is big on traditions. We tweak them every once in awhile, add a few new ones here and there, but for the most part, they remain the same.
The Christmas season begins in our home around the first of December. That's when we (we being my mum and myself, we share an apartment) put up the tree and the rest of the decorations. We drink egg nog and listen to the Boney M Christmas Album (originally released in 1981, before I was even born - we still have it on cassette, I think it might be time to buy the CD!).
Then come the Christmas movies over the next few weeks. It's not Christmas without A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the Santa Clause trilogy, A Garfield Christmas, Elf, and many others.
Christmas Eve is our main family celebration. I can't remember when it began - probably 2002 when my oldest nephew was born - but every Christmas Eve, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew come for dinner and to exchange gifts. This year is extra special because it's my youngest nephew's first Christmas (he'll be about 10 and a half months at Christmas).
Every year until 2009, my mum did the majority of the cooking while I did the cleaning and setting of the table. In 2009, I took an interest in cooking and started cooking all the meals in our house, so I cooked Christmas dinner for the first time. Over the past few months, my sister-in-law and I have started cooking and baking together and I have a feeling a new tradition will begin this year - two crazy girls in my small kitchen creating Christmas dinner. The menu doesn't vary much from year to year, with the exception of last year when my sister-in-law was pregnant and constantly craving my homemade macaroni and cheese, and the fact that we had ham rather than turkey because the turkey didn't work out so well on Thanksgiving. This year I can see an elaborate menu being created for a feast of epic proportions, complete with a variety of mouth-watering desserts.
Before and after dinner, we often watch a Christmas movie or two and then open gifts. My older nephew's reactions when opening presents is one of my favorite things about the night - he's always so grateful for everything he gets, and exclaims over every little thing, telling us how much he loves it, and us. I can't wait to see my baby nephew opening his first Christmas gifts, and I have a strong suspicion that like many babies, he'll be far more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper than the actual gifts.
Every few years we try to add in new traditions because we want to keep it interesting for the kids. My sister-in-law and I have been talking about making gingerbread houses together, which I can see becoming a new family tradition.
On Christmas morning, it's just me and my mum. I have to admit, I really don't like Christmas day. My dad died when I was ten, and my mum and I have spent many Christmas days alone since then. My dad used to go all out for the holidays; he was like a big kid and he loved decorating and cooking and Christmas shopping. Holidays were always a big affair in our home, and have never been the same since his death, even though we try to make the best of it. One of our Christmas morning traditions is egg nog French toast, a recipe of my dad's and a tribute of sorts to him.
I can see these traditions carrying on forever, changing slightly over the years as our family grows, but staying true at the heart of things. I've always dreamed of creating traditions for my own family when I'm married and have children of my own - stockings hung by the fireplace, cookies and milk for Santa, tucking my children in and reading them The Night Before Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, my two favorite Christmas stories. I can't wait for shopping, parades, pageants, visits to Santa, playing in the snow, caroling and all the wonderful things that come with family Christmases and turn into traditions over the years. For now, I'm happy with the traditions we have, and feel blessed to have such an amazing family to share those traditions with.
This Hub won a HubNugget!
On the 22nd of December, this hub received a HubNugget in the Holidays and Celebrations category. It's really exciting for me, since I've only been a member for 5 weeks and since this was one of my first Hubs. Thank you so much to everyone who voted, I really appreciate the support and recognition!