Growing up, my family had some regular holiday traditions—the tree always went up on December 15 and came down on January 15 (we didn’t have a live one…). We opened presents on Christmas morning, having to wait at the top of the stairs until my father got the old movie camera and lights set up so he could film our rambunctious descent. All the standard holiday trimmings.
We had one crazy tradition, too. One year, my brother got a gift certificate to the local pizza parlor as a raffle prize. When my parents learned they were open until midnight on Christmas Eve, we went there for dinner. As did half the town, evidently, because the place was jolly and packed with happy customers (nowadays I wonder how the wait staff felt about this…). For decades after that night, pizza on Christmas Eve was a family requirement. A little odd for my formal Connecticut upbringing, but we loved it.
When my brother and I grew up and left home, I was delighted to learn both he and I continued the tradition. There was one year that we celebrated away from Connecticut and we spent hours driving around Washington DC looking for an open restaurant! My children—both pizza fanatics in their younger days; one still is—loved the crazy Christmas Eve menu.
As the DC experience foretold, it’s become impossible to find a pizza place open on Christmas Eve. The closest we can come now is one that closes at 4pm, so we’ve either switched the tradition to lunch, or made our own at home. Some times you have to adapt to survive. No matter which meal we choose, I can assure you pizza will be on the Dec 24 menu at the Pleiter house this and every year.
How about you? What’s your craziest Christmas tradition?