Christmas Traditions

First of all, I want to wish all the MLCers out there a very Merry Christmas!


Did you have any small-kid-time traditions?  Maybe some that you might’ve passed on to your children.  And some that just faded away as time went on.


One tradition that carried on is opening presents on Christmas morning.

Christmas Opening Gifts


I knew some kids that got to open their presents on Christmas eve night.  But we didn’t want to do that.  The logic was that we’d start playing with the toys and wouldn’t be able to sleep.  And Christmas morning would’ve been junk because there wouldn’t be any presents to open.  But we did have a tradition of opening one present before going to bed on Christmas eve night.  And we always chose the present from a certain auntie that always gave us clothes.  Again, the logic was to open a non-playable, unexciting present so we could go sleep sooner which would make Christmas morning come that much faster.


As I was talking with my daughter, she said that she remembers looking though the Christmas tree for the cards which is something that I passed on to my kids.  We used to place all our cards inside the Christmas tree between the branches.  In fact, you can see a few in the picture above.  But with the thick fancy trees they have nowadays, we had to make sure that we looked good to make sure all the cards were found!


Something different was when we were small, we only had to wait until everyone was awake and then we would open our presents.  My daughter was saying that they had to wait until we woke up, drank our coffee, read the newspaper – and then they could open their presents.  Talk about making them suffer!  And she said that we’d turn the TV on to channel 12 – which was the TV guide back then – to listen to Christmas music as they opened their presents.  But daughter #2 confessed to me that ever since she learned how to wrap – or should I say, re-wrap – presents, the wait was no problem as she already knew what she was getting.  Naughty kid, that one.


Another small-kid-time tradition that I remember was going to church service on Christmas eve night.  What made it so fun was that it was a candle-light service.  That meant that we got to hold lit candles during the service.  And you know how when you’re a kid and you’re suddenly given permission to play with fire…  And just like the offering plate, the ushers would walk down the center aisle and light the candle of the person on the end, and that person would light the next person’s candle down the row and so on.  And when the lights were turn low and we could see the glow of the candle while watching the wax melt down the sides hitting the protective cardboard barrier – that was the best.


And I still remember that all the Christmas songs in the hymnal were on pages 50 though 60.  Joy to the World, O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, Hark the Herald, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, What Child is This, etc.


Going back to small-kid-time Christmas morning – not really a tradition, but I remember that all – I mean ALL – the store were closed on Christmas day.  And that meant that the toys that didn’t come with batteries had to wait until the next day when we could buy some batteries.  Otherwise, scrounging around the utility and junk drawers to try and find some batteries laying around.  The flashlight was always a good place to check for some C or D sized batteries.  But that was the pits yeah, reading on the box “Batteries Not Included”.


Another tradition that we had – that has since faded away – was mom cooking a turkey for Christmas dinner.  Sure, we just had turkey about a month ago for Thanksgiving, but Christmas turkey dinner was a tradition.  Today, it’s chop suey joint luncheon with the family and the uncles and aunties.


And since my kids are no longer kids, present opening doesn’t happen until after lunch when we gather at the in-laws house.  We open gifts, take some pictures, then allow the MSG nap to overcome us.  That’s our new Christmas Tradition.


What are some of your small-kid-time Christmas traditions?  Do you remember some from when you were just a kid?  Are there some that you’ve continued with your kids?  Maybe some new traditions that you have now.  Share your Christmas traditions with us.


But most of all – Have a Safe and Memorable MLC Christmas!





17 Responses to “Christmas Traditions”

  1. LINDA KATO says:

    Good evening MLCer’s ❗ Enjoy the last few days of 2015 ❗

    Have a great week ❗ 😀

  2. Mark Shelby says:

    And not long after Obama will be gone! Yeah!

  3. Rodney says:

    Only 364 more days until Christmas!

  4. Mark'75 says:

    Good morning! Hope everyone had a great Christmas. Time to rev it up for after Christmas sales!

