Christmas was one of the constants of my life growing up. Over the years the location of these traditions have changed, but they are still the same.
Maybe that's why I love the holiday so much. It's comfortable. Predictable.
They settled in Syracuse, New York, where a great many other Polish people also settled.
Christmas Eve in Poland features a huge feast of 12 meatless courses. There's an empty chair set at the table, There's a bland wafer passed around.
We didn't do that, but the spirit was there.
At Grandma's house, Christmas was a casual affair. We gathered in her basement family room where a buffet of pirogi, baked ziti, cheese pizza, Buffalo wings and the like were set out. There wasn't an empty chair, but there was always room for one more.
Grandma always had a real tree downstairs. The shape varied from year to year, but I remember the round, Hershey Kiss shared trees the best.
Midnight Mass is also part of a Polish Christmas, but not being part of the Catholic part of the family, I didn't partake. Also, I don't know if anyone went to Midnight Mass.
Christmas Day was spend with my mother's side of the family. That side is of Scottish and Welsh Protestant farming stock. That side of the family had the huge sit down Christmas lunch. It was Christmas like many people have. Big lunch, presents, dessert.
Today is Christmas Day. This year we're headed out to Texas to spend time with the Spousal Equivalent's family. And next year we're staying home. Christmases when we stay home are always built around laying around the house in PJs and eating.
However you celebrate, Merry Christmas!!
(I'll leave you with my favorite Christmas Special!)