My sister’s birthday is five days before Christmas, so we always joke that it’s not the Christmas season until her birthday has passed. She used to be more picky about it when she was younger, but now that she’s older she allows us to put up a Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations without sarcastic comment before her birthday.
Every Christmas day, my family opens presents at home before heading to my grandma’s house. She lives in town, so the drive only takes about five minutes. Once there, we meet up with all of my cousins and aunts and uncles. We always save our annual gift swap opening for after dinner.
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My home has 3 stockings hanging in the living room: one for me, one for my sister, and one for my dog. My dog is a big fan of the gift opening process, so we make sure to wrap each of her gifts individually so she gets to unwrap them on her own. We can’t put any presents in her stocking until Christmas morning, or else she will try to rip it down from the wall for her own personal celebration.
Every year the entire O’Donnell family (great aunts and uncles, first cousins, second cousins, grandparents, and friends (luckily or unfortunately for them, depending on the day) deemed family) gathers on the Saturday before Christmas. It’s a day of red sweaters, lots of food (my personal favorites include: Auntie Dee’s buffalo chicken dip, Grammie’s pineapple stuffing, Kelly’s chocolate trifle), and a yankee swap. The night is topped off when all 50ish of us squeeze into the living room, and my Grammie leads us through “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Everyone gets into small groups and takes on signing one of the days. Buppa always takes “Five golden rings,” and never fails to impress.
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Every Christmas season my dad and I trek over to Foxboro and get through the hallowed gates of Gillette Stadium to see the GOAT Tom Brady and his boys in action. This year will be the second year in a row that we attend a game on Christmas Eve. Hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” inside Gillette Stadium is a surreal feeling.
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Every Christmas Eve my family and I go to my grandma’s house to participate in an Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration called the Feast of the Seven Fishes. The tradition is much stricter in Italy, but the seven fish represent the abstinence of meat until actual Christmas Day. My grandma cooks seven different kinds of fish and we enjoy the fish with pasta with homemade shrimp and meat sauces. One of the fish we have is called Baccala (dried and salted cod), which is said to bring good fortune in the new year.
My family lives right down the street from a flower shop. So every year a few weeks before Christmas, we go there to get our christmas tree, we bring our really rusty, red wagon, with squeaky wheels down the main street we live on to the flower shop. My whole family walks around the christmas tree’s with our little red wagon while we try and find a tree. Once we find the perfect one, we have the florists wrap it up with rope, and we wheel our christmas tree in our little red wagon back to our house.
For New Year’s Eve a few years ago, a group of friends and I went swing dancing until midnight. It was us along with a bunch of people we didn’t know from the town the ballroom was in. Even though we hardly knew anyone, it was a great time dancing into the new year.