  5. dihudfan says:

    Merry Christmas to all!!! Hope Santa wuz good to everyone!!!

  6. LINDA KATO says:

    Good afternoon, MLCer’s ❗ Merry Christmas ❗ Have a great day everyone ❗ Hope Santa brought everyone what they wanted for Christmas ❗

    My Mom always wrapped 12 presents for my brother, my sister, and I… items were practical ones, like a sweater, a new dress, or pants and a blouse. We felt blessed. The nice part about childhood Christmases… Mom paid for everything! It was more fun when we didn’t have to spend any of our own money for the holidays!

    Been busy with our daughter’s graduation from medical school on 11/1/15 in Vegas, then she came home to Hawaii for 2 weeks, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our home, then out of town guests from Utah visited and we played tourist on Oahu! Now, party after party… whew… what a year!

    Our daughter is a Physician Assistant-Certified working as an assistant to an orthopedic surgeon in Las Vegas effective 12/1/15! What an accomplishment! We are blessed. One more son in college… in 3 semesters our parenting job will be over… we are looking forward to THAT moment!

    Happy Holidays everyone! Keep Happy and Healthy! 🙂

  7. adobo says:

    @4G: You know on Xmas morning it was never about when “we” was ready for open presents, it was when mom and dad was ready, make coffee first, get the camera ready, ok now, haha. And I do remember the brown paper bag with apple, orange, mixed nuts, and candy. Chestnuts too. Later Xmas morning there was always the phone call to auntie and uncle to say thanks.

  8. Mark Shelby says:

    Every Christmas Eve we would go to our church service. Then come home and I wood light a kiawe wood fire in our fireplace. I always hoped it would be rainy and cold. We would all pick out one gift to open, while Christmas carols were playing. And some years Dad would break out the old movie projector and we would watch old family movies and talk about the good old days.

  9. 4G says:

    I remember having to go to Christmas Eve services. There was one year where I remember being part of a “manger re-enactment” sort of play thingy. What I remember most is that lunch-sized brown paper bag with like an orange, apple, and some assorted nuts that we got every year.

    We were never allowed to open ANY Christmas gifts before Christmas, not even one. Boo! LOL. Ironically, the story was that my maternal grandmother would have ALL her Christmas gifts opened by like 8:00 p.m. (bedtime) the night before Christmas. I guess you learn early that, sometimes, life just isn’t fair. 🙁 LOL

    On Christmas morning, I remember being up before my parents. So was my sister. The unwritten rule was that we had to wait quietly for my parents to get up. Well, not just get up – make the coffee and get prepared for the gift opening. too.

    No wonder I all messed-up today – LOL – opening Christmas gifts was comparatively structured in my house. My dad had recording duties with a notepad – after opening a gift, we had to call out who the gift was from and what it was. Not only that, but some gifts (more than I care to remember), had to be opened carefully – without tearing the wrapping paper (cause my mom wanted to keep the wrapping paper). Sooo anal, yeah? Today, for some reason, I take great joy in being able to open presents without regard to preserving the wrapping paper. 😉

    After a couple of hours of playing with the new toys, it was off to Waialua, best new toy that was transportable in tow. The larger celebration was during lunch on my paternal grandmother’s side. This one has the most memories for me since, unlike my maternal side, had cousins (several around the same age, too). After lunch, it was my maternal grandmother’s side for dinner. It was just me and my sister as the kids on this side of the family. By the time we got home, it was bedtime.

  10. Walter says:

    Rodney, that photo sure dates you and us all as we had a similar Kodak photo of our 1962 tree with same white borders and faded color. That was the year a gigantic blue present appeared that turned out to be a large wagon which we had lots of fun with.

