Posts tagged ‘traditions’

December 24, 2011

Nothing Says Merry Christmas Like a Dish of Shrimp LoMein

by Jillian Douglas

Before I was born, my parents and their two young little guys became suddenly starving one fine Christmas Eve. As it was after the church’s annual Christmas Eve service and getting to be late, most restaurants had their lights off and their doors locked, the chefs, waiters, and waitresses all enjoying their own dinners at home. Was any establishment in the proximity of the Douglas family open?

Finally, they stumbled upon a little Chinese restaurant. “Hey, why not?” they must have thought.

And so began the Christmas Eve Douglas Tradition #1 of eating Chinese food for dinner. This has continued all the way up to today; and to me, nothing says Merry Christmas like feasting on shrimp lo mein and sweet and sour pork.

Last year was a pretty big Christmas occasion. I was a minor part of the church service, which not only put me in a festive mood, but also allowed me to hang out with Nate, one of my reallycoolfreakingawesome friends who I had liked for a long time. Just a couple of weeks earlier, he had told me sheepishly that he liked me, too! It wasn’t until the last week of January that we finally did become a couple, but I still remember those days fondly, when everything seemed just the loveliest and dreams became real possibilities.

Because I was in the service, I couldn’t partake of the Asian cuisine with my family, but grabbed two fortune cookies, one for me and one for him. When Nate opened his and read it, he laughed and laughed. Despite my persistence, he refused to tell me what it said! It wasn’t until months later that he told me the message:


“A beautiful, smart, and loving person

will be coming in to your life.”


It was definitely one of those crazy cosmic moments when you suddenly wonder if your whole existence was just to be the protagonist in some chic lit, much like Stranger Than Fiction. At the very least, a thousand butterflies set off in my stomach and ever since then, Nate and I have been very happy together, indeed!

I wonder what this year’s fortune will tell us!

P.S. What are your holiday traditions?! Comment below and you will get the great satisfaction of enlightening people online. Ooo!

December 23, 2011

pizza and wings

by adandelionchild

I grew up always spending a lot of time with my extended family especially around the holidays. It seemed like no matter how insignificant the occasion, my aunts, uncles and cousins would find a reason to get together and spend hours eating, laughing, and playing our favorite board game (seriously, this was my monopoly as a child). Holidays in my household usually start by trekking down to the southern tier and getting stuck in snow banks after sliding off the road or cleaning off the Foosball Table in my basement.
I’ve never given it much thought before but looking back on some of our rituals I realize a lot of them are strange. But that’s what makes them our traditions. They’re the weird things that are fun for us. One of my favorites is probably Christmas Eve. Usually that day is spent laid back, possibly doing some gator sledding, then getting ready for the Christmas Eve Service at church.

       That is the best part of the day. We walk into the church at night with all the stars winking at us from above and laughing at the clouds of breath as we hurry inside and grab candles at the door. At the end of the service, every one gets out of their pews and stands around the outside aisles in the sanctuary. Then we all lit our candles, turn off the lights and sing “O Holy Night” as a church. The quiet excitement of the kids as the look around at the candles and then the sound of everyone singing together has a kind of magic that can not quite be described.

After the service we drive home and change into our pajamas while my dad (who I swear must wear his pajamas under his suit) jingles the keys and tells us we’re going to be tragically late to dinner. Once everyone is good and grumpy at each other we head over to my aunt’s house where everyone is waiting for us, alas, in jeans and sweaters. We’ve been trying for years to get everyone to see the benefits of the pajamas, but every year we’re the only ones who show up like that!

Then we dig in! We eat pizza and wings until we’re stuffed, sitting around and talking till our heads bob. We finally head home to catch santa.

One year I actually convinced myself that Santa had visited while we were at church because I thought there were more gifts under the tree than when we had left! My sisters and dad kept looking at each other trying to figure out if anyone had snuck more under the tree while no one was looking. It turns out it was just my imagination, but its funny to remember!

I love traditions because they make me feel like home. I’m excited to see what different ones develop and which ones stay around as I get older and life changes. What are your weird holiday traditions?

P.S. a little extra holiday love for your viewing pleasure. Merry Christmas!!!