The Holiday Season – More Than Just Christmas


happy holidays

For many families, Christmas Day is not the only celebration of the season. For example, in my family for as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve is a big deal for my dad’s side of the family. All of the aunts, uncles, and cousins gather in one place (my aunt’s house) for an evening of Chinese food, delectable desserts, general rowdiness, and plenty of gift giving and getting including a Yankee Swap. I consider it to be a can’t – miss event, and last year was the first time that we did not make it to Massachusetts for the merriment. We’re going this year, though, and I have been excited about it for months.

Other families from all over the world (and also in our own neighborhoods) also have reason to celebrate. There are many things going on besides Christmas. For example, many people celebrate Hannukah. When I was growing up, many of my friends were either partially Jewish and partially Christian or completely Jewish so they enjoyed Hanukkah either on its own or in addition to Christmas.

Families with Swedish heritage may celebrate St. Lucia Day on December 13, in honor of a young girl who delivered food to the persecuted Christians in Rome so long ago. There is a church in my community that has a St. Lucia Day luncheon and I remember a few years ago, my now sister – in – law was chosen to play the role of St. Lucia. Her picture appeared in the newspaper and she looked quite angelic, in a traditional white robe with a crown of greenery and candles.

Families with African ancestry may enjoy an entire week of festivities during Kwanzaa. Believe it or not, Kwanzaa is a fairly recent addition to the range of December holidays, having come about during the 1960’s. Each day of the celebration is dedicated to a specific principle of African heritage, and homes are often decorated for the occasion with symbols of the harvest.

Boxing Day may be a part of the festivities this month for those with Australian, Canadian, English, or Irish heritage. This day is dedicated to goodwill and sharing good fortune with those in need. In some places, it has also become a major retail holiday where merchants show their customers some love with specials akin to Black Friday deals.

December is a wonderful month for celebrations of all kinds. What celebrations are a part of your family’s holiday season?

Photo credit: Karen Mathison,