Recently I needed to share my Christmas traditions with a group of friends and it brought back old memories.
When I was a little girl it was the late 1930’s. My father was a chef who didn’t have a secure job. My mother didn’t work. Obviously we didn’t have much money. My father would wait until Christmas Eve to go out to buy a tree. He knew that he could get one cheaply since the seller would be anxious to close up and go home. By the time he got home my brother and I would be sound asleep. My parents put up the tree, decorated it and put our few presents under it. Then they would come in and wake us up by yelling, “Kids, get up! Santa’s here!” Of course, we couldn’t get up fast enough to see Santa, but low and behold there was a beautiful decorated tree in our living room with presents under it. We were so excited. We could only open one. We had to wait for the others in the morning.
My father did this for a reason. He wanted us to have a good time, and best of all, he didn’t want to be awakened at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning.
My father also had other family Christmas traditions to pass on to us such as egg nog at night and raw oysters for breakfast the next morning. The egg nog was great, not so much the oysters.
As the years passed my brother and I grew up, married, and I had a family of my own. My husband liked the Christmas Eve activity and so we continued to celebrate it with our children. To this day my family gathers on Christmas Eve and has dinner, then we open our presents. This allows everyone to have a quiet Christmas Day and to do whatever pleases them.
We have egg nog, but no oysters.