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Old 12-14-2004, 07:44 PM   #1  
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Default Christmas Dinner Traditions.

Hi! I love to hear what foods people cook or what traditions people have on Christmas. I find it so interesting!

Up until my grandmother passed away, we celebrated Chirstmas with polish traditions. We celebreated Christmas on Christmas eve. Basically, the meal consisted of fish, potato soup, peroghis, bulbalki and some other tasty polish side dishes. Before the meal, each family member would take Optlaki, which is a wafer of bread (kind of like a communion wafer) and starting with the oldest person at the table, the individual would take the optlaki around to each other person at the table in decending age order. The recieving person would break off a small piece and eat it while the offering person wishd them a Merry Christmas, Love, Happiness or whatever they wanted to say. It was a really unique tradition that I love and miss! We had 16 at dinner each year... It took forever! I miss that tradition. These days, we have the traditional food, but we also include the potato soup, and still celebrate on Christmas eve.

What is your heritage and what traditions do you incorporate into your Christmas celebration??

Last edited by tolose85; 12-14-2004 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 12-14-2004, 08:09 PM   #2  
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Oohh, yeah! Those family traditions. Yours sound, well, yum!

My major food tradition is clam dip. When I was a kid, I'd help my Mom make clam dip (cream cheese, canned clams, onions that were put into a garlic press to get the onion "essence"), and pour the juice from the clams into two glasses so my Dad and sister could drink it. Total yuck for my Mom and me, however. Then after the dip was done, I'd take it to my Dad and let him taste. He'd always say "not enough salt," which was a joke because we didn't put any salt in clam dip. My kids grew up with clam dip, but not the ritual, which is the part I remember most. I probably shouldn't bring up sad things, but my Dad's memory is so darn bad now that he doesn't remember clam dip at all.

Our other tradition was how we did things on Christmas Day. We'd wake up and run to see if our Christmas stockings were filled. Even adults got Christmas stockings. After stockings, we'd eat breakfast, then do the dishes, and then we'd all have to take a shower (or bath), which prolonged the agony for us when we were kids. After getting ourselves and the house shipshape, we'd get to open our presents. My Dad would hand them out one at a time, taking forever to figure out who he wanted to hand one to, and we'd have to take time to oohh and ahh over each gift. All that would take well over an hour, and most of the time almost two hours. We also did this with my kids when they were growing up.

All my kids (and my daughter's new husband) will be here for Christmas--I'm so excited. We're not doing stockings this year, but we will do clam dip (when I didn't have any for Thanksgiving, my son's face must have fallen two feet) and open our presents one by one as I've done every Christmas since I can remember.

Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories, Gretchen!
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Old 12-14-2004, 09:28 PM   #3  
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Have you ever had "Bisquit Tor Toni". It's a Italian desert very rich and delicious.Made with whipped cream,egg yolks,karo syrup,gelitan,vanilla and almond extract, heated,mixed, and then cooled in the freezer in paper muffin cups.It's makes a great party desert.

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Old 12-14-2004, 10:30 PM   #4  
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My mom's family is Swedish. We always have a big smorgasbord on Christmas Eve, including Swedish meatballs and picked herring. For dessert it's spritz cookies and rice pudding - whoever finds the almond in the pudding gets to be Santa and pass out the gifts. Usually there are about 40 of us. There are so many dishes it is impossible to have everything.

On Christmas Day we used to see my dad's side of the family. Although they were of German descent, my grandma grew up in Mexico, so she always served tamales for dinner. She would serve her homemade white cake with caramel frosting and mincemeat pie (for my dad) for dessert. The cake was always delicious but every year when she tasted it, she would complain that it was too dry. But now since my dad, grandma, and grandpa have passed away, we've lost that tradition....
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Old 12-14-2004, 11:38 PM   #5  
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Wow! How wonderful.... I really was never with one family enough on a holiday to have tradition. We just eat, open gifts, talk for a while, and go home.

Two things I guess do come to mind when I think really hard. God love those Bohemian and Polish forefathers of mine, we always have anise candy and kolaches around the holidays.

Also, my grandpa and I used to have that hard candy in those cardboard cans, you know what I mean anyone? Oh God, I'd forgotten all about that...

