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As I sit here flipping the channels watching the various Christmas themed movies and shows airing on Christmas Eve sitting at my Grandmother’s house. I’m reminded of various Christmas traditions that my family has enjoyed throughout the years. While some may seem similar to you and your families others are exclusive just for mine.

Over the years are traditions have changed as I’ve grown older and moved out of my families house and onto my own. They have also been forced to change due to the unwanted passing of loved ones. But no matter what has happened throughout the years I still try my hardest to continue on with them.

I’ve mentioned this recently when I talked about how I thought I was Jewish and how I would celebrate Christmas on numerous days in my article entitled The Incredible True Story Of Hanukkah As Described By Me In 3rd Grade. While I briefly mentioned some traditions I didn’t elaborate and explain them all.

Like each Christmas Eve our family would have Chinese food, either it be take out or going to one of the local buffets. In the beginning my brother and I didn’t enjoy Chinese food, so we’d either have pizza or McDoanld’s, but then we started enjoying it. For years we would go to King’s Buffet in Latham, New York and enjoy their buffet.

There were plenty of pro’s to going to this particular buffet, they had good food, some American dishes that we enjoyed, a model train that was built near the ceiling of the restaurant as well for a many number of years after they stopped producing it they had my favorite soda, you know Surge!  Sadly this place has been changed over to a Sonic fast food restaurant and the traditions are gone.

Which of course is sad, but then again the place had started to lose it’s luster. With a ever shrinking selection and raising price it just wasn’t worth it. An odd side note that I should mention is that one Christmas Eve while we were eating there my third grade teacher was also there. Funny how this story came full circle right?

Speaking of coming full circle, I did just finish eating Chinese food. Yet the tradition of doing so has slightly changed because I just finished eating it at my Grandmother’s house with her. Unlike previous traditions of eating it with my family in Ravena and then traveling to Syracuse the following morning after opening presents of course.

A trip that we would take no matter the weather because well, it was tradition. I remember one year in which we shouldn’t have even left the warm confines of our home that we made the trek up here. It was snowing, sleeting and well, everything else you could imagine. I remember my father having to reach out the driver side window trying to get the windshield wipers to work because they were freezing over due to the poor winter conditions.

But we had to go… it was tradition.

We would visit my dad’s side of the family mostly going to my Grandparents house and sometimes a few different locations such as my Aunt’s or my Uncle’s homes. We would visit them for a few hours, eating food and opening presents. And then off to my Mom’s side of the family aka Ma and Da’s house.

We would usually spend the night there opening presents as soon as we got there. They would have various trees through out the house decorated beautifully. There was one in the living room, the family room and the basement. There were also plenty of Christmas decorations scattered throughout the house and the front lawn. My grandfather really enjoyed collecting them. Especially on the day after Christmas sales. There’s probably some decorations still to this day in the basement that have never been open.

Speaking of the basement we would all gather there under the Christmas tree and open the days finally presents. You’d think doing something three different times in the same day would get boring, but not when you get gifts! And well, you’re spending you’re day with those who love you.

Another tradition I think is worth mentioning, while not forgetting the numerous other one’s I may have missed, is the above picture. That picture is one of nearly 30 photos taken once a year with my grandparents Santa. He is made of plastic, has a light that highlights him and at one time he used to rock back and forth. But well, he’s a little older now and I’m not sure he’s that agile.

Every year my brother and me would stand or in this instance for him sit with Santa. We would measure our height against him and well, as you can see in this picture I was overjoyed that I had surpassed him and was now taller than him. My brother and I are now giants compared to him we still gather around him and get our picture taken. Because no matter what happens throughout the year you only have the traditions your family has built.

While throughout the years things have changed I still try and be close to my family during the holidays. With weather conditions and living over 2 hours away it’s sometimes more of a challenge than imaginable.

Luckily this year is one of those magical years where that evil snow hasn’t shown up yet and it feels like a normal spring day. While it may be sad to wake up in the morning without that white stuff on the ground outside, it’s just as good waking up at my Grandmother’s house knowing that regardless of the changes in our lives we still have that one thing that matters and that’s family.