11: Christmas traditions

My family has a few solid, time-tested Christmas traditions.

Sure, there have been years where one tradition or another just didn’t happen, possibly due to circumstances out of our control or possibly just due to lack of interest.

In general though, there are a couple core things I can always count on happening.

Some are obvious.

We hang lights on the front of our house.

So allegedly this tradition dates back centuries, to when it became customary in Europe to put candles on windowsills.

At some point, this evolved into stringing up extravagant multi-colored, blinking electric light displays and, for some, inflating obnoxious cartoon effigies on the lawn.

Our family thankfully opts out of the latter, but I really dig the light display tradition. I wish we did it year-round – it’s comforting to return to a colorfully lit home, and the rest of the year the house is left kind of barren.

We decorate a tree.

Once upon a time, this was a huge affair. The whole family would gather and crack open boxes of ornaments and revel in the pleasant memories attached to each individual ornament.

Nowadays it’s far more low-key and a comes with a little less magical wonder (thanks, adulthood), but I still appreciate the excuse to gather in a tiny room with my family and reminisce.

We’ve had an artificial tree for many years now, but I dropped hints this year that we should return to chopping down a real tree and filling the house with awesome pine smells. I will double my efforts next year.

We are forced to wait for our presents.

As a kid, I semi-hated this.

We used to wake up at the crack of dawn, grab our stockings from the fireplace and bust into my parents’ room to dump out their contents and make a ton of noise.

Then we would have to wait patiently as they started slowly started their day, slowly cooked us a big breakfast, and slowly ate said breakfast.

All the while, we were fully aware that in the next room, Santa had stacked up presents for us. To make matters worse, we were then forced to line up on the stairs and wait to be called into the room ONE BY ONE so that my mother could photograph our individual reactions when we walked in.

There is no greater torture on this earth.

Nowadays I value sleep, and it’s far easier to practice patience and enjoy the slowness of a Christmas morning. My parents are often the ones waking us up instead of the other way around.

We eat Chinese food.

My dad works on Christmas – it’s his favorite day of the year to work in retail, because there are no customers to drive him insane.

He always brings home Chinese food from the place next to his store.

This is quite possibly the best part of the holiday.

I missed my blog post yesterday because I’m spending the weekend with my girlfriend’s family and enjoying some traditions of theirs. Eggnog making and cookie baking among them.

Hopefully you’re all enjoying your own winter solstice festivals, and traditions of your own.

4 Replies to “11: Christmas traditions”

  1. We are hosting our first friendsgivingchrismahannakwanzifestivus this year. It’s tomorrow. I’m hoping it becomes a tradition.

    I want to help you in your real tree endeavor. Future arguments for getting a real tree:
    1.You’re supporting a local farmer.
    2. It’s better for the environment. That plastic tree, when it’s broken, or out of date and needs to be thrown out, won’t biodegrade for a VERY long time. Also, real trees make Oxygen.
    3. Most tree farms grow trees on land that couldn’t be used to grow anything else because the soil was too acidic to begin with. So it’s making use of unusable land and see point 1.
    4. At the end of the season, put your real tree out by the fire pit and let it dry out a bit. They burn beautifully and smell really nice.
    5. Having a real tree in your house, as with any live plant, can actually help improve your health and your mood. They’ve done studies. 🙂

    1. Hey Molly! Your comment ended up in my spam folder, so I’m just seeing it now.
      I love all of those arguments, and the one about the fake tree becoming trash is such a huge one. It’s not a sustainable industry whatsoever.
      Allllso I love the smell of a Christmas tree, so I have no doubt that it could improve my mood. I’ll bring up all of these points next Christmas, cos I’m pretty sure the people in charge could be swayed. 😉

  2. What happened to first going to CHURCH and having breakfast TOGETHER– then the presents. I thought your mom followed the tradition we put her through.

    1. We take care of church the night before on Christmas Eve – and of course we have breakfast together!
      She’s altered the tradition slightly but still keeps the heart of it. (:

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