Christmas time was full of traditions for my family: we always had a real tree, we always ate at our favorite Chinese restaurant on the Eve of Christmas Eve, and we waited until Christmas Eve to trim the tree. I always insisted on having a blue spruce, which my mom hated because of the sharp needles. As penance, it was always my job to help Mom string the lights and my dad and sisters would gleefully laugh at us while we “fricked” and “fracked” our way through the task. We also had a tradition of buying Christmas ornaments from each family trip and vacation, so trimming the tree would take hours while we reminisced. Last, we would delicately - or maniacally (depending on the child) place strings of shiny tinsel on the tree. We would always eat sausage bread (like a Stromboli) and drink eggnog or mulled wine, play Christmas carols on the stereo, and Dad would build a roaring fire in the place. Dad, always the jokester, would keep adding logs to the fire because, “I don’t want that man coming into our house. I’m gonna burn that fat man’s butt!” That used to send us into a panic.
Nowadays, my own family can’t wait to put up the artificial tree, as early as mid-November some years, and we don’t have a fireplace but instead make do with an 8-hour YouTube of a real cracking fire. We still collect ornaments from our travels and reminisce while we trim the tree; and we still play Christmas carols and drink eggnog. It’s our current tradition, but I always tell my daughter about Christmas Eve when I was young.