Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Traditions

Lucky me! I get to chose between two blog topics. Family Christmas traditions or "What was the most random thing you were doing during class time instead of listening to [Kirsten's] lesson?" I think I'll hold off on that second one until after grades are submitted. :->

When I was a kid, we always woke up early to look at our presents and stuff. As a rule, we could rummage through our stockings and open our "Santa" present. The Santa present usually wasn't fully wrapped either. Maybe just a bow and tag or something simple. We always ate coffee cake (sans coffee of course) for breakfast and had to wait for the whole family to gather in order to open our presents. Boy was it an ordeal. There was no wild ravaging of wrapping paper or anything. We each waited and watched and commented as each person opened one present from oldest to youngest. We went round and round until there were no presents left. But I enjoyed and savored every minute of it.

One tradition that I'm sad I can't follow every year any more is going to the beach every Christmas day. I grew up in Puerto Rico and beaches were plentiful and beautiful even in December. That's probably the thing I miss the most about living there, beaches.

In our stockings, we would always get a new toothbrush and a LifeSavers storybook. In the days and weeks preceeding Christmas, my Mom would cook Party Press Cookies and Chex Party Mix. I'm sure she cooked other yummies, but I can't think of what they were just now. One treat I had as a missionary was that my Mom would send me some of this stuff. Boy was I in heaven.

We would also often go caroling, but caroling in Puerto Rico is a little different. It's called a parranda and it's more of a party. You go over someone's house, sing to them, invite yourself in, and eat all their Christmas type food. Then you take the people from that house, visit someone else and repeat the process. The carols aren't really what most people think of as carols either. They've generally got much more beat and rythym than traditional carols. We usually just sang and brought our own treats to share, making it a combination of the two caroloing breeds.

My Puerto Rican Grandmother would always cook a heavenly meal and we'd eat it in the late afternoon. She'd prepare arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas), lechon or pernil (roast pork), pasteles (Puerto Rican version of tamales), and a garden salad. My mom would always furnish the flan. Man, I haven't had a better flan anywhere. Everytime I eat a flan (even a not so good one) I'm transported back to my Grandmother's kitchen (even though my Mom was the one who cooked it) because we always had it there on Christmas.

My wife and I are about to celebrate our second Christmas together (the first with any kids). So we're trying to figure out what our own traditions are going to be. We don't have much, but we've decided we're gonna open up one present each on Christmas Eve. I'm looking forward to that one. I don't know if this is gonna be permanent, but we each have our own wishlists on Amazon and we've secretly bought stuff for each other from our wishlists.

I'm excited that Christmas is coming so close. It's gonna be a lot of fun.

Freedom has a scent like a newborn baby's head,


1 comment:

Dan Burk Family Blog said...

I liked your entry!! I'm excited for Christmas Eve to open our presents and play them into the night!