I have every intention of starting some really awesome traditions when I have a family, I just love them!
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:58 AM   #6  
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All my family is veddy, veddy British and as a child in England I remember rich plum pudding (I loved the part when the brandy was lit with a match and went WHOOOSH), English trifle (no jello, pound cake and vanilla pudding, please - it has to be raspberries marinated in sherry, ladyfingers and devon custard), and that wonderful English chocolate (I loved white chocolate and always got a Nestle's Milky Bar in my stocking). The bird of choice was goose (yuck) with bread stuffing with lots of sage, sausage and chopped giblets. We pretty much ate savouries and sweets all day long (no wonder the English are known for bad teeth!). We were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and the rest early (very early) the next morn. Everyone got an orange in their stocking, except my dad - mum would put a lump of coal in his. Once in Canada, we kept most of the traditions other than the goose was replaced with turkey (thank goodness) and we always had a live tree (we'd go "up north" to cut one down at this place where they took you out on a hay-filled wagon to pick your tree and then all the trees would be dragged behind the wagon on the way back to the entrance, where there'd be a huge bonfire with cocoa simmering in a huge vat. That place is still going strong and I used to take my daughter there to get a tree too!

Yes, Apryl, it will be so nice that YOU will start all the family traditions one day which will be passed on down through the generations.

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Old 12-15-2004, 08:03 AM   #7  
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We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve also and we have lasagna, garlic bread and salad. Christmas day we usually have a ham and turkey in the fridge to make sandwiches off of.
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Old 12-15-2004, 09:13 AM   #8  
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Jillegal, my family sounds a lot like yours except for the plum pudding and trifle! We have an orange in the stocking as well, never figured out exactly where that came from so I guess I know now. We open one present on Christmas Eve and usually wake up at the crack of dawn to open presents. Turkey dinner is required on Christmas Day or Boxing Day or sometimes both if we go visiting. My little guy and I are opening up an Advent calender every morning since the beginning of the month, that's about the only new tradition that I have otherwise it is pretty much like when I was a child. We tried to go see Santa yesterday at the mall and my son was okay until we actually got up beside Santa and then he wanted to leave BUT he managed to get a candy cane anyway!
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Old 12-15-2004, 09:18 AM   #9  
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This thread brings back good memories. When I was growing up we had Christmas at our house with my mom's mom and dad (she was an only child, so it was just the 7 of us). We would keep looking out the window waiting for them to come. When they got there we would get to open the gifts. We got to get into the stockings before they came. Then we would have a Christmas dinner. Grandma and Grandpa always brought a big box of chocolates ~ yum. In the late afternoon then we were off to another Christmas celebration with my dad's side of the family. There were lots of aunts, uncles and cousins there. We did a gift exchange, and had another meal. Then the kids would go out toboganing on the hill out back. That was so much fun ~ the more kids you could get on that tobogan, the faster and farther it would go.

When my kids were little, we lived in Maine ~ no other family around ~ just us ~ that was kind of sad for me after being used to having so many relatives around. Tried to make some of our own traditions. Sheila ~ I will have to tell my kids about your family opening the gifts one at a time. We did that (thought that we had waited all year for Christmas, so tried to make it last a while and not have everything opened in just a few minutes) and the kids thought we had to be the weirdest family on the face of the earth.
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Old 12-15-2004, 11:53 AM   #10  
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I have very little food memories of holidays...because I am such a picky eater. I only remember the snow! Traditional holiday foods don't tempt me a bit.

I get to see my wonderful mamacita and papa in 5 days so this year, we will resume a shorter lived family tradition of having prime rib and shrimp on the 24th. On Xmas, we have something fun like homeade pizza, fajitas or a pasta dish for lunch and head out to a movie.
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Old 12-15-2004, 03:33 PM   #11  
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such wonderful memories all. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about your traditions.

While growing up, we too always opened one gift on Christmas eve and then got up as early as possible Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. Then we opened gifts one by one.

Now that I'm married, we've changed our traditions somewhat. We go to my Mom's on Christmas eve and have eggnog and finger foods--my fave is her cheese logs. We open gifts from each other before heading home.

As for starting traditions with my family. This year I'm making each of the 3 kids their own afghans. I have one done, one halfway, and one I just started. Hopefully I'll have them all done in time for christmas anyway, I plan on giving each of the kids something homemade each year in addition to the tons of toys, clothes and gadgets most kids get nowadays.
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