share your Christmas traditions

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Linguist92021, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 24, 2012

    How do you spend Christmas? In Hungarian, we have a saying: 'different house, different tradition' (except for it rhymes), and I'm sure it's true here as well.

    My Christmas tradition is a mix between Hungarian and American.

    Background: In Hungary this is what we do:
    - Santa comes at the night of December 5th. Kids put their polished boots (just 1) in the window, and Santa comes and fills it with all kinds of yummy stuff. Because Hungarians believe that kids are not all bad or all good, each child gets goodies (candy, fruits such as oranges, tangerines, bananas, which were only available during the winter) and a switch as well.
    - So on Christmas the parents say that the presents are from Baby Jesus. It's like this even in families that are not very religious.

    - Christmas is a 3 day event.
    - We decorate the Christmas tree on the 24th, in the afternoon, never before. This is a close family event
    - we eat Christmas dinner, usually around 6,7 or 8 pm, very traditional, formal, quiet, candle light dinner. Only close family is present, so for example, even though we were very close to my grandparents, they still had dinner themselves. After my grandpa died, my grandma would have dinner with us.
    - by this time we all put our presents under the tree
    - after dinner we each get the resents we put under the table, and give it to the person. We wish them merry Christmas, hug and kiss.
    - The 25th is a quiet family day, other family members come over to exchange gifts, such as grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.
    - we don't have formal dinner, but we do have a lot of food.
    - 26th. The 3rd day of Christmas. Only starting this day friends may come and visit. For example our boyfriends couldn't come visit until this day. When my sister was engaged, her fiance could come over on the 25th, but not on the 24th.
    - we take down the tree by January 6th.

    And that's it. Some things I like more Hungarian style, and others American style.
    So this is what I do:
    - I like to put up Christmas lights and the tree early, around 2 weeks before. (American style)
    - Christmas dinner and exchanging the gifts: Hungarian style. We have dinner, (I cook) then exchange gifts. I've been doing it like this for about 3-4 years (since my daughter was about 11-12), until then we had the dinner the same way, but opened presents the next morning. I wasn't raised religiously, so we don't go to church, although it would be nice to start doing that.
    -25th - I don't have any family here, so it's nothing special really, just relaxing, spending time with my daughter. I guess it is special :)
    - 26th and after: these are the days I meet up with friends to exchange gifts.

    So how do you do it?

    I am wondering about this though: if someone has Christmas dinner on the 25th. what do they do on the 24th?
     
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  3. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Dec 24, 2012

    Interesting thread.
    I find that "American" traditions are as varied as Americans, but in my family, Christmas Eve is for church and family. This year, we ran a few errands, baked cookies and prepared food for the dinner on the 25th. We live close to both sides of the family so we are able to visit everyone on Christmas Day. Sometimes extended family gatherings are held a few days before or after Christmas.
    DH's family brings in Scandinavian traditions like my boys' Christmas calendar.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 24, 2012

    A few of the things we do in my house....

    There's always a "Christmas Pickle" on the tree. It's a German tradition. German culture is a big part of the area of the country where I grew up, so we have adopted a few practices over the years.

    We open presents at midnight on Christmas.

    We always snack on appetizers all day on Christmas Eve. Christmas dinner is usually more formal.
     
  5. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    Dec 24, 2012

    Christmas Eve is always church in the evening and then we make homemade pizza after. We got that from my dad's family. Christmas day we would always get up early, do presents, the go to my dad's family for a party and then my mom's side would come to our house for a big dinner.

    Now, we still do presents on Christmas day and then sometimes people come over. After my dad's mother passed away we stopped doing the Christmas party on that side. My Mom's side usually doesn't come home for Christmas anymore. So now it's just the four of us (my sister and I don't have our own families) and sometimes my grandmother at our house.
     
  6. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Dec 24, 2012

    Christmas Eve grab bag at a relatives house. This year we are at my sister's house. Along with that it just becomes a party with games, dinner, music, etc....
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 24, 2012

    Grab bag?
     
  8. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 24, 2012

    No traditions here...anymore that is. When I was a child, it was always Christmas at my grandmother's house along w/ my whole mother's side of the family to exchange gifts. We used to go to one of my aunts' houses on my dad's side often too. As I've grown, my parents & I much prefer to do our own thing.
     
