I seldom steal ideas from my partner, but I found my RevPub partner’s X-mas Family Traditions post quite inspiring. Traditions – old and new – are a part of any holiday, but I’m also a fan of changing them. I think this is where people struggle the most because when “we’ve always done it” causes issues, it may be hard to let go. I also have to write a shout-out to my family: Thank you for the flexibility and drama-free holidays. I know this isn’t always the case, and I appreciate you for it.
Here are a few of my family traditions, many of which have changed over time:
Story time: I owe my grandmother a great deal, and she is solely responsible for the love I have for Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Every year, and multiple times throughout the year, she would read us this book. She used inflections and brought the story alive. Even as an adult when I read it, I feel like I’m in Whoville. Or, depending on my mood I’m the Grinch!
When I grew up, my son loved Santa more than anything. So, every Christmas Eve I read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. I make sure to bring the same excitement and passion to the story as my grandma did for me.
Christmas Movies: This is a personal tradition. Just as I watch only horror in October, I try to watch only Christmas in December. What makes a Christmas movie? Well, I count anything with snow and if they mention Christmas. This may seem unconventional, but it keeps things entertaining and avoids lame ones with bad acting. As my partner states, we watch Scrooged, and we have seen a number others together. As a kid, Home Alone, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Grinch were some of our favorites. Looking back, this may have been the best way to shut us up for two hours.
The Food: I come from a family of cooks. Nearly everyone in my family tries to cook, and some are better than others (wink). While we have traditional foods, such as ham and grandma’s sherbet punch, I also remember my grandpa’s fudge and candy-coated Ritzs and the spread of more food than you can imagine. My family tries new recipes all the time, so our traditional menu constantly changes. It’s tradition for us to try new dishes!
This also leads to staples. My uncle has to bring sausage dip. I have to bring deviled eggs. That is a funny story in itself because I was asked to bring them one year and have been designated to bring them to every event since. This year, I used hot and sweet jalapenos because I was out of relish, and they went over a little too well.
The Celebrations: I come from a “nontraditional” family, as my parents divorced when I was a kid. I had a lot of Christmases, but my favorites were Santa in the morning, then going to my grandparents. When I was younger, we’d always gather on Christmas Day after seeing what Santa brought. As our families grew, we celebrate on the Sunday before Christmas. I appreciate this more than my family knows. This allows for new traditions on Christmas Day and gives parents more time with their kids. I’m pretty anti-travel on Christmas Day and try to stay home when possible. This doesn’t always go over well, but people get over things pretty quickly, so don’t be afraid to say no. As long as you visit around Christmas, that’s all that should matter.
Presents: I remember the first time I went to someone else’s Christmas, and they opened presents one at a time. I thought I was going to die from boredom – no offense intended. I also thought how terrible it would be if you got something you didn’t want. You’re sitting there in front of 10-plus people and have to fake happiness. I immediately felt pressure.
You see, my family opens presents at the same time. A couple of people pass out all the gifts, and my grandma essentially says, ready, set, go! It takes 10 minutes tops. We shout thank yous from across the room, hold up gifts to show someone who also likes it, and it’s chaotic. That tradition has never changed, and it’s awesome. Afterwards when all the wrappings are picked up, people walk around and see what everyone received and have conversations about them. In a way, it’s more personal and allows time to talk one-on-one. I realize most families open one at a time, but consider trying this sometime. It’s 10 minutes of chaos, then an hour of real conversation.
We hope you had a nice holiday, and we look forward to 2016! Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year from RevPub!