Tradition

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 49
Occupation: Manager
Residence: Newberg, OR
Date of Performance/Collection: April 18, 2008
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Tradition: Gift opening

“Since I was young my family has had a tradition for opening presents on Christmas morning. Instead of having everyone just grab gifts willy-nilly, the youngest person in the family, which was my brother, would find one gift for everyone. Then each person would open their gift, while the others waited. When everyone had opened their gift for that “round,” the next youngest would go. And we would go through the whole family like that. Once my dad had gone, he went last because he was the oldest, we would start at the beginning again. We would just repeat this until all the presents were opened.

My mom says that her father learned the tradition from a fellow police officer while working with the Los Angeles Police Department. She says it was a way of slowing Christmas morning down, avoiding all the crazy and hectic rush for presents that can happen if there is no order. This tradition also allows for everyone to equally be involved, and not have the morning monopolized by excited little kids or overpowering adults.

She said this is one of the few Munkres (maiden name) traditions that she carried over to her own family. She likes it now because instead of people just grabbing all the presents with their name on it, everyone essentially gets to give their presents all over again.

I feel like this tradition would find its origins among the poorer social classes. If there are less presents under the Christmas tree, the parents would want to find every way possible to extend the enjoyment of Christmas morning. Although we are not necessarily poor nor was my mother’s family, it is still a way of remembering those that don’t have as much to give, while also creating a more family oriented atmosphere on Christmas.