Friday, December 23, 2005

christmas eve or christmas day?

So what is your Christmas tradition, when it comes to the opening of presents? Are you a Christmas Eve unwrapper? Or the more traditional Christmas morning opener?

I grew up as a Roman Catholic, and thus we went to Midnight Mass.

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Side note: What the heck has happend to Midnight Mass? Nowadays, it's held at 9, 10 or 11 p.m. It's almost IMPOSSIBLE to find a Midnight Mass at midnight!

I know it's late. I know half the children dragged there are asleep, sleepy or cranky. But c'mon ... it's called MIDNIGHT Mass for a reason!

-End interior rant-


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Personally, I think my parents took us to Midnight Mass in an effort to get us so tired, and to bed so late, that we wouldn't be waking them up at 4 a.m., asking them if Santa came yet. LOL

When we were living on Guam, even if we were living ALL the way in the northern part of the island (distance becomes VERY relative when living here. A place that's 20 miles away is a LONG way away LOL), our parish was Nuestra Señora de las Aguas, or our Lady of the Waters, in Mongmong, one of the central villages of Guam, which also was the home village of the George family, where my dad and aunts and uncles grew up, for the most part.

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Side note 2: The Mongmong Church is named after the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that a statue of Mary — made out of ironwood, which is so dense it doesn't float — floated into the bay of Merizo (a southern Guam village), about 300 years ago, escorted by two crabs that had lit votive candles on their backs. A fisherman tried to get it several times, but it kept floating away, until he fully clothed himself (cute, huh? LOL). It was kept in a shed for Chamorro canoes (proas), which is called a Camarin. So on Guam she's known as Our Lady of Camarin, or Santa Marian Kamalen in the Chamorro.

By the way, the above counts as your Random Guam Fact Of the Day!

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My favorite aunt lived in Mongmong, within walking distance of the church. I loved her house and spent a large part of my childhood growing up there. Most of the George family fiestas were held there, and like I said we went to church there whenever we lived on Guam.

So wherever on Guam we were living, we would drive to my aunt's house around 10 p.m., dressed in our best Sunday church wear. My auntie would always have some food for us to nibble on. Around 11:30, we'd head to church to make sure we'd have a pew for the family — back then, people really flocked to Midnight Mass; it was always packed full.

The Mass feautured the Mongmong Men's Choir, and to date my thoughts of how certain carols should be sung are based on how they did it. If you could sleep through their rendition of "Gloria in Exelcius Deo," you were TIRED! LOL

Afterward, we'd go to my auntie's house, where we'd indulge in boñelos dagu (yam donuts) dipped in maple syrup. The adults would chat a bit and then it was home, for our Christmas present tradition: We could open one small present after coming home from Midnight Mass; the rest were opened on Christmas Day.

So what about you? What's your tradition?

23 comments:

da buttah said...

christmas= chinese food and movies!

although this year, seeing as my parents were super cool enough (read: i'm still pissed, but more than gleeful they paid for my ticket) to get me a 6:30 am flight to LA...i have to be at the airport at 4:15am...on the 26th, and i'm already anticipating arguing with the service people about not paying $250 to get my snowboard thrown onto the goddamn plane--last year i won, see how i fair at that ungodly hour.

so..perhaps this year it'll be just the movie, and then a coma of sorts at 8pm ;)

happy christmas eve doll!

DZER said...

buttah babe: I thought you were gone already LOL

and chinese food and a movie work for me almost ANY day of the week.

you have a safe and happy time on the slopes, darlin' ... Hahhy Hanukkah and I hope you get the perfect fortune cookie ;)

Mike said...

We pretty much stuck to Christmas day...althought this year I gave my kids each money...and they both got that yesterday. They will have something to open on christmas day though...can't ignore that day totally...lol

Have a great Christmas!!

DZER said...

Mike: merry christmas to you and yours, buddy. Have a great one.

murphy said...

I was that kid sitting behind you with the votive candle that kept dripping candle wax on his hand ... Mom always took me to midnight mass and that was always an adventure becuase she liked to sample a different parish yearly, I enjoyed it as long as I got to play with fire. But usually I'd do the same.. one small present just to calm myself and then the rest Christmas day.

I'll be at midnight mass with my mom again this year - and she'll lecture me about not going to confession - ahhhh traditions.

Suze said...

Our Christmas tradition is to drink and eat to excess. Then the following morning get up feel ill all day and go and eat with the parents. LOL.

As for present opening, we normally open them after Christmas dinner.

Merry Christmas Eve Dzer.

Burrrrrrrrrrrp! ;)

Alex said...

Christmas tradition. Falling asleep while the re-runs play on TV on the afternoon of Christmas day. Then waking up to find that it's almost time to go home and all the booze has gone missing.

Not very festive but relaxing, on the whole. Which is just what I need at the moment

DZER said...

Murphy: If my mom was here, I'd be going to Midnight Mass with her too. In fact, I'm considering going anyway, just for old time's sake.

suze: that's a long time to wait to open prezzies! LOL ... and I'm all for excess ... *buuuuuuurp* back atcha ;)

alex: that sounds like a very loverly way to spend Christmas. Growing up, our Christmas day was very sedate and low-key, except for us kids going crazy playing with our new toys.

murphy said...

