As I said before I grew up in a Polish family and to the Polish people Christmas Eve was a pretty big deal. Every Christmas Eve my family would gather at my grandmother’s house and have a huge Christmas meal. There were a lot of dishes made out of potato and all of the food was traditional Polish food. There was sausage, pork chops, sauerkraut, and breads. Then there would also be a whole table of sweets and treats that were some of the most colorful Christmas treats you ever saw. The whole family was there and when I say the whole family I mean the whole family. We had relatives that would sometimes drive for hours to spend Christmas Eve with us and then drive back Christmas morning! Many of us younger people in the family never understood why but our grandmother told us that in the Polish custom Christmas Eve was very important and many of the people in my family that are directly from Poland are just used to celebrating on Christmas Eve and only going to church on Christmas Day. Of course, we being the adaptable family, always made our way back to grandma’s house on Christmas Day where she would have the traditional turkey dinner. It was a two day celebration that was the beautiful combination of old Polish customs and new American ones. It made Christmas when I was a child unforgettable.
One of my personal Xmas customs revolves around Christmas movies. I am a movie buff and one of the things I love to do to add to my Christmas season is to make sure I take in a standard stable of classic Christmas movies each and every year. That stable includes A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the various clay animation Christmas specials that include the Rudolph and Santa Claus stories, and every version of A Christmas Carol I can get my hands on. One custom I save for Christmas Eve, and I have done for as long as I can honestly remember, is I make sure to watch the movie Scrooge with Alistair Sim before I go to bed on Christmas Eve. It just doesn’t feel like a complete Christmas Eve without that movie and the Christmas season seems so empty without the other movies as well.
Now my family has all scattered to other parts of the country, or passed on, and many of the Xmas customs I enjoyed with a huge family are gone now. As families do my family has fought and argued so much that a massive holiday gathering is no longer a possibility. But my little family still has our Xmas customs that we are trying to hand down to our boy in the hopes that he can someday be the head of his own huge family and resurrect those old Xmas customs.