  9. Ms B IL

    Ms B IL Rookie

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    Dec 24, 2012

    We always did Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve with the big extended family over at my grandma's house. My mom, siblings, and I would usually stay the night there, but the extended family (aunts, cousins, significant others of various family members) would all take their gifts home and do the present portion of the holiday the next morning with their own immediate families. I always thought that was just how people did things.

    Now, I spend most holidays with my boyfriend's family because mine is about 2000 miles away. They used to do presents in the morning and then a formal dinner. Now presents are done whenever we go over (when BF's brother and mom decide) and "dinner" is apparently frozen deep dish pizza at noon-ish (BF's brother wants this). Our new tradition is going to be that we open presents at our own house and, starting next year, having dinner on Christmas Eve at our own house. I may propose brunch that I prepare for Christmas day, but I doubt it will go over that well. We will just go over to exchange gifts on Christmas morning or afternoon and then head home to enjoy each other and our new things. Then we'll have time to video chat with my family.

    Some years we go visit my family which changes things up a lot too. We do filled stockings with lots of small gifts and some edibles with my family. Snack all day on Christmas. Hang out in our pj's all day and enjoy each other's company.
     
  10. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Dec 24, 2012

    With my husband in the military, we haven't been able to keep up with the traditions we usually do with our families. The one tradition we've still been doing is getting pajamas on Christmas Eve. My mom still sends them to us as one of our gifts.
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Dec 24, 2012

    Our "traditions" have changed as family situations have changed. Now, I spend the 24th getting final details done, and lots of cleaning. I hope I started a new tradition tonight. We made Elephant Ears. That is a favorite of my DH and GS.

    As soon as GS goes to bed, Santa comes. We open gifts on the 25. At about 1, we will eat a big dinner.

    This year, the rest of the family will come to our house on the 26. They live 3 hours away, and have their own Christmas at their house on the 25. We will do gifts and dinner again. I get to cook two Christmas dinners, and bake lots of goodies.
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Dec 24, 2012

    We always drove 100 miles to my paternal grandmother's house on Christmas Eve. I got to open my huge Christmas stocking to keep myself occupied, and my uncle and I would make Chex mix. Family and friends would be in and out of the house all day.

    After sunset Santa would drive by. It was one of the firemen dressed up. His sleigh was pulled by a fire truck. They drove through town and stopped at houses. I always got a bag with fruit, nuts, and candy.

    As the family and friends wound down the visits, we started opening gifts. We'd be finished around 10:00 or so. And if I got a game, I'd take it next door and play with the neighbors. She was an elementary teacher who lived with her two mentally handicapped adult siblings. I loved playing games with them.

    My uncle and I would always watch midnight mass on television, even though the family is not catholic. We went to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Gran fixed a huge meal at noon on Christmas Day. My aunt's BFF always ate with us. We went home in the evening. Mom & I would take down the Christmas tree when we got home.

    That was the routine until I was a senior in college. Good times!

    That next year Mom & I were not invited to Christmas, thanks to a cousin who didn't have enough of her own business to mind. For a couple of years, we had Christmas Eve at our house, and Dad went to Gran's on Christmas Day. Then we were home both days. Christmas Day was for hanging out at home. When I was married, we went to my parents' house for Christmas Eve, and his parents' house for Christmas Day.

    Tomorrow will be the first Christmas Day I've ever been in my own house! I am going to Mom's for awhile.
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Dec 25, 2012

    Christmas Eve is the big deal in my house. The tree goes up right after Thanksgiving. My dad does up the Feast of 7 fishes, and we eat while holiday music is blaring. I drag everyone into the den to watch "The Grinch." When I was little, we'd only open one present on Christmas Eve, then the rest on Christmas morning. When I was a teen, we started opening all of them on Christmas Eve. Now with BF, we open half on Christmas Eve and half Christmas Day, since that's the big deal in his family.

    Christmas Day is a big breakfast, hanging around, and then a big late lunch. It's usually prime rib, but my brother didn't come home this year, so we're having lasagna. The rest of the day is filled with cookies, football, and "The Christmas Story."

    We take the tree down January 7th. My family exchanges one small gift on Jan. 6 for the Epiphany (really small, like a bag of someone's favorite candy).
     
