Christmas Tradition DOs & DON’Ts | DO Something Untraditional!

And so begins a series of Christmas Tradition Dos & Don’ts. If you’re wondering who I am to be giving out such advice, join the club! I’m wondering the same thing. But when inspiration comes, I just gotta write it down. So Readers, thanks for humoring me!

Traditions don’t have to be traditional. That’s what my family discovered when we decided to give up the customary Christmas dinner.

When was the last time you were lying in bed on Christmas night thinking, “Man, I just didn’t have enough to eat today!”? If you’re like me, the answer is: never! We always have more food than we can eat, eat more than we should and finish the day feeling like we’ve swallowed a bowling ball.

Until about 10 years ago, our Christmas menu included something like 12 appetizers, a main course of meat, potatoes and various side dishes and about eight mouth-watering desserts. Things were getting a bit out of control. A simple solution would have been to cut out some of the appetizers and desserts, but we rather preferred the appetizers to the main meal. And no one wanted to give up dessert. So now, every year, our Christmas dinner consists of finger foods only.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, do something different, try something new and make it yours!

Let me tell you, in a family full of cooking (and eating) enthusiasts, we have some deeeelicious Christmas spreads. The staple foods are usually my step-father’s cheese fondue and chicken liver pate, my mom’s pepperoni bread and obligatory veggie tray, my aunt’s salsa and/or dips, and my three layer, filled peppermint bark.

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Last Year’s Peppermint Bark | Photo by

My youngest brother is like a crazy, mad, food artist who never makes the same thing twice, but when he joins us we don’t complain. Because whether it’s prosciutto wrapped asparagus or feta topped watermelon cubes, we’ll be impressed. To all that, we add a variety of fun fare like miniature shish-kabobs, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, mini-quiches, pecan tassies, ooey-gooey brownies, etc., etc., etc.

It doesn’t have to be traditional it just has to be yours.

What do we love about this tradition?

  • As people who enjoy cooking, we get to experiment in the kitchen.
  • As people who enjoy eating, we get to try new foods.
  • Guests can come and go as they please without being restricted by a set meal time.
  • There’s plenty of time for exchanging gifts, visiting, playing games, whatever.
  •  It’s ours. 

That’s what’s great about any family tradition. It doesn’t have to be traditional it just has to be yours.

Some people probably dread the idea of Christmas without a formal, sit-down dinner complete with a baked ham, London broil or lasagna. For us, it seemed a little weird at first too, but in 10 years we haven’t even discussed making a change. So while our Christmas dinner is decidedly untraditional, it’s still one of our favorite traditions.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, do something different, try something new and make it yours!

Actually, when you really think about it, the first Christmas was pretty untraditional too. God as a Jewish baby boy. God in the arms of a dirt poor virgin girl from the slums of Nazareth. God whose angels sang before shepherds and called them to His side. God, not just a king but the King of kings, called not the lowly but the lowest of the low, shepherds, society’s outcasts, to be the first to worship Him.

If you have a minute, listen to this song and consider just how outrageous, how radical, how decidedly untraditional was that first Christmas Eve and all that would follow.

© Nichole Liza Q.

Do you have any untraditional traditions? I’d love to hear about them! Please leave a comment below…

This post is part of the WordPress Weekly Writing Challege: Multimedia Storytelling.

7 thoughts on “Christmas Tradition DOs & DON’Ts | DO Something Untraditional!

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  1. When we moved to CT, we left our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, & cousins behind in TX. My mother-in-law could have easily filled Martha Stewart’s shoes. She prepared holiday meals featuring turkey and ham with multiple apps & side dishes. Desserts included a wonderful fruit cake made weeks in advance, homemade candies and cookies too pretty to eat. She would “allow” others to bring an app, pie, or cake. Her exquisitely wrapped gifts- no two alike- were little works of art. Just the thought of preparing anything remotely resembling what had been our traditional Christmas meal was overwhelming. So we decided to let everyone have their favorite meal for Christmas in CT. My husband and I chose lobster; one child chose a hamburger; and our other 2 kids picked steak. A green salad, Kraft mac ‘n cheese (ixnay on mom’s homemade!), corn on the cob, & tater tots were the sides. Less time in the kitchen= more time to play with the Christmas toys & games :O)

  2. My only food-related Christmas tradition is to put together a breakfast casserole on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, I just have to pop it in the oven, and then it bakes while my boys are opening their presents.

    1. I love that idea and have been thinking about it for years! I just never seem to get around to it. I put snacks in the stockings and they eat those but I’m really going to have to reconsider this breakfast casserole thing! Thanks for reading!!!

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