The end of the holidays - a culture question MMP

Christmas has come and gone and a whole lot of people will be taking down trees, decorations and lights this week. This always seems odd to me, because I grew up in a family where the Christmas season lasted till January 6 (Epiphany), when we would put out our shoes and get one last round of presents. And, what’s more, the Christmas warm-up includes posadas and pastorelas, which start in mid-December. Here’s a linkthat does a nice job of describing the Christmas season in Mexico. So, even though I grew up in the States and didn’t celebrate all that many Christmases in Mexico, my sense of the Christmas season is quite Mexican.

I usually manage to make something Mexican during the season: sometimes the ponche that my grandmother would serve at posadas (tea with various fruits added, spiked with rum), sometimes tamales, sometimes the Rosca de Reyes that’s served on January 6.

I imagine that Christmas isn’t the only holiday that’s celebrated in different ways and for different lengths of time, so don’t think you’re getting out of this thread if you don’t celebrate Christmas. :smiley:


  1. If you celebrate Christmas, when does the holiday season end for you? And what are the family traditions that make the holiday feel like Christmas?

  2. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what variations are there in your major holiday(s)? And what family traditions make your holidays feel like holidays?

Welcome to a new week, all!


First! Snowy first!

Missed the edit:

I love the holidays. I’ve been making the same recipes for thanksgiving since 1997. In fact, if we have the meal somewhere else, I redo it because it doesn’t feel right without our recipes.

As a kid, I loved Passover and the elaborate Seder. Still do. I run a really good Seder, that people seem to enjoy.

We’re watching Bubba Ho-tep.

As a child growing up, the decorations went up on the day after Thanksgiving and stayed up until January 6th. This year, we didn’t put any decorations up here at the house. Not even the tree went up. When we do put decorations up, they go up the week of Christmas at the earliest and come down the day after. I have decorations up at work that will probably come down tomorrow: if I can get away with leaving them up until next Tuesday, I may try.

A traditional Christmas eve always involved church (for me - no one else went) followed by being able to open one present, which was always a new pair of pajamas. Now, we save all our presents until Christmas day, and the pajamas - well, they just don’t happen.

I probably need to put my foot down a little bit more. It seems like none of my traditions matter, just because there is no one else left in my family. Outside of making my kids really happy, Christmas has lost its sparkle for me. I almost always get some kind of depression around Christmas now.

Now that it’s over, I can go back to work tomorrow and concentrate on my job. That’ll be good.

We always got to open one present Christmas Eve, and it was always new pyjamas or a new nightgown.

I take decorations down January 1st or 2nd.

There’s something melancholy about Christmas as an adult, isn’t there? It’s one time of year that I wish I could be seven or eight again, and re-experience that joy. That’s why I like being around kids at Christmas. I get to see them have that excitement. Christmas and its traditions tends to remind me of my late parents, and the sadness of losing them.

We’re also drinking Maker’s Mark. And beer.

Ah, the holidays!

The season ends on the sunday after January 6th, except in those sad, sad years in which January 6th falls on a weekend or a Monday, making it pretty much unjustifiable for schools to continue vacation until the next weekend.

Decorations are never, ever, taken off before January 7th: you take them off after the holidays are over, not on the last day.

As a kid, I got presents from the Baby Jesus in Barcelona (on the morning of December 25) and from the Magi back home. The Kidlets get presents from the Shepherds at home and from the maternal side on December 25, from the Magi at Mom’s in the 6th.

Turns out that “everybody” (Mom, Grandma from Hell, Middlebro and clan, Littlebro and one of my paternal uncles) was having lunch at Mom’s yesterday, so I called and did the rounds. Something was irritating me a lot about the part with SiL but it took me a while after hanging down to know exactly what…
1, and I knew this as soon as it happened, she got the 2yo Kidlette (who still doesn’t know how to use a phone) on the phone, — this irritates me on grounds that the kid’s a little girl, not some kind of show pony
2, but not the 5yo Kidlet, my godson (who knows perfectly well how to use a phone), — what, he isn’t “as cute” any more (by her account, she likes babies, tolerates toddlers and doesn’t like children), so I can’t want to speak with him? My fault, though, because I was in “put up with the stoopid” mode and didn’t have the reflexes to ask for him
3, and she is, once more, mistaking me for her brother or trying to play a martyr card she doesn’t hold in her hand (I’m betting on the first): “oh, but since you didn’t work these last few days…” “oh, I did” “you did? no, you didn’t!” “yes I did, I haven’t worked today or yesterday but because it was the weekend, I worked all last week” “oh. You did?” “yes… I’m working all next week too” “oh!” The one who’s not home because he’s travelling with that gf he doesn’t want to introduce to y’all is your brother, not me. She does the same re. my economic situation or my work satisfaction… if her bro doesn’t have money, she thinks I don’t; if he is “riding the dollar” she thinks I do; when he got his fingers caught in the burst housing bubble, she thought I had. I may be an utter ass, but I am most definitely not the same kind of ass as Mr Big Mouth.

