Holiday Traditions -differences between your's and your spouse's family traditions


#1

When hubby and I first got married it was evident that many of our family traditions growing up were different.

First off my hubby wasn’t allowed to celebrate holidays until he was 13 (dad was a jw) so their traditions came kind of late.

I am very set in my ways about how things should be done when it comes to holidays. The first year we were married my hubby was in the Navy and we were waiting for housing so I stayed back at home with my parents. My husband was able to come home for a few days the week before Thanksgiving so his mom decided to have Thanksgiving early at their house. This was the first indication of the differences between my family and his.
Dinner consisted of a turkey breast, not a whole turkey. (Now how do you put “shoes” on a turkey breast since it has no legs?:hmmm: My mom is very big on the turkey having shoes. My daughter has now taken over the shoe making responsibilty of the family.) Ok back to the dinner -the cranberry jelly roll out of the can, yams out of a can, corn out of can, dinner rolls out of can, gravy out of can. And stove top stuffing-which is my favorite so this was acceptable. As soon as we finished eating the food was quickly wrapped up and put away and we did the dishes.

Now let move a week later to my parents house -huge turkey with napkin shoes (for the three of us-since hubby went back to his ship), fresh yams broiled with brown sugar, home made cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, veggies and olives on the special crystal tray lazy susan thing, miniature pumpernickel loaf in special oblong basket that it fits in perfecty, gravy made from turkey drippings and two different bowls of stove top stuffing one with giblets for my dad and one giblet free for my mom and me.

Each place setting has our fine china (lenox) and a wine glass. If you want Mountain Dew you drink it out of the wine glass. Turkey neck is boiling on the stove (for my dad who never wastes anything) and pumpkin and apple pie in the oven -ok those were frozen my mom wasn’t big on baking. This is for* 3 people. *Food is left out all evening in case anyone wants seconds (-and no one in my family has gotten sick from food poisoning.) Dishes will still be on the table the next morning. We socialize and nap after dinner.:slight_smile:

So what are the differences between your family of origen and that of your spouses?


#2

My husband grew up in Chile South America, so to him Christmas and New Year’s are in the Summer time. He had a hard time adjusting to a “Winter Christmas”, this is a kid who after Mass went to the beach or rode is new bike or went fishing with his new pole on Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve for him was the same as a “4th of July Block/Beach party” here. Not held in some stuffy hall or sitting inside watching a Ball Drop. But over the years he likes to watch the ball drop have a drink and share a Kiss with me at Midnight. Thanksgiving on the other hand is all mine. And this is one American Holiday he loves, along with my Turkey and special stuffing.:thumbsup: He wishes Americans held it twice a year;)


#3

I think with holiday traditions, just like any aspect of marriage, you have to do what keeps both people sane – find a mid-ground. If my dh insisted I replicate the turkey-days of his youth, I’d be dead from exhaustion, and no one would be happy. So we make each holiday our own; something from his family, something from mine, some holidays we don’t do anything from anyone’s family (one year we said “screw it!” went skiing all day and picked up Boston Market on the way home…his mother would have a heart attack if she knew!!!)

The way I see it, we are going to live, as a military family, far away from extended family for a long time. For this reason, I try to make our traditions include family history, but not duplicate it – we are our own family, and it galls his mom that I do a crockpot roast for Christmas, but you know what? Too bad. We do that nasty disgusting pudding on Christmas eve…I get the crockpot!! LOL – DH is fine with all of it; the things I miss from my moms house, I’ve gotten over it in the interest of how much I love and respect my husband.


