1) What is a Christmas tradition that your family did when you were a child that you loved the most?
I loved going to my grandmother’s for Christmas Eve. She lived in a trailer, and had this pinecone tree studded with glass ornaments. We’d have lobster stew and get to open presents. Then we’d got to (my mother’s) Aunt Mary’s and have more presents, and then stay up for midnight mass. (I mostly remember staring up at the painted ceiling from the kneeler.) Eventually we got too big for the trailer and we started alternating between our house and my aunt’s house for the celebration. But I think part of what I loved was the pinecone tree and the coziness.
2) What is a Christmas tradition that you plan to instill in your own family or already have instilled from when you were a child?
We’ll keep the Christmas eve celebration. I also love watching those old stop-animation Christmas shows; my favorite is Year Without a Santa Claus, but I hate Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
3) What is a new Christmas tradition that you have instilled in your family that is new to both you and your significant other?
You know, we don’t really have “our” own traditions since we go to my parent’s house for Christmas. Our first married Christmas, we were so broke that we had “imagination Christmas” (I got a CD player for the car) and we thought we’d always do that, but things have brightened up.
4) Do you make any traditional holiday dishes?
We couldn’t live without lobster stew. And god help him (it was my dad) who messes with the recipe, although they have let him cut the onions (used to be whole). Auntie Em makes cheeseball and turtles that are delish. And Uncle Jay makes spanakopita. I sometimes bake, but not always. I initially wrote a draft of this before leaving SoCal. Now I find out that lobster stew is being replaced by seafood chowder. I'm appalled. I'm not sure it's going to be Christmas this year.
5) Does your family open Christmas gifts Christmas morning, when the clock strikes twelve, or one gift the night before and the rest the next morning?
We have an exchange on Christmas Eve, but the nuclear family gifts are opened only after everyone is up on Christmas Day. If we do get a gift early, it's Christmas pajamas.