Family Christmas Traditions

Main Text: 

Family Christmas Traditions 

Background on Informant: 

Currently a student, she grew up in an American household with heritage links to her Polish and Irish backgrounds. She has shared with me her many traditions and the folklore she has been exposed to through her experiences. 


She explains:

“For Christmas every year, we have a small tradition. 

So on Christmas Eve, pre-COVID, we used to have the entire family gather, extended and all.

So we gather the presents together and they get handed out from oldest to youngest. We don’t open them but they sort of get complied into piles per person, which we’d open in the morning. I’m the youngest in my family and I’m 18 so we don’t do the Santa thing anymore unfortunately, so we know who got who what. 

Then we sit down for dinner and say grace. Grace? Grace died five years ago. We pray basically. Dinner is traditional Christmas food, maybe just for us, I’m not sure? But we eat roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and vegetables, with small desserts after (it usually varies).

The funny thing is that we still leave out cookies for Santa, it’s a bit outdated for us but I think it’s cute, although my dad usually ends up eating them in the middle of the night. 

I think it’s a very American Christmas for us but I love it and don’t see much changing in terms of our customs any time soon. Although making Santa cookies will continue to crack me up.” 


I love learning about people’s Christmas traditions and the importance of familial customs that always stand out. I grew up in an Eastern European household so our Christmas was accustomed to those traditions, so I always find it fascinating to learn about the ’American’ way of celebrating Christmas. 

I like how old-fashioned it is, with the traditional Christmas food customs and saying grace before dinner. I know the person I interviewed is not religious but they still adhere in order to continue the traditions. Christmas is so universal and because so many people celebrate it, it is always so interesting to see the variety and various ways it is enjoyed. Overall, I loved learning more about her traditions and always love finding out how Christmas customs are such an essential part of cultural identity.