I have so many wonderful childhood memories of the holidays. I grew up with the most loving parents anyone could ever ask for and two younger brothers that nothing could top. My parents have always believed in us no matter what path we decided to take. They taught us to weight our decisions and follow through with what we believed in. They've always stood by us even when we might have made the wrong decisions because they were our decisions to make. They taught us how to be our own person.
Our holiday traditions begin the day after Thanksgiving. Since everyone had time off Turkey Day weekend, we always put our tree up that weekend. Even now, I put my tree up on the Sunday after T-day when I get back home.
We grew up as a BIG family - grandparents on down. So there's a lot of family stuff to do for Christmas. On Christmas Eve we celebrate on Mom's side of the family with all sorts of Czech foods that we only get once a year. Mushroom and sauerkraut soup, paska, rice pudding, nut roll and other goodies adorn the table. The eldest male aways gives a blessing and uses honey to put a cross on everyone's forehead and everyone takes a piece of wafer with honey and garlic before the meal begins. There are so many other traditions here (gifts - both name exchanges and gag gifts - mass, etc) that I fear I could go on forever... so we'll move on to Christmas day.
On Christmas day, our household wakes up and someone makes a trip to Sheets for free coffee and we exchanges gifts. Then we nap before getting ready for the day. We get together with Dad's side of the family for an early Christmas dinner. (Well, actually for people in their area, 3:00 is an acceptable time for dinner so it's really not an unusual time for them.) Things are a little more low key with this side of the family as they have been in the states longer and have lost a lot of the home country traditions. But most importantly it's spending time with cherished family.
Now that my brother has his own family, we've added another 'Christmas' usually the day after or the next to exchange gifts with them and have a meal together. There are always sugar cookies, chocolate peanut butter balls (buckeyes), lady locks, and nut roll.
game day scarf for sister-in-law... check!scarves for the in-laws... check!
And if you've read all the way to the bottom of this post, head over to http://cynicalgal.blogspot.com/ for a contest regarding blog naming her brother and sister.