Holiday traditions

They get talked about so much. On APW they talk about respecting your mutual customs, while also making time for your own ‘baby family’, on other blogs they talk about interfaith families and their celebrations. And then of course there are plenty of bloggers who simply list their own traditions, give etiquette advice about conflicts or write about tangential topics.

I figured I’d chime in. Coming from a mildly Christian background, there have never been presents associated with the holiday. We did have lots of decorations, because my mom loves to do fun things to the house. No light-filled reindeer though. That trend is way too recent for my parents to have adopted it. There would be two church services, one in Christmas eve and one on Christmas morning. The rest of the holidays would be filled with hanging out with grandparents, reading inspirational stories (not (necessarily) religious or biblical) and making and eating tasty food.

Christmas eve, after the evening’s church visit, had meat pastries and mulled wine.

Christmas morning had a fancy breakfast with sweet pastries and croissants.

The big Christmas dinner could be anything – we’ve had potlucks, one pot meals, buffets, fingerfood, and five course sit down happenings. We’ve had fruit soup (really), venison, brussels sprouts..

When I left my parents house, I toned down the celebration. Often I worked during Christmas, church was too far away and no fun on your own and who decorates a place they hardly spend time in anyway? Now that I have a partner who grew up with the more extravagant celebrations of frantic gift-unwrapping and whole turkeys roasted, I’m trying to get back into the swing of it. We still haven’t really decorated, although I bought some candles. However, Beloved and I are hosting this year. But not for family. Many of our friends are international. Not all of them have the time, money or opportunity to fly out to see their families. Other people are perhaps local, but their families are far away or more permanently gone. These are the people we’ve invited. I’ve named the event the ” dinner of the displaced”.

We’re even doing a very small Secret Santa. There are two people coming who I don’t know. We’ll have three Americans, a Scotsman, a half-Englishwoman, three locals, an Iraqi-with-another-passport and someone of whom we don’t know where she’s from (but probably not from around here). We’ll have Iraqi (halal) pastries, biological chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan, vegan red sauce, banana bread and loads more tasty things. No one has to wear fancy clothes. It’s bound to be fun.

Let’s see if we can do this more often 🙂

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2 Responses to “Holiday traditions”


  1. 1 Amanda December 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Merry Christmas Pluis !
    “Dinner of the displaced”., love the idea. You are making a big difference, because holidays away from your family can be hard. I hope your celebrations were fun.
    Also, eggplant parmesan is my favorite dish, and I also associate it with Christmas because my mom would do it every day.
    Emjoy the 2nd day of Christmas (such a new concept to me )

    • 2 thesmittenimmigrant December 28, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Thank you, Amanda. I hope your Christmas was awesome as well.

      The “dinner of the displaced” worked very well. That is, people didn’t go home until 3 AM, which sounds like a success to me 🙂 It may have helped that at some point there was a fierce Mario Kart competition 😛

      2nd day of Christmas is an invention of the labour unions. Most people have forgotten about the origins, but it’s one of the big victories of the labour movement, I think.


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