THE 2012 CHRISTMAS GENEAMEME (IN 2017)DV
Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family? We have always gone to church on Christmas, sometimes to the Midnight Mass and sometimes on Christmas Day. Usually we observed the lighting of the Advent Wreath with its three purple candles and one pink candle. We didn’t have a chimney to hang our stockings on but each child was assigned a chair or place on the sofa to place their stocking on, that is where Santa would leave their gifts. We were allowed to open a gift on Christmas Eve and take it to bed with us. Usually pajamas from an Aunt and Uncle.
Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day? We have always gone to church on Christmas, sometimes to the Midnight Mass and sometimes on Christmas Day. Much depended on the age of the children in the family. Recently, due to various church commitments such as altar servers and choir membership, the family has sometimes gone to separate services.
Did/you or your children/grandchildren believe in Santa? Yes! Each generation has believed in Santa, usually until about the age of 8. After that we knew better but kept the secret going for the sake of any littles.
Do you go caroling in your neighbourhood? As a child, sometimes we would gather friends to go caroling in the neighborhood and sometimes my Girl Scout troop would go caroling. As an adult, never.
What’s your favourite Christmas music? All of it! There is really none that I don’t like. I used to watch the Christmas specials and do the Christmas cards.
What’s your favourite Christmas carol? Currently it is “Mary Did You Know” but I like many others for various reasons.
Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read? I always enjoy “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” but I also like to watch anything with the littles. I love to share their excitement.
Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)? Our gift giving has changed with the times as our family has changed. With 9 children in the family, we used to draw names and kept the tradition as marriages occurred. With the addition of littles, we would buy for each until they were in high school, then they were moved to the “grab bag”. We would set a dollar limit and it usually worked pretty well. There was a year or two that the gifts were to be homemade. That was fun!
Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away? Growing up in Northern Illinois, our Christmas meal was always indoors and it stayed that way mostly when we lived in Florida and now in Texas. Except for the first year my husband and I lived in Florida. That year we decorated the lanini and ate poolside. Two of my sisters and a brother came for dinner with their families and we ate poolside.
What do you eat as the main course for the Christmas meal? I don’t remember a certain tradition, but it was always more on the formal side with the good china and silver. The meal could vary from turkey to ham to beef, but there was always family and love. One year my husband and I invited both of our families to our house (about 25 people) for dinner. We had Roast Goose, Beef Wellington, and homemade Egg Nog among other dishes. I came down with pneumonia that night and it took my poor husband spent three days doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen.
Do you have a special recipe you use for Xmas? We do Christmas cookies every year. Rum balls and Hungarian Kolaches are favorites.
Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited? We don’t have Christmas pudding.
Do you have any other special Christmas foods? No really although brisket on the bar-b-que is becoming a tradition now that we live in Texas.
Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas? When I was first married I used to make bread and cookies as Christmas gifts and over time I have made other crafts as gifts, such as a patchwork pillow, monogramed beer glasses and once a clock.
Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa? When we all lived in Northern Illinois, we would go back to our parents homes, spending time with both families. After Mom and my husbands parents moved to Florida, those of us still in the area would alternate hosting Christmas. Some of my siblings moved to Florida with my mother and they celebrate the holiday in much the same way, taking turns hosting.
Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ? Some things have changed over the years and others have remained the same. I live with my son-in-law and daughter now and their family. Church attendance is still the same but the overall feeling is much more casual. We still have a celebratory meal.
How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins? I don’t celebrate with friends much anymore since we have moved to Texas. I do keep in touch with friends and relatives via Facebook.
Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot? We do string lights along the front of the house and on the shrubs out in front. The highlight of our decorations are the wooden soldiers my husband made twenty years ago. This year they will have new flags to fly!
Isy.your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue? Most people on our cul-de-sac do decorate but not to the standard of being on a Christmas lights tour.
Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where? We did for several years when my son-in-law was the choir director for our church, but not any more.
Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)? One year we took our camper to Florida and camped to spend Christmas with family. We had a very small tree in the camper.
Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue? One year my husband took a cruise at Christmas time and didn’t decorate. Coming home was depressing. Other than that, Christmas is at home with family.
Do you have snow for Christmas where you live? Since we live in south central Texas, we don’t expect snow for Christmas. We did have 2 – 3 inches about two weeks ago and it got everyone into the spirit.
Do you have a Christmas tree every year? Yes, we have a tree every year, except for the year of the cruise.
Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation? At various times over the years, we have had both harvested and artificial trees. It depends on where we lived. In the South, the trees tend dry out quickly causing a fire hazard.
Do you have special Xmas tree decorations? Our tree decorations are a mix of new and old with musical instruments and toy soldiers as accents. My daughter and her entire family are musicians and my husband has a “thing” for toy soldiers and nutcrackers. We don’t put nutcrackers on the tree but they are everywhere else in the house. We also always have a manger scene in a place of honor.
Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving? They are both very important to my family, but I would say that the religious connection to the holiday pushes Christmas to the top.