What are your Christmas family traditions?


#1

Hi everyone,

I just LOVE Christmas. The one thing I love about it the most is family time. Even though it’s just me and my parents, it’s special just to get together. My favorite Mass of the year is Christmas Eve Mass. It’s just beautiful, and it’s great to see Church packed for once :). I wish EVERY Mass could be like Christmas Eve Mass. After, Mom makes us a nice dinner, usually fettuchini or steak. Then we snuggle up on the couch and watch It’s A Wonderful Life. Even though it’s not religious, that movie is so good and wholesome. I just love it. I start crying every time Jimmy Stewart is on the bridge and goes “I want to live again Clarance!” Then my dad fixes us egg nog, and makes me drink one sip, even though that stuff is disgusting

What are your Christmas traditions with your family?

-Jeanne


#2

Right now I feel like our traditions are to race around to various family homes, and try to arrange visits for all my family, esp my dad who is alone.

I would like to quiet it down a bit, but part of the difficulty is that I would really like to have dinner at my mum’s place. But how to deal with dad and the in-laws becomes a problem.

All this being said, I have some traditions I love. I love going and getting a tree as a family, and decorating it. I love getting the Christmas music out (not too early though.) I like Christmas sweets.

Our Christmas movie is more recent - we always watch Love Actually.


#3

Enjoy the holidays while your family is all alive. My mom passed in 2004 and my dad lives over 600 miles away and it changes everything. I used to drive home every Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays from Michigan to Ohio. Just driving in the car with my husband and my dog by my side for the 41/2 hour drive and listening ot Christmas Carols and checking out the Christmas lites driving down I - 75 was great. To see my mother’s face lite up when I arrived was worth all the tea and china in the world. Now I live in South Carolina, farther away from my Ohio family and it will never be the same. I miss the snow!! I am glad that I am home thou and not off in some foreign country such as in the military. GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!!:gopray2::


#4

Tree Tradition: Mom and I watch Bill Murray’s “Scrooged” every time we put up the Christmas Tree. It’s funny and we enjoy it.

Stocking Tradition: The stocking is always filled with the following objects (and their meanings):

An apple - to signify the sweetness of life
Candy coins - for the riches of the New Year
Walnuts or Pecans - For the bitter that we endure and to temper the sweet
An orange - For unity and for sharing our gifts and sorrows with those we love

Cat Traditon: Someone sits up late at night the first night we have the tree up and tries to keep the cats from climbing up it. All the lower branches have nothing but bells on them for this reason.


#5

I LOVE the chaos of Christmas! :stuck_out_tongue:
We have my MIL and my parents and my siblings all in our same town - and the extended family just keeps getting bigger…
It feels *insanely *crazy jumping from one house to the next :o, but I do try to put it in perspective - we have everyone here available so we can actually SEE them! :smiley: Yes, it’s busy, but when the grandparents have passed on or siblings have moved away we’ll just MISS them more than ever! :frowning:
I love quiet, peaceful, reflective holidays just like everyone else… but I just have a feeling this won’t last forever, so my goal is to stay POSITIVE this year and EMBRACE the insanity! :smiley: This is what memories are made of - we can quietly reflect back on the insanity when we’re old, but for now - let’s ENJOY the noisy screaming children, jumping from one house gathering to the next, and celebrate while we CAN! :slight_smile:


#6

That sounds like a great tradition, and I’m sure your whole family enjoys it. :slight_smile:

First of all, I don’t like to put the cart before the horse (in this case, Christmas before Thanksgiving;)) But I am right there with you to say Christmas is my favorite.

My family has (what you would say) a strange Christmas tradition. We choose between Christmas Morning Mass or Christmas Eve Mass (usually it’s the Christmas Eve one). Besides centering it all around Jesus’ birth, and our 50+ Nativity scenes all throughout the house, it’s all about the food. We are italian…and even though we are so used to cooking traditional italian meals most holidays, don’t ask me why, but our Christmas meal tradition has always been Chinese food. It started before I could speak, and I don’t argue as I am a Chinese food addict; my whole family is. After the food is devoured, exchanging gifts is always an adventure…for me, it’s really the thought that counts - and the fact that my whole family is there (that never happens) to share this beautiful time with. Anyway, that’s my Christmas. And let me just say, as I get older, I become more and more aware of why Christmas truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Our Lord came to us…in a simple yet profound way. :yup::love:

:christmastree1:

Thanks for getting me really excited for our Savior’s birth,
God Bless
Therese


#7

The one tradition that has be mine since I was born was to attend a Christmas Eve Service… I grew up Methodist and our service was always a candle light service with lots of carols… To top off the night my mother always wanted to go visit the barn [size=2](I was raised on a farm)… It was the only night the cattle and chickens were quiet… Such peace…[/size]

When I married, my wife and I continued attending the Christmas Eve service in my Methodist Church… Then we moved and it was time for a change. We joined the Episcopal Church… We raised our three daughters in the Episcopal Church, but the Episcopal Church started to change…

Well, our daughters are now in their 30s… We have one grandson and we always wait to see what grandson’s Christmas Day plans are.

