Question of the Week: What passed down holiday traditions does your family have?

+13 votes

Are there passed-down holiday traditions in your family? What are they?

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.9m points)

22 Answers

+14 votes
Great question. Being from the South, we eat the ham, collards, and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. It's for good luck.
by Betty Fox G2G6 Pilot (169k points)
I'm from the North and that is just yum! I think it's just the peas that are lucky, but who cares, it's all good.
Hubby can do without the collards but he likes the rest. You can never have too much good luck.
The "greens" are supposed to bring you money.
+13 votes
Oyster stew and creamed chipped beef Christmas morning!
by Shanna Leeland G2G6 Mach 5 (58.2k points)
Yum! That sounds wonderful.
+11 votes
For 40 years, we have always had the same food for Christmas;
- Christmas Eve: potato salad and sausages
- 1st Christmas Day: Fondue
- 2nd Christmas Day: Raclette.

Apart from that there are no traditions, except that on birthdays the person celebrating the birthday is allowed to wish for the food, and of course that' s what there is.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
Celebrating St. Nicolaas at the 5th of december with presents and poems.

Putting up the Christmas tree the day after.

Visiting my parents during the Christmas days (though not this year)

Eating "Oliebollen" on new years eve and playing board games.

Leaving our home at 24.00 hours new years eve and wishing happy new year to all the neighbours and watching the fireworks .

Watching the new years concert of the vienna philharmonic orchestra on television on New years day.
+11 votes
I live alone now and really don't follow a tradition; HOWEVER, my daughter and my brother both follow a tradition set up by my maternal grandparents. They put up their trees on the first of December and take them down on the 26th of December. Their decorations consist of ornaments that were hand-made over the years by grandparents, parents, themselves, their children and grandchildren. My most favorite is the one my brother hangs front and center every year that our mum made for him. She took a photo B&W photo of him and pinned it to a styrofoam cube decorated in velvet with sequins around the photo. He is about 5-years-old and sitting on the loo with his corduroys around his ankles. He is wearing a reindeer jumper and his chin is resting on a hand, elbow on a knee (picture Rodin's 'The Thinker' at age 5 years). It is hilarious!

So...while I don't decorate, my family continues to carry on the tradition, including the clothespin doll ornaments I made for my daughter!
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (639k points)
Thinker on the loo. I would not enjoy that for Christmas. :)
A 5 y/o thinker on the loo.
+13 votes
Jellied Cranberry Sauce right out of the can, so you can see the can rings. We even have a special plate for it. No homemade for this family or relatives.
by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (552k points)
Oh, we were fancier. We cut our cranberry sauce with the star cookie cutter.
Joyce, I love your comment. I certainly would not miss the can rings.
+10 votes
Christmas Day: turkey, dressing (the same dressing made by my maternal grandmother, my mother and now me (daughters have relegated that to me), cranberry sauce, yams and green bean casserole.

New Year's Day: Blending my husband's South Louisiana tradition and mine: His Mother always made cabbage rolls so I now do that and my family had black-eyed peas so I do some form of peas.

I like keeping some of the traditions going and I like seeing our adult children carrying on those traditions.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (861k points)
+10 votes
We have a Christmas Post Office, and Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus) is the Post Master.  All the presents are stacked behind (decorated) cardboard boxes, whch serve as the post office counter.

Each person goes up to the counter, rings the bell (an alpine goat bell that my father found when he was two) and asks "Do you have any packages for (name)?"

Father Christmas (who was actually usually my grandother) would either say "Yes I do!", and hand over a package, or say "There is nothing at the moment, but you should check again later".

I make Christmas cake every year.  It is an English fruit cake, covered with an almond paste icing.  There are only a few people outside the immediate family who like it, but the ones who do, rave about it.

We often also have a Christmas Trifle, but not always.  We ALWAYS have Christmas cake.
by Janet Gunn G2G6 Pilot (115k points)
The post office sounds like such fun. Is this something your own family invented?
Janet, I make my mother’s fruit cake in late October. Her recipe is called “Mum’s Christmas Cake” so it must be getting on for a hundred years’ old. My nephew, currently marooned on the Isle of Skye, asked me for the recipe for “Granny’s Christmas Cake”. He’s made the cake and hopes to share it with his London-based twin sisters just on the Scottish side of the border assuming they are allowed to cross it. I’ll be making my husband’s mother trifle for Christmas Day here in New Zealand. I’ve got the sponge fingers and the sherry and just need to get the frozen raspberries which are better than fresh. These are the only things I do that are in any way Christmas-y.
the Christmas Post Office certainly goes back to when my father was a small boy.  I do not know if it goes back further.  My father was born, and lived until he was 3, in a country where Christmas was not celebrated (Egypt).  It may have been his parents attempt to create a Christmasy atmosphere for a small boy (none of them were "believers", but Meena was very "into" Christmas).
Mine is from an English Good Housekeeping Cookery Book - the same one my mother used.  She would cover the almond paste with royal icing, but everyone just left the royal icing on the plate. So when I started making it I just left off the royal icing, and figured out how to make the almond paste look attractive.

