What are your holiday traditions like?

The best part about the holiday season is how wonderfully unique all these holidays are. Growing up in a mixed culture house was always fun - twice the holidays! But even within the same set of holidays, no two traditions are identical. 

For me, our American Christmases were always pretty much the same, in rural Minnesota with grandparents and the rest of the extended family. Christmas Eve was our big night, with presents and finger foods, then us kids presented the small nativity figurines as Grandma read out the story. On the other hand Christmas Day was sleeping, baking cookies (and fudge, and cinnamon rolls…) and small presents from Santa - plus trying to put together any new toys!

I asked some other folks to tell me about their holiday traditions, and got some interesting responses. Just goes to show - no matter how you do the holidays, nothing matters except that you enjoy them.



One thing that has always stayed the same on Christmas day is opening stocking presents first thing in the morning. My parents would be in bed while my brother and I would sit at the other end of it and we would open all our stocking presents together. We all somehow fit on the bed last Christmas at the ages of 17 and 18, so we'll see if we can keep it up!


Filipino Christmas and New Year traditions go something like this: Wear red, eat sweet spaghetti and fried chicken. Hide from carollers so you don't have to pay money. Fire bootleg fireworks in front of your house at a dangerously close distance.


Christmas for me has always been very much a quiet family affair, following the same pattern for as long as I can remember. We’re downstairs by nine, eating whatever food we want throughout the day as my sister organises presents, I drink copious amounts of sherry, and we all work together on cooking dinner. After lunch it’s the Queen’s speech, and we’re free to open all the rest of the presents as we watch whatever solid quality TV the BBC has decided to grace us with this year and inevitably get much drunker.


It’s not an exciting tradition or anything, but ever since I was little my parents would let my sisters and I each choose an ornament for the tree. This happened every year with the eventual goal that when we moved out, we would take the ornaments with us to put on our own trees to remind us of home and childhood Christmases.


Bellini and canapes on Christmas morning while opening presents. We spend Christmas Eve at Church, so the celebrations have already been locked off. For us it's pretty British - too much food and too much drink, watching the Queen's speech and falling asleep in front of TV specials. Wouldn't have it any other way.


As an Indian family growing up in London, Diwali gave my parents the opportunity to celebrate home and their culture once again. Diwali is the festival of light and accordingly every year we celebrated with a round of fireworks and sparklers. The latter was an opportunity for me to draw pictures and write out names temporarily in the sky and my Dad to experiment with photography. We would also often draw out traditional patterns in the front of our house using coloured rice and flower petals, known as Rangoli. Rangoli is thought to bring good luck to the family whose house it is in and inspiration for patterns drawn were often found in some of my Mum’s old books from when she was a young girl.


And remember - no matter what your home life might be like, be it less than perfect or non-existent, it’s ok. Families and traditions you choose to make yourself are absolutely valid. So have a happy holiday, be merry, and enjoy yourselves.