Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas traditions

Can you believe it is almost December? That is very exciting! You know why? Because Christmas is almost here! And Christmas just happens to be my favourite holiday - especially since becoming a mom. It’s so much more magical now. I get giddy with excitement for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.











A tradition I have always loved has been celebrating Christmas Eve with my entire family. Every year since I can remember, we hang out at my parents house in front of the fireplace, drinking and eating appetizers, as Greeks do any day of the week, watching Christmas movies on TV and getting into heated discussions about Greek politics. And we've even had a few unexpected visitors on Christmas Eve, too, from the nice folks from the local fire department!

At 11 p.m., we get dressed and head to church for midnight mass - there is something so beautiful about this, I think, and to me, it's the true meaning of Christmas. After midnight, we go back to my parents house where we eat a huge dinner that lasts until well after 1 a.m.

Dinner consists of lamb, potatoes, Greek chicken rice soup, tiropites (cheese pies) salad, bread, cheese, araka (a pea dish) and of course, wine. A little heavy for a midnight dinner, but one that is enjoyed very much! Oh, and of course, dessert and coffee, because we need that caffeine fix!

After we eat, we make our way, with great difficulty, to the living room, where we open presents like crazy people. Gifts are being tossed here and there, and all you can hear is 'Thank you!' 'I love it!' and from my sister, 'Loukia got more presents than me!' and 'What? That's not for you, there must be some mistake... where is the coat I bought your father? Oh, shoot, I forgot to wrap it!' There is mass confusion, a lot of laughter, and a lot of noise.

Now, this tradition has changed a bit since I've had my children - we do the dinner early, and then open the presents so the boys can fall asleep before midnight. They'll enjoy midnight mass when they're a bit older!



Adding two little people into the Christmas Eve tradition is even more crazy, if you can believe it... imagine a lot of loud toys, giggles, tantrums and the pitter-patter of little feet searching for batteries!

It's a tradition like no other, a family tradition that I look forward to every single year - it's the most beautiful time of the year, made more lovely by the falling snow, the glittering lights, the lit candles, the beautiful Christmas tree and the nicely wrapped presents - and all my loved ones together, celebrating.

The next morning, we celebrate at home with our children, where they open even more presents, including "Santa's" big gifts, and their stockings, hung by the fireplace.

We then make our way over to my in-law's house, for another huge Christmas Day feast, and yes, more presents. The festivities last all day, and that evening, the thing that is on everyone's mind? Sleep... blissful, wonderful, much needed sleep.

And of course, I start planning my diet yet again, because in those two days alone I'm sure to have gained at least 5 pounds!

Ah, yes... traditions are the best!


In keeping with the Christmas theme, a fabulous interview with some of my most favourite awesome bloggers will be up on my blog very soon - so stay tuned! You'll love their answers!

28 comments:

OHmommy said...

I love midnight mass. Like LOVE LOVE LOVE. We go to the cathedral in downtown Chicago and it's just amazing. You can actually feel Christmas.

Christy said...

What fun - sounds like a lovely tradition you have. I can't wait for Christmas either! Love it!

McMommy said...

Loved reading about your traditions!!! Your tree and all the gifts are just beautiful! Not to mention YOU AND YOUR KIDS! :)

Pres. Kathy said...

I just love the Christmas season! Since I was a little girl I remember the warm feeling I would get! Now with my little guy, I feel like that all over again. I have to say, all Greek families are the same. There is never a dull moment and of course there is always loud conversation, good food, and lots of wine!!!

Sandy said...

I also LOVE Christmas! Sounds a lot like my family tradition, only we aren't Greek, we are Portuguese. My husband is a Greek Cypriot, but his family lives in England, so he is bombarded by my LOUD family. I also love Christmas more now that I have two little ones. Just explaining all of the tradition and meaning behind everything is fantastic. Merry Christmas!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Sweet tradition! I love to hear about how others celebrate the season!

T Rex Mom said...

Christmas celebrating is so much more fun now that I have a little one to share it with.

