All this week, the Riskies have been talking about the upcoming holiday season: How to deal with it, what they like about it, what they don’t like about it (Janet is our resident Scrooge, it seems, but she does enjoy a good concert).
On Monday, Diane brought up traditions, and I’d like to do the same. I grew up in an unconventional household (albeit with the requisite mother and father, no siblings), and our Christmases were . . . odd. Instead of traditional Christmas ornaments, my mother decorated our tree with seashells and porcupine fish she’d spraypainted gold and silver and decorated with rhinestones. We wrapped our gifts in newspaper and magazines, not wrapping paper, and our notes always had a stealthily-embedded clue as to what the gift was inside (my mother, however, was frequently Master of the Obvious, addressing presents of socks to me as “To Megan, From her feet.”)
I didn’t know any different, so when my boyfriend (now husband) started dating, I did what I’d always done at Christmas: Decorate my tree with random fun items, wrap in paper, write silly notes. I thought everybody did that.
Apparently not. My husband’s family is EXTRA-traditional when it comes to Christmas, which means the ornaments are perfect, the wrapping paper is Hallmark and there are no funny edges where the paper didn’t quite meet, and the notes are addressed “To Megan, Love Scott.”
In case you couldn’t tell, I do miss the funkier Christmas of my youth, but I’ve grown to love my in-laws’ traditional celebration (especially the HANDMADE DONUTS ON CHRISTMAS EVE!). When my son gets a little older, though, I’m going to get some seashells and start writing some sly notes on his gifts.
Do you have any idiosyncratic holiday celebrations? How do you feel about trying to introduce new traditions to your family? And can you believe THANKSGIVING IS NEXT WEEK?!?
Well, not a tradition, exactly…When my daughter was very tiny, we lived in a townhouse with no fireplace. My husband told her that Santa Claus came through the toilet. She still remembers that!
The biggest difference in my family’s traditions and my husband’s is in the area of opening presents. In my family we do it all at once. It’s noisy, torn wrapping paper, bows, and packaging fly everywhere, and it takes about 15 minutes. In my husband’s family, we pass out all the gifts before anyone opens one, and then go one at a time, in order, rotating from the youngest person present to the oldest, until all gifts have been opened. It takes at least an hour.
And no, I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week! We fly out to my mom’s on Monday, and I’m not ready!
We were fairly traditional and I tend to be the same. We too have the kids opening presents all at once and, in the end, they don’t even know which gifts came from whom – I do not like this but not having any small kids what say do I have?
We are pretty traditional. We open presents on Christmas morning and everyone just tears into them.
I think it is a great idea to introduce new traditions. It keeps everything exciting.
Diane, your poor daughter. I’m surprised you were able to potty-train her without lasting trauma.
New traditions are always fun to try out. I’ve been reading all the posts carefully this week to see if there’s anything I can borrow/adopt.
We are traditional and celebrate together with all of us opening presents at once.
Ooh, I could do with a tradition like homemade donuts! 🙂
Thanksgiving: for years, the family Thanksgiving was at our house. That meant maybe 40 people showing up. I would have to wake up early on Thanksgiving morning to stick my hand in the freezing cold turkey to fish out the gross bits. That’s one tradition I’m glad to miss!
Then the men would show up and watch football. The teens would try to sneak some wine. When dinnertime came, my younger cousins would with remarkable cowardice refuse to try the sweet potatoes or mince pie, and claim they didn’t like pumpkin pie either. (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE???) Despite all this, we all had a wonderful time. 🙂
We don’t have any unusual traditions…my dad does wrap everything he gives in the Sports section of the newspaper…no pretty wrapping paper from him.
Traditions are important and we keep them each year. The dinner, the presents and the family all together.
Well, we tend to have the same dinner for Christmas as Thanksgiving. . . I can’t get my Mom to open the presents on Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve (LOL she says it a Polish tradition. Whatever, I like it on CHristmas day! LOL). . . um, that’s about it, I guess. 🙂
I’m not sure I would be accepted in a family that doesn’t have funny edges on their wrapped presents. 🙂 I am the WORST present-wrapper ever. Thank goodness for gift bags. Donuts are a tradition I could definitely get behind, though.
My family has always opened our presents on Christmas Eve, though I’m not sure why (when my brother and I were kids, we also got “Santa” presents Christmas morning. VERY early, according to my sleepy parents!). And one odd thing is that my father always makes his “famous” margaritas on Christmas Eve. They’re super-strong and make present opening–exuberant. 🙂
We don’t do anything unusual for Christmas now. When we were growing up we’d go to our grandparents and shot fireworks on Christmas Day.
Off topic: Just finished Mistletoe Kisses and thoroughly enjoyed it!! Thanks, ladies.
Diane, I can see why you disavowed Elizabeth as being blonde-haired. I don’t see Pippa in that hair either. Christabel though is a possibility. Deborah, did you see Christabel with white-blonde hair?
