Monday, December 01, 2008


When we were kids we didn't have very many holiday traditions.
Holiday meals were divided between our house and my Aunt and
Uncle's place: if Thanksgiving was at our place, was Christmas was at
theirs, and New Year's Day we played by ear, depending on how late
the adults had been out on New Year's Eve.

Holiday dinners at Aunt Emily and Uncle Ed's was served in two stages:
first, the traditional turkey and all the usual vegetables. Then Nonny, Aunt
Emily's Mom, would bring out the Italian food: lasagna, meatballs, eggplant,
and other dishes whose names I don't recall. My Dad liked Italian food and
lasagna became a standard dish that was served at least once at either Christmas
or New Year's. Dad was also the designated turkey cooker for Thanksgiving,
getting up at 6am on Thanksgiving Day to get "the bird" started.

Some families out their Christmas trees up the day after Thanksgiving, but we
often waited until Christmas Eve before even going out to purchase a tree! This
often led to disagreements between Mom and Dad about the way the tree looked.
(Especially after we got it home. Christmas trees look better in a badly lit parking
lot than they do in the harsh reality of the living room lamplight.) Eventually the
age of artificial Christmas trees arrived and we struggled with inserting the
branches into the "trunk" in the proper order. Another Christmas Eve tradition was
the last minute gift wrapping. No matter how early Mom might have started her
shopping, there was always some gifts to wrap, usually those for our cousins that
would be delivered that very night or next day when we went to their house for

A lot has changed over the years. Uncle Ed and Aunt Emily and their family moved
out of state. After my sister married, the holiday dinners rotated between her house
and our parents. Cheryl and her husband Pete began the tradition of exchanging
gifts at their house on Christmas Eve, which this year will move to her daughter
Sarah's house for the first time. Cheryl and Pete's Christmas tree is live and is
decorated with ornaments that they've accumulated over the years and that have
significance for their 3 children. And somebody at one of the holiday dinners makes

So some traditions have continued, while others have been replaced by new ones!

You can read more of my Christmas memories by clicking on the "Christmas"
label in the list on the right hand side of the screen.

Written for the 61st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.

No comments: