Christmas is less than one week away and I couldn’t be more excited! My family is big on Christmas… and that is an understatement. As soon as hits mid-November… yes, before Thanksgiving… my mother plops up all four of our Christmas trees and starts blaring the Christmas tunes. Personally, it is my favorite time of the year because it’s an excuse for the whole family to get together. Plus, it helps that everyone is in a great mood.
Setting up Christmas trees
You would think setting up four Christmas trees would be very time consuming, but my mother does it very quickly. Each tree and decorations has a labeled box that we store in our attic and bomb shelter. When November comes around those boxes fly into their assigned rooms and the Christmas music starts to blare. Depending on the year, the trees go up one day at a time or sometimes multiple in one day. Each tree has a theme ranging from Snowman, Antique, Family, and Folk Art. There are two tiny trees one with mini ornaments and another with cardinals. We also have had an animal tree and a Disney tree in the past. The Snowman tree has a very special place in my heart.
Speaking of Christmas tunes… they are nonstop playing during this time of the year. If my mother is home the tunes are on. Doesn’t matter if she is downstairs watching a Christmas Hallmark movie… the tunes are on. It is the first thing that wakes everyone up on Christmas day.
On Christmas Eve, each family member is given a wafer called an oplatek. Each person goes up to a family member, breaks off a piece of that person’s oplatek, wishes them something for the new year, and then eats the other person’s piece of oplatek. The idea is to wish everyone something for the next year. It’s a great time way to tell your loved ones how much you love and care about them.
Wigilia – Meatless Christmas Eve Dinner
On Christmas Eve, we always have fish and the meal is typically a white meal. This meal usually includes handmade pierogies, swordfish, crab, rolls, and some add-ons. We tend to keep this meal very white, unlike Christmas day. On Christmas day we usually have ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, gravy, and some add-ons. After these two days are over, we’re stuffed to the max and can barely wabble into our new clothes.
Before Christmas mass, everyone opens up their Christmas eve/day PJs. We typically wear these PJs all the way into the afternoon on Christmas day. We are a very casual family on Christmas day because all we do is eat and play games. Last year, my brothers and I all received matching PJ shirts.
On Christmas Eve, my mother, brothers, and I go to Midnight mass at a Franciscan Catholic church. My dad is Protestant so he goes to his church around the same time. Some years he comes with us but he usually does sound for his Church. My favorite part of this mass is how cheerful everyone is. The last song sung on Christmas Eve is usually Joy to the World and we all sing it at the tops of our lungs. I’ll be wearing this outfit for Christmas Eve. I think the metallic skirt is perfect for fitting in with the cheerful music and bight poinsettias.
Personally, stocking are my favorite presents to open. There is always such random goodies in there. When we were little, Santa used to bring use Beanie Babies and stick them out of the tops of the sock along with sweets and random toys. We usually open these stockings before we have breakfast. After breakfast, we continue opening presents under our family tree. Even though we have multiple trees,
we Santa only puts the presents under the family tree. We usually open presents in the order of oldest to youngest or vice versa.
Every year, my mother decides that she has found the “winning” french toast recipe. This usually ends up with some kind of messed up version of french toast. We’ve probably have had every french toast recipe known to man and every year it ends up being terrible. My dad then picks a spatula and starts frying french toast the old fashion way. This year mom is making a creme brûlée recipe…. wish us luck.
After we unwrap presents, we break out the Pinochle cards and play for hours. Pinochle is a game I was taught when I was little from my Babci and Dziadzui (Polish Grandmother and Grandfather). They would constantly throw signs out left and right and my cousins and I would just learn by watching. This game has thus trickled down and my family plays it every Christmas. The teams are usually girls vs. boys and they’re pretty even. However, my mom is a card shark so we tend to win a little bit more often than the boys, but they’ll never admit it.
How do you celebrate the holidays? Do you have any family traditions? Let me know in the comments down below.