A Good “Old Fashioned’ Christmas

Yesterday, while having a Christmas lunch with co-workers, the discussion turned to old family traditions.

One woman told how each year she lights a candle to place in a window at her house – a call back to when being a Catholic had to be kept secret and the sight of that candle signaled to priests on the run that the house was a safe haven and welcome home. Some said how attending Midnight Mass as a family is something that is still done today.  Others described the tradition of eating seven fishes to represent the seven sacraments.  Still others spoke fondly of favorite and time-honored holiday dishes.

My own Italian American family would celebrate the day with the above-mentioned seven fishes.  We would also set out an extra plate for any unexpected Christmas visitors – and on more than one Christmas Eve, that plate ended up being used.

That is one of the blessings of the holidays – religious and family traditions alike bring people together who share the same faith and heritage.

Are there any family traditions that you grew up with and still celebrate at Christmas time?


One thought on “A Good “Old Fashioned’ Christmas”

  1. Sharing of the Oplatky!

    Oplatky Slovak Christmas Tradition

    This Christmas Custom began with a simple white wafer, baked from flour and water. The wafers are wonderfully designed to display Christmas images, such as the Nativity.
    The Oplatky are enjoyed by families, typically right before the Christmas Eve meal. Generally the eldest member of the family will begin the ritual by breaking off a piece of the wafer and passing it to another family member with a blessing. This blessing can simply consist of what you desire for your loved one in the upcoming year – whether it be good health, success, or happiness. The purpose of this act is primarily to express ones unconditional love and forgiveness for each member of his or her family.
    The significance of the Oplatky Christmas wafer is in that it shadows the Eucharistic meal that Catholics participate in at each Mass. Just as we share in the Eucharist as one family in Christ and receive Christ’s love through the Eucharist, the Oplatki allows for one’s immediate family to come together and share the love they have for one another.
    The Oplatky tradition is one that is easy and fun to introduce to the family at Christmas time. All it requires is a simple wafer paired with love and affection, and the willingness to share it. This is a heartwarming tradition that will complete your family’s time together during the Christmas season.


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