My family has many traditions that we have created over the years, but my personal favorite is our Christmas tradition. We’ve done it the same way for as long as I can remember, and I can’t imagine it any other way.

It starts on Christmas Eve when my dad and I drive down to Miami to pick up my grandparents and bring them back to our house. My dad and I listen to a variety of Christmas tunes on the way there, and on the return trip, we sing along with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Buddy Clark much to the pleasure of my grandpa.

In the mid-afternoon, we get dressed up and go to the Christmas Eve church service, squeezing all six of us into one car. This means my sister and I have to crawl into the very back seat, which is no easy task in dresses and heels.

After that, we eat our wonderful Christmas Eve dinner, which always consists of crescent rolls, salad, mashed potatoes, and a giant slab of prime rib that my father cooked. We talk about what’s going on in our lives and laugh at the jokes my grandpa tells every year.

We end the night with a Christmas movie that everyone votes on. My personal favorite is How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carey, and I petition for it every year. Within thirty minutes, my grandparents are snoring and sleep through the entire thing.

When I was a kid, the hardest part was always going to sleep. It took me forever to calm my feverish anticipation for opening presents the next morning. My sister and I used to wake up with the sun and run to the tree to see what we got. Now, we’re usually the last ones up.

Everyone sits down to breakfast, which is always my grandma’s special egg casserole, before gathering in the living room. My dad hands out the presents, and we open them in age order, from youngest to oldest, completing our Christmas tradition.

This set of traditions is unique to my family, which makes it special and meaningful. It’s something I can always count on, which is unusual in this hectic and ever-changing world. The best part is that each aspect holds memories of past Christmases that we can all look back on. This year when we all sit down to dinner, we can recall the funny things that happened last year or many years ago.

When I have a family of my own, I hope to incorporate these traditions with those of my husband. If you always opened up presents on Christmas Eve, while your spouse likes saving them until Christmas morning, you can create a new tradition that blends them together. You can have each person open one present on Christmas Eve, giving your family a unique tradition that your kids can carry on to their families.

Whether the tradition is intricate, or as simple as watching a movie, it can be a great way to connect a family. Traditions can create a sense of familial identity, especially if the tradition comes from your family’s cultural heritage. Traditions can be generations old or brand new; you can create one today if you want to! The important thing is doing them as a family and cherishing the time you will have together for years to come.
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