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Thread: What do you do at Christmas?

  1. #1
    imjustme's Avatar
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    We usually go to my Aunts Christmas Eve and eat lots of food and everyone opens the presents from the other family members. Then Christmas Day my mom and brother come over early in the morning and we all eat a big breakfast that I cooked and then open our presents from each other and watch my kids open their gifts. My brother passed away unexpected 9/20/08, mom didn't come over for Christmas. I told my husband the other day I don't care to do that anymore. Part of that big breakfast was for my brother and he won't be there. I want to do something different from now on. I would like to borrow some of your family traditions. This had been very hard on me and is still hard to talk about.
    thanks

  2. #2
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry for your loss and pain...

    Did your brother love that big breakfast on Christmas morn? Then I think you should continue it in his honor...makes for a bittersweet time, but use the time to remember good things about him.

    As for us? It's usually just the two of us on Christmas morning...we do a nice breakfast and open gifts to each other...

  3. #3
    Super Member Baren*eh*ked_canadian's Avatar
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    Our Christmases are pretty complicated.
    We usually don't do anything at our house, we don't have kids yet (still in the oven) but I'm sure we will just settle for a home Christmas next year.
    On Christmas eve, my mother in law prepares this huge fancy hors d'oeuvre selection and we get dressed up and go to their church. They're not religeous at all, but it's a tradition, we go for 10:00 mass on Christmas eve. Anyway, then we come home, open the wine and all the rest of that stuff, eat all that nice food (I don't drink) then we do presents and dancing and fun until like 4 am. Sasha and I usually leave around 2-2:30 ish and drive out to my parents' place which is about an hour or so away, we let ourselves in and go sleep in the bed downstairs. (that way we don't have to get up early and drive out in the cold, we can sort of sleep in like everyone else) Then Christmas morning we get up, my parents throw some goodies in the oven like cinamon rolls, and we open stockings while we wait for breakfast. Then we open all the big gifts.
    This year, we're poor as dirt, so Sasha and I are only exchanging one gift for eachother instead one for each gift-opening. We're buying eachother new dance shoes for ballroom dancing, we're both due for new shoes and they're bloody expensive!
    Anyway, my parents make a turkey lunch with all the fixings and we eat like hogs till we're stuffed bigger than the turkey, then we leave mid-afternoon and go BACK to the in-laws' place for the big turkey supper. Rarely do we see so much good food in a 24 hour period, WOW.

    OK, that was long winded, lol!

  4. #4
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Christmas Eve you must sprikle reindeer food all over the yard so the reindeer can see your house. (dry Quaker oats with LOTS of glitter mixed in.) Then you must leave milk and cookies for Santa. Santa always responds with a nice thank you note. The year after Santa's writing starting looking like Daddy's Santa got a "pocket computer and printer" and started leaving type written notes.

    Early Christmas morning the kids open gifts. (Adults don't get gifts here.) Late morning my parents come over and the kids open more gifts.

    We have a table loaded down with snackies and everyone munchies as the see fit during the day.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    The first holidays after losing someone are always the hardest...we went through the motions the first year after my dad passed, the second year was easier..I am glad that we did not give up any traditions that he and Mom started as we were each born, and I think he would be happy that we didn't either. JMHO

  6. #6
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    Okay, I am going to apologize ahead of time for the length of this post...I know no other way to do justice to my family's holiday traditions. (And believe me, I've shortened it up as much as I dare and still have it make sense!)

    We've been married 26+ years and it has been tough to make our own way at the holidays. But we've managed the following:

    Christmas Eve, we go to church services (hubby plays the piano at church and I direct the Christmas Choir), then out to my parents' farm for the extended family thing there. A great meal prepared by my Mom & Dad and we all bring something to add to the spread (I have 1 married brother and 1 married sister with a niece, plus my 3 girls, 1 son-in-law, 2 boyfriends, and 2 grandsons). Then we open gifts. LOTS of gifts. One at a time, youngest to oldest. And when someone runs out of presents at their turn, then they get a quart of sauerkraut that my sister and her husband put up each year. Yummy!

    When we get home and unload the car, we traditionally turn on the Christmas tree and I would read "The Night Before Christmas." My 17-year-old still wants this tradition kept. Funny how traditions become embedded, isn't it?

    Christmas Day, we always make a nice breakfast and the girls come home (except for the youngest who still lives here). We eat until we're stuffed, and then it's time to open more presents. Lots more presents!

    Generally after that, the girls all go to the "inlaws/outlaws", and we settle in for a little rest. We would then go to my Grandmother's house to see all the cousins, Aunties, Uncles, etc. We would eat a great meal, then open gifts again. Since there were 5 kids (my Mom's generation), 17 grandchildren, and countless great- and great-great-grandchildren, each generation would draw names at Thanksgiving, so you would get 1 gift, plus something from my Grandparents.

    My Grandfather died nearly 27 years ago, but we've continued this tradition. Last year, however, Grandma (who is now 98) decided to sell her house and go into a nursing home. Last Christmas was the last day that any of our family spent time at the house. We picked up what we wanted and took it as we left, per Grandma's instructions.