Even though the Heroine on the covour doesn’t fit for being a blonde when the others in the tales were not. I thought it was a lovely covour and the lady even though blonde is a beauty , I think it makes up for it. All in fantasy I guess anyways. I heard people complain “even if the hair is right that the person on the covour still isn’t the way one imagines the charactours in the stories”. Me I think covours are great, long as Fabio or some bimbo isn’t on the covour. ;)I enjoy all variety in hair and shapes, now if she was shaved bald I’d complain.. 😉 My thoughts anyhow. 🙂
On Traditions, family gathering parties that vary in what goes on, there’s lots of drinks and by the middle of the entertainments someomes always bound to forget to keep their clothes on 😉
We always celebrated Christmas Eve at my parents house with family and close friends, since I was a child, and then everybody return the next day to have lunch together because we always have a lot of food. We continue the tradition after my sister and I married, but in the last years some have move to other countries. This is the first year that it is only my DH, daughter and I, and in the end we will be celebration it with my in-laws.
Oh, I do like the cover of Mistletoe Kisses very much. The rich browns, the lighting, the pose, and the font; especially the font.
There has been some discussion on different blogs/boards about how the cover artwork does not necessarily match the characters, because artwork tends to be directed by marketing and sales folks (to a large extent), not editorial.
Anyways… I don’t wish to draw attention away from the fun Christmas discussions to business.
*argh Blogger ate my first comment!*
I loved reading about your “nontraditional” Christmas celebration! I think handmade ornaments are much nicer than store-bought matching sets. Ornaments should be personal and have meaning, or at least be unique. My favorites are from my childhood. Unwrapping them every year is like visiting long-lost friends. I even used to horde all my favorites and put them on one side of the tree when I helped my mom decorate!
As for the newspaper and magazine wrapping paper, I think it’s a wonderful way to recycle. Wrapping paper is so expensive and wasteful!
My best Kissmoose as a child was when Gram put a large box in the middle of the floor and let all of her grandchildren help themselves. Gram made a hobby of going to garage sales and buying the cheapest stuff and re-selling it in her garage sale (which was a permanent running shop in the extra garage). That year, she rumaged for things she thought we’d like and wrapped them in newspaper and scrawled our names on them. We each got about 5 things so it was a lot of things to open.
Last Kissmoose was my last with Gram- she passed very early in January. We always spent Kissmoose eve with her and her side of the family, and Kissmoose day with my Da’s family. This year, I’ll be spending Kissmoose Eve at home, and Kissmoose Day, I’ll travel up and see the family for a few days.
We have several traditions that were blended when we married and then we’ve made our own. My family always let us ‘give’ one present to someone on Christmas Eve. We had to make sure everyone had one present. . . that present you couldn’t wait to see someone open.
Stockings could be opened first thing you woke up (and we still have stockings for everyone, adults, too, no matter how old. I have to take care of that at my in-laws, they never had stockings). The rest of the presents are opened up one at a time, with someone designated Santa to pass them out.
In my family, my parents would use a secret code for our names so we couldn’t figure out what presents were ours. We were allowed to shake, sniff, whatever but since you didn’t know if it was your present. . . quite the mystery. I still use the code with my boys and husband.
And seashells on a tree? Not unusual. We spent a few years in Florida and had a silver fake tree with a rotating colored light. Brought it back with us to the Midwest — talk of the neighborhood!
Having a good giggle at Diane’s husband telling their daughter that Santa came through the toilet! When our two were tiny we often spent Christmas at my sister’s beach house – this is Australia, remember! she has a closed combustion heater, and the boys always made quite sure we’d opened the door so Father Christmas could get out. Also we have to leave supper for the old boy – shortbread, cake, a mince pie or three. And apples and carrots for the reindeer. Concern has been voiced occasionally that the dogs might frighten the reindeer . . . I have a couple of letters too that Father Christmas left for my mother when she was a little girl. I show those to the boys each year.
Keira, Pippa has tawny brown hair, but I thought the cover was gorgeous, so romantic and festive. Richly joyous if that makes sense? For an anthology too I don’t think it matters anyway if none of the characters really matches the cover in terms of colouring.
One of my favourite covers is the UK cover for my book The Chivalrous Rake. Heroine’s hair is totally wrong but that cover is sooooo romantic! The way he looks at her just summed up for me everything Jack felt about Cressida. Do go and have a peep on my website and see what you think!
And I’m so glad you enjoyed all the stories.
Being of immigrant Lithuanian parents, I have very ethnic Christmas memories. Christmas eve dinner was the meat-free seafood feast (sort of, I never did get into those smoked eels I mentioned before). Christmas tree ornaments made of straw, or out of drinking straws in the same sorts of patterns.
Maybe the weirdest custom was those honey spice cookies. Very yummy but the shaped like mushrooms (3-D) and frosted either as nice edible brown ones (with chocolate frosting for the cap) or toadstools (red with white spots, very pretty but the real thing is poisonous).
I asked but never got an answer as to why we ate mushroom-shaped cookies. Maybe just because we’re Lithuanian and love mushrooms. Can’t wait to try the recipe Kalen posted the other day for mushroom bread pudding!
A bit late to this party…when I was a kid we usually went to my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas. It was mostly pretty traditional, but we did have a couple of idiosyncracies:
1. Every year, without fail, we would argue over why the fire failed to light, and fuss with it for hours. Every alternate year, when it finally lit, we discovered that we had forgotten to open the flue.
2. My aunt had a traditional creche scene that she would set up at the holidays. But one of us kids noticed that there was a small figurine of a walrus in another room that was exactly the same size as the creche animals, and slyly added it to the scene. After the first time it became a tradition: “The Adoration of the Walri.”
This is not a comment so much as a request. I have been looking for the recipe mentioned by Elena. I made the cookies as a teen, but now I cannot find the recipe. Could you help? Thanks