  14. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Dec 25, 2012

    Christmas Eve has always been spent by my maternal grandparents. It's about a 2-hour drive, so we would head out in the afternoon, visit, eat dinner, and exchange gifts. Then we would change into our pj's; some of my favorite memories are singing Christmas songs on the car ride home. Santa would come overnight, but we only got to open presents before church if we woke up early enough (which we usually did ;)). After church, we (our immediate family) would have a big brunch, with a breakfast casserole that we only made on Christmas. The rest of the day was spent hanging out, playing games, watching movies (somebody always gets a new one), and going sledding or ice skating if there was snow. We have appetizers and snacks during the day, and dinner is ham and cheesy potatoes.

    That's still pretty much how we do things now, except our family Christmas day routine was moved to Saturday and Sunday this year. Today, it's just my parents and me--we'll go to church in a bit, and then just hang out.
     
  15. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Dec 25, 2012

    * Decorate tree sometime after Thanksgiving.
    * Ornament party at my SILs. This year was full dinner, in past was finger foods. We did this on Sunday.
    * MIL's for dinner around 6 on Christmas eve: big dinner with hame, and lots of sides and desserts. Presents from her are opened.
    * SIL's for dinner #2 on Christmas eve. Full dinner as well. Presents from her are opened.
    * New pajamas for each kid on Christmas eve, put out cookies and milk, then kids in bed. Mommy puts out gifts and fills stockings while Daddy assembles any big toys.
    * Open Santa gifts on Christmas morning, and enjoy Orange Juliannas and blueberry muffins.
    * Go to my mother's for Christmas dinner #3 *usually full meal, this year we did finger foods) on Christmas day. Exchange presents with each other.
    * Go home to give my stepkids their gifts, as we've never been able to be with them until afternoon.
     
  16. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Dec 25, 2012

    They have changed over the years. Used to smoke a turkey all night for Christmas dinner. Used to take all the grandkids to my moms for a Christmas Eve dinner. She did it all and it was an orgy of little kids and presents. Used to go to sis in laws for oyester stew and dinner on Christmas Eve. As a child it was down to grandma's near south of Lakeland Fla. Big old house with a citrus grove in the back. One year we took about 5 kids to nusing homes (mine and a friends) to sing carols. This year all my kids came to the house along with close family for Christmas eve dinner and gifts. Took my neighbors (93 and 73 dinner from ours.
    So many different memories. But I would always watch "Its a WOnderful Life" late on Christma Eve. (and usually tear up)
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 25, 2012

    These are very interesting!
    I have a lot of Chaldean friends (Christians from Iraq) and they're the most religious people I have ever met. It was shocking to find out that a lot of them would go gambling on Christmas eve, I couldn't believe it! they still went to church, and did the whole Christmas thing, but gambling sounded so strange to me. And in general it didn't seem like they made a big enough fuss about this holiday. Only later I've learned that for them Easter, Jesus' death is a bigger holiday than Christmas, his birthday. This makes sense from that point of view, because Christianity really started when he died, and we don't even know for sure when he was born.
    Of course, I don't want to generalize, this is probably not with all Chaldeans, but the ones I know always said the same thing (I know 100+)
     
  18. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Dec 26, 2012

    That's what I do! My family's tradition is to eat fish on Christmas eve but I detest seafood so I started making pizza! I have been doing this for at least 15 years and after a few years the rest of my family has joined in and has taken part in my pizza eating LOL
     
  19. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Dec 26, 2012

    We put tree up Thanksgiving weekend. We open presents Christmas Eve with family and eat snack and appetizer foods. We clean out around the tree so that Santa can come. He comes and leaves the kids gifts and stockings. We have a big meal around one or two Christmas Day. We take the tree down after January 1st. Our wedding anniversary is December 30th, so we do a quiet dinner that night.

    Also we make Baby Jesus a birthday cake each year. And this year my daughter asked to continue a tradition from my childhood...the children get new pjs to wait for Santa in...we also go look at Christmas lights either Christmas night or eve.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 26, 2012

    I draw little cartoony tags for the gifts I give: the tag has something to do with the gift or the recipient or both. One of my daughter's gifts was a set of earbuds; the tag had an eighth note colored like a starburst mint with a candy-cane stem.

    One of my favorite tags, years ago, was for a couple - a family practice doc and a radiologist - who'd just had their first son. I drew a Rudolph reindeer in green surgical scrubs heading into a delivery room.
     

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