My father brought back a tradition from Germany that we had for some years. He had a wreath made of straw and wrapped around with a red ribbon. Four candle holders were stuck into the straw. Four Sundays before Christmas we lit one of the candles during Sunday dinner. The next week we lit two, and so on until, on the Sunday before Christmas, we had all four candles burning. I don't know what the meaning of this tradition is, but, frankly, we did it anyway. We children always argued about who got to blow the candles out. Sometimes we would, in a moment of bravado, put them out with wet fingers and got burned. (Ben, age 22, California)
Since I grew up in a Spanish culture, our Christmas was a little different. On the night of Christmas Eve, we had an eventful evening. we would first go down to Old Mesa to eat La Posta. The restaurant was all Mexican food, and my favorite part was feeding the piranha in the fish tank. It would really eat meat. We then went driving around town looking at the lights. All the lights were brown paper bags with candles in them. Then we would come home to act out the birth of Christ, like a play. Then, at last, we would finally open a present that night. (Ryan, age 22, New Mexico)
When my children were little, as a family at Christmas, we would bake goodies and deliver them to neighbors, family, and friends. The first year we made cookies of several different kinds and distributed them among my children's friends. From there we baked cookies and Chritmas tree and Santa Claus' head cakes, frosted them, and decorated them as such; these treats we delivered to family friends of our whole family. When my two youngest children were young teenagers, we put together goodies with a small decorated live pine tree and took them to the elderly in a senior housing project. That year we were alone without a man in our home, and we were struggling financially, but we did it anyway because it felt so good the previous years. Every time we went out on a delivery, we'd come home to find treats had been delivered to our home as well. It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for us all. (Filomena, age 52, California)
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Last modified on May 5, 1999.