HER mother was (before she married) a cook at several "stately homes of England", and didn't use a recipe.
Oh, yummy. Christmas cake sounds much better than canned cranberry sauce.
Janet, my mother always did the almond paste, royal icing and silver cashous. Children used to love the cake corners as there was more icing and less cake. My mother-in-law also baked the Christmas cake without a recipe so even though she lived with us, I have no idea what it was.
I just looked up the recipe for English Christmas Cake. It sounds like a lot of effort but worth it. Here in the United States, some people have fruit cake, which is similar. My neighbor, who was one of 8 children, always has a party in early December for all the female relatives. Everyone brings one of the ingredients for a BIG batch of fruitcake. The older ladies and the little girls cut up the nuts and the fruits while the stronger people do the stirring. And of course everyone talks and laughs a lot. When the batter is ready, everyone gets a small pan full to bring home and bake. One loaf of fruitcake is saved to be eaten at the annual Fourth Of July family picnic.
+12 votes

For my daughter-in-law Candy, who is from Taiwan, the Mid Autumn Festival is a traditional holiday, when families get together to look at the full harvest moon and eat special treats: moon cakes and chestnuts (which are round like the moon). Since she and Thomas live in California, while I am across the country in Massachusetts, I had never celebrated this holiday, or even heard of it. But this year, thanks to cell phones that take pictures, I was able to share in Candy's traditional holiday.

In September, she sent me the moon cakes and the chestnuts, along with a note explaining about this special night. On October 1, the night of the full moon, I took a picture of the moon rising over the high school, and sent it to California. Then I sat on my porch and looked at the moon, and shared my treats with my neighbor, who was on his porch looking at the moon. Three hours later, I received a picture of the moon rising over the eucalyptus trees in California.

I  hope Candy's tradition also becomes mine, and that I can enjoy it with her every year.

by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Pilot (151k points)
Lovely photo Joyce, and I enjoyed learning about your new tradition.
+10 votes
My husband's family Tradition was to Read the T'was the Night Before Christmas and sing carols on Christmas Eve before opening presents.That continued until our children were grown and we divided our times among different families.

My childhood family Christmas Tradition was to Trim the Tree Christmas on Christmas Eve, leaving it up until 6th January. Christmas morning we were allowed to have only our stockings that had a small gift, grapefruit, orange, banana, nuts and some candy. This was while the elders were preparing Christmas dinner. We would then have pancake breakfast, then Open our presents, while the dinner was cooking.

As an adult, I would usually be working the Christmas Eve overnight shift at the local hospital. One of the Priest would make homemade Tourtiere (French Pork Pies,) for each working staff member at the hospital.
by June Butka G2G6 (9.3k points)
Leaving the tree for the 12 days of Christmas is the old tradition. I remember everyone then taking the trees onto the ice and having a big bonfire.
+9 votes
I grew up celebrating Christmas, but my husband is Jewish, and we raised our children with Jewish traditions: lighting candles, frying latkes, and playing dreidel for chocolate gelt at Hanukah. We live in the southern US, so our kids were often the only Jewish kids in their class (at times in their whole school), so we sent Hanukah fun packs in to their class each December in the elementary grades—enough dreidels and gelt for each child, and an electric menorah so they could share their traditions with their classmates. The Hanukah kits also subtly encouraged their teachers to not assume that all children share Christian traditions when planning winter season stories, assignments, and celebrations in the (public school) classroom.
by Kathy Carroll G2G6 (9.2k points)
Kathy, I just chose yours as Best Answer. Even here on Wikitree, it is so easy to assume that everyone is like everyone else. You shared a tradition not just with your own family, but with people who were different. I am impressed that you sent your children with enough holiday for everyone to share. Thank you.
Thank you so much. I’m actually kvelling (Yiddish for tearing up from emotion)—I guess sharing this story was more important to me than I realized!
+8 votes

