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Author Topic: Family Christmas Traditions  (Read 2449 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: November 17, 2008, 07:54:34 PM »

We're putting up the Christmas tree and lights and whatnot tonight, which got me to thinking, does anyone have a special Christmas tradition that you do with your family each year? Anything out of the ordinary that you and your family do? The only thing we do differently is that, for the past couple years, we've been opening presents a couple days ahead of time. The main reason we do that is because we visit relatives a few days ahead of time, and open presents at the relatives, and figure we might as well just go all the way and finish that aspect of Christmas off once we get home. I don't know if we'll do that this year or not, or if we'll start to try and normalize Christmas a bit now that the girls are getting older (2 and 3 1/2).
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2008, 07:56:03 PM »

We always exchange gifts on St. Nicholas' feast day (Dec. 6). We like it because it gets that aspect of the Nativity out of the way so that we can then focus on Christ for the last three weeks of Advent.
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2008, 09:27:48 PM »

I don't have any family traditions as related to Christmas, but if I ever have a family, I'd make picking out or making a Christmas ornament for the tree a tradition. Smiley
I would definitely want to celebrate Christmas at the Grandparents ('cause I didn't have any grandparents when I was growing up Sad)
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2008, 09:28:58 PM »

The last 4 years I've been making Gingerbread Houses, and each year, they get bigger and better! Last year, my gingerbread house was lit up in each room as well as having christmas lights on the roof and in the garden!
This year, as well as a house, I'm making gingerbread christmas trees, (complete with lights) to give to the local hospital and nursing homes.
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2008, 10:01:39 PM »

My family has a tradition so good that I moved out of the house as to get away from it.

Christmas morning, after Christmas Home (an assorted cornucopia of tamales, queso, pigs in a blanket, various cookies and sweets, and pan dulce eaten in large quantities throughout the night until one faints in a sugar-carb induced coma). at around 6AM, my father turns up Frank Sinatra on his Bose system to stir us, aching, from our beds to announce that he has been up since 5AM prepping and starting the turkey baking, and to play Santa and give out presents, most of which will be lost in our collective stupor or torm apart by my mothers cats.  After this, the fighting to get into the bathroom ensues, along with the holiday swearing about who used who's soap and shampoo, all ending when I have decided to take a long walk long enough for the heat to die down (how was I to know that her 'Dove " bar looked and smelled oddly like my Irish Spring?), and when I come back, the TV is on, people are looking at either the Christmas Parade or a new DVD, sipping on hot cocoa or coffee, and making breakfast, with no signs of the chaos that has just ensued.

I stay at a motel when I am down for the holidays now.

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2008, 10:43:21 PM »

As a child, we usually fasted before Christmas, according to the Orthodox style (one aspect of Orthodoxy my family adopted). We never had a Christmas tree or lights, but the day before Christmas, we set off to the woods with my mother and collected some fir boughs, which we used to decorate the Nativity scene, which we always lovingly assembled on Christmas eve. Mother would light some candles and place them around the nativity scene. My mother and I would make some special festive cookies and usually she would make a batch of fruit cake about a month in advance. On Christmas morning we would wake up to a holiday breakfast table, complete with tangerines and chocolates (very special treats for us). My father would read the story of Christ's birth from the gospels, as we sat around the table. Then we would open our presents, which our parents had placed on a table.

However, as the years went by we became less observant of Christmas. By the time I was 14 we no longer received or exchanged gifts.

I must admit, I do love to go into the shops and smell the spices and look at the pretty things they have for sale.

Ozgeorge, your gingerbread houses sound wonderful. Can you believe it, I had a dream about you connected with some sort of baking, only a few nights ago?  Shocked
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2008, 11:06:12 PM »

Ozgeorge, your gingerbread houses sound wonderful.
I'll make sure to take some photos this year! A friend took some last year, I'll see if I can get them too!

Can you believe it, I had a dream about you connected with some sort of baking, only a few nights ago?  Shocked
I hope I was wearing
Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2008, 11:13:03 PM »

LOL! I don't recall what you were wearing, but I do remember waking up, shaking myself in utter disbelief,and  wondering firstly, if this is what ozgeorge actually LOOKS like (after all I've never seen him! how can you have a dream about a person you've never seen wherein you see his face? Huh), and secondly, wondering with horror what my life is coming to that I am now having dreams about online personalities whom I've never even met in real life? Sigh. Such is the tragedy of modern life...

Btw, I'm anxiously awaiting the photos of the g-bread houses!
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2008, 11:21:17 PM »

(after all I've never seen him! how can you have a dream about a person you've never seen wherein you see his face? Huh)

Here I am! : http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10042.msg136582.html#msg136582
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2008, 11:39:49 PM »

(after all I've never seen him! how can you have a dream about a person you've never seen wherein you see his face? Huh)

Here I am! : http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10042.msg136582.html#msg136582

Well...it's really the oddest thing...I just checked out your picture (btw, thanks, I didn't know about that thread!), and whilst I did have a mental image of you in my mind before I had that dream, the guy in the dream looked far more like you than my original idea...Isn't that strange? Oh, and such an adorable cat!!
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2008, 12:30:45 AM »

Oh how I love Christmas..

