Friday Five: Christmas Traditions

Christmas traditions vary from family to family and from regions afar. I’ve been pleased that my oldest son’s wife AA loves to be with our family for Christmas, though I don’t think we do anything out of the ordinary. It helps that DC has one brother and two sisters to liven up our home.

Since I finally decorated the Christmas tree and have started baking Christmas cookies, I am thinking of Christmas only being one week away.

So for this Friday Five, tell us five things about the traditions in your family. Think of

  • traditions you always do
  • traditions you always cook or eat
  • traditions you would like to start
  • traditions you would like to discard
  • anything about your family Christmases

1. Traditions You Always Do.

On Christmas Eve, we always go to church, drive around and look at lights (mostly to annoy my brother), go home and eat dinner, and then open presents. On Christmas Day, we sleep in, do nothing and most likely go to a movie. My dad grew up opening gifts on Christmas Eve so has a mental block against opening gifts in daylight. We’re all night people, so this has worked out pretty well. Now with the babies here, we get started earlier in the day and don’t go as late. Their church has a 3 pm service, which seems wierd to me. Last year, I was hoping they would serve brunch, but they did not.

A Christmas-related tradition that I do at Thanksgiving is to take my neice and nephew shopping for their own Christmas ornament. That way, when they move out, they’ll already have a bunch of their own ornaments.

2. Traditions you always cook or eat.

Yes! Our Christmas Eve dinner is ALWAYS, without exception, chili and tamales. Last year they had Mexican Coke @ Costco, so we had that too. We always have to drink Coke w/ our chili. There is no Latino blood flowing through any of our veins, but we live in Arizona, so there’s been some influence. This year, my brother had a hankering for some of our tranditional Mennonite cuisine, so they’re making vereneke, which works out b/c I’m not there and I hate that stuff. Since we’re doing our Christmas this year on New Year’s Day, we’re combining our traditional chili & tamales with my grandmother’s New Years recipes of New Year’s Cookies & Egg Nog. I know egg nog is a polarizing beverage but this recipe has converted many a hater. I don’t remember the exact proportions but the ingredients are milk, sugar, eggs and a package of cook & serve (NOT INSTANT) vanilla pudding mix. Then you float scoops of vanilla ice cream in it. It tastes like a vanilla milkshake and is FABULOUS.

Granny Flaming’s Neujahr Kuchen
2 c. milk
¾ c cream
1 small pkj raisins
3 t. butter
2 pkj Fleichmann’s Yeast
8 eggs
2 t. salt
2 big apples, peeled and shredded
2 t. sugar
2 t. baking powder
pinch of soda

Mix all ingredients and add enough flour to make a stiff batter—stiff, but not dry. Set in a warm place and let the batter rise about 1 hour.
Pinch off with a large spoon and fry in deep hot fat. Roll in sugar and enjoy!

3. Tradition you would like to start.

I’d like to be more consistent about making chartiable contributions and participating service activities part of my Christmas traditions. I’ve done them through work the past few years, but I’d love to do more on my own time. I’d also like to learn more about global Christmas traditions and perhaps include some of them, just for fun.

4. Tradition you would like to discard.

The driving around and looking at lights. Kind of boring, but the kids love it. When they’re older, we can probably cut back on that.

5. Anything about my family Christmas.

My family Christmases have pretty much been described above. I really love every bit of it and I’m looking forward to our celebration this year, albeit a bit late. I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas!

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