We Wickeds have a few holiday traditions, some from our childhoods, some created as adults. We thought we’d share a few.
Liz: I’m a Christmas music junkie. My parents played all the classics during our holidays while I was growing up, and it stuck. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me without some Burl Ives or Nat King Cole. Also, opening presents on Christmas Eve. That was my family’s thing – we had our big celebration on Christmas Eve and then the “Santa” presents on Christmas Day – even when we were way past Santa age!
Sherry: One of my favorite traditions came from my childhood. We always have pizza on Christmas Eve. That tradition came about when we were supposed to go to my grandparents farm one year but an unexpected snowstorm stopped us. Mom had cleaned out the refrigerator so it was pretty empty. Pizza Hut was the only place open so that is where we ate and a tradition was born. My mom made the pizza for years and now Bob is in charge.
Jessie: When I was a child my mother gave each of her children an ornament on Christmas Eve each year. That way when we got to be adults with a tree of our own we would each have at least eighteen ornaments to decorate with that would feel familiar and already be imbued with Christmas memories. Now that I am a mother, I do the same with my children. I hope they will continue the tradition with their own families.
Julie: Jessie, I love your tradition! Am a decade behind with the nieces and nephews, but maybe I’ll jump in anyway. Honestly, but only holiday tradition is to watch White Christmas on Thanksgiving. Other than that, I try to spend time with friends and family. And I make apple pies. But the rest? All up in the air since my sisters both had families, and I spend time different places.
Edith: I always make bunches of sugar-and-butter based cookies from my mother and my grandmothers’ recipes. But the first Christmas after I was divorced, 12 years ago now, my sons and I decided to make sushi on Christmas Day. No tradition was behind it, but now it’s an important new one that has lasted over a decade. And in Jessie’s tradition, I started acquiring decorative nutcrackers, thinking each son would then have a few for his own home when the time came. A couple of years ago, they said, “Mom, I think we have enough nutcrackers now!”
I also love to put electric candles in all the windows that face the street, and line the doorways with tiny white lights. I leave the window and door lights up into January, long after the tree has come down. It helps to dispel the short dark days of winter.
Barb: One of my favorite traditions is a party my husband’s father’s family has every year on the Sunday closest to The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th. It started as a way for Bill’s grandparents to get together with their four boys, their daughter and the cousin they raised, and all their many, many grandchildren around the holidays. Of their children, only one, Bill’s Aunt Mary, now 90, is still living, but the tradition goes on.
One of my favorite features of the party is that Santa comes! My son says he was in school before he realized that not everyone had Santa as a friend of the family and that having him drop in on our family party was very particular and special to us. I loved it because each of the children would give Santa their (often meticulously researched and constructed) list, and that way we had it when it was still early enough to do something about it. Santa then gives them an inexpensive toy, something to “hold them over” until the big day.
It’s a lesson in patience, because the children have to wait until it’s dark, and then have to sing three Christmas carols before Santa comes, and then have to wait until their name is called to come up. In my husband’s day, Santa, always played by one of the uncles, wore a terrifying mask. Fortunately that had been dispensed with by the time my kids came along.
This year was my granddaughter Viola’s first time with Santa. She sat on his lap and smiled like a champ. I have to admit I cried.
Readers: What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Or the least favorite, which you are obliged to follow anyway?