During my childhood, we always attended 5:30pm mass on Christmas Eve. It was the mass where they had the children act out the nativity scene. I never had an actual speaking part, but I played an awesome angel in my pillowcase and gold tinsel trimmed robe.
After the mass, we had a nice family dinner that was followed by dessert and presents in our living room. My sister and I sat in the same spot, on the same sofa, every year.
After we went to sleep, our parents would fill our stockings. As long as we “believed” in Santa, there would be extra presents from him in the morning. My sister and I would try to wake up as early as possible, and race downstairs to be the first to open our gifts on Christmas Day. This was our Christmas tradition for as long as I can remember, and I loved every second of it.
During this month, I have reflected upon the traditions my family created as a child and how meaningful they made the holidays. Traditions play an important role for families, cultures and societies. They provide predictability, stability and a dynamic flow for everything from daily routines to special occasions.
When traditions are passed down from one generation to the next, they link families for lifetimes to come. Traditions form when they are meaningful and repetitive. They provide the family with purpose and when they are practiced by each member, it bonds everyone together.
My husband and I celebrated our first Christmas together as a married couple and fortunately, we are still able to spend Christmas Eve with my family. Ever since the infamous “my dad and saving seats at church” incident, we have opted for just the traditional dinner and presents routine. Our family dinner has evolved into enjoying a traditional Swiss dish, Raclette (I will post more on Raclette later!)
We decided to buy our first tree together last year. We agreed on the type, size and the entire decorative scheme. Yes, it is fake, but it’s pre-lit! Andy made his infamous adult hot cocoa and I found the perfect Spotify station for this glorious occasion: Michael Buble, Christmas edition.
We put ourselves in a perfect tree decorating mood and had a wonderful evening laughing at Fritz’s unamused reactions. It was meaningful and special to us at that time, as it was our first tree and because we effortlessly agreed on everything during the process.
This year, we busted out the same tree decorating moves and lo and behold, a tradition had been established. It was something I found myself looking forward to right after Thanksgiving. I love that it’s something I can see us doing together years down the road.
I look forward to introducing our future little ones to our Christmas Eve and tree decorating traditions, as well as all of the traditions that are yet to be established. I only hope to add watching Love Actually with the husband to the holiday mix, and then life would be complete.
Do you have any favorite Christmas or holiday traditions that you look forward to each year?