Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas traditions by Camy/Camille

I was thinking today about Christmas traditions. I had always thought of “Christmas traditions” as things like antique tree ornaments, or certain family games, or special Christmas dinner plates—stuff that’s been passed down for generations.

I am fourth generation Japanese American, so my family has been in the US since the late 1800s. They adopted American Christmas practices but didn’t have any particular items or things they did every year besides Christmas dinner and a Christmas tree. My mom started a tradition of buying an ornament for me and my brother every year, but that stopped once I moved out of the house and didn’t have my own Christmas tree (and Mom was free to buy the decorations she wanted for their own tree).

But I realized that “Christmas traditions” aren’t necessarily things that we own, or things that you’d usually think of as a “tradition.” It’s become “tradition” for my family to visit a certain diner to eat their awesome sliders. It’s also a tradition to have a family dinner at Pappadeaux’s restaurant so I can have my year’s dose of crawfish étouffée.

Another tradition has become my husband’s gifts to my relatives—every year, he makes homemade bacon (he’s curing it in the fridge as we speak and he’ll smoke them next week). He also usually makes a piece of homemade pastrami for my dad, who loves pastrami. For the past two years he’s made brisket and burnt ends for my uncle.

We never have the same foods every year, but it’s become a tradition for us to have Christmas lunch with one side of the family and Christmas dinner with the other side. We’ve also started a White Elephant gift exchange, which rarely gets cutthroat but sometimes has some amusing gifts.

So “traditions” for us aren’t really what you’d normally think of as “traditions,” but they’ve become part of Christmas for me. It wouldn’t be the same without any of those things.

What are traditions you do for Christmas, both “traditional” and non-traditional? (Fair warning: If I like your idea, I might steal it! :)

15 comments:

  1. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is breaking out the old photo albums. It's fun to laugh at the old hair styles and clothes we wore. It's also nice to remember those who are no longer with us.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family Camy!

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    1. That sounds so fun and also a great tradition! We recently found a few old photos from our childhood that had been in my grandma's house.

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  2. I have my grandchildren make a new ornament every year for my tree. This year was a glittery mess, but they had fun and the ornaments turned out great!
    Another tradition: My sister has given me a new ornament every year since 2004....something I look forward to each year.

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  3. Merry Christmas Camy! We celebrate Christmas the weekend before with my side of the family so everyone can attend, aunt, uncle, cousins, spouses, etc. Christmas Day we go to my husband's side of the family. Sometime between that time we have Christmas with our kids, whatever night they are free to come over in between working etc that they do. We might have pizza, or I cook, or a combination. My mother-in-law makes them an ornament each year and buys an ornament from Hallmark. She does this for all the grandkids and great grandkids. This year, I got to decorate my tree without all those ornaments on there. I'll do better next year! There weren't many left over after the kids took theirs. I am now looking to start new traditions with the kids since we have entered another cycle. In a few years there will be another change as spouses, kids, etc are added, so each year is different. I look forward to it!

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    1. Sally, you are awesome because you have PIZZA for Christmas dinner! LOLOL

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    2. lol. It's actually fun. Not much clean up, no cooking since we go pick it up, and I can spend the time with the kids and whoever shows up. I love this time of year! Now if it would only snow.

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    3. I admit I like the *concept* of a white Christmas, but in reality I don't care for snow. I think it comes from growing up in Hawaii, where it rarely gets below 60 degrees during the day. :)

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  4. One of ours was to have bacon for breakfast on Christmas morning. I think cos Dad didn't have to go to work but we did go to church on Christmas morning he would make cook the bacon. I haven't had it the past couple of years due to illness. we have always made cookies for gifts and I always play carols while cooking. (Its hard due to an injured wrist) but its a tradition. I am alone for Christmas so no real tradition on the day besides going to Church for Christmas day.

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    1. Bacon! OMG I love it! Our church doesn't have a Christmas day service unless it falls on Sunday, but we always have a Christmas play night one or two Saturdays before Christmas.

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  5. Many years ago now, when my kids were little, I was getting overwhelmed with too many traditions. I asked the kids what two things they HAD to have for Christmas to be Christmas. They said, "Presents and decorating cookies." Ever since then, we have always made time for cookie decorating. Things have gotten more elaborate over the years. My daughter, who is a true artist, uses tweezers to place the little decorative sprinkles and pearls in just the right place. My son and husband make space ships and aliens...anything so long as the finished product looks nothing like the original cookie shape.

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    1. That's so cute!!!! And at the same time it's completely do-able since you limited the number of traditions--you're so smart!

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    2. PS: Haven't chatted with you in a while! I hope you're doing well!

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  6. My mum, brother and I started a new tradition by celebrating Christmas on the Monday Prior to Christmas with presents and lunch at my mum's place as I work Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day so I travel to visit them and we do it. This year we are going out for the lunch

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    1. My family did something like that when I was a kid! My dad often had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so we celebrated before he went to work and then opened presents after he came home. Mom would tide us over with little toys in our stockings until Dad came home and we could open the presents under the tree.

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