Holiday Traditions

Every year as the holidays start to approach, I, like many other people start to stress out:  What should I buy him?  What should I buy her?  Is it ok we are putting up the tree three days before Christmas?  Why is our house the least decorated on the block?  Oh no, Target is out of gift tags!  I wonder if Grandma and Uncle so-and-so will get in another screaming match this year…  etc, etc!!

We become so involved in the preparation for the holidays that often the original meanings, whether religious or cultural, are completely forgotten and by time the actual day comes around, the excitement is over!

One humor columnist, Dave Barry, wrote that “Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in The Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall. Then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who, 2,000 years ago, followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space.”

In the SNL Graduate office, conversations about the holidays and our own family and personal traditions were sparked by an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “A Very Sunny Christmas.”  In the episode, one of the characters, Mac,  recalls how he and his family would break into other families homes, open “their” present, and quickly move on before the “other family” woke up and discovered them.  As a child, he was taught that this was completely normal behavior and only during the episode did he begin to question how “normal” the tradition actually might be.

One staff member, Sarah, explained an event she remembers from high school in Elmhurst, when several high school students took the baby Jesus statues from nativity scenes in several yards throughout town.  The students replaced the statues with notes saying that Jesus should not be placed in the manger until after the 25th of December (His celebrated birth date).  Although this was meant to be a prank, the “theft” caused an uproar in town, many people believing it to be the actions of some kind of religious group.  Eventually after an anonymous tip from a pay phone at the mall, all the statues were found in a bag behind one of the stores.

One of our other staff members, Morry, says that in his neighborhood, “It’s Jewish tradition to go to the movies and eat Chinese food (on Christmas Day).”

Helen, another one of our team in SNL, said that as a child she remembers shining her shoes and putting them outside on December 5th, in celebration of St. Nicolas Day.  When they awoke in the morning, their shoes would be filled with candy.  On Christmas day, presents were not exchanged, but rather the family would all spend time together and have dinner.

Please feel free to share your holiday traditions and memories with us!  Happy Holidays from SNL Grad!

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