While decorating this past week, I started thinking about our traditions we have adopted and abandoned throughout the years.
Some require certain decorations, some are food and treats and others are what we do or where we go.
For me, as a child and beyond, going to my Nana and Papa’s for Christmas Eve was more fun than Christmas morning and Santa.
I still don’t know how we all fit in their modest home – parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses and kids.
The meal was always simple – tamales, chili, ham and cheese tray, relishes, cookies (including iced sugar ones from my great Aunt Maude) and a punch bowl of eggnog – spiked ever so lightly. In later years, we added cheese dip and chips.
We also had a White Elephant gift exchange. Nana asked me to draw and paint an elephant to tack to the wall where the gifts would be stacked. Sometimes they were rigged to go to an unsuspecting relative, but they were always funny.
We would sing Christmas songs and listen to both versions of The Night Before Christmas (traditional and South Texas styles).
We also played Bingo. My dad and Uncle Bill would remind the caller to “shake ‘em up” when their numbers were not being called. And, this is what I find funny, we would have to verify the winner. These are our family members playing a game for silly prizes, mind you. And for whatever reason, we didn’t trust our own flesh and blood? My children never experienced that celebration. My Nana stopped hosting at 88. I’m not sure if it was her age, the fact that my dad had passed away earlier that year or that our families were all growing and we really wouldn’t fit in her home anymore.
We now have beignets and mimosas Christmas morning followed by stockings and a late lunch. This year, we decided to not exchange gifts. Instead, we’ll have a nice meal before Christmas, then stroll around the San Antonio Riverwalk.
The way I see it, adding new traditions may make your holidays just as memorable as your tried and true ones. It’s really just about family and friends getting together at anytime and enjoying each other, right?
SUE BROWN is a columnist of the Pleasanton Express. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.