- Turkey with all the trimmings. Our stuffing always has pieces of sausage in it. I thought everybody's did but I guess that's not the case?
- A pre-dinner walk on the beach.
- This year was the first time I actually did any Black Friday shopping-- my sis and I hit up Target a 4am and then Toys R Us at 6am (I had my eye on a temporal thermometer because I am super awesome). It was actually really fun to do that once. Plus if you spent $100, which I OFTEN do at Target, they gave you a $10 gift card. You could theoretically buy something, get the gift card, and then return the stuff you bought. I didn't do that but I'm just saying-- you COULD.
- I like to make Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches: sourdough toast with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a smidge of cranberry on it.
- KOIT starts playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. So that's the day my radio station gets tuned to 96.5 until they stop.
- My mom and I pick up crab for dinner and eat lunch at the Fish Market on Christmas Eve.
- Christmas stockings always have an orange in the toe.
- We have Christmas dinner and open presents on whatever day everybody can be together. This year was the 26th.
- We open one present on Christmas Eve. Maybe two. Okay, maybe three but that's IT.
- My mom's gingerbread cookies. She starts making them every year around October. They're heavenly. This year I helped frost and decorate (with M&Ms only) the last of them. These were the cookies that had been at the very bottom of the foot-tall cookie tin. My mom kept pulling out handfuls of broken gingerbread bits and saying "well we should just throw these away." But I talked her into frosting and decorating ALL of them since they're so delicious. So this year we had a lot of gingerbread amputees and miscellaneous gingerbread appendages.
- Christmas Eve children's mass with the kids and Christmas Day mass with my parents.
- Christmas Day breakfast of eggs, sausage, OJ, and homemade brioche. OMG so delicious.
- Watching the Muppet Christmas Carol.
- My newest tradition that I definitely plan to continue is buying lots of toys for the tots.
- I give my parents and my sisters photo calendars that I make every year. I used to just give them to my parents but then everybody liked them so now everybody gets one.
- My mom made a family cookbook that she adds to each year. It's actually just a binder and she gives us 3-hole-punched pages for it with favorite family recipes like fat-free scalloped potatoes (they're seriously num), stuffing, gravy, ratatouille, brioche, cinnamon buns in the shape of a lamb for Easter, butter in the shape of a lamb for Easter, and of course her gingerbread cookies.
- I give gifties my parents, sisters, all my nieces and nephews, whichever friends I currently see the most, plus my two neighbors I see every year at Christmas. My family used to try and do some type of 'pull a name out of a hat' thing but it somehow ended up being more complicated and less fun so we just went back to getting everybody gifts. I don't get gifts for my bros in law-- I usually get my sisters the calendar plus some other thing and I figure the calendar is a 'family' present.
- Martinelli's sparkling apple cider.
- My parents always have a big, tall Christmas tree decorated with strings of beads, white lights, ornaments we made as kids, ornaments the current kids have made, store-bought ornaments, silver bells (one for each year our neighbors have lived nextdoor to us), and a ballerina on top. This was the first year I got a tree of my own and I LOVED having it. It certainly put me in the Christmas spirit all month long.
- One of my family's favorite Christmas songs is Joy to the World. We sing it in church every Christmas but sometimes they don't have everybody sing all the verses. If that happens we tend to say "We didn't get to repeat the sounding joy," which is an expression that can also be applied to other instances. Like if I'm frosting the gingerbread cookies and someone trying to interrupt me I might say "just give me a minute, I'm repeating the sounding joy over here."
- Chinese food. I don't know why but that's what we always have.
- A New Year's Dip. It counts if you either jump in the ocean or a pool and you can wear a wetsuit.