Christmas Traditions

By Kim Roberts

With the Christmas holidays upon us and parents striving to make sure their children are reminded of the reason for the season, I can’t help but reflect on my family’s traditions during the holidays.

One tradition that my family has observed since I was a child is attending midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I can’t think of a better way to welcome the Christ child into this world than by attending this Mass.

I can remember when our parish church was packed to capacity on Christmas Eve, but over the years attendance at this Mass has dwindled. Regardless, I think, it is important to uphold this tradition and make it part of our Christmas experience.

Additionally, being of Italian heritage, we also open one gift on Christmas Eve. As I have been told by my mother, most Italian families open their presents on Christmas Eve as well as observe the special “Feast of the Seven Fishes” meal annually like we do. Immediate and extended family gather for this meal, mostly seafood-based, prior to attending Mass.

Something unique that my mother started when my siblings and I were young was paying homage to each of the countries that we have a familial connection to.

Each year, we would pick one country that we were descended from, research it, have some decorations from that country and eat a traditional Christmas meal from the country of our choice.

We’ve celebrated our Italian, Irish, Scottish and English ancestry on rotating years. This was probably one of my favorite traditions. We learned about other cultures and the way they celebrate Christmas and gained an appreciation for where we came from.

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