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Today I’m participating in The Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood’s themed-prompt: Tradition.

It’s funny how when I was little, I didn’t even think about the things that we did as being “tradition” but I always knew when things weren’t quite right.  I come from a large-ish extended family and to accommodate everybody, we designed a schedule, if you will, to celebrate Christmas with one another.

When I lived at home, our Christmas tradition was to spend Christmas Eve bemoaning the fact that we still had to wait an entire day to open our Christmas presents.  We would stare at our tree all day long with huge, exaggerated sighs while my mom held firm that it wouldn’t kill us to wait another day.

Obviously she was right but 24-hours might as well be a lifetime when you are seven years old.

I guess I was about 8 or 9 when we started taking my great-grandmother to Midnight Mass.  She was Catholic, we were Methodist but she was a kick-ass grandma who would give us her bingo-winnings every week and she didn’t drive so we would take her.  Have you ever been to a Catholic mass as a non-participant?  It’s strange.  Very strange.  Allow me to provide some examples:

  • They cross themselves & kneel before entering/exiting the pew.
  • If you’re not Catholic, you don’t participate in communion.  This means that you sit in your pew while everybody around you does the awkward butt-to-face shuffle to get around you so they can take communion.
  • The priest sings half of the sermon.  (Let us prayyyyyyyyyyyyy)
  • There are a lot of interactive back and forth between the priest & the congregation.  A lot.

Okay, I know that it’s only 4 examples but still.  Definitely not what I was used to at the age of 8ish but it allowed me to stay up past my bedtime be exposed to new avenues of faith.

It also meant that when we got home, it was Christmas morning!!!!!  For all of the years that Mom held out and made us wait, she caved fairly quickly when we suggested that we open our presents after Midnight Mass.

Honestly, if it meant that she could just hurry us up and get to bed, I think she was game.

I still remember what I got the first morning when we opened gifts at 2am.


Full of The Win.

Every year after that, we convinced my mom that we should just go ahead and open our gifts on Christmas Eve.  Even though my Granny died 11 years ago, I still think about her and her crazy dog (the dog’s name?  Boobie.  This is not a joke.  I told you that she was crazy.) and how she would always make my sister and I whine cake and we would watch CMT at her apartment and spy on her neighbors with her binoculars that she kept in her china hutch.

I’m pretty sure that Granny deserves her very own blog entry.

Another time.

Before Greg and I had kids, our tradition was to open all of our gifts about a week before Christmas because we have no self-control.  I would love to put all of the blame on my husband, but we all know that would be a bold-faced lie.  Then on Christmas Eve morning, we would go to Mom & Dad’s and spend the morning there while stuffing our faces full of waffles, biscuits & gravy, eggs, bacon & orange juice.  Then we would convince mom that it was time to open presents!  Even though Granny is gone, the tradition lives on!

Invariably, somebody would get either a movie or a game so we would hang out at Mom & Dad’s for a few hours while we explored all of our loot. 

On Christmas Eve night, we would go to my mom’s parent’s house to celebrate with that side of the family.  We are up to 12 grandkids & 4 great-grandkids with another great-grandchild due any day!

Next was on to Christmas day.  Since Greg & I had already exchanged gifts & we had done Christmas with my parents the day before, Christmas morning was typically reserved for Greg’s parents.  We would head over there, stuff ourselves with more delicious breakfast treats & then open gifts.  Next stop?  My dad’s side of the family.  More food.  More gifts.  You get the idea.

Last year we tried something a little different.

Because we now have two kids, we decided that instead of trying to cram all of the merriment into two(ish) days, we were going to focus on our kids.  We still celebrate Christmas Eve morning with my parents and we are thinking about switching it up and doing Christmas Eve night at Greg’s parents.  Then on Christmas morning, we can spend time as a family of four.

We genuinely miss seeing all of our extended family but when we rush around and try to see everybody, we don’t get to spend any quality time with anybody and that’s no fun at all.  Plus, both of the kids need naps (despite what they think) and it throws a huge kink in their day (and therefore, my day) when they don’t get one.

One of the most difficult yet exciting things about having our own little family is attempting to incorporate traditions of years past with our own new traditions.

What are your traditions around the holidays?

Note to self: Before entering a blog hop/meme, it would behoove you to pay attention and read a few others that entered.  Pretty much everybody but me wrote a piece of fiction that was inspired by a photo that was produced.  I was too excited to talk about our family traditions to pay any attention and now I stick out like, well like my typical narcissistic self usually does. ::headdesk::


13 thoughts on “Tradition

  1. I really, really liked this! I could sense the frantic pace of it all – and the amount of food you guys eat! 😉 I bet your kids will be VERY happy to spend Christmas morning with just their parents, making their own traditions.

  2. I got tired just reading this! My partners family used to have this same two day run around, everyone was much happier when we decided as a clan to knock it off, and knowing that it didn’t mean that we didn’t love each other any less.

  3. There were plenty of entries that focused on actual family traditions 🙂 Yours doesn’t stick out at all!

    Pre-kids the family stuff was definitely crammed into those 2 days. My family, his family, grandparents, etc. Now with kids we have to tone it down a bit. I’m not willing to throw the entire schedule out the window for the holiday 🙂

    Visiting from Red Writing Hood

    • I agree. Because my kids are 1 & 3, a schedule is very important. It gets thrown off enough during those 2 days and if they don’t have a nap it makes everybody miserable!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I enjoyed reading your true Christmas traditions! That sounds a lot like the way we used to do things before our daughter was born. Now, with one exception, everyone comes to us so the babe can be at home, in routine, and PLAY!

    I read several blogs who use the red writing hood prompts for posts, and for topics like tradition, I would rather read non-fiction than fiction. Even if it does help stretch the limits of the writer. 🙂

  5. For what it’s worth, I loved your entry. It sounds like you and your dh have an amazing, huge family and I know just what you mean about carrying on and starting your own traditions. I wonder if the awkwardness every goes away and if our kids pick up on it?

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