My Holiday Family Traditions

Hello all my Readers!

I’m sorry for not getting all of the planned holiday posts out. The reason I have for not getting my posts out weigh heavy on my heart, as my grandmother, my dads mom, sadly passed away the week before Christmas. But looking back and talking with my cousins and my family, I still want to at least share our holiday traditions with you.

So on Christmas Eve, normally my family goes to my Grandmother’s house for dinner. When I was younger we would arrive after going to 4pm Mass, I was usually in the Christmas Pageant, but as I got older my family started to attend Midnight Mass. SO it would be to Grandma’s house, and then to mass.

At my Grandmother’s there was dinner, usually lasagna, salad, cold cuts, rolls, and other yummy dinner food. Dessert was always spritz cookies, Grandma’s shortbread and my Aunt Joanie’s Jell-O Mold. The Jell-O mold has become such a big part of Christmas Eve, that it usually doesn’t feel like Christmas if the “Jell-O creation” has been forgotten. After dessert we all gather on Grandma’s porch for the annual Christmas Eve Mitch Miller Sing-A-Long… yeah, we have a Christmas Sing-A-Long, and the best part of the sing along is the fun we have as my cousins are known to ham it up and go way over the top when we are singing. After the sing-a-long, we give Grandma her gift from everyone, it’s the same gift every year, a calendar for the new year with the months divided up amongst us, so that 3 months for each family, as my dad has 3 sisters. Everyone knows what Grandma’s gift is, not just because we give her the same thing every year, but because after a while we started using the same box for it (we are a very green family, recycled gift ideas and recycled gift boxes 🙂 ). Of course once the gift has been given and the songs have been sung, we all begin to go our separate ways on to the rest of our Christmas traditions.

For my brother and I growing up there was one thing on Christmas was after Grandma’s house, and Church, before we went to bed we could each open on gift, and then we would read “The Polar Express” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, then it was off to bed to get up early the next morning to celebrate Christmas Day.

Christmas Morning, we would get up as early as my parents would allow. Once we were told it was ok to come downstairs we would gather around the tree and going one at a time we would each open on present, and continue in a circle until all of our gifts were open.

In more recent years we have added to this by watching 12:30pm mass via the webcam from The Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar, Ireland.

Once all of our gifts are open we then start the process of getting everyone ready to go to my Nana & Pop-Pop’s house (my mom’s parents), and in more recent years Nana’s condo. In the past my Aunt Lyndy and my Grandmother were stop by our house or we would stop by Grandma’s house on the way to Nana’s so that we could give her the Christmas gifts we had gotten her.

At Nana’s there would be lots of yummy food, usually there would be turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, rolls, salad, mashed potatoes… to be honest it was almost like Thanksgiving, but with a Christmas sweater on. After dinner we would all mingle, and there would either be a football game on, or a James Bond marathon. Christmas at Nana & Pop-Pop’s was not complete without getting some family photos in the living room, and then dessert. From my Aunt Linda’s fudge, to getting dishes of both vanilla bean and mint chocolate chip ice cream, you name it and we probably had it. Of course then it would be dividing up the left overs or making turkey or ham sandwiches a little while after dessert was finished.

Then slowly we would all say our goodbyes and goodnights and head home to finish out the day by playing with our new toys, or reading one of our new books, even watching one of the movies we might have gotten from Santa Claus.

Our traditions have altered slightly in the past few years, some years Christmas day would be at our house, this year, Christmas Eve at Grandma’s didn’t happen. Of course even when the location changed or something didn’t happen because of things life threw our way, we were always together in some way for the holidays, and that, that is the greatest gift of all.

Is there a tradition that you have for the holidays that you hold dear? Whether you celebrated Christmas, or celebrate Chanukah or Kwanzaa, I want to wish you the happiest of holidays and a safe and prosperous New Year.

XOXO Cathy

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