Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions! - Indexed

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Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions! - Indexed

Postby DawnPumpkin33 » December 2nd, 2012, 7:19 pm

With the start of December, we can all agree that the Holiday season is in full swing! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or just recently finished celebrating Diwali, this time of year is all about family, festivity, and fun.

All around the world people celebrate these holidays but how we celebrate them vary from country to country. Each culture has its own customs, food staples, songs and more. As we are such a culturally diverse forum, I thought it would be fun and enlightening to share and learn about each other’s holiday traditions.

Whether you want to talk about your family’s personal traditions (like in my family we always open one present on Christmas eve after dinner), share family recipes typically reserved for the Holidays, your favorite Holiday songs (“oooh Christmas treeee ;) ), share pictures each night as your family lights the Menorah or pictures from your family’s Diwali lighting – whatever it is, feel free to share it!

I know I don’t have to say it but I will – please respect the religious beliefs and personal traditions of other members. If you do not understand another religious Holiday, please politely ask that person to explain it more for you – I am sure they won’t mind. Thanks! :)
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Re: Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions!

Postby Poppy » December 3rd, 2012, 12:14 am

Okay, well I celebrate Channukah. Channukah isn't actually one of the biggest holidays in Judaism but because it falls at the same time as Christmas, it has become bigger. Their are 8 days, and each night you light one more candle on the menorah. For around 2-3 of the nights we usually invite friends/family over and light it together, sing the songs and eat dougnuts. Some people give presents to each other on channukah, some give a little present each night and then a big one on the last day, but my family doesn't do that except sometimes my grandparents give me money. My friends and I usaually have a gift exchange which works like secret santa except people know who's giving them the present. Oh and there are driedel compeitions and we have them at school to.
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Re: Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions!

Postby ElmSparks30289 » December 5th, 2012, 1:25 pm

For me, I celebrate CHRISTMAS!! :D
Our family recipe (well, more like world-wide recipe) is that we buy waffle pretzels, put hershey kisses on them and stick em in the oven for 1 minute, then quickly put m&m's on the melted hershey kisses! It's really good.
For our traditions, sometimes we open 1 present on Christmas eve. We always go to my Grandparent's house and get together with all of my mom's side of the family, and we open presents and have a yummy Christmas dinner there! This year, though, we're doing it on the 26th because... well, I'm still confused about it. Apparently my cousins are doing Christmas on Christmas day with their other side of the family this year, and they usually do it on Christmas eve, but oh well. More time for me and my sister to play with our new stuff :O
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Re: Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions!

Postby HazelMagic » December 5th, 2012, 2:25 pm

I just wrote this for the Claw's Christmas thread, but then I thought I'd put it here as well :)

HazelMagic wrote:My family's tradition is kinda odd because we're half English and half Afrikaans. First of all, you have to remember that here in South Africa Christmas is in the middle of summer. Keep that in mind.

The Afrikaans part of the tradition dictates the following: A huge gathering at my great-aunt's house on Christmas Eve afternoon to evening with LOTS of food and plenty of the extended family, all bestowing a kiss and wanting to know which of us is getting married next. Soon after the sun sets (around 20:30 or 21:00) the chatting is interrupted by a visit from one of the (usually +-25 year old) cousins arriving in a fake white beard and Vader Kersfees (Father Christmas) outfit. Now, our Father Christmas still looks like he's pitched up from the north pole, so the poor fellow is wearing this ridiculous fur edged outfit with large beard and obviously dying in the 30 degree Celsius plus heat. However, presents are handed out with much excitement and everyone carries on visiting late into the night.

The English part of the tradition has changed quite a bit recently with my sister's marriage, which resulted in the two families deciding to share Christmas together. We all get along brilliantly, so it has worked out well! It dictates the following: We all go to church on Christmas morning at 8 o' clock, after which we go to my sister's mother-in-law's house. There the women of the family help put the finishing touches to the lunch while the men generally get in the way until they're shooed out the kitchen and go talk nonsense in the lounge.

Lunch consists of about 3 different types of meat (mostly served cold), amazing salads and veggie dishes and everything delicious. This is followed by a "slight pause" while we recover before pudding. Everyone then admires the beautiful Christmas tree and sits around chatting while the food settles. Then, an incredibly delicious dessert is served. We then settle down to the business of singing carols while lounging around, building puzzles or some other lethargic pursuit in the Airconned TV room. Around this time another family of friends without whom Christmas isn't Christmas arrive, invariably about 2 hours late but just in time for present opening. I always have way too much energy by this time and am given the job of handing out presents which is great fun, but always mean that I don't have time to open my own presents until right at the end. Presents are admired while coffee, tea, shortbread and fruit mince pies are served.

