Residence: United States
Date of Performance/Collection: April 20th
Primary Language: English
This is the transcription of an interview I had with the informant about her Christmas traditions.
“So my dad’s grandma, my great-grandma, she made us this chimney. Like out of wood. And we put it on the dining room table on Christmas Eve. My mom is always in charge of it. And she puts tiny gifts like pencils or a piece of candy in the thing, like in the chimney. Then there’s a ribbon that’s attached to each gift that has a name of a family member on it. There’s one for each of us. And then after Christmas Eve Mass we come back and have dinner and stuff and after dinner we get to pull the string with our name. So it’s like the first gift of Christmas”
The informant comes from a very tight-knit family. She grew up near all her extended family. Her great-grandmother is of Eastern European descent.
I was talking to the informant about traditions that make her think of family and this was one of the first she told me.
The holidays produce a lot of traditions and customs important to families. This “first gift” of Christmas often mirrors what is discussed during Christmas Mass from the gift of Jesus’s birth to the gifts the Wise Men bring to the child. This provides a small tradition the family can do to physically celebrate the holiday in a way that combines the Santa ideas of Christmas as well as the biblical meaning.