Christmas traditions -- 12/19/04

This is my special ornament. It is quite a bit older than I am (and I'm not exactly young) and it says "Made in Czechoslovakia" on the bottom and we had two of them. This one was mine and the other was my brother's and we would each spend a considerable amount of time deciding on the proper placement of our special ornaments. Actually, I still do...

1) What is a Christmas tradition that your family did when you were a child that you loved the most?
Putting up Christmas decorations, especially decorating a tree. My father had a collection of colored light bulbs -- green, red, blue -- and when he replaced the regular bulbs in certain lights (in hallways and on the front porch) that was a signal that we were getting ready for Christmas. We tended to put up our tree the weekend before Christmas and take it down on New Year's Day. My mother would bake vast amounts of cookies.

2) What is a Christmas tradition that you plan to instill in your own family or already have instilled from when you were a child?
Well, obviously the Christmas tree tradition, although we usually put up our tree three or four weeks before Christmas so we can enjoy it longer. When we bought our first house, I began putting strings of colored lights on the bushes in front of our porch. The only change is that these days I use white lights outside (although I still use multicolored lights on the Christmas tree.

3) What is a new Christmas tradition that you have instilled in your family that is new to both you and your significant other?
When Gillian and Jeremy were little we decided that we wanted them to have the tradition of Christmas at home, rather than frantic road trips to grandparents. We would visit grandparents during the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Now that we are living in Rhode Island we are only fifteen minutes or so from Nancy's mother and we now have the tradition of Christmas dinner at her house. The past couple of years, I have roasted a turkey here and then brought it over there as our contribution to the meal. I have a turkey in the freezer and I guess we will continue that. A few years ago we started a new tradition of having our Rhode Island relatives over for New Year's Eve dinner followed by watching a DVD or two together and having a champagne toast at midnight.

4) Do you make any traditional holiday dishes?
I don't bake. Nancy usually makes lots of cookies and I may assist with decorating some of them. (This year with work and with Jill's tonsillectomy, etc., she has not had time to bake anything yet, other than some chocolate chip cookies she and Jill made last week... but she has Thursday and Friday off so there may be some cookie production then.) She usually makes a variety of cookies and also bakes one of my very favorite things, an applesauce cake (that my mother used to make) based on a recipe passed down from my father's grandmother.

5) Does your family open Christmas gifts Christmas morning, when the clock strikes twelve, or one gift the night before and the rest the next morning?
Christmas morning.

Those questions are from Sunday Brunch.

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