Family can be a lovely thing, but there’s some times I’d like to give certain relatives of mine a clue-by-four with a baseball bat.

Christmas in my family seems to consist of a lot of tension; an element which was very important through much of my childhood before we got to spend so much time getting on each other’s nerves and wondering “what next” was bingo and cards games. We only played bingo in family meets on Christmas.

Good Mornin’ Y’all! Up and caffienatin’. It’s back to irk time! I have a feelin’ everybody, their mamas and their dogs will be callin’ this week because open enrollment to change Medicare stuff ends Firday and I just know tons o’ folks put it off til the last minute, they bein’ hoomans and all. :smiley:

Christmas, for me, is from December 24th until January 6th. The four weeks before bein’ Advent. I’ll keep what decorations I have up until then. It’ll take me all of maybe 30 minutes to take it all down and box it up, so not too shabby. A lot of the hoopla escapes me anymore. I’m glad to be goin’ back to irk. Of course, I will be makin’ my usual hyuuuuuuge New Year’s Day dindin. Thankfully, NYD is on Satiddy so I’ll have some breathin’ room. Firday is an off day but I may end up workin’ it bein’ the very last day of open enrollment stuff. If’n that happens I will take off next Monday instead. We shall see.

Meanwhile, it appears Johnny has the Christmas spirit. Or, rather been in the Christmas spirits. :smiley:

Ok, need me some more caffiene intake plus rumbly tummy wants to be fed. Then purtification must commence.

Happy Monday Y’all!

ETA: Nava kudos to you for not drivin’ to where SIL is and givin’ her painful papercuts. You show amazin’ restraint!

Great idea for an OP, GT; I’ll check out the link later (getting ready for work). I’m afraid that I’ve let many of our family traditions fall by the wayside as my children have grown into adulthood. I haven’t had a tree in years and haven’t put up a stitch of decoration either. As a child, though (and a minister’s child at that), we always were in church on Christmas Eve and sometimes Christmas Day as well - although most times we got passes to play with our toys on Christmas Day! We too would usually open one gift on the Eve, the rest on Christmas Day. And our decorations and tree stayed up until Epiphany, the visitation of the Magi. For a good number of years also, we would watch the presentation of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” on NBC. I guess since my Mom’s passing in 2003 and now that my Dad is in a senior living center, I just don’t feel the need to carry them on. And I should do something more. It -is- a very melancholy time.

I am up and caffeinating and nearly ready to head out the door to work - it is cold and feels colder with the wind chill, unfortunately. I will try to stay indoors as often as possible today. Hope everyone enjoys their day and stays warm and comfortable wherever they are.

My rule of thumb is Christmas comes down on New Year’s Day. Seein’ how nothing went up this year, it won’t take long.

In other news, I’m about to start digging us out. VWife has a date with the surgeon for a noon showtime, so sloth is not in the cards for today. A buddy from the fahr department will do the driveway with his tractor, so a heart attack is not planned.

I don’t remember date-specific traditions in my youth, but I know the tree didn’t stay up as late as Jan 6. It usually went up 2 weeks before Christmas or so.

My mother in law used to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and by the end of the day after Christmas, there was no holiday trace left in the house. She’s slipped in her old age - the tree is still up here…

The FairyChatFamily doesn’t really have any traditions since we always spent the holidays with one side of the family or the other. Maybe we’ll start something if there are ever grandbabies, but for now, we’re boring.

Cold in Ocala - we’re under a hard freeze warning till 9, and today’s high might hit 50. But we will have sun, so there’s that. And I checked on a local message board - it doesn’t sound like there’s much snow for us to deal with at home - maybe a couple of inches, so yay. I’ll be glad to get home. I’m family’d out…

I gave up, and just leave my decorations up year round.