    One tradition me and my sister grew up with was a goodie filled stocking but not the red plastic mesh one like was in the store (do they make those anymore?). My mom sewed them with green and red felt. My sister’s one had stylized kokeshi dolls on it and mine had a sailboat. On Christmas morning we would wake up to it at the foot of our beds. In any given year it bulged with nuts, foilwrapped chocolates, chunks of white chocolate or fudge and special Christmas candies that you don’t see any more. One time I got an astro pop which was a unique colored striped cone shaped lollipop. There were also small wrapped presents–Matchbox, Husky or Tootsietoy cars for me and Barbie clothes for my sister and for both some cheap games and toys found in the supermarket. On our first Christmas in Hawaii my mom bought all these candies from Japan at Shirokiya when the food section was where the old electronics wing was on the ground floor. I remember Milky chews, Meiji chocolate bars and some sort of M&M type in a tube. She also gave each of us a small bag of flat colored glass discs which was some sort of Japanese kids game that we never learned how to play. They looked like flattened marbles.

    We always looked forward to the stocking even though there were lots of tree presents. Maybe cause it was instant gratification after waking up. My sister still has her stocking but mine went missing perhaps when the termites attacked the Christmas decorations and it got all pilau. Still you’d think I’d save it considering how much I do save. Oh well the memories are still there. Merry Christmas to everyone.

  11. 4G says:

    Merry Christmas!

    “Batteries not included” was a bummer. LOL.

    More and more, stuff comes with batteries included. That is a relatively recent thing, though. Seems to me that there was a stretch of time – I dunno, say like late 70’s to the 90’s, when it became one of those cultural norms to make sure you put batteries in the box before wrapping, akin to including a coin with gifts of knives or some money in gifts of wallets.

  12. Mark'75 says:

    Christmas eve, we used to have a big family party (dad’s side) at our house. After the relatives left, we opened our presents…thinking back, it was probably so we wouldn’t bug our parents at the crack of dawn.

    Christmas night, it was dinner at auntie’s house (mom’s side) in Manoa.

  13. Mark'75 says:


  14. adobo says:

    Haha, I remember no batteries. Then emptying the flashlights so you could play with your toys. It seemed everyone decorated the outside of their houses with lights back then, the big colored bulbs, not the small led’s. There’s still a few on our street and at least one that goes all out with lawn decorations. No early un-wrappings, everything opened Xmas morning. Piles of wrapping paper and tissue on the floor and draping the ribbons on the dog. She had a present too so she didn’t mind. I can’t recall any specific Xmas dinner traditions. But now days it’s boneless rib roast on the Weber rotisserie.

  15. Alan says:

    Our Xmas traditions were similar to yours. And while it might not be “traditional”, my favorite Xmas tree ornaments were “bubble lites” — how I loved those on the tree. Our traditions were for all the family to get together on both Xmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at my uncle’s home (he was the oldest brother of our clan), for a big buffet dinner hosted by him and my aunt and for gift exchanging and fireworks for New Years Eve. Even as high school kids, it was a mandatory rule of his that we all be there. We could leave after dinner and after exchanging gifts. Then on Xmas day, we would all gather at another uncle’s home for lunch, traditionally sushi and deluxe saimin bowls of noodles and soup. Then on to another family member’s house for Xmas dinner — typically huli-huli chicken and baked ham. Same thing again for New Year’s day. but different menus at different relatives homes. First, we gotta have ozoni at some relatives house, and of course, the New Year’s dinner was filled with watching football games on the TV and the typical Japanese New Year’s gotso — sushi, sashimi, namasu, tako, morimono, shoyu chicken, potato salad, umani/nishime, kimpira gobo, etc. etc. etc.

  16. Mark Shelby says:

    One tradition in my family, was that Mom always made Fondue. I think that was from her Denmark Heritage. We had special long forks, hot cheese, bread and everything! And we always lit a candle, one day every week in December.

  17. Mark Shelby says:

    Merry Christmas to all of my Hawaiian Kine brothers and sisters! God bless all of you MLC’ers and your families!

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