In the spirit of the holidays we’d like to share some of our favorite Christmastime traditions!
Florence: Every year in our home, we have Christmas for family and friends. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I spend weeks preparing, decorating the house, planning the menu and shopping for gifts — I love giving out the gifts. Christmas for us is usually centered around traditional Italian food. Now my daughter has become involved with the baking of the deserts. At the end of the evening we usually play games — Scattagories is a popular one every year — and then sing Christmas songs.
Don: I’m involved with all of the above but my favorite tradition every year is putting cookies, milk and carrots out for Santa and his reindeer – I scatter the ashes around the fireplace and the kids would always write a letter to Santa and Mrs. Claus. After putting the kids to bed, Florence and I would eat the cookies and drink the milk and leave letters for the kids to find in the morning. Sure, the kids are fully grown now, but we still do it every year!
Rose: My all-time favorite Christmas tradition, going 15 years strong, is Christmas brunch with our neighbors. Every year, after opening presents, our pajama-clad neighbors will come over for the ultimate Christmas feast. The spread includes all types of meats (bacon, sausage, ham, etc.), strawberry crepes, strata (egg, cheese and bread casserole) and four different types of pierogies. Before we begin to eat, we all grab the holiday party crackers set at our place setting, cross arms so we are holding half of our neighbor's cracker as well as half of our own, and then PULL. Usually chaos ensues — at least one person loses their prize from the cracker, although sometimes it is found in one of the dishes later. We all put on the paper crowns that were in the crackers and dig in!
Caitlin: There’s a tradition in the U.S. where a pickle-shaped ornament is hidden in the Christmas tree and whoever finds it Christmas morning either gets a small prize or good fortune for next year. We’ve been doing it for years, yet both my brother and I always forget that it's waiting for us until Christmas morning. We then try to be sneaky about it and look for the pickle without the other one noticing. Our parents never say anything and just wait to see who finds it first. Whoever finds it gets a small gift and gloating privilege for the day.
Amanda: My family usually has a big Christmas Eve party. I have a lot of cousins, so we do a gift exchange and it’s generally just a fun, loud time. At some point in the night we have our annual “Christmas Fun Run,” as my dad calls it, which is a race around the block in Santa hats. Hilarity ensues as all my family members run uphill in the freezing cold. There is no specific prize but we have a long-running list and the goal is to be at the top of the list.