We all participate in decorating the house with lights and ornaments.

The we go to the Liturgy in the morning of Christmas then  our family goes for Christmas breakfast at whoever's turn it is to host..

Last year at Christmas breakfast was priceless because I announced that my wife was pregnant

People didnt know whether I was joking or telling the truth.

Eventually they believed us and the whole breakfast became more merry.

The reactions were priceless Smiley Cheesy

« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 12:33:12 AM by Byzantine2008 » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2008, 12:46:01 AM »

Just about two years ago, I outlined my family's traditions in this post:

Quote
Well, for those of us on the Gregorian Calendar, Advent starts on November 15. Being a convert family, our traditions might not be the same as everyone else's, but here goes:

Right around now, I'll start erecting our Family Pole. This is made out of aluminum due to its high strength-to-weight ratio as well as low maintenance needs. No, we don't decorate it, because my family finds tinsel much too distracting!

The main focus this season for my family is the dinner, when we can finally break our fast. Besides the eating, one of the highlights is the Airing of Greivances, when each member of the family describes how the others have disappointed them throughout the past year. Once this is done comes the Feats of Strength: here, in keeping with time-honored tradition, as the head of the family I challenge another member of the family to a wrestling match. The celebration cannot end until I finally get pinned!

Once I get pinned, or give up, then the season is done, and we usually put away the pole until next year!

 
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2008, 12:56:13 AM »

I quietly reflect on the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I try to eschew the hours long gift opening orgies which I observed in 2004 & 2006 in my estranged wife's family.
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2008, 02:09:04 AM »

Quote
I quietly reflect on the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But I hope that's not unique or different from what everyone else is doing Wink

Quote
I try to eschew the hours long gift opening orgies which I observed in 2004 & 2006 in my estranged wife's family.

But that's one of the best parts of the Christmas season! "Gift opening orgies"!  When else during the year can I buy stacks of books for myself all at once? Grin
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2008, 11:24:03 AM »

Just about two years ago, I outlined my family's traditions in this post:

Quote
Well, for those of us on the Gregorian Calendar, Advent starts on November 15. Being a convert family, our traditions might not be the same as everyone else's, but here goes:

Right around now, I'll start erecting our Family Pole. This is made out of aluminum due to its high strength-to-weight ratio as well as low maintenance needs. No, we don't decorate it, because my family finds tinsel much too distracting!

The main focus this season for my family is the dinner, when we can finally break our fast. Besides the eating, one of the highlights is the Airing of Greivances, when each member of the family describes how the others have disappointed them throughout the past year. Once this is done comes the Feats of Strength: here, in keeping with time-honored tradition, as the head of the family I challenge another member of the family to a wrestling match. The celebration cannot end until I finally get pinned!

Once I get pinned, or give up, then the season is done, and we usually put away the pole until next year!

 

 laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh 

I haven't heard this in so long!  *Wipes away tears*
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« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2008, 11:35:37 AM »

Just about two years ago, I outlined my family's traditions in this post:

Oooo.  Sounds like fun.  Let me guess: the youngest daughter (who is smaller than a hamster) pins you, right?  Not the son who is going to out-grow you...

The wif and I got a great laugh out of this.  Thanks for the reminder.
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« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2008, 12:24:11 PM »

I grew up in the former USSR in an urban secular family, where there was not even any mentioning of Christmas ever. Yet, my family always celebrated the New Year, and, just like many other families in the Slavic republics of the former USSR, we did it to some extent like Western families celebrate Christmas. There was always a big, beautifully decorated fur tree (nobody called it "Christmas tree," but in fact it was just that). There were candles, and the smell of a mysterious coniferous forest, and many visitors arriving to our home, beautifully dressed, celebrant. There was an enormous dinner served on a long table, and always lots of champagne and other drinks, and there were toasts, and funny speeches, and jokes, and dancing, and sweet family memories were shared. It was certainly the best day of the entire year. Guests usually stayed until at least 4 a.m., often even longer than that.

We never had this Western tradition of giving gifts on Christmas day or on the New Years day. It was our custom that gifts are given on birthdays. On the New Year's day or on one of the following days (between Jan. 1 and Jan. 10), there were celebrations in various clubs for children, and the little kids got "presents" (which were simply packages of sweets, never "things"); but the adults did not normally engage in gift-giving on winter holidays. Actually, later I learned that in Slavic countries, even before the Communist anti-theistic revolution, people usually did not regard gift-giving as part of Christmas celebration. Gifts were always given to children on the St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6), not on the Christmas day. Till, now, I, honestly, do not understand the mania about material presents on Christmas, I see it as a nuisance and nothing more.  Tongue
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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2008, 01:26:12 PM »

Quote
Till, now, I, honestly, do not understand the mania about material presents on Christmas, I see it as a nuisance and nothing more.  Tongue

I totally agree. It is very materialistic, stressful, and artificial in many ways-although as a child it was rather fun to receive the gifts. I have relatives in many parts of the world, and at Christmas they would often send us modest, but special little gifts from their respective countries. I always looked forward to that. The first day back to school after the holidays was always nerve-wrackingly competitive as all the students were excitedly exchanging notes as to what each had received. Sad
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2008, 01:58:12 PM »

My family used to have the tradition of trudging into the woods to hack down a small cedar tree a few weeks before Christmas.  We stopped doing this after my dad discovered we were all allergic to various things and my mom was tired of cleaning up cedar bits and keeping the tree watered.
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« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2008, 02:03:07 PM »

I would love to decorate the big tree we have in the front yard in our condominium complex, but I'd be too afraid of people stealing the ornaments...Sad However, I do intend to start making edible bird, squirrel and rabbit "ornaments" to put on that tree. Grin
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2008, 02:55:05 PM »

Just about two years ago, I outlined my family's traditions in this post:

Quote
Well, for those of us on the Gregorian Calendar, Advent starts on November 15. Being a convert family, our traditions might not be the same as everyone else's, but here goes:

Right around now, I'll start erecting our Family Pole. This is made out of aluminum due to its high strength-to-weight ratio as well as low maintenance needs. No, we don't decorate it, because my family finds tinsel much too distracting!

The main focus this season for my family is the dinner, when we can finally break our fast. Besides the eating, one of the highlights is the Airing of Greivances, when each member of the family describes how the others have disappointed them throughout the past year. Once this is done comes the Feats of Strength: here, in keeping with time-honored tradition, as the head of the family I challenge another member of the family to a wrestling match. The celebration cannot end until I finally get pinned!

Once I get pinned, or give up, then the season is done, and we usually put away the pole until next year!

 

Frank Costanza lobbied Congress to get Festivus recognized-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9yZjh7JRuE&feature=related
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2008, 08:13:24 PM »

I have said before that my parents run a retail and wholesale seafood business and me and my brothers help out. So Christmas for us really begins about 15th of December when the working day changes from 8:30 am - 6:30 pm to about 8:00 am - 7:30 pm (not excluding saturday's and sunday's) which slowly keeps increasing until the finale which concludes with a working day that starts 23rd of December 8:00 am in the morning and ends 24th of December 5:00 pm which is filled with packing of the 300 plus seafood orders and then the distribution of said orders. Then going home and passing out Cheesy and getting up early to race down to the city (about an hour and 3/4 drive) to get to the end of the liturgy and possibly have communion. Then it is filled with Greek music , and most importantly a lamb on the spit Smiley *yum yum* my favourite.
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« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2008, 04:36:36 PM »

When my now adult-and-out-of-the-house children were very little, it was hard to keep them IN bed until a decent hour on Christmas morning. Then in their early teens, it was hard to get them OUT of bed even on Christmas. So I began to prepare a special breakfast with food that I knew they would want to enjoy. By the end of their teenage years there was a point that I wanted to take a break from that, but both of them demanded that I continue! So that has continued. Breakfast has grown to ridiculous proportions. We even quit doing the turkey dinner because there was so much left over. Married daughter now does the turkey thing at her house for us and her in-laws. Nice to pass that along to the next generation!

My son-in-law raves about Christmas breakfast at our place - we had his parents here last year. Son's just-announced-fiancée has already heard the stories and has made sure she can attend.

Menu generally includes a few Canadian favourites like roasted peameal bacon and tourtière; usually some sort of casserole with an egg and cheese base; sopa paraguaya (really a type of cornbread with egg, cheese, and onion - we spent three years in Paraguay); two or three types of muffins or loaves; fruit salad; and maybe more.

In fact, it's time to start getting the menu ready. I usually try to include some new dish and I want to practise it at least once ahead of time.

Christmas here is about the breakfast!

Oh, yes. We pause to listen to the Queen's Christmas message. We appreciate her encouraging words that clearly express her own Christian faith.

Jim
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« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2008, 05:20:23 PM »

We watch the MST3K version of Santa Claus conquers the martians each year. Although I think we will be changing over to the Invader Zim Christmas special this year.
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« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2008, 08:42:06 PM »

Here are my Gingerbread creations for this year:

Babuska's gingerbread house with lights:





Gingerbread house with barley sugar window panes and interior lighting:




Gingerbread train:




Gingebread Christmas Tree:
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 07:07:08 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2008, 07:03:12 PM »

Thanks for posting these wonderful pictures, Ozgeorge! You must have had fun creating them! It seems hard to believe that gingerbread season is nearly upon us!
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