Tuesday, December 24, 2013

25 Days of #HotHoliday Hints: Day 24 with Erin M. Leaf

Erin M. Leaf shares 5 Christmas Eve Traditions on Day 24 of 25 Days of Hot Holiday Hints. Leave Erin a comment below for a chance to win a $5 gift certificate. We're are giving away one each day!
1. Look for a star - The night before Christmas is always a special time for my family. I grew up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania where it almost always snows by December. My earliest memory is looking for the first star of the evening on Christmas Eve