What about the special food you cook, the songs you sing? Do you have a specific present-giving schedule, and woe betide those who try to buck the trend? Do you have experience of different decorations and celebrations from around the world? Feel free to share with us!
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We always have stocking presents first thing in the morning - it used to be the only thing that kept the Sons from waking us up at some ungodly hour OL. Then presents from under the tree. Then there'd be one small present each left for later in the day, when we were stuffed with food and feeling the onset of Anticlimax.
My sister insists that everyone takes a turn opening a present, one at a time - it means she can keep up with who's getting what, and it also extends the excitement to the max!
Christmas morning, we gather in the living room. Open presents from each other—mom, dad, and kids—while we nosh on chocolate croissants for breakfast. Then we start the movies! We watch 3 or even 4 movies over the course of the day. Lounge in our jammies, eat popcorn and leftovers. Best. Day. Ever.
From Clare: I can't believe I found a pic of mistletoe-shooting on the web...LOL
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I stunned my Irish in-laws the first Christmas morning I spent with them because it was 9 AM and I asked where was the sherry? However, they soon got on board for this crucial Broseley Beddow tradition. As a young child I remember visiting all my elderly relatives on Christmas morning and being given sherry at every one. I have a high tolerance for sherry :)
Hanukkah at my house and I have just as many decorations—inside the house, at least—as my Christian friends and neighbors. A Mickey Mouse Hanukkah advent calendar, my most unique decoration, hangs near the door. I string a Happy Hanukkah over the glass sliders leading to the pool. We even have Hanukkah stockings around the fireplace! When our children were younger, we gave them a small gift every one of the eight nights, with the biggest one presented on the eight night after we lit the menorah for the last time that year. Now we give them things like gas gift cards and fancy electronics that my husband and I have only a vague knowledge of. One of the highlights of our celebration is the night I make my latkes, or potato pancakes. I usually invite some non-Jewish friends over to join us, which is a coveted ticket since I make the best latkes this side of the Mississippi!
The food we cook is usually turkey, pumpkin and pecan pies, sweet potatoes, ambrosia. Lots of other sweets, too, of course!
Maureen A. Millerwebsite
It was a big feast held at my great-grandmother's house, which was actually a portal to another time. Her house was so old it had a hand-roller to wash clothes, and it had a pump in the back yard for fresh water. It was so old, I hate to admit that there were a couple family wakes on the very same dining room table that we celebrated Christmas on. (I know...too much information!) Fortunately, that was before my time.
Anyway, back to the festive part. Everyone in the family came over for Ukrainian Christmas. My great-grandmother, the stoic old Russian woman who spoke maybe three words during the course of the evening. My great-uncles and aunts, and a thousand assorted cousins. Uncle Paul singing Silent Night in Ukrainian. Aunt Marion making lumpy mashed potatoes. Uncle Wes with a cigar in his mouth at the table. My cousin Pauly, who is a famous doctor now and would rather be caught dead than referred to as "Pauly", was a mere youngster at the time. There are old home movies of me as a little tyke standing at the dining room table, waving my hands in the air because my grandmother wasn't opening my Christmas present quick enough for me.
These were good times. I'd like to believe in an afterlife...and that I'll be able to go back and have Ukrainian Christmas with the whole family again one day.
Entries collected and posted by Clare - any pictures that haven't been provided by the authors have been chosen by me, and any queries about them can be directed here.