#4

We have celebrated Chirstmas on the 24rth of December a few times, as my husband is German, they ( in his family ) open the
gifts on the 24rth, and then they have their dinner. We alternate
every year ot two. Germans don’t normally eat turkey. They do
prefer as it has been told to me, eat duck, or goose. I have never
heard of a German family eating turkey. It could be, but it would
be rare. Maybe in North America they do, but usually not in
Germany. I have never eaten duck or goose for Christmas. Frank
likes the duck, but I am not to fond of it as it excretes alot of fat.
I don’t put out fine china. My husbands German dishware is very
very old, all of it antique, passed down for many generations of his
grandparents. He never eats off it.To old, to fragile, to expensive.
When we have alot of people, we will use paper plates I don’t
have alot of regular dishware, and don’t need it. Anyways, these are our traditions. We mix the German Christmas traditions with
our North American ones. We go to midnight Mass too. Its all very nice! Germans by the way, normally decorate the tree on the
23rd! That’s what Berliners do. I never knew this until I was in
Berlin in 1998. Very interesting to say the least! :slight_smile: They leave their trees up until the day after New Years. I put ours up in mid
december. Maybe this year, we will do it the German way :slight_smile: I
don’t know if I can wait that long! I love putting it up in mid December. We’ll see :slight_smile:


#5

Most of our family traditions, from both sides of the family, consist in physically visiting with the family. This proves somewhat difficult, since our families are half-way across the country from eachother. We have been just alternating holidays, which basically works, but when we have a larger family of our own, I would like to start to stay at home for at least one holiday a year to start our own traditions.

One significantly different tradition between our families is that my family gets ready for the deer hunting season over Thanksgiving, and my husband has taken his gun safety course, so we are joining them for the Thanksgiving holiday. This will mean driving from our Baltimore home to the midwest for Christmas again this year, but maybe next year, our little one’s first Christmas, we can be closer to home (since my family is only 3 hours from us).


#6

My DH is from a HUGE extended family (his father is one of 9 surviving children, 7 of whom have children), so Thanksgiving and Christmas with the extended family is a no-gifts, all-food kind of affair. They put out a huge buffet, no one eats in any organized way except that the kids get to it first after the blessing. It’s incredibly chaotic, and incredibly fun! I actually disliked it before I began to get my appetite under control. Everyone is so all over the place that no one notices what you do (or don’t) eat, so you are totally on your own to restrain yourself. Since his family is FULL of food pushers, the holidays are actually a welcome respite.

My family is much more “dignified” and organized about the meal itself. Everyone sits at a table (or tables as the need may arise), everyone passes dishes, visits, and eats until they almost burst. Then (my stepmom actually started this) before anyone naps, we all take a walk around the neighborhood. This helps with the incredibly full feeling, and makes way for dessert. :thumbsup: Then it’s apple, pumpkin, mincemeat (yuck, but my dad loves it), and pecan pie with lots of real whipped cream and eggnog. Thankfully we usually eat in the early afternoon and dessert is later, so this is pretty much all anyone eats for the day. Leftovers are usually packaged up pretty quickly, and if most of the women cook, most of the men do the dishes.

I think both traditions have their merits, and are family-centered enough to work for me. The loneliest holidays I’ve ever spent were the ones without my family.


#7

Well I have compromised a little too. We do those crescent rolls from the can. I actually like those better then the mini-pumpernickle loaf. Gravy (when I make it) is from the can -but the cranberry jelly thing in the canned is still banned. :stuck_out_tongue:

Christmas works out ok because we’ve always opened presents on Christmas Eve in my house. Dad is German, mom is Italian. Then we go to midnight mass. Christmas day we spend with my in-laws. One thing that disturbed me was the present opening procedures. In our house we take turns handing out a gift an we all watch while the person open the gift. Then we go on to another person ect. In my husband’s house they stack all your presents in front of you and everyone opens at the same time.

Our first Christmas out of state my parents came to visit and hubby started stacking and opening and I had to intervene before my parents freaked out. Also my mom loves to leave all the crumpled wrap around as we open and then take pictures after ward in the whole stack of presents and wrap. My husband’s family get’s a garbage bag ready and puts each sheet of wrap in the garbage as they open. That’s another thing my poor hubby tried to do and my mom was like “What are you doing?!”

