My Christmas traditions have their roots in Hungary. We were raised Catholic and that also influenced our traditions. We used to go to church for midnight mass every year. But all of our traditions have been combined with a lot of other Christmas ideas over the years. There are still certain foods we like to have for Christmas dinner, our versions of “Lecsos Hus”(pork tenderloin with vegetables), “Toltott Kaposzta” (stuffed cabbage)and “Madar Tej”(egg nog).
When we were very little, Santa Claus was not part of our Christmas at all. St. Nicholas visited our house on December 6th and left some small gifts in shoes that we put out the night before. If you had been a bad during the year, then Krampus would leave coal in you shoes instead of treats. Similar to Santa, but definitely more European.
We did not put up a Christmas tree ahead of time, my parents bought a live tree late on Christmas eve, and while we slept, they decorated it and put presents under it. Our Christmas presents were left by the Baby Jesus, not Santa Claus and we opened gifts on Christmas eve. Of course as we got older, we got to be part of all the decorating, and we slowly started to put a tree up sooner every year. These days, we start decorating the day after Thanksgiving.
These days, we still do gather for dinner on Christmas Eve. We’re all old now, so we’ve dialed back on gift giving, mostly because we are all blessed enough to have what we want and need, and being together is the goal for the holiday, not gifts. Everyone is so busy in our every day lives, spending time together is a priority for holidays.
Our tree has shrunk over the years, but we still love to decorate the house for Christmas. We still celebrate with the family on Christmas eve, and we still enjoy our version of traditional foods. But the most important part of the holiday is spending time with the friends and family you love.
What are some of your Christmas traditions? Have you created new ones over the years? Do you still carry on traditions from your childhood? We’d love to hear from you!
Yours in Health and Wellness,