However, we are now Catholic so this Christmas Eve it will be Mass at a Roman Catholic Church… [ATTACH]6921[/ATTACH]


#8

Funny how family traditions just seem to happen. If you try to plan them, they don’t work. But the accidental things turn into traditions.

Here’s an idea that you might like to try. It’s a tradition in OUR house since before we had our children. Maybe it will work for you, too.

When my husband and I were young, we moved into an apartment in a nice neighborhood. Well, apparently thieves thought it was nice, too, because there was a rash of Christmas robberies in the apartment complex that year. The thieves would break into first-floor apartments and steal all the gifts under the Christmas tree.

So all the tenants were warned by the police to not put gifts under their tree.

My husband and I didn’t put any of our gifts under the tree, and when our family drove a thousand miles to see us, we told them to keep their gifts hidden until Christmas morning.

Throughout the month of December, our tree was bare underneath except for the manger scene. And no Jesus in the manger.

Hmmm…is this beginning to sound interesting?!

As you can imagine, it sure took the focus OFF gifts.

What a joy on Christmas morning! We all got up early and sneaked our gifts out to the tree, and when we all woke up, it was so exciting to see that bare space now filled with gifts, and best of all, Jesus in the manger.

When we had our babies, this tradition made even more sense. We didn’t have to worry that our babies would tear into the gifts. When they were really young, we used a fabric manger scene that they could play with to their hearts’ content.

And when we got cats, this tradition made even MORE sense! We didn’t have to worry about our gifts becoming playtoys (or litterboxes) for the kitties, although at least one of the cats carried the various resin figures from the manger scene around and dropped them off at various spots in the house.

And the living room is so neat! No gifts spilling all over the floor. Just a manger scene.

For almost 30 years now, we have maintained this tradition of NO GIFTS under the tree until Christmas morning. Only a manger scene. And on Christmas morning, both Jesus and all the other gifts appear under the tree.


#9

For the past 4 years, my three brothers alter-serve at midnight mass, and my sister and i do the readings. Before that, all of us kids would alter-serve the midnight mass. While we are staying up late to make it to mass, we always watch “a christmas story” or “its a wonderful life.” Those are our top two christmas movies we watch every year.

Other traditions, we always go buy a tree together as a family, and decorate it on my brother’s birthday (dec 4th).

The entire week before christmas, my mom, sister, grandma and i are in the kitchen making cookies, that we take to our neighbors. christmas dinner is always a big deal, usually with mom and i making homemade raviolis (usually takes two days to make, and about a half hour to devour since they are so tastey!)

Pretty soon, i’ll be married and passing some of these traditions, and well and his, onto our children :slight_smile:


#10

That’s so nice.


#11

Thats awesome! I would rather eat Chinese food on Thanksgiving and Christmas, personally. I don’t like turkey very much, but for once a year it’s ok.

I’m from Louisiana, and my grandma usually makes gumbo the day my relitaves from Texas and Floridia leave after Christmas. It’s sooo yummy.

I can’t wait for Christmas! There’s a possibility that I might get to go with my dad to Mexico the week after Christmas to do Mission work in small villiages. I’m not sure if it’s going to work out, but I’m praying it does!

-Jeanne


#12

We break opłatek(like communion wafers, but huge, rectangular and with gorgeous pictutes of the nativity, and angels, etc. It’s Polish of course :D) and wish each other a blessed year. And of course lots of food! My favorite mass is the Christmas Eve mass! We always wear our finest reds and blacks, usually lots of wool and velvet, and always have the radio on for Christmas music.

Every year we all get new ornaments, three total: one for me, one for my sister and one for my parents. This year will be my dog’s first Christmas with us… she looks like a Christmas dog, I know she’ll love it:D

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia!!! It’s quite early to be talking about Christmas… what a long wait it will be :frowning:


#13

Our traditions have changed over the years as the kids grew up and moved away.

Now DH and I attend Midnight Mass (which weirdly enough is usually at either 10 or 11 p.m. instead of midnight) and then come home and have a drink and go to bed.

On Christmas morning we usually go to Mass with our friends who have a granddaughter (she’s 5 this year). I’m usually a reader at that Mass. Then we tote our presents to their house and gather with them to open presents and share a Christmas breakfast to which we’ve all contributed something (all being them, us and their 3 grown up daughters who all live around). We spend the entire day with them and have Christmas dinner together.

We also spend New Year’s Eve at their house and they have New Year’s Dinner at ours. Our kids live far away so rarely make it home (we are in an isolated area). The one year that DD, SIL & DS2 were home we still gathered at friends’ house. It made all the more fun.


#14

We always have Chili for Christmas Eve dinner. My Mom always did that when I was a kid, so I continue the tradition. My kids love chili, luckily. We go to Mass at ten, I sing in the choir or play with the bell choir… my daughters are altar servers and my DH is an EM. We wake up on Christmas morning and go to Mass, then open presents with each other before making the rounds with all the family. It’s a completely exhausting time, but absolutely lovely.