The one tradition we carried over from my hubby’s side is tinsel. Our family did not do tinsel on the tree (too messy). It’s the only part of decorating my hubby likes so we do tinsel.

Our Christmas stocking didn’t come from either side. My hubby wasn’t allowed to believe in Santa Claus and in my family Santa Claus brought fruits and nuts -it’s the European thing I guess. Except one year I got all kinds of Shaun Cassidy stuff and cool hair barrettes. I think my older sister gave Santa a hand that year. We do stockings full of goodies, leave out cookies and carrots and track Santa on the internet through NORAD.


#8

I’m half hillbilly/half redneck married to a Norwegian.

Nuff said.

:smiley: :rotfl:


#9

I cannot imagine any holiday meal that does not include Ravioli.

I did not realize that the entire world did not have at least SOME Italian heritage until I went away to college. That’s when I had my first Thanksgiving meal that did not include Ravioli.

Oh - and football…you cannot have a Thanksgiving day without football.

I have never had napkin shoes on a Turkey though, that sounds so CUTE!!! How do you make them?

We track Santa on NORAD, we put stockings out for everyone (including the dog) and cookies out for Santa (with a carrot for Rudolph). We don’t do Midnight Mass because the kids are too little but we do the early Mass first thing in the morning. My former SIL introduced opening presents on Christmas Eve with the big present from Santa on Christmas Day.

Also, before we go to bed, we put Baby Jesus in the manger…

Now I do need to tell you - we are NORTHERN Italians…


#10

Well, my husband’s family is usually pretty big on getting all the family together, so usually they would head up on Christmas Eve to their grandparents and come home Christmas Day in the afternoon to the presents Santa brought. That’s how it was when they were little. Their Thanksgiving is more relaxed though - Stove Top (my mother would be horrified :stuck_out_tongue: ) just a turkey breast, not the whole turkey, and usually their relatives come down to visit them instead of the the other way around.

My family is a LOT smaller than my husband’s so it was usually just the 5 of us, for both holidays. Occasionally my aunt and uncle would visit on Christmas afternoon, but sometimes they would wait till the next day. Thanksgiving is a big affair-everything homemade, fancy dishes, etc. Christmas Eve was mass at 6, then home for a late dinner and to bed. Then presents VERY EARLY :smiley: the next morning, and a big ham or turkey dinner at night.

Now comes the compromise - we’ve been doing it different every year. Usually we’ll have Thanksgiving “lunch” at my husband’s parents (they’re pretty flexible, my parents…not so much) then dinner at my parents to stuff ourselves even more. :stuck_out_tongue: Christmas this year I think we’ll probably be at the grandparents for Christmas Eve. I feel selfish but I wish we didn’t have to go away. My mom always makes a nice dinner and I like being at my own parish for mass, but…anyway, and then home the next day to see my parents and have dinner.

Oh, and the presents thing - my in laws do the one present per person at a time, take a picture thing. At my house it’s stack and open all at once. Although we do have a bag handy to throw the paper in. :slight_smile:


#11

[quote=LSK]I cannot imagine any holiday meal that does not include Ravioli.

I did not realize that the entire world did not have at least SOME Italian heritage until I went away to college. That’s when I had my first Thanksgiving meal that did not include Ravioli.

Oh - and football…you cannot have a Thanksgiving day without football.

I have never had napkin shoes on a Turkey though, that sounds so CUTE!!! How do you make them?

We track Santa on NORAD, we put stockings out for everyone (including the dog) and cookies out for Santa (with a carrot for Rudolph). We don’t do Midnight Mass because the kids are too little but we do the early Mass first thing in the morning. My former SIL introduced opening presents on Christmas Eve with the big present from Santa on Christmas Day.