This is always followed by an invigorating swim outside, possibly involving a highly competitive game of pool volleyball. After a while my sister will dry off, fetch her guitar and play carols while we lie in and around the pool, singing along. This continues until sunset when everyone finally gets their presents together and pile into their various cars and head home.

If you're hungry and still have energy by the end of that day, you've been doing it wrong.

Our family doesn't get to be all together like that very often as we're all out of school and spread out all over the country, so Christmas is really a time to simply enjoy each other's company. Look at that!! For the first time this year I CAN'T WAIT for Christmas!
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Re: Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions!

Postby fade2black » December 8th, 2012, 7:38 pm

For me, the holidays kick off with Thanksgiving and last right on into January.
Thanksgiving is almost always spent at my family cabin with two to three dozen friends and family members. We usually cook two to three turkeys: one oven baked, one barbecued, and one deep fried. Six homemade pies: two apple, two pumpkin, and two bourbon pecan are par for the course. Prior to dinner, each person takes a lone kernel of corn. A basket is then passed around and each person places his/her kernel in the basket and says what he or she is thankful for. Some Thanksgivings, we build and launch water-propelled bottle rockets. One of my nephews came up with the idea in 2009, and we continued the tradition on into 2010 and 2011. We opted not to do it this year for some of the people who partook in the event during previous years weren't able to attend, and (to be perfectly honest) the novelty had sort of run its course. Though, I suspect we'll resume the tradition at some point in time, hence my reason for listing it. I have a video of our rocket flying antics and if anyone expresses an interest in seeing it, I'll post it. To help work up an appetite, we play several rounds of disc golf. We built three disc golf courses on the 160 acre property and weather permitting, I try to play all three courses during our Thanksgiving stay.

Another December/January tradition is my brother-in-law's annual holiday break LEGO® party. As a kid, he was a huge LEGO® fanatic (still is), now that he's all grown up, he uses my nephews as an excuse to break out his countless boxes of LEGOs. Sometime in December (or January - depending on his schedule), he invites the kids over as well as any adult kids at heart, and we transform his entire living room into a giant LEGO® land. We do this until the wee hours of the morning, then break out the sleeping bags and call it a night. The next morning we have a big pancake breakfast and then put away our previous night's creations. It's silly fun for the kids and adults alike. A couple years back, my youngest nephew discovered my brother-in-law's giant ball of Silly Putty®. He used it to fashion a pair of Dobby the House Elf ears. They were adorable (albeit very messy, for small LEGO® pieces kept getting embedded in the putty). Here are a few photos from past previous LEGO® parties, including one of my Silly Putty® Dobby-eared nephew.

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One of the traditions I partake in that the rest of my family does not, is the Turning Wheels for Kids annual bike build. In fact, that's where I was most of today. The event is a local bike build for charity. We assemble donated bikes (3,000 this year), which will then be given away to children in need during the holidays. All the donated bikes are brand new (as opposed to hand-me-downs).
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I usually help my mom put up her tree. I guess one could call that a tradition. She hasn't got one for this year yet, but she assures me she and her friend will be picking one up on Tuesday.

Christmas Eve is usually spent at my parents' home. My youngest sister and my brother-in-law come over early and they help mom make ravioli. Everything is made from scratch including the ravioli dough. We exchange some gifts with relatives, though my immediate family saves their gifts until Christmas Day. After our Christmas Eve dinner gathering, we head over to midnight mass. On Christmas Day, I go to my eldest sister's home along with all the rest of my immediate family members. She cooks prime rib and we frequently watch a classic movie or play games. Sometime during the second week of January, I'll help mom take down the tree, marking the end of our holiday festivities.
Last edited by fade2black on December 31st, 2012, 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions!

