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What's Your Family's Treasured Holiday Tradition?

For some families it's attending a religious service, while for others it's as simple as watching the "Yule Log" on TV.

Just about every family has some type of beloved holiday tradition, whether it's taking a walk after Christmas dinner, eating a special food, watching a favorite movie on Christmas Eve, or leaving out cookies and milk for Santa.

In my family, for many years we had a rather unique Christmas morning tradition that I've never heard anyone else talk about.

Back when we all gathered at my grandparents' home on Christmas Eve--to sleep over and share the excitement of Christmas morning together--we would "line up" after breakfast at the door to the basement steps (the Christmas tree was always set up in the basement, near the fireplace). And we didn't form just any type of line.

We lined up according to age, with the youngest in front and the eldest person at the rear. I suppose this was because the little kids present were inevitably the most excited about opening the presents, and perhaps there was fear that one of us would knock an older person down? I don't know...but it was a fun tradition while it lasted.

Today we all sleep at our own homes and gather for dinner in the early afternoon (typically at my aunt's house), which is always wonderful, although nothing can quite compare with the feeling of togetherness that came from sleeping at the same house.

Some of our family's traditional Christmas foods have included butterhorns (an old-fashioned type of dinner roll) and "snowball pudding" (a steamed pudding typically made in individual cups).

I was recently listening to "Christmas with Delilah" on WLEV 100.7 and heard about another family's tradition of burning a special "Christmas candle" each year, which was explained by a caller to the popular syndicated radio show.

The female caller said that for the past 35 or 40 years, her family has briefly lit the same candle every Christmas. They burn it just a little bit each year, so that the next year the family will be able to enjoy it's glow once again.

Hearing about this tradition made me think about what other families' traditions are, as well as what my own family's have been. 

What are your family's holiday traditions? Tell us what they are why they are meaningful for you.

Susan Y December 21, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Our family tradition is eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve. Started as a child when we lived in the Bronx then later when my grandmother moved to Florida she would come up for Christmas and we continued the tradition. We used to go to a Chinese restaurant with the white table cloths and order two from column A and 1 from column B but now with a "take out" world, we order, pick it up and enjoy our smorgasbord at home while opening gifts with immediate my siblings and parents. My daughter has said she loves it and someday when she has a family of her own, she will continue what was started so many generations ago. Merry Christmas everyone!

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