Also, before we go to bed, we put Baby Jesus in the manger…

Now I do need to tell you - we are NORTHERN Italians…
[/quote]

Ha, this brings back memories. My husband’s family is northern Italian, too, but they generally would have an Italian side dish and Italian cookies next to the pies, and leave it at that–still have a turkey or ham for Christmas dinner, etc.

An ex boyfriend’s family, however, would have a full-blown Italian dinner even for Easter. Never in my life have I had anything but ham for Easter! :slight_smile: It was a total “shock” (but a yummy one) to eat homemade raviolis and meatballs and lasange and fried cheese and chopped salad and caesar salad and garlic bread and whatever else on Easter Sunday. Good stuff.


#12

First was stockings - his family celebrated this on St. Nick’s night - I grew up Protestant so I had no idea what he was talking about. We have made that our tradition now.

His family went to midnight mass - mine Christmas day. We now go Christmas Eve to the children’s services :).

His family opened up some presents Christmas Eve. I waited until Christmas morning. Our tradition now is to wait.

Elves bring new PJs every Christmas eve. They are friends of Jesus and peek in to make sure they are behaving in Church so they can double check the good-naughty list one last time. DH’s tradition, with a few twists.


#13

Um…my inlaws drink a LOT more than my family. This makes for really interesting family parties. But at least DH’s family is still small enough for everyone to fit in someone’s home. My family has to rent out a hall.

Otherwise, my husband got really confused when he found out that my entire family (dad is Mexican, and even my mom’s completely non-Mexican family picked up the tradition over the past 35 years) eats tamales with salsa for Christmas breakfast. I remember the silly argument when we were still dating: “Oooh, look! Dad got the tamales!” “Why?” “Because it’s Christmas.” “Again, why?” “Tamales are Christmas food!” “Tamales are NOT Christmas food, ham is Christmas food.” “Tamales are way better than ham, just try one.”

I now have him converted. I think he’d revolt if we didn’t have the tamales. My inlaws scarfed down the dozen I brought them last year, and I have a feeling they’ll ask for more. Hmmm…world domination through tamales…


#14

#15

[quote=rayne89] (Now how do you put “shoes” on a turkey breast since it has no legs?:hmmm: My mom is very big on the turkey having shoes. My daughter has now taken over the shoe making responsibilty of the family.) QUOTE]
I would pay to see this. Do you have pictures? If your mom is like my MIL she takes pictures of every holiday table before everbody digs in. I am fascinated to see the shoes.

oops, when I went back to fix spelling I saw the picture above, thanks, I was extremely worried about our barefoot turkey, or should I say Discalced, maybe I have been serving Carmelite turkey all these years.

reminds of a story, don’t recall the source, about the mother who finally moved into a small apartment and turned over the holiday meal responsibility to her daughters. Dutifully following every one of the family traditions, DD cut off about a third of the ham before putting it in the roasting pan. Mother asked her why, and DD replied, why mom, you always did it that way! Mom said, that is because my roaster was not big enough for a whole ham, but you have plenty of room in that big pan!.
[/quote]


#16

[quote=Marilena]We have celebrated Chirstmas on the 24rth of December a few times, as my husband is German, they ( in his family ) open the
gifts on the 24rth, and then they have their dinner. We alternate
every year ot two. Germans don’t normally eat turkey. They do
prefer as it has been told to me, eat duck, or goose. I :slight_smile:
[/quote]

DH family is all German, they also open gifts on Christmas eve, then go to midnite Mass. But I think Grandma’s turkey stuffing recipe comes from the German tradition of serving duck or goose, because it is intended for wild gamebirds. Very involved, I could never replicate it and don’t even look at this if you are taking Lipitor. but have helped FIL do it: it involves a roasted pork loin, brauschwager liver sausage, crackers, apples, celery, onions, bread crumbs, white raisins, maybe more stuff I have forgotten, all put through a meat grinder before mixing. Absolutely delicious but liver-hardening. Now he is gone, and all this brothers and sisters, nobody in the family does it anymore.


#17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.