I thought I'd blog a little about some Christmas traditions I have. Some of them are not quite....... common, shall we say.
Okay, we have the regular traditions of putting up a tree, going to church, baking cookies and opening presents Christmas morning. Of course, the way we do these has changed.
The tree -- growing up, when I was very young, we got a real tree. we would prop it up in the backyard in water against our large rubber tree for a week or 2 and then bring it inside to decorate. I am guessing about a week before Christmas, because when we switched over to artificial we would do it the weekend before Christmas. My dad put on the lights, my mom and I decorated and my mom put on the tinsel(because it had to be perfect -- I swear, she put it on strand by strand). For a couple years I did theme trees. When I moved here I started using a spiral tree to display ornaments. That lasted 2 years. I also got a real tree last year and we are now making that a tradition. It goes up as soon as it is available(we get it free).
Church -- we were Catholic so we went to church on Christmas day. Later on we switched to Christmas Eve. When I was older we did Midnight Mass a couple of times. Now I am Mormon and we do not have a service on Christmas unless Christmas falls on a Sunday. I am thinking about going to a Catholic Midnight Mass this year just for fun.
Cookies -- my grandma always baked Kolachky cookies at Christmas. She made apricot and prune filled ones. I took over this tradition about 10-15 years ago. I also make cherry ones and this year I am trying strawberry. I also used to make sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles every year, but then I branched out to cookies with frosting. In more recent years I have tried other varieties of cookies. This year, in addition to the Kolachky's, I will also be making gingerbread and fudge for the first time. i will probably make some drop cookies as well. My mom also used to bake at christmas. She made cinnamon bread and fruit bread. I may try a simple version of the cinamon bread this year, too.
On Christmas Eve we would deliver plates of our cookies and loaves of the bread to our family in California and get plates from them in return. I continued this with friends in Florida and out here last year. This year we will be having a party and we will let the guests make their own plates up!!
Opening presents -- always done on Christmas morning. A few years ago I read about several people who had the tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve and that was pajamas. I asked my mom to start this with me. We still continue this. I also started a tradition of everyone opening up their presents one at a time.
We also have some not so traditional traditions -- looking at lights, different Christmas dinners and elves.
Lights -- my dad started this with me. We would go one night through our hometown of Whittier and look at Christmas lights. when he died, my mom took me a couple of years. when I could drive I did it myself. I expanded it to several nights so i could see more lights. I continued in Florida and also the first year I was here in Kansas. Didn't get a chance last year, but will be doing it again this year, with TJ. We also put up our own lights.
Christmas dinner -- we didn't really have a traditional dinner growing up. Mostly we had a ham. When my grandma died we started a tradition of having people over who either did not have any place to go or didn't like their other options. This lasted 3 years. We did it as sort of a potluck. I think one year I got a Honey Baked Ham. I know the last year we had homemade tamales(we didn't make them, we bought them). In Florida I would either go to my family's house or a friend's. My family did a Christmas Eve dinner. One year it was filet mignion and lobster tail!!! My family then did a Christmas day brunch. A couple years ago I came here to visit TJ before we were married and we went to the Chinese Buffet. The next year I went with my mom to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner. This year we are continuing the Chinese buffet tradition. I got the idea from the movie A Christmas Story.
Elves -- we have a little set of felt elves. Well, their bodies are felt. Their heads are plastic. We had 3 of them -- 2 red and 1 green, but one year I found a blue one and added it. Every year we tried to put them in a different spot. I have continued this tradition and this year they are on 4 of my shot glass shelves.
A new tradition I am starting this year is seeing a holiday show. It will be the 4th and 5th grade musical at school. I am also hoping to make our party an annual thing. We may also try to go to the movies on Christmas day. Oh, and one other thing we are going to Build-A-Bear so maybe every year we can get a holiday animal from there :)