DZ - I highly suggest going.. HIGHLY.. it just feels good for your soul. I really kinda grew outta the catholic discipline but there's something comforting, nostalgic and emotionally gratifying about going... come on man I'm going!

gigi said...

If I were to walk into a church:
A) my mother would have a heart attack there by ruining Christmas.
I could hear it now, "Mom's dead! Thanks G!" sarcastically of course.

B) the statues would weep which would nessitate the proclaiming a miracle which would mean the parking lot would be extra crowded causing my father to have a stroke,"Thanks G."

I don't need the pressure.

I have the pleasure of living within 50 miles of my ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY.

Christmas Eve=My dad's family. My Loud Drunk Irish Christmas

Christmas day=My mom's family. My "I couldn't eat other thing, ok one more cannoli" Italian Christmas.

Merry Christmas D!

DZER said...

murph: I think I will, pard.

gigi: I guess that means we won't be getting hitched in the Vatican like I had hoped ;)

and if you only knew what real extended family meant ;)

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Felis Pasgua and all that good stuff.

gigi said...

Noooo, I have a certificate saying I can't even step foot in Rome.

Hey, we're getting hitched?

DZER said...

I guess we aren't ... *sigh*

Shay said...

you are just full of the sidenotes!

in my family we are allowed to open one present on christmas eve and only our stocking before breakfast on christmas morning. ^_^

So the virgin mary doesn't like naked dudes? what's up with that?!

DZER said...

shay: I'm a noted sidenoter ;)

and duh! she's a VIRGIN! they're a'scared of nekkid men!

merry christmas, darlin' ;)

Everything Nice said...

you are drunk, arent you?

Christmas tradition... I know it sounds like I'm complaining, but this is serious..

k.

listening to my dad bitch about how much he spent on all of us.

that's tradition. and it's not christmas without it.

k. i go to midnight mass, there's one on Midnight at a rather large church downtown.

it's the only time I can step across a chuch threshold without bursting into flames.

DZER said...

i'm not as think as you drunk I am! heh

and dads are good parts of christmas.

grainne said...

Christmas traditions?? Got a couple of moments?
Midnight mass = catholic father Sunrise service = not a catholic mother – 2 services within 6 hours was way way too much for a kid that just wanted to open her gifts and play with everything.

Dickbauch – was required on Christmas eve – in other words, the German belief was that if you did not eat WELL on Christmas eve, demons would plague them. Also it was not until I moved stateside that I heard about using a stocking - we used shoes (yes, while in Holland I did the wooden shoe thing) or boots. Santa never would have left coal if you were bad, he left bad children twigs. Another thing, I never got toys in my shoes / boots – that was only extraordinary foods that you never got at any other time of the year.

For me, I remember for years struggling to stay awake – part of the lore was that on one night of the year…for people who were very pure of heart…you could understand animals as they spoke to each other and be able to speak to them, water would turn to wine and other miracles happened but only for the people who were truly pure of heart. ~L~ I remember the disappointment I would feel as I would drift of to sleep thinking I was not a good person and how I was going to try so much harder the next year.

Just so you know…I FEEL CHEATED on the Guam fact of the day! I read the paper, I knew about this one but you left out the part about the crabs with the candles that were escorting the ironwood statue ! Please sir, may I have another?? Guam fact of the day?? ~wink~

DZER said...

the crabs and candles are there! you've got to slow down when you read LOL

*puts a treat in your shoe*

darker_shade_of_me said...

When I was a kid Christmas Eve was the big party day. My mom's family and my Dad's and the neighbors and anyone else we knew would all stop by the house and stay a while. The food was tons of hor's d'oeuvres and cold sliced meat for sandwiches. Lots of liquor - I still remember our small kitchen and the counter being positively PACKED with all the bottles that usually lived down in the basement for the rest of the year. We'd do presents among family that night. Then, before anyone went home, the cousins from the Mathieu family (Mom's side) would line up oldest (Holly) to youngest(ME!) coming down our stairs for the annual photo. I still remember one Christmas I was very little and ALL my cousins came to my room to put me to bed because I was crying.

Nowadays, it's still the same bash at Mom and Dad's new house (Stately Wayne Manor) with the same menu but less people. If I feel like it, I will attend Midnight Mass with Mom, but mostly, I stay home now to clean up for her.

Merry Christmas!!

DZER said...

lol @ stately wayne manor!

sounds like some good times hon ... merry christmas to you and yours *smooch*

Chrissie said...

My family always had a birthday party for me on Christmas Eve... yeah there was a tree there but the rest was pure birthday party. After that we went home/people left and we were allowed to open one gift. My Mom always got to pic the gift and surprise it was always new jammies. That way we were totally presentable for Christmas pictures in the AM *L* Before we got our present though we all three sat on the hearth and took a Christmas Eve pic.

My family was much the same... I still remember the year about 8-10 years ago when B FINALLY got it that... "hey its ALWAYS gonna be jammies?!" LMAO Shes slow.

DZER said...

sweet story ... yer mom was smart to always do the jammies ... LOL ... how long did it take YOU to figure that one out? LOL

cuteness! *smooches*