Do you have any holiday traditions that are unique to your family? If you're like most of my friends, your initial answer to that question is, "No. We just do all the regular holiday stuff."
That's was my response, until last week, when a friend told me about her family's holiday tradition, which she assumed was perfectly common.
Every December, her grandmother would make a gingerbread church, complete with stained glass sugar windows, icing-decorated trees, and a reindeer-powered sleigh with Santa holding the reins, leaving parallel tracks in a blanket of shredded coconut "snow." She and her cousins would admire it throughout the holidays, and on New Year's Day, they would all meet at Grandma's house to tear it down and eat it. It had never occurred to her that this was an unusual tradition until I burst into horrified laughter.
That's when I realized we all have traditions that are unique to our family. In my household, we host a Caribbean feast on Christmas Day, because that's what my grandmother always did. Another friend told me her aunt always makes an antipasti platter for Christmas Eve, and she can't get into the holiday spirit without rolled-up tubes of ham and salami. Yet another friend told me that his family goes out to dinner at a local café every Christmas Eve.
"Who does that?" I asked, before remembering my manners.
"I never really thought about it," he said. "It's just something we've always done. It's not even a particularly good restaurant. But it's our tradition, and no one ever questions it."
I'm willing to bet that your family has some traditions that are - shall we say - outside the box. Maybe it's a special dish that always makes an appearance on the holiday buffet, even though everyone hates it. Perhaps it's an offensive version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or a recycled gift - or joke - that just won't die.
Whatever it is, we'd love to hear about it. Please share your "only in our family" holiday traditions with us.