Christmas Traditions

Every family has its Christmas traditions.  Ours is no different.

On Christmas Eve we often have some ethnic foods (like curry or some kind of world food) and then watch a film.  In the past that film was often the Jesus film in Songhai.  This year we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" on tv.

In Africa we always celebrated Christmas as a family the day after Christmas (Boxing Day).  The reason is that we usually celebrated Christmas Day with Africans by going to church and then sharing a big meal of goat meat in sauce over rice.  Holidays in Africa are community celebrations, not private family affairs.  So, we spent Christmas Day with Africans and then had our private family celebration the next day.

Whatever day we celebrated, we started off with a reading from Scripture by dad (me) and a prayer, then we opened our gifts. 

We started with the stocking gifts.  Over the years, Nancy has made individual cross-stitch stocking(except herself, she uses a nice bought stocking), so we have something unique to each of us.  Then we proceed to the opening of the gifts under the tree.

In Africa, we have a little two-foot artificial tree that we use, and we don't put gifts under it until Christmas Eve.  In the US, we buy a real tree and put the gifts under the tree whenever we finish wrapping them. 

We never played "Santa Claus" in our house.  The myth of Santa makes me sick, but we know that the myth is based on a real person named Saint Nicolas.  The fact that Saint Nick lived and worked in what is today the modern country of Turkey is all the more fascinating for our family since I have intimate connections with the country of Turkey.  I was born there.  So we tell our kids the real story of St Nicholas.  To me it's more inspiring and fun than the fake "Santa in the mall" junk. 

After opening gifts, we have our traditional breakfast of sticky buns, a practice borrowed from the Hall family (Nancy's parents). 

Later in the day we have a feast of turkey (chicken in Africa),

potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and pie.  This year we celebrated with special coke--in bottles like we get in Africa.  It just tastes better in a glass bottle!  :)


It has been fun over the past three weeks to have our kids home from college.  We've made cookies and memories together and cherished the moments.  Wish I could slow time down.  Now we're in Alabama for a wedding of a friend who spent some time in Africa.