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December 12, 2007



Ok, I'll give. And, this is the first time I will cop to this, mkay? Every Christmas Eve, at the family party, I run around the house whispering to all the kids "did you hear that? up on the roof??". My brother and my dad (used to be just dad, but now he needs help--- and he usually just stands on the ladder) go up on the roof and stomp around and jingle bells. All children under the age of 13 in my house must run to the bedrooms and put on pajamas-- FAST! The first one in pjs (sometimes a young one-- who has help!) will win. They get to yell their name up the chimney and then a present shows up on the front door. All this happens around 9pm.. and once all the "1st round" presents are doled out, the kids sleep in one big heap on my parents bed until their mom and dad take them home. last year, a keen 5 year old thought he knew what was going on "it's uncle bob (my dad) on the roof!" until my dad walked in the front door while the jingling was on the roof. One year, they didn't hear reindeer, so the next year, we put the dog on the roof. :) Yes, willing to sacrifice a dog for believing in Santa. Each of us kids have to say "I believe" before we get any presents. No faith in santa, no presents for you!
Sorry so long... :)


While we have a lot of "routines" at the holidays, we only have a couple of things that sound like actual "traditions". Here are two.

I am one of 5 cousins on my dad's side. We spent Christmas Eve together at my grandmother's house each year. She had a nativity scene, but she never put the baby Jesus in it ahead of time. Each year, on Christmas Eve, she drew one of our 5 names from a hat and that cousin had the honor of putting baby Jesus in the manger. A photo was taken each year. This continued for a loooong time. Just imagine the looks on the faces of 5 teenagers, one of whom was holding a small porcelain baby. (Yeah, we were just as excited about it as you might imagine!)

On my mom's side of the family, we get together for a late afternoon Christmas dinner. For many years, my mom -- the eldest child -- would host. She and my dad would make elaborate edible place cards. One year, they made a cake shaped like a gift, and made individual small "gift cakes" as placecards. One year, they made marzipan mice -- chocolate cupcake bodies with marzipan heads and tails, and silver "buttons" down the front made of those little silver dragees. They stayed up until late into the night on Christmas Eve to finish them, which was worth the effort, since everyone loved the mice and still talk about them (I was a baby that year). A couple of years ago, I helped them to recreate the marzipan mice for Christmas dinner.


Fun contest....
Every year when my parents decorate the tree we have a few "special" (read: tacky) ornaments that we always say go to the back of the tree so that the neigbors all get to see them. It was years before I caught on that they didn't want the ugly ones facing them, but those same ornaments always stay up!

Jena (the yarn harpy)

Every year, we each get a new ornament on the day that we decorate the tree. The ornaments are usually somehow meaningful to a major event in your life that year. This year, mine was a bride and groom (and Mom even added a dot onto the earlobe of the groom for Dave's pierced ear), last year was two dragonflies flying within a silver circle (engagement), one year was a Brittany crochet hook with a red ribbon tied around it (the year I learned to crochet), one year a silver saxophone (started saxophone lessons that year).
About ten years ago, my mother had made new curtains for the basement social hall of the church, so I snagged a piece of the scrap fabric from the trash and fashioned a miniature curtain. The year my father decided to have granite tile put into the "great room" and spent a while searching high and low for just the right tiles, we took a small piece that had been cut off one for an edge or corner to make it fit and glued on a red ribbon.


Most of the time, instead of souvenirs, I buy Christmas ornaments whenever we travel anywhere. It doens't matter if it's a big weeklong trip to Europe, or an overnight on the Cape, I'll buy a little ornament, so our tree is kind of a travel-logue of all of our travels and we get to re-visit all the great places we've been. And every year I remind DH how he yelled at me for spending $12 on the most fabulous cloisonne ornament in China. It's probably the best ornament on the tree, but he complained :) He doesn't anymore. He agrees with me now. Oh, and his tradition is to hang an old "Alf" ornament he's had since he was a kid. The tree wouldn't be the same without it...but Alf hangs in the back :)


Ok so you forgot about the other tradition that we have and that would be a Christmas ornament each year with our names and year on it. We also have continued that tradition as well.


Ours isn't about decorating the tree or anything like that, but it's just as good.

Every Christmas morning (you know, around 4 or 5AM) we'd start waking each other up. We couldn't go downstairs until everyone, all eight, were up and then we had to get Mom and Dad up as well. Little did we know they just went to bed.

Once we finally got Dad up, he'd go downstairs, let the poor dog out of the basement (he was sent there so he wouldn't bite Santa), put the tree lights on and then last but not least put on the Mitch Miller album. He'd get the camera and we'd line up two by two to come down the stairs.

For years I searched for that same Mitch Miller album and was so excited when I finally found it on CD. I think I bought all of them the store had and gave it to my Mom and sisters.

I continued the same tradition when my children were young enough to believe and still won't let them go downstairs until everyone is up and can go together.

I still look for the CD in stores so I can get a few more copies to give to my children when they are a little older and ready to start families of their own.

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