Why I do what I do on Christmas Eve, and why I’d keep doing it

Since it’s Christmas Eve today, I thought I’d write about some traditions I have for this day.

Every Christmas Eve, I join my family for a certain period of time in order to enjoy a feast of seafood. You see, my dad’s side of the family is Catholic, which means they don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve so they eat fish and seafood instead. Even though I’m not Catholic, I participate in the feast because it means eating a lot of seafood and celebrating. And at least I don’t have to do any praying. Besides, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, so I have somewhat fond memories of the tradition, and I still to this day associate Christmas Eve with the prospect of stuffing my face with prawns and the like. Even in the future, even if I live in another country, I would still continue having seafood feasts. Not in the name of family, not in association with any religious ideas, but in honor of the memories of when I was a kid, and for the sake of the continuation of these memories, so that I can have a timeless link to the past.

It is also common for me and my brother to travel with my dad in the morning to a market to get fish and seafood to provide for the feast on Christmas Eve. The only reason I’m not doing it today is because apparently my dad is too busy. I’m not too worried though, because I think there’s enough seafood for today. That, and in the future it might be me who gathers fish and seafood from a market, perhaps even taking my kids to a market like my dad took me and my brother to the market.

A market stall for fish and seafood.

Another set of fond memories I have is that when I was a kid, my brother and I would go to bed early for Christmas, and then find ourselves waking up far earlier than usual. Around 1am to be precise. While we were awake, we found ourselves playing boardgames and toys and in general do something worth passing the time because we didn’t entirely feel like going back to sleep. Even though being older calls for the body to need more sleep, we still do this. We still go to bed early on Christmas Eve, not for Santa Claus or anything like that (we all know it’s actually just your parents giving you the gifts), but solely for the sake of getting really early at Christmas and spending time playing chess and other boardgames.

Of course, I can’t see myself doing this when I get to the point where I’m raising children with my partner, not least since I’m likely going to have to put their presents under the tree, but who knows if my potential children get up to the same thing on Christmas as I did? And hey, maybe after that point in time when I’m looking after kids of my own anymore, I might continue getting early, but by that time probably not as early as I used to.

In general, part of what’s so special about to Christmas to me is that to me it means a distinct connect to my life in the past or when I was young. It feels kind of timeless to me, and I think that’s great to have in one’s life. And with that I say Merry Christmas, Yule, Winter Solstice, and Happy Holidays to all for 2014, and to all a damn good night.

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2 responses to “Why I do what I do on Christmas Eve, and why I’d keep doing it

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