Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis the Season Polls, Week 4

First, the results of last week's poll:
Do you like eggnog?
No: 10
Still haven't tried it:2

I am finding out that I am not as normal as I thought I was :o) Oh, and thank you all for letting know you have tried it recently. I will sleep more soundly at night.

This week's poll won't be featured up in the corner there because it's not a voting poll - more of a little questionnaire.

When I was growing up, we saved all the Christmas goodies that our friends and family gave us through the month of December. On Christmas Eve, we brought them all out for a big Christmas pig-out. This was definitely the only time all year when I had summer sausage (which I loved), and one our favorite parts was the box of See's candies that our next door neighbor always gave us. We also took a drive around the town to see the Christmas lights - highlights (for you Blythonians) were always Earl Street and "Where's Waldo" in RBA. Some years we would also take treats to the widows that my dad "home-taught" and we would sing them some Christmas carols. More than once, my dad was called away at some point in the night to help a church member who was traveling through for the holidays and had car problems. We all got to open one present and then it was bedtime. I often got a new book for my present, so I would spend the night reading until my eyes drooped. We weren't allowed to get up until 6 am, and we always ended up congregating in one of the kids' rooms shortly before then so we could go wake my parents up together. I have a lot of wonderful Christmas Eve memories from growing up.

This is what we do now: We always get pizza and have it delivered so we can give the pizza man a fat tip. Then the kids open up a new pair of pajamas from Mom and Dad, and then one more present of their choice. After we get PJ's on, we load up in the van to drive around and look at lights. When we come home, we put out some cookies and milk (or eggnog) for Santa, and carrots for his reindeer. After that, we read a picture book about Jesus' birth, and then it is lights out for the little ones. We always put the baby gate up at the top of the stairs so no one can sneak down before 6 am.

So, dear readers, please do share - what are your Christmas Eve traditions?


Ashley said...

Last year was the first year that we were alone for Christmas Eve. We did a pig-out night just like growing up. We also ordered pizza to make it a bit healthy :) Then we open one present, get on pjs and then watch Joy to the World. This year I wanted to drive around and look at lights but I think we've seen the whole town already! No milk and cookies for santa. :)

Em said...

still figuring them out...none that i can really remember from childhood b/c it wasn't the big festive part for us. christmas day was when all the kids came together from the divorced families and we all celebrated together. so xmas eve kind of got left out for my entire childhood. i have adopted sean's family's traditions. dressing up and reenacting the nativity. meat and cheese fondue for dinner. driving around to see christmas lights after. no pre-present opening, just movies and then bed.

Jamie said...

In my family we would always open up one present on Christmas Eve. Some years we could choose which one to open and sometimes my mom might have a specific one for us to open, usually pjs. That way we could wear them on Christmas day. That is pretty much the main tradition I had growing up.

Cat said...

Oh I love hearing about other's traditions b/c we're still working ours out. Funny how they all seem to revolve around food. : )

As a kid, my favorite Christmas memories are of Christmas Eve celebrations with my mom's family at my aunt's house. She would host (and still does) a wonderful gathering with a different theme every year and we'd have a great time experiencing a new culture or food through these parties. Since we don't travel back to Indiana for Christmas anymore, we've now adopted Matt's family tradition of Weglia (pronounced va-lee-uh) - the Polish Christmas Eve feast. It's based on Catholic tradition so there's no meat but lots of 'ethnic' foods (an odd assortment of things). I'm still getting used to it and tweak it every year, but I'm glad we have this to pass on to the kids. We also try to make it to the "family Christmas Eve" service at church and let the kids open 1 gift (typically pjs) before bed.

Christie said...

Um, Katie, you kind of left out the part where we would act out the Nativity. Dad would always be the narrator and we'd pull together costumes from this and later years Mom had a pretty good stockpile of Biblical garb. Those couple of years when we really went all out with differnt locations were a lot of fun! I also loved the year we dressed up in Biblical garb to go caroling and take treats to the people Mom and Dad home and visit taught. Sometimes it was zuchinni bread and I'm pretty sure Dad was the one who made it.
We've not really established our own traditions yet. This is the first year with kids qwho REALLY get it. We do open one present. We have also read the nativity book Mom and Dad gave us. I do plan to have the kids dress up and at least do a tableau with the Holy Family and a angel, probably. We'll probably have to do it twice so both girls can be Mary ;)
James was amazed at all the crackers I brought home from Wal-Mart yesterday...he said it was enough for several movie marathons. I totally meant to get summer sausage!

Katie said...

Christie, the whole time I was writing it, I kept thinking that I was forgetting something. I think I was thinking that we did that on Christmas day because that is what we do now. Looking back, I really don't remember doing it at all...maybe after you left that tradition wasn't carried on as much. Ashley, Aaron, Lindsey, Bryce, am I forgetting it?

Katie said...

"doing it at all as a teenager" is what I meant.

Ashley said...

Yeah Katie - I don't think we did it nearly as much after Christie left. I don't have all that many memories of doing it. I was reading an old journal the other day and I was saying that I was going to be Mary in our Christmas nativity (this was when I was about 11) so I know we must have done it, I just can't remember.

This morning Rae was having the boys dress up as shepherds, so I asked her if she wants to act out the nativity and she got really excited. She enjoys "having babies", so I'm sure she'll enjoy being Mary.

lindsey said...