The tree is going back in the box on New Year’s and the few cards I did get this year are going in the file box as soon as I get a new one. My old one is bursting at the seams.

We have officially 8.5 inches of snow. Unofficially I’m calling BS on that number and rounding it up to 10. We can’t get the Subaru up the hill to the parking lot. The Subaru. That’s some serious snow. Add the 23 mph winds we’re getting and I think I woke up in Siberia this morning.

Technically I’m supposed to be in at work from 2-10 today, but I’m calling at noon to see if the occupancy is such that I’ll even need to show up. I really don’t see anyone running the shuttle tonight.

Back to de-blurfing.

Ah, so you follow Costa Rican tradition!

Blurfity blurf. That’s how my day feels. Went out for tea with friends last night and avoided alcohol because I was driving, but we had some wine when we got home and I’ve been feeling all alcoholically blurfy today.

I’m going to have a nice long soak in the bath now, and then we’ll be packing up the cats and driving them down to a friend’s house where they’ll be staying while we trek up to Scotland. I was hoping we could go by train because it’s a very long drive when you’re the only driver…but sadly that isn’t going to work out so I will be driving us up there tomorrow.

The good news is that it’s raining and so the nasty snow is getting washed away. I like it much better that way.

We have no holiday traditions because we don’t really celebrate anything much as adults. When I was a kid, the tree went up around the time we broke up from school and it stayed until new year - the whole twelve days of xmas, sort of thing. These days we don’t bother with decorations and all that stuff, I don’t really miss it at all, I’m with the melancholic group in the corner that just wants to be a kid again.

I really don’t understand why people give me printouts of the Excels and Word documents they use in their work instead of giving me copies of the files, but scanners with OCR are very much my friends. This company’s IT setup is quite good in general (once you get over needing Windows XP Pro), we grumble a lot about it but well, that’s like complaining about the coffee at work… what else are you supposed to do with it?

My daughter works odd days, no two-days in a row weekends any more. Husband is home from work all of December. There is no such thing as time any more, no routine, no one even knows what day it is. All upside down. House is a mess. Food must be bought and consumed not just for dinner, but breakfast and lunch. … The first week after New Years, when they are both out of the house and back to work, usually January 6, I take down the little tree and ornaments, prepare boxes and wrapping paper for recycling, clean the place up good, and get back to NORMAL! That’s MY tradition. I must say, I look forward to getting “my” house back and every trace of Holiday Merriment shoved away for another year…Since we don’t go out on New Years Eve any more, we have pizza, wings, cocktail franks wrapped in crescent rolls, and every snacky appetizer thing we want, fried cheese sticks, spinach dip with rye bread, veggies and dip. And plenty of it since momma don’t cook on New Years Day! I alway make macaroni and shrimp salad, with hard boiled egg, celery, tiny shell pasta, and canned shrimp, for New Years Day (left over from the days when momma ‘couldn’t’ cook on New Years Day!) We watch the ball come down, on TV, toast the new years, and hope for a better one every year.

**Nava **- to me, that’s like printing out all of your emails - what the heck?? I’ve become almost paper-free at work. It’s very rare that I print anything that isn’t a joke to post on the cubicle wall.

I’m home alone with my youngest BIL. **FCD **and his folks drove to a place in Lutz, FL, to get some rocks. No, it’s not as weird as it sounds. He’s buying some liverock for the aquarium from a place that specializes in reef rock. I’m hoping he gets some with sponges. I’m also hoping he doesn’t get too much as the car was pretty crowded in the first place.

Just had a guy knock on the door wanting to know if we wanted to buy some meat - he had too much in his truck. Um, yeah, I’m going to buy meat from a stranger’s truck… :rolleyes: I don’t think so.

For the record, it’s still doggone cold here and windy. I’m ready to go home. I miss my own bed.

Christmas decorations will come down after New Year’s. We alway do Christmas dinner with my parents, and we’re just developing our own Christmas morning traditions as the kids increase in number and age (Not Pregnant right now) and we generally have a big party with Quasi-Daughter and the usual suspects on Boxing Day.

They party last night was lots of fun. Lazy Husband has been getting into gourmet cooking in a big way, Attacks Husband brought chicken caccitore and made this rum-thyme-ginger beer punch, I did cheese bread, and Other Quasi-Daughter made lamb stew. And several people brought booze and crackers and presents for our kids.
Other Quasi-Daughter brought Gnat a kazoo. I’m buying her daughter a little drum set. Hah.