Family, Real Life

Every year it’s … tradition!

It’s less than three weeks until Christmas. I’m sure you already knew that, but it’s just hit me. The only decorating I’ve done, so far, is here on this blog. I’m not doing much shopping this year, but I’ve put a few little things in my online cart. I’m clearly lagging behind.

I don’t even have a good excuse. It’s not like I’m writing up a storm. (I wish.) One of our sons is a member of the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, and tonight we attend their annual holiday concert, so maybe that will get me in the mood. Even if it doesn’t, I have no more time to waste.

At least I don’t have to plan any menus. We’ll be going to a son’s house for Christmas day, and our Christmas Eve dinner is always the same. We have a Syrian feast. My husband will make the kibbee (triple-ground round steak with cracked wheat and onions) to prepare three ways—my favorite is nayee (raw).

Probably a granddaughter or two will come over to help roll the grape leaves, but it will be up to me alone to see if this year I can successfully make the vegetarian version.

My husband and I make the hummus together. I’ll cook the lubee (grean beans) and pilaf, and make tabouleh, and khyar bi laban (cucumber yogurt salad). Maybe I’ll get ambitious and make fatayer sabanigh (spinach pies). For our oldest son who fondly remembers his Aunt Ronni’s American addition of creamed corn, we’ll have a little of that. Of course, we’ll also have pita, yogurt, olives, braided cheese, raw veggies, baklava and cookies.

And wine, of course! As you can see, the women start on that in the kitchen and we laugh a lot.

This year, all of our sons and grandchildren will be here. At some point, our second son will measure all the grandchildren against the inside of the closet door. Gifts will be given out, starting in an orderly fashion and ending in joyful chaos. And this year, hopefully, we’ll remember to take a family group photo before anyone leaves.

Your turn: What holiday traditions do you observe in your family?

23 thoughts on “Every year it’s … tradition!”

  1. Our family traditions are pretty….well, traditional. We always have two kinds of stuffing (regular and oyster, the latter of which I’m not sure anyone really likes) and Grandma’s Christmas tree and giving all the grandkids ornaments are institutions, and the leftovers are pretty epic.

    I guess the two that stand out as kind of different is that, on my father’s side, there’s always poker games. Everyone brings big bags or jars of change and between the two meals (we do lunch and dinner, usually!), there’s just a ton of poker! No idea how that one got started. Then, on my mother’s side of things, I’ve only just recently learned about the tradition of the Ugly Plaque. The Ugly Plaque is this decoration that my grandmother had that no one wanted when she passed away. So, every Christmas, the trick is to figure out how to send someone home with it without them catching you…and then they’re stuck with it until next year! I have yet to get the Ugly Plaque, but I’m sure once I get a chance to make it to gathering now that I live in a different state, I’m first on the list.

    Also, this post made my mouth water so much! Everything sounds so delicious! My family would probably look at me like I’d grown a second head if I admitted it, but I’d take kibbee over our traditional ham any day…well, except maybe Christmas. : )


    1. Years ago, many of the family dinners at my in-laws ended in poker games, L.S. 😉 Sometimes our Christmas Eve ends in gameplay, but more likely it’s UNO or Phase 10. I’ve heard of these “pass the Ugly” traditions before. Too bad we didn’t think of something like that.


  2. I wish I could be at your Christmas dinner, I love middle eastern food! I come from a huge German Canadian family so we have traditional German food but then I married an Englishman and now I make him his yorkshire pudding and triffle every year. We can’t always be together as a family but we are together in spirit and thats’ what counts. Family and friends are what Christmas is all about for me (and the food of course!)


  3. We’re a family of flexi Christmas days – depending on which bits of our families are where in the country on the day. It always involves family, though, and my favourite part of Christmas has always been breakfast. This year for breakfast we’ll be driving an hour to my brothers house, having it with his family, my mother, stepfather, father, stepmother, nana, a few cousins and aunts thrown in for good measure. Then we’ll be driving five hours to where my in-laws live and having dinner with them, hubby’s sister and her family, and his nana as well, hopefully. It’s going to be a long day – but we figured we might as well spend the middle chunk of it driving, as 2/3 kids will sleep for a good portion of the trip anyways.
    Of course, it’s summer here! There will be no snow in sight, and many people will be hitting the beach and BBQing! lol


    1. Christmas in summer is such a hard thing to imagine for me, J.C. 🙂 I hope your traveling Christmas goes well.

      Years ago, when we all lived in Indiana, we used to have Christmas Eve with my husband’s family and then Christmas Day with my family. Now that all our kids are grown, they’re usually at their in-laws on Christmas Day. It’s interesting how the family dynamic changes throughout our lives.


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