Since we passed the Christmas and New Year's season a while ago, I am going to talk a little bit about the traditions my family has during the winter holidays.
Christmas is usually a fun time of the year for a lot of people. On Christmas Eve my family will get together at my aunt's house and have a gift exchange. A month or two beforehand, we each drew the name of one of our cousins and this was the person you were assigned to get a gift for. After the gift exchange we go to a Chinese restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City called Golden Phoenix. The food there is really good in my opinion, not that I have much to go off of since my family doesn't usually go to other Chinese restaurants. After a long, filling dinner, we head down to Temple Square and wander around, looking at the lights and at the Nativities set up around the square. When we are done wandering, we head back to the cars and part ways, but this is not where the traditions end. When my family gets home, we each get new pajamas, as is the tradition in many households.
After a fitful night of sleep, we wake up, ready to open presents. Of course, this is assuming Dad has the camcorder set up already. If we are expecting any early morning guests, like my Aunt "Teen," we have to wait for them to get to our house before we are allowed to open presents, so we at least can see what has been left in our stockings. That is, usually we do. This year we had to wait until my aunt got to our house before even opening our stockings and since Christmas fell on a Sunday, we were only able to open stockings before we had to go to church.
New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday. We have a family of our friends come over around 5:00 p.m. and we start eating about 6:00 p.m. and just snack all night after that. There are a few foods that we absolutely have to have every year (including little smokies, wrapped in bacon and brown sugar). We've played games over the years, done karaoke a couple times, watch movies, and when we were really young, we would play "House." At about 11:00-11:30 p.m. we start chocolate fondue with all sorts of fruits and snacks (and cream puffs) to dip and eat. Then at about midnight, we take poppers outside that are filled with confetti to celebrate the New Year. The past few years my dad has fired off an old pistol he inherited that sounds louder than most fireworks.
When we have tired of standing in the cold, we go inside and start cleaning up. By the time we are done and our family friends leave it is about one in the morning and we get ready for bed; it's a great start to a new year.
I love traditions. They are a time to spend with family and friends that remain but at the same time they will evolve throughout the years as tastes and ages change.
What are some traditions you have and what do you like to do the most?