Favorite holiday traditions
The Arts & Leisure Staff
December 8, 2011
Filed under Arts & Leisure
Most of us celebrate the holidays in much the same way: no matter what it is we’re doing, decorations, gifts and family dinners will find their way into the process. That being said, each one of us has those little unique and/or unusual traditions that happen to set us apart from everyone else. Here are a few of those traditions brought to you by the good folks on the Arts & Leisure staff.
My holiday tradition actually takes place on December 6th, two days before this fine publication makes its way into your hands and hearts. It’s a celebration of the day of Saint Nicholas on the anniversary of his death in the year 320 C.E.
The tradition is as follows: the night before, good ol’ St. Nick makes his way to your house to deliver goodies. You dutifully place your shoes on the windowsill (to allow for easy access). If you’re good, then upon your awakening the next morning your shoes will be filled with treats, typically candy and a little bit of cash. However, if you didn’t make the nice list this year, your shoes will be filled with potatoes.
The tradition made its way over to America from Croatia (where my family and I hail from) and is celebrated throughout Eastern Europe. As an adult, I now realize the significance of these little rewards; when my parents were growing up, that’s all there was. My shoes have been sitting on my windowsill since before Thanksgiving so hopefully I’ll have some chocolate waiting for me. I just hope I unlocked the window…
A.C. “Mac” MacKenzie
The four members of the MacKenzie family attend an early evening mass on Christmas Eve and travel across town to my Aunt Peggy and Uncle Paul’s home for the annual Yankee Swap. This event is full of characters: blood relations, close friends, and even a very special ornamental cherub.
The next morning my sister, Mary Kate, and I, rush downstairs to see what Santa Claus has left for us, I imitate the “Nintendo 64 kid” yelling the name of whichever my favorite gift is. We eat a birthday cake for baby Jesus, and exchange presents with our mother and father. Later Christmas Day, we travel into Boston to my maternal grandparents’ house for a second night of togetherness with the extended family.
I also celebrate Chuckmas, an original holiday that my closest friends and I started in 2006. On each Dec. 31, following that first celebration, we’ve happily repurposed one lucky discarded Christmas tree from the sidewalks, erected it in our perpetually absent friend Matt’s driveway, and adorned it with photos of Chuck Norris. We then sing “O, Chuckmas tree, O, Chuckmas tree” and feast upon Chinese food.
Christmas for my family is not altogether out of the ordinary, but we do tend to have a set way of celebrating the holidays. Each year, our grandparents join us for dinner, the unwrapping of presents, and general merriment. Said unwrapping typically includes both a new piece of technology (e.g. a widescreen TV or a Blu-ray player) and a toy for our notoriously finicky cat. If he’s distracted for more than five seconds, we deem it a success.
As a sign of our English descent, Christmas dinner is followed by our opening Christmas crackers, cardboard tubes wrapped up to look like candy and pulled apart à la wishbones. This is usually accompanied by some sort of bang, so as a child, I of course would run and hide whenever I saw one of these Christmas crackers. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over my fear of loud noises … mostly (balloons still put me on edge and as my roommate will tell you, I do not react well to being scared).
Finally, because people don’t know enough about my quirky eating habits or how weird I am in general, we used to have a little game wherein my mother would hide a pickle ornament somewhere in the tree. Whoever found it first would be the first person to get a pickle from the pickle jar. The only reason we discontinued this game was not our growing up, but the simple fact that the ornament in question broke. I guess it just goes to show: the holidays bring out in the child in all of us, for better or for worse.
From all of us on the Arts & Leisure staff, Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Chuckmas and a happy new year!