Christmas, a day early

Today is Christmas for me. My family is from the Czech Republic and growing up we celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve.

I enjoyed this. It was festivities and celebrations and you went to bed weary and happy and tired, but you were done. No one had to wake up at 5am wondering what Santa brought, or had a hard time getting to sleep knowing that some time in the night Santa may come by.

I never had any doings with Santa until I met my husband and his family. Christmas spreads out over two days now that we have kids. While I had an invisible Baby Jesus come to our house to deliver presents after dinner, my kids also get an invisible Santa Claus who manages to squeeze through our non-existent chimney to give them even more loot and stockings. I like the tradition of stockings. It is fun to see what you can find in your decorated sock that isn’t lint or an orange.

Traditional Christmas breakfast. (It's like a German stolen).

Traditional Christmas breakfast that is made by braiding nine separate pieces together. That’s not simple crocheting.

We have a Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. It does not involve turkey or gravy. I’m not sure what the traditional fixings are for this meal, but I know that my mom tried to keep up the tradition of eating white fish for dinner. When she was a kid they used to bring home a live carp. It swam around in the bathtub til it was time to prep it. Then it was killed, skinned, breaded and fried. Later, it was eaten.

I make a potato salad and corn soup like we had when I was a kid. I’ve now added more side dishes of veggies and sometimes I put out cranberry sauce because I like the red color. There is no gravy. My kids are picky eaters so it doesn’t really matter what they have; they will still not like something. It’s more about creating a tradition for us, as a family.

I think that is what Christmas is for me. It’s not the anticipation or the presents. It’s not the expectation or the stress or the chaos. It’s not even about having a few days off work. It’s about doing things together that you will do each year. It’s about meaningful rituals. It’s about spending time with the people you want to spend time with.  The best things at Christmas are not things.

I hope you and yours all have a wonderful tradition to celebrate, no matter what day you dedicate to this.


27 thoughts on “Christmas, a day early

  1. Tania wow a carp swimming in the bathtub. That must have been cool as a kid. You’re so right. It’s all about rituals, traditions, spending time with family. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy Holidays! -Amy

  2. My middle name is from the Czech Republic.
    I love this: “It’s about doing things together that you will do each year. It’s about meaningful rituals. It’s about spending time with the people you want to spend time with. The best things at Christmas are not things.”
    Merry Christmas (eve-day) 😉

  3. I agree the bread looks absolutely delicious. Any chance you can post the recipe? – now I have a few days holiday it would be nice to bake something like this. Everyone brings something for our family Christmas – I made yo-yos which are a bit of an Aussie treat..

    • Chas,
      The bread is very much like German stolen. The recipe is a family tradition and I’d like to keep it as such. Plus it’s really long and complex to type out. I make the bread every year and I am still calling my mom for clarification each time I make it.
      Yo-yos sound yummy. What are they?

      • Hi YoYos are little yummy biscuits. There are probably secret variations but try this recipe – Actually I might post it as a community service…

        Biscuit mix
        250g butter
        1 teaspoon vanilla essence
        1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar
        11/2 cups (225g) plain flour
        1.2 cup (75g) plain flour

        Passionfruit butter
        80g butter
        1/2 cup icing sugar
        1 tblspoon passionfruit pulp (or a little lemon juice)

        Beat butter sugar and essence together like a mad thing until smooth and fluffy. Then add the flours (bit at a time) and mix til smooth.

        Round up teaspoon amounts in balls and place on oven trays. Press lightly with a fork (very important step in the genuine-ness of yo yo making.) Bake at about biscuity cooking temperature until lightly brown.

        When cool stick two biscuits together with the butter icing filling you have also whipped like a mad woman/man until creamy and yummy.

        Da da ‘Yo Yos’

  4. We celebrate Christmas Eve with my daughter’s family. We order Chinese food and open the family Christmas gifts. Then she and her family go to church with her husband’s family, which makes them very happy. Then they spend Christmas Day as their family day together. Your Christmas bread looks yummy, though it isn’t Chinese food.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  5. Pingback: As we whiz, there’s quiet « iRuniBreathe

  6. So true, to me Christmas is about the quality time we spend together and those family traditions. I also love that as a Mum now, Hubby and I are creating our own family traditions. Also becomes a mix like yours – of his childhood memories, mine and some new fun ones we made up. Your Christmas sounds lovely, hope you all enjoyed.

    • We are still refining but I like our blending of my traditions and my husbands – we’ve made it our own. I think the kids enjoy it and we’re getting better at trying to do *too* much and then suffering from exhaustion and let down after the fact. I like having time with our family, rather than making it so much about expectations.

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