Holiday Traditions

I know it’s a little early with Halloween still right around the corner, but I am already thinking about Christmas.  There’s a good reason for this.  I’m in the process of writing two articles about holiday events and traditions for the next issue of McHenry County Living magazine.

Is there anything special that your town does to celebrate the holidays?  In our neighborhood, residents line the streets with candlelit luminaria on Christmas Eve.

Are there any silly or unusual holiday traditions in your family?  I grew up with a game we call “Christmas Eve Gift.”  In theory, the first person to yell “Christmas Eve Gift” on Dec. 24 would get a gift to open.  In reality, we all open one gift on Christmas Eve and save the rest for Christmas morning.  The game though started with my grandmother when, as a young girl, she and her two siblings would compete for this honor.  The irony with the game in her case was that none of them got a Christmas Eve gift because they grew up so poor on their small farm that all they had was the one or two (usually homemade) gifts that they received on Christmas morning.  Despite that though, they always thought that it was hilarious fun to compete with each other in this game that could only be played one day a year.  I’ve since taught the game to my own kids, and now they call their Grandmother on the phone the morning of Dec. 24 to holler “Christmas Eve Gift” before she can blurt it out first.  (She’s sneaky though, and usually answers the phone that day with those three words instead of “hello,” and we all end up laughing!)

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