Steph


#15

Can’t believe we’re talking Christmas here already! (We’re still in the middle of a tropical storm!!!)

Growing up in the 50s and 60s in New England, we spent Christmas with my aunt, uncle, cousins and grandparents, alternating between our home and my aunt’s. It was quite the gathering, as there were four kids in our family, and six cousins. I was always excited beyond words, it was that much fun.

Having lived so far away most of our married lives, the Christmas season has often been very difficult for me, and it took a lot of adjustment to celebrate Christmas in the usually warm, deep South, rather than New England. When our daughters came along, it was usually too difficult and expensive to fly home, and driving 1500 miles in the winter was dicey. My in-laws then started coming to visit for a week around Christmas, which was always wonderful.

Now, our older daughter and her husband generally alternate between his family and us, though now that “real life” (job responsibilities) intrudes, their visits are shorter. We are delighted that our younger daughter and husband are here in town, at least while they are in grad school, so that we can spend plenty of time with them over the holidays. DD helps me decorate our tree early in December (everyone here puts them up very early) and we put on the Christmas music. At least a couple of times during the season, we watch White Christmas (both girls and I are just love that movie!)

Most years, I hold a Christmas cookie exchange about 10 days before Christmas with a group of longtime friends, mainly from our parish. We each bake about 4 dozen of one type of cookie, and end up with about 10-12 different kinds. I serve hot cider and some hors d’oeuvres and sweets so that we don’t eat all the cookies!

During the years when everyone is in town, we generally go to Mass on Christmas Eve together, and then out to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant (one of the few places open then.) Lately, we’ve been having a leisurely, big breakfast, and then a late afternoon Christmas dinner, to accommodate our daughter’s in-laws, who do an earlier dinner and live close by, so that DD and SIL have two Christmas dinners. Our dinner is pretty much the same, year to year, as we all really love turkey (except dh, who can take it or leave it.) Turkey, gravy, a simple stuffing (dressing down here!), sweet potatoes, regular mashed potatoes, peas or corn, a carrot/parsnip dish of my mom’s, cranberry sauce, crescent rolls, homemade apple and chocolate cream pies…that’s pretty much the menu. I am hungry now!!!


#16

We have begun to do this with our children, it’s beautiful. We both have Polish grandparents & it’s a wonderful tradition that we are so happy to revive in our family.

We also go to Christmas Eve Mass, wait until after we go to Mass to put Jesus into His bed in our creche. I’d love to have a big feast from my father’s Sicilian heritage with the feast of 7 fishes, but my husband isn’t a big fish fan. I pull from that, but it’s not the same

Also, we have our tree up until the Epiphany & have the Wise-men travel to get to the Holy Family.

We also wait until Christmas to finish decorating our tree, which only goes up a few days before. And then we remember that the Christmas season starts Christmas day, we have so much more to celebrate!

In general the transition of focusing on Advent & then Christmas is really so beautiful spiritually.


#17

I think the best thing we do, or maybe it is just the most fun for me?

When we put up the nativity, the Wisemen make a trek across the living room. They start way the on the other side, moving closer each week, finally arriving on the Feast of the Epiphany. While that is happening, Jesus is hidden somewhere in the living room. He generally peeks out from behind something. I wait until I hear, “I found Jesus,” then I move him to a new hiding place. Christmas Eve, he finds his way to the manger. :thumbsup:


#18

What a delightful tradition! We used to have the Wise Men proceed across the mantle when the girls were little; maybe we should revive that!

When I was a child, our crèche was a very old one that had been given to my dad by a wonderful, saintly aunt. The Baby Jesus was actually made of wax. One Christmas, we went up to the attic and discovered that Baby Jesus had vanished - He had melted completely during the previous very hot summer! We were horrified.


#19

It gets worse at our house.

First know that we are one of those houses that is all lit up.

We have a Nativity and Wisemen. The Wisemen trek across the yard. :o Last year was the first year with the Wisemen, and my atheist husband set it up so they could make their way toward Jesus. :thumbsup:


#20

As a man who is single and celibate and without any family, I guess my traditions may sound a bit antiquated, however, they work for me. I start with the Friday after Thanksgiving. First, I put up the decorations and such - very traditional - and then spend the day in the woods walking and enjoying God’s creation. As Christ’s birthday nears, I spend more and more time out doors, simply wondering at the creation of out God. One tradition that I really enjoy is going out at night and looking at the night sky. I live on a farm in South Georgia (USA) and the sky is very bright with stars. I suggest any who live in the city take a trip out into a very rural area and view the sky. It is unlike any you will see in the city.

Christmas week is a time of giving and doing. I identify a needy family and buy a dinner for them and have it delivered. If possible, I send presents as well. It is always a gift from GOD. I attend Mass and then spend the afternoon watching football. Not a very “exciting” tradition, but one that I enjoy - and I pray that each of you enjoy the traditions that make your Christ Mass special.

PAX

Tom


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.