My wife's family's unusual fondness for sauerkraut as a side to a traditional holiday turkey dinner can apparently be attributed to a German family line.

by Richard Hill G2G6 Mach 3 (33.0k points)
+8 votes
My Grandmother had a little green calendar book where she wrote down all important family events such as births, christenings, weddings, deaths, etc.  My parents, aunts & uncles and all the cousins used to celebrate Christmas together at her home every year.  Although Grandma's been gone for 35 years, we still get together once a year at the holidays.  Since the numbers have grown, we now get together in a Church hall.  Any family member who had a special event in that year writes it down in Grandma's little green book.  So far, there is still room & we all try to write small.  It has been a very valuable tradition in documenting our family history!
by Patricia Calhoun G2G Crew (540 points)
edited by Patricia Calhoun
+8 votes
I always think every holiday of a picture perfect day decor and lights the biggest turkey dinner, but that never happens! Anyhow I am not big on those things anyway truth be told I’m just here for the tamales polvorone spice cookies and champurrada. Curled up on a couch watching new movies and opening 1 present I always only get 1 present but it’s always extra-special... At least to me.
by Anonymous Zapata G2G6 Mach 2 (22.0k points)
+7 votes
My family has a 4th of July holiday tradition of flying an historic American flag, handed down from generation to generation. It has only 48 stars, dating back from the time before Alaska and Hawai'i were admitted to the Union. I still have this flag and I fly it on all National and/or patriotic holidays, including Flag Day.
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (189k points)
We have one too, but ours is too fragile to fly outside. My son displays it on his wall.
Good move. Ours is fragile too, so we don't fly it every day. We are careful about keeping it clean because it may not survive a normal washing.
+6 votes

All The Christmas Gifts around the tree are Blessed before they are shared and opened , After Everyone including "Santa Claus" and " Jingle Elf" are present. ( lol..) ( respects the late night wrappers and holds the children in expectation for grand parents, parents to arrive !! lol)  

Wake Up Dad !

by Gerald Baraboo G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+5 votes
Every family member get a batch of fudge and socks!
by Sandra Vines G2G6 Mach 8 (82.2k points)
+3 votes
My parents always threw a party on Christmas eve. We invited family and friends from all over. The party always had plenty of Italian goodies like fried calamari, gnocchi and all kinds of food. And now I made everyone hungry. =D

The calamari would be prepared five diff ways: fried, sauce, stuffed....
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (534k points)
+4 votes
My mother’s family emigrated to Canada from Denmark.  Following the Danish traditions, we always celebrate our Christmas on Christmas Eve with our supper in the evening followed by a lemon mousse dessert with a single almond.  Whoever gets the almond gets the ‘Mandel gave’, the first gift of the night, usually chocolate. When I moved to England, we kept our Danish traditions on Christmas Eve, but celebrated on Christmas Day too. Years later, my daughters come home to us for Christmas Eve and to their father’s on Christmas Day.

by Wendy Taylor G2G6 Mach 6 (61.0k points)
+4 votes
I am a Cajun living in Indiana, my husband is from New Jersey.  When I married into the family, my parents in law were fascinated  I was part Cajun.  My mother in law handed me the "The Cajun Night Before Christmas" and requested that I read to my new non Cajun family in my Cajun voice.  I was fascinated that they knew about this book from my childhood.  So, I read it to them for the first time in 1993 and every year there after.  Now, my parents in law are gone; and, my sister in law and brother in law who celebrates Christmas with us every year except for 2020 requests that I read it every year.  Over the years I feel like I have lost my Cajun accent; but, I am assured it is still there.  My Cajun family feels otherwise.
by Denise Hancock G2G1 (1.1k points)
+4 votes
Thanksgiving Day dinner is the usual American fare: Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and a few changing sides.  Afterwards we clean the kitchen, play board or card games and then have dessert of pumpkin pie.

Church on Christmas Eve is followed by hot chocolate before putting out cookies and milk for Santa.  Presents are opened the next morning and then extended family gathers for dinner midday.

There were many traditions for New Year's, but three I especially remember:  (1) Putting a penny outside the threshold and bringing it in just after midnight to ensure prosperity; (2) ensuring the first person allowed to enter the home on New Year's Day is a dark-haired man; (3) eating pork and sauerkraut. Yum!
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (286k points)
I'm intrigued by the dark-haired man tradition. Does everyone else have to stay outside until he gets there?

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