Great family traditions.

Mom2Miles said...

That sounds so fun! I was wondering if you still made it to midnight mass post-kids. I used to love going, but now I can't keep my eyes open.

You made me nostalgic for the Christmas before I had kids that we spent w/ my family in Athens. It was really magical. And oh, the food! Glorious food...

blueviolet said...

You make it sound absolutely perfect! I love the pictures and my, there are a lot of gifts under the tree!

Rebecca said...

Great pictures!

I have so many Christmas traditions that it's a blog post - so long. But some of my favs:
-opening 1 gift on Christmas Eve
-Decorating together and then having a chocolate beverage
-Christmas morning!

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

Beautiful post... I posted on traditions today too... sounds like you guys are BUSY!! Have a great Holiday!!

The Crazy Baby Mama said...

your xmas traditions sound fabulous -

thank you for sharing this with us :)

Lady Mama said...

Sounds like you have so much fun! We have a similar tradition here with my husband's family. I love midnight mass too. And yes, having kids definitely makes Christmas much more special. Love the photos. Your family is gorgeous!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Your boys ar ejust beautiful!

It's the traditions that make the holidays special, isn't it? I look forward to this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when my sisters and my mom and I get together to bake and bake and bake cookies for Christmas... It's the official kick off of Christmas for my family!

Stone Fox said...

that looks and sounds like so much fun. i love sitting around with my family laughing and eating yummy christmas treats.

AnnQ said...

I'm new to your blog, and loved reading about your family traditions!

Now I have SUCH a craving for spanakopita... :-)

Jillian Livingston said...

Christmas is a magical time of year. I just wish that I could get it right for my three boys. Tradition is so important.

My children are all confused since we celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas. After the holidays I sigh a deep breath of relief that I managed to pack two holidays into one, hopefully successfully.

I love hearing about your Greek traditions. You make me miss my best friend from college, Stavros. I think I'll give him a call.

TKW said...

I'm such an old crone that I'd be asleep with my face in my plate if I stayed up past 11.

The Stiletto Mom said...

I miss going to midnight mass. Haven't done that since having kids but it is one of my best memories growing uip. I adore Christmas too, and yours sounds so lovely!

Neena said...

I went to midnight mass once with a friend of mine. It was a very beautiful experience. So peaceful.

The Mommyologist said...

Sounds like you have some wonderful traditions in your family! Thanks so much for visiting my blog...I will look forward to reading more of your posts! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Theta Mom said...

Midnight mass is always my favorite! My husband and I would go every year. Since having kids though, it's too late...I can't wait until they are older enough and we can bring them as well! Loved your pictures, too.

Krystyn said...

Sounds like great traditions, both old and new. Love the boys in front of the tree!

CaraBee said...

In my family, we always get together on Christmas eve for a big dinner and afterward we sing carols. We have books with all the words. My dad and his three brothers all play instruments. My grandfather has a song that he always sings in his beautiful baritone. It is a wonderful and joyful occasion. We haven't been home for it in a couple of years, but I am hoping that we will be able to go this year. I miss that tradition.

amotherworld said...

Family traditions are wonderful and it's just amazing to create new ones when you have kids. I, like you, have a Big Fat Greek (and Italian) Christmas and I wouldn't have it any other way!

BeachMama said...

I love Christmas and the Spirit of the true meaning of it lives in our house along side the more recent gift giving traditions.

MamaJoss said...

Beautiful post -- It IS so much better with the little ones around. I haven't been able to venture to Midnight Mass for the past 2 years, so hopefully this year I can leave hubby behind and enjoy all the beauty and wonder of the night and Holiday :) Love the photos from last year -- your boys are just the cutest and always look so happy...love that!

annewalker said...

Same here Loulou, christma is one of my favorite hoidays ad I'd like to spend it with my family and friends. As of this year, one of my brother is abroad and to share the holiday cheer, I send Christmas messages and wishes via post cards. Ahh, i can't wait for christmas to come.

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