Postby Aspy » December 27th, 2012, 2:30 am

It's so interesting to learn of other PFFer's family traditions!
As for my family, each year we put up our little 4 feet plastic Christmas tree and then decorate it together. Then we'd sit around our little TV and watch Home Alone. We've watched it so much that everybody knows what the next line is. We still watch it anyway :P

Then there are the winter solstice family dinners for the Dongzhi Festival. Unlike most years, this year's Dongzhi Festival lies on the 21st instead of the 22nd. It is one of the most important dates for the Chinese. Probably like Thanksgiving. It is a time for families to get together once more, no matter how far they have scattered. We ate tangyuans (balls of sweet glutenous rice-- a type of traditional desert that is supposed to symbolize reunion). We also had Poon choi, a sort of traditional Hong Kong "feast, or the "big bowl feast" that originated from village Hakka cuisine. Here's a picture:
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It looked quite a lot better before my family and I started digging into it XD The Poon choi is made of many different layers of different foods, with the more valuable ingredients-- things like seafoods, seaweed, oysters, abalone and the like at the top, and things like pork, dried mushroom in the middle and radishes near the bottom... with everything served in one large metal bowl XD

Each year we also celebrate the Dongzhi Festival on my dad's side by going out to have a nice dinner in the local restaurants. Everybody was there-- my grandma, all three of my aunts and two uncles and their children-- my cousins. We took up two large round tables in the restaurants in the end. By the end of the evening there were more than ten dishes on the table XD It was soooo delicious! Haha, I can't wait for the Chinese New Year family reunion, which is when we'll have another similar family dinner/feast thing XD

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Re: Holiday Happiness – Share Your Family Traditions!

Postby Pipamonium » December 27th, 2012, 4:37 am

I think I love this thread. :D It is interesting to learn what others do to celebrate.

So... as a child growing up 'Christmas' really began in the late afternoon/early evening. My mom would make a simple dinner of kid friendly comfort foods. Like 'pigs in a blanket' or 'macaroni and cheese'. I remember practically inhaling my food to try to move things along.

After dinner we'd all get bundled up and head over to the church for Candle Light Service. To this day it is this that I look forward to all year round. When you enter the lobby you get a small white candle which you take into the sanctuary. During the service there was typically a short skit and a short sermon, both of which were aimed to demonstrate what the meaning of Christmas is. What there was lots of was music! The choir would sing, the orchestra played - which I joined when I was 10, and the congregation sang along. I can't put into words how it makes me feel to be surrounded by music like that. Near the end the congregation is lead to take our candles and move to line the edges of the sanctuary and turn to all face inwards. The pastor would light his candle off the advent candles and would then walk along the walls lighting random peoples along the way. When your candle was lit you were to turn and light the person's standing next to you until everyone's candle was lit. Then they'd turn off the lights to the whole room was lit only by our little candles. Once that was done we would all be lead to sing carols acapella style. Angels We Have Heard on High, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Away In A Manger, O Come O Come Emmanuel, O Little Town of Bethlehem, The First Noel, and the likes. We'd always end with Silent Night. After we'd finished we were all instructed to blow out our candles together then anyone who wanted could flood the stage and sing 'The Hallelujah Chorus' together with the organ for fun. I never got the courage up to go but I enjoyed listening. When we left all the kids got a small bag of sweets and a small orange. I don't know why but I always thought that was awesome.

After the service we'd go home, still singing carols, to open the presents! We always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve because Christmas Day had always been so overly busy. My mom would take me into my bedroom to read Christmas stories and 'pretend to be asleep' so Santa could come leave a present for me under the tree. I knew it was my dad for as long as I can remember but it was fun. After Santa came I'd come out to find out what my 'big' or otherwise 'super special, I've wanted it forever, I'm likely to faint that I got it' present is. I'd know because Santa would leave it under the tree unwrapped. ;) Then my mom would play Santa's Helper and we would all take a place around the living room. 'We all' being my dad, myself, my two oldest sisters, and my grandmother. We always opened gifts one at a time so we would remember who got us what for when we sent out thank you cards.

After gifts were opened we would have dessert - ginger bread cake, fudge, pumpkin pie, peach cobbler... I only ever ate the ginger bread and the pumpkin pie. It gave me a little time to play with my presents and wind down for bed. The next morning we'd open our stockings. Youngest to oldest. Then we'd have a large breakfast which almost always included cinnamon rolls. We've have a few hours to kill after that, which I used to play with my haul of toys. Early afternoon we'd go over to my Grandmothers where the WHOLE family would get together. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Second Cousins, Family Friends Who Were Practically Family... you get the idea. We'd have a HUGE feast for dinner. Some of the guys would let their belts out when they finally finished eating.

So that's Christmas Past.

I've tried to make Christmas Present as much like I remember it to be for the sake of my kids. The details have changed, because things happen, but the gist is all there and that's what matters.
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