Friday, December 31, 2010

Seven Quick Takes: Christmas traditions edition



Because I'm Catholic, so it's still Christmas.


1. Since my parents were first married, we've always bought a new ornament each. My parents still have the lovebirds they got back in 1986 and hung on their banister because they went back to Ohio for Christmas (ironically, they grew up about 100 miles away from each other, but had to go all the way to San Antonio to meet) and thus didn't put up a tree.

We have so many ornaments now that we don't even put them all up. When I leave I'll get about 30 of my own ornaments and then probably a box of generics.

2. For about 10 years now we've had an Advent wreath. Usually we (attempt to) sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel" immediately after we light it.

(Updated to add: Immediately after I started this post, 14 days ago, the Little Man and the Princess were fencing with the candles and broke the pink one into about 5 pieces. No joy for us this Advent.)

3. We put up our Christmas tree on Gaudete Sunday. This has been official for about 10 years, but it developed organically out of an older tradition. You see, my dad's oldest sister's birthday is December 15, and my mom's mom's birthday was December 18. So their respective families used to put up the tree on those respective birthdays. When my parents married they decided to put up the tree the weekend before the weekend before Christmas. Which just happens to be the one dedicated to, you know, rejoicing and stuff.

4. We watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas at some point during Advent, usually when it's on TV. We watch a lot of movies, but this one has a funny story behind it. First: My mom really likes dogs. When she was a little girl and the movie came on the TV, she'd always start sobbing when the Grinch was whipping poor Max up Mount Crumpet. Her sobs kind of dampened the holiday mood, so her mother would tell her to please leave the room until she could control herself. This happened, I think, pretty much every year for my mother's entire childhood. Then she grew up and got married and had children and one day Dad said, "Let's read them How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" And Mom got really upset because didn't he know that's a horrible story?! And he was greatly perplexed. And at some point he coaxed her into sitting down and letting him read it to her. And then a few years later he even got her to sit down and watch the entire movie all the way through to the end, where poor Max gets the last slice of roast beast. (<---Spoiler.) Actually, now that I think of it, the real tradition is finding somebody who hasn't heard the story before and telling them about how Mom didn't watch the end of the Grinch until she was 30 years old.

5. On Christmas Eve, Dad sits us kids down on the couch and we read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Miss Kitty and I are very adamant about this. I have a picture from 2006 of him sitting down and reading it to us. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that means we were 19 and 17. I'm pretty sure he did it in 2007 as well. Then in 2008 we had Teresa, but she didn't pay attention at all.

6. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, because our parents believe in lying to us, instilling a spirit of secularism and greed, and perpetuating evil traditions based on the pagan god Thor. :) We also put out carrots and celery for the reindeer. Dad suggested last year that we didn't need to put anything out because Santa knows where we keep the beer, but I believe Miss Kitty and I held firm on that one as well.

7. We make birthday cake for Jesus. This one started just 2 or 3 years ago. We make carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, because by Christmas afternoon we're well on our way to an excess-induced chocolate allergy attack and need some spicy sweetness to balance it out.

For more quick takes, see Conversion Diary.

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