Katie- to answer your question we didn't do it most years when I was older... we did it the year Bobby and Sabina got married (and Levi and Audra) and I seem to remember doing it one other time with 4 h animals, but not most years. What I remember is reading the christmas story, the pigout and opening a present... I remember one Christmas where Christie made us all sleep in the same room so no one would sneak out. I also remember dad going out to help stranded people. Most of my Christmas memories include someone coming home from college for Christmas and then weddings and inlaws.
As for our Christmas Eve.. we haven't set our own traditions yet. So far we have spent every year with family and we just do what they do. This year we will leave cookies and milk outfor santa (lily insists) and open one present. If we move to PR next year we will probably adopt alot of their Christmas traditions.

Olivia Carter said...

We always had homemade clam chowder and open one present. That's about it. My parents usually had to wake me up around 9am. Christmas with one kid isn't really super crazy or anything.

Scott's family has a "Bethlehem" dinner where we eat on the floor and eat "Bethlehem" -ish food (olives, cheeses, meats, pita, humma) with our hands. Open PJ's. Then at like 4 am (ugh) they all get up and sing carols to wake up mom and dad. No seriously my first Christmas with the Carters I was like, "We're all adults with NO KIDS yet and we're all sitting here on the stairs singing" it was so weird because my family did NOTHING like that.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do for our family.

Linda Curtis said...

Christmas Eve was the big day at our house growing up. Dinner was tuna fish hotdish in rosette cups, potato chips, fruit salad, a ulekake (Norwegian holiday bread). If Grandmama came from North Dakota, she usually brought lefse,too. Dessert was homemade (pineapple, unless I could talk my mom into a better flavor) sherbert (which I cranked earlier in the day) and Christmas cookies. Then we would open all of the presents from family and friends. We'd leave cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and go to bed.

Christmas morning we'd open presents from Santa (unwrapped) and have strawberries and ulekake toast for breakfast.

Now we've incorporated some of Chad's traditions with mine. We still have our traditional Christmas Eve meal, though I almost never make the ulekake or the rosettes. We only open one present; the rest we leave for Christmas morning, along with the stuff from Santa (wrapped). We still leave out cookies, milk, & carrots; and Santa always leaves a thank you note.

I have to agree with Olivia, Christmas as an only child (I am one and have one) isn't all that exciting.

Christie said...

You know, the funny thing is that as far as Christmas goes, I was thinking I didn't really "leave" before either of you ;) But I forgot I was on my mission in 1996 and 1997. Then 1999 was the wedding craziness. Between 2000-2003 must have been when we did the locations/4-H fun, and then we did a nativity in 2006, which was the only Christmas I've been "home" since I got married. But when I think of traditions I grew up with...well, I think of a lot of years that most of you don't remember that well I guess. I also remember Christmas as being a time to drive into LA and visit family. I remember Christmas mornings at Nana and Papa's house and of course the Christmas that we all got tents from Grandma and Grandpa and had a campout in the Lodge. I wish I had kept a journal back then...there are so many details I'm not clear on and I don't know if Bobby or Levi would remember either.

James said...

The German tradition is that on Christmas Eve, everyone goes to church (or just to bed), and the Christ child comes with presents. After everyone comesback from the midnight Mass, the presents are there (and the tree is decorated, another "miracle" that is usually performed by an older child) and they are opened. Then everyone goes to bed (if they can) and they wake up in the morning and pick up where they left off having fun.

In my family, we did the German tradition (mostly) when we were visiting my Grandma Toni (from Germany). Otherwise, we blended it a bit with the American version. We'd pick one present to open Christmas Eve, then go to bed. We'd wake up as early as we could get our parents up to open the rest. We usually had pancakes for breakfast, though that did cause problems the one year we got harmonicas. On Christmas Eve, my dad would usually read to us out of Luke before we went to bed.

Over the years, my brothers and I have had a running joke of telling the youngest that it is Christmas Eve Eve. We did that to him one morning on December 23rd when he was very young, and he got excited and ran into the living room wanting to open presents. He's been paying us back for the past 25 years.

mom and grandma of BOLTON BUNCH said...

I don't think any of my kids will respond to this, so I will answer for the Boltons. Since moving to Blythe, we spent Christmas Eve with Grandpa and Grandma going to their church for the Christmas Eve candlelight service. I really enjoyed those nights with them. Then our family would drive around looking at Christmas lights too (and yes, Katie, RBA still does "where's Waldo") Before Blythe, we would just have a nice dinner and go see lights and/or go visit family (but always watching the sky on the drive home to see if we could actually see the sleigh flying by the moon) Dinner was not a set thing, in good years we would go out to Dennys (our family favorite) We would let the kids wake us up in the morning (usually around 6) and while Ray went to "check" to see if Santa had in deed come, the kids would line up youngest to oldest, and get ready to go in and see what Santa left (some unwrapped big item) and also some wrapped smaller things. But they had to take the time to look in their stocking fist( I don't know why, they hated that part and it seems silly now) We would have a nice breakfast casserole cooking while unwrapping (another reason for dad to go in first to check things, he would turn on the lights, put water on to boil for hot choc., put casserole in oven, and turn on some Christmas music) Some time during the whole craziness, Christmas Eve or morning, we would read the actual Christmas story from the Bible but only acted it out a few times. Mostly when we lived in Pomona, not near family and kids were older, we would go to the movies on Christmas Day. We had the theatre to ourselves and there was always a hit movie out at Christmastime. I miss having children in the house to share these traditions with. Now Ray, Ryan and I will just watch a movie and wake up when we big deal.

Christie said...

Pat, you hit on a couple of our traditions that hadn't been mentioned yet, both of which I'm continuing (lining up youngest to oldest and having Daddy go check)
In this house I hang a red curtain (leftover from my teaching days) at the entrance to the living areas, since the hallway is open straight back to the girls' room. I think I need to sew some jingle bells on it as an early detection system.
Can you tell I love Christmas traditions?!