    So this year, no trip to Great-Great-Grandma's house. We have arranged to have a room at the nursing home for 2 hours on Christmas Day so we can get together, but no kids under 12 (due to H1N1 flu virus and other illnesses).

    And what do we do with my in-laws? Well, they head to Florida early (sometimes before Halloween), so we don't have to concern ourselves with that issue any more. We used to just squeeze them in somehow as they don't really have much in the way of family traditions for anything.

    We also started a new tradition at our house last year: we were unable to all get together on Christmas, so we decided to come together for our immediate family celebration on New Year's Day. To make it more special, hubby and I bought "elf hats" for all the adults, and I made hats for the 2 grandbabies. Personalized them with our names in glitter on the brims. And we had a competition: each of my girls put their heads together to come up with a sauce for meatballs. Husband also made his version. We provided the meatballs. We all sat down and had scorecards for each. The winner got a tree ornament and an apron. This year, for NYD, we are going to have a pie contest. Since I am a professional baker, I am excluded, but my 3-year-old grandson and I will be the "top judges" for this competition. Everyone else will get to vote, but our votes carry the most weight.

    Yes, we love the holidays at our house, and we even try to celebrate Hannukah (dreidles and menorahs at our house, too). Any reason to celebrate.

    Take what you can from our holiday celebrations. And customize yours to something that you can still love. It's tough to lose a loved one, but you will find the strength to carry on. Maybe in another form, though.

    Happy Holidays one and all!

  7. #7
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Our big Christmas is on Christmas Eve. We all gather at a hall we rent. (The family got to big to go to my dads house) We eat pizza, subway sandwiches, salads, veggies trays and deserts til we are ready to pop. Then we break out the cans of silly string and have a silly string fight. (We used to do this in the backyard at my dads. This is much warmer) After lots of giggles we open presents and then sit around and visit. To be honest I think the kids like the silly string better than the presents. We all have so much fun.

  8. #8
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    Some of the Christmas traditions happen before Christmas for me - My sister, my mum and my nan all get togethger and make gingerbread houses before Christmas, we do this a month before Christmas. My son gave one to his teacher today.(1st December)

    We go into the city and look at the Christmas shop window displays, and go visit Santa at the Christmas Cave.

    We make a box for Operation Christmas Child - there is a lady who lives nearby who personally takes some of the boxes with goodies to third world countries at Christmas time and gives them to the children. She always shows us the photos of the joy it brings.

    We go out to the Christmas carols in the park and a tradition is also going Christmas light looking every night from the 12th December...

    Lastly we go to my sisters for the Aussie traditional Christmas of salads and cold meats(turkey, ham, pork and beef) pudding and pavlova or trifle or a mixture of all 3.

    It is one of my favourite times of the year!

  9. #9
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    We do our visiting before Christmas so we can stay home Christmas eve and day. Theres no place like home. :thumbup:

  10. #10
    Super Member Elisabrat's Avatar
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    I am sorry for your loss. He is with you always as look his memory is living on and your sharing him today with everyone. We also dont share gifts except stocking stuffers so that pressure is completely gone. Christmas eve is the special time for us. We eat whatever anyone wants. When the kids were little it could have been macaroni and cheese as they got the vote. Now its munchies, finger foods nothing formal at all. We turn off the house lights, lay on the floor under a blanket, close to the tree so its like being a kid again.. seeing things from that perspective that tree looks HUGE.. and we sing Christmas carols out of tune, totally blowing most of the words and making them up as we go and laughing a whole lot and just enjoying each other and the memories of what was before. I am almost 50 and I still look forward to this. So do my kids and the baby is now 18. Christmas is what you make it. I know you will make yours sparkle too.

  11. #11
    Super Member katsewnsew's Avatar
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    By all means, keep the tradition going. Use it as a time for bringing up memories. After all, that is all we have left when our loved ones are gone. I had lost my daughter and granddaughter 17 years ago in an auto accident just before Thanksgiving. It was (and still is) hard, yet refreshing to talk about them at our traditional get-together.

  12. #12
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    One special thing that my brother and sisters do is on the first Sunday in December we visit the gravesite of our parents and youngest brother. We lay a large grave blanket and say prayers for them and other family members who have passed. We also welcome the children born in the previous year and say any special prayers needed, this year for the safe return of our nephew who is in Iraq. Years ago our sister Louise began us singing Oh Holy Night and we've continued singing it since she passed a few years ago. This carol ends, "Sleep in Heavely Peace" and it is our wish for all who have left us.

    Afterwards we all go out to lunch. After lunch I hand out little gifts, a home made fruit bread for my brother and sisters (applesauce raisin this year) and a little gift for the nieces and nephews and also the grandones, lots of new little ones the past few years. My sister Pat calls me Mrs. Santa.

    Chirstmas Eve and Day we spend with our children and grandchildren. Some years I invite my siblings and their famlies, along with my children and grands, to a Get Together at our house inbetween Christmas and New Years, lots of good food and company.

    May in Jersey

  13. #13

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    I lost both a brother and a nephew-not father and son-two years apart, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now we get together with family on the Sunday before Christmas and exchange gifts and have soup, sandwiches, and deserts. Then each family is free to have Christmas with their own families as they see fit.

  14. #14
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    Christmas Eve is chinese food and Bing Crosby in "Holiday Inn". Jim will be working Christmas day but he does not have to leave the house until 9:30, so we still get present time.

  15. #15
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    I usually work or am on-call almost every Christmas (RN). My husbands family BBQ's on Christmas eve, and we've carried that through. I look forward to having lots of our kids home this year! When I was growing up, my brother and Grandma's birthdays were both on Christmas day, so the day was "theirs".

  16. #16
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    Unfortunately, sometimes we have to just simply remember with love our traditions and come up with some new ones. I grew up ALWAYS going to my grandparents house for Christmas Eve dinner and gifts. 30 years ago, shortly after I married, my mother died and, at a time when I should have been excited about my new marriage and the holidays, I was thrust (as the eldest child) into a new situation. The only thing that remained the same was going to my Grand-dad's house on Christmas Eve. After he passed, we (my brother and I and our families) started the tradition of going to my Dad's house on Christmas Eve. Now, our children are grown and have significant others of their own....we are finding it difficult to continue getting to my Dad's on Christmas Eve. The best thing I do is get up early on Christmas morning, light the tree and some candles, put on some soft Christmas carols and reminisce in private...I reflect upon past Christmases with the loved ones I have lost over the years...my mom, one brother, all my grandparents, and most recently my MIL....then I have a good cry. Things change, we have to go forward...and this is how I do it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    We have the extended family over on Christmas Eve Day and open presents. That way the families with young children can get them home early at night. On Christmas Eve Day we open presents from the extended family and they open our gifts. We save our personal gifts for Christmas morning.

    On Christmas morning (and Christmas Eve Day), we do eat breakfast and then we open presents. We have Christmas music playing, drink hot chocolate with marshmallows and take turns opening one gift at a time. We also have the candy canes hanging on the tree so that everyone can have what they want. We video tape the whole thing and just enjoy being with each other.

  18. #18
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    We open presents Christmas morning with our kids. My kids are grown so they usually have plans on Christmas Eve with in laws or parties. Everyone ends up here to wake up Christmas morning. Santa still comes to everyone at my house. I have one grandchild so she loves being with lots of family for Christmas, being princess for the day. I have ham and lot of finger food for all day nibbling and then we usually go to a movie Christmas night. I'm lucky all my kids live close to me and their inlaws so no one has to travel more then a few minutes to be with each other.

  19. #19
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    well, things have changed and changed over the years.
    As a child, up until marriage, I was used to being home with family. All of our family lived in new england states.
    Then I got married, and hubby was used to all of his brothers and sisters and grandparents gathering Christmas day at his parents for the noon meal.
    Then after clean up (kitchen), we would open gifts and all the grown ups sat around all afternoon talking, and the kids played.
    Then we would eat dinner and visit a little more and go home.
    Now that MIL has passed, and hubby and I are empty nesters...we are home on Christmas Eve. I cook all desserts and finish any gift wrapping etc. and we have a quiet evening.
    Christmas morning I begin cooking early and kid and grbabies all come for noon meal, then we open gifts.
    They stay until they have to leave to go to other family's houses, and hubby and I just laze around.
    We stopped going to my mothers on Christmas eve, 20 years ago, when my stepf. passed away.
    I think my mother regrets this now, but she let it all slip away, and everyone has other traditions.
    One brother lives with her, so she is not alone.
    When my kids were little we always went on 23rd to look at lights, then home to cocoa and cookies. Somewhere the week before the big day, we sometimes did Christmas caroling.
    I usually read the Christmas story on christmas eve, and we had snacks.
    We always had the emphasis on the real meaning for Christmas, and santa and things like that were part of the 'decorations' of the season, if you will.
    I miss seeing my mother and brothers all together, but I accept it, bc I have tried and once you lose a tradition it is too hard to get it back together.
    If you want this one, hang onto it. Mother may not want to come this year either, but she will eventually.
    But, like us and many others, things may just change into something different.
    As long as I have my husband and kids and grandbabies around me, I feel blessed :-D

  20. #20
    Super Member Bill'sBonBon's Avatar
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    We used to have a wonderful,hectic,Awesome Christmas when our 2DD were growing up and then when their sons were growing up. After girls got own family they still came Christmas morning with theire Boys,5 between them,then later countless fosters oldest had with her. They all spent Christmas with us. Now These Boys are Men with Wives and kids and It is now a very quite, lonley but nice anyway Christmas. BillSBonBon

  21. #21
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Pat volunteers to work and I am left alone. Just the way I like it. If I'm lucky, I have time to sew. If not, I'll have to take work home to finish a project.

  22. #22
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    i know the feeling justsome,my dad pass on xmas day ,it was very hard on me took yrs to really start enjoying xmas again ,but i had to my kids were young and it was'nt fair for them but time heals the heart ,now i don't really think about it because i know he,s in a better place ,and i have grandkids that keep me happy and busy ,i know time will heal you too ,have your big breakfast than go to the movies that,s what we do on xmas day

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