Christmas Traditions Across Families

While some people recognize the day following Thanksgiving as Black Friday, a day for shopping the best deals for all the newest products, other recognize the day as the official start to the Christmas season. Christmas music blares through the radio and arguments erupt over what holiday song is truly the best. Christmas wish lists are written and given to parents in hopes that parents will give their children the latest phone or, for younger kids, the newest toy. Preparations for the Christmas Day feast are made as people plan what meals and food they want to cook. The season is the time of giving and stress, but once the day comes, it all becomes worth it as people see what they got and the reactions of others are revealed to what they have received. Christmas is a day of giving and celebrating family and friends, but the activities and traditions surrounding the holiday widely vary across different families.

Part of what makes the holiday so special are the traditions that make up the day. For junior, Sarah Cole, one tradition from her family begins long before the 25th of December. Her family celebrates the feast day of Saint Nick and partake in a tradition involving shoes, candy, and a fireplace.

“My family and I start our traditions on December 6th. We place one of our shoes underneath the fireplace. Then, we check the next day and the shoes are filled with candy because, supposedly, Santa came the night before and filled them. It’s a really weird tradition, but back when I lived in New York, a group of our family and friends celebrated it, so we just decided to pick up on it,” Cole said.

Another tradition many families partake in is attending Christmas service at their respective churches. Junior, Natalie Wyatt, starts her tradition on Christmas Eve when she attends Christmas mass at her church. Following the mass, she goes for a late dinner.

“We normally begin our celebration of Christmas by attending Christmas Eve mass at St. Jude Catholic Church. After the mass, we grab dinner and discuss what we are grateful for and all the good things that happened throughout the year. Following our dinner, we go home and go to bed and anxiously wait for Christmas day when we can give and open gifts for and from our family,” said Wyatt.

Another tradition that comes with Christmas is the attire worn. Junior, Kayla Nguyen, wears a specific outfit every year for the holiday. Additionally, her uncle and her celebrate the holiday by watching some of their favorite holiday movies.

“The traditions my family and I participate in aren’t necessarily activities. They are more what we wear. Every year, we dress in red for good luck. Another tradition I have is my uncle and I watch holiday movies or going to the theatre and watching a new movie that interests us both,” Nguyen said.

While there are many different traditions leading up to the actual day, Christmas is also filled with varying activities that differ from family to family. However, Christmas day usually starts the same way: giving, receiving, and opening presents with family. Cole and her family are no different.

“On Christmas Day, we usually celebrate by opening presents in the morning and spending the rest of the day playing board games with my family. Sometimes, part of my extended family will also come over to celebrate with us which makes the whole day even more fun since we don’t get to see them very often,” said Cole.

Christmas Day is a time of joyfulness and excitement. Whether young or old, the day is universally looked forward to in anticipation by people of the Christian faith. For Nguyen, the part of the holiday she looks forward to most is spending time with her family.

“I am most looking forward to seeing my grandparents since that is the only holiday they take off from working our family restaurant. The day is a day to spend time with those you love, so seeing my grandparents is very exciting,” Nguyen said.

Christmas traditions consistently differ between families; however, one thing remains constant. The meaning of Christmas, to spend time with loved ones and celebrate Christian faith, is universal. Despite the various activities celebrated by families, Christmas Day is always a time of enjoyment.