I was recently talking to a friend who celebrates the interim period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s by baking hundreds upon hundreds of cookies. She explained this tradition was a holdover from her childhood when each member of her family had pretty hefty holiday baking responsibilities, each trying to produce four batches of various types of cookies.
“Every time a batch was made it would go into the freezer, so by the time Christmas rolled around we could pull out as many different kinds of cookies as we wanted,” she said.
“The worst part was having to wait for them to thaw so you could eat them without breaking your teeth.”
This inspired me to ask more of my friends to describe what unique way their families celebrate. Since it is July I decided, rather than hold off until next December I wanted to post their responses in the tradition of “Christmas in July,” a time when southern hemisphere populations celebrate the holiday season during their winter months. Here are my friends responses:
“The lights always go up on the house the first day after Thanksgiving, come rain, snow, or biblical flood. And because there is only on of them, there’s a silent battle that takes place to see whether my brother or I get stuck on the ladder. Then there are the trees, yes, plural. One goes in the living room, one in the dining room, one at the bottom of the stairs and one upstairs in the book-nook. They all have their own sets of lights and decorations. Glass ornaments (so many you have to hang two to a branch) on the living room tree, all the weird, chintzy, plastic and wooden ornaments that every family seems to collect over the years go on the dining room tree, candy-canes on the book-nook tree and a set of small silver and red glass balls on the stairs tree. All of this gets done in one huge decorating spree that takes hours. We always start out excited and half way through want to kill each other and/or start hiding boxes of ornaments so we don’t have to put them up and can go nurse our pine needle wounds.”
“My family reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, on Christmas Eve and usually we just all hang out together Christmas morning and listen to music and eat and open presents. My dad plays Please Come Home for Christmas by Aaron Neville every Christmas morning (hahahaha) and my sister imitates it.”
“Well, my family and I sit in bed every year and play games and eat toast and coffee. Then all walk down in a nice even fashion to the tree.”
“Christmas is my least favorite holiday. It is a month-long celebration of consumerism. I resist.”
“Since my extended family is really spread out now, it’s usually just my immediate family up at Sugarloaf where we are lucky enough to have a condo. We have a blue light tree on the deck, and stack presents under the window. We ski on Christmas Eve, and usually snowshoe or ski on Christmas Day after presents.”
“My Christmas is always split between my separated family by meal. Christmas Eve dinner with one, Christmas breakfast with another set, brunch with another, dinner another part, and then dessert with the last group. It’s like a hobbit holiday.”
“We always read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and open one present the night before. Christmas morning we do a lavish brunch, often stretching out opening presents. Often we’ll walk the dogs and semi-carol…to our neighbor’s dismay. This year we’ll be in Kenya and missing a lot of the traditions. In the end, holidays are all about family, in any shape, size, or package.”
“My most favorite part of Christmas is church on Christmas Eve followed by a gathering at my grandmother’s for food, the Christmas story, and gifts. I have been celebrating the same way for 36 years! We have anywhere from 25-40 family members who come. A joyous time for us!”
“Oh man! My cousins and I used to bring a yam to each holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc.) and dress it up appropriately for that holiday. How weird is that? It was hilarious though.”
“We make Yule log, a jelly roll cake in the shape of a log with chocolate frosting and decorations, a French tradition. For New Year’s, when I was younger, my family made finger food and watched James Bond or other movie marathons until midnight.”
However you plan on celebrating the holidays; be it in the southern or northern hemisphere, during December or another time; happy Christmas in July!
Please leave a comment below with a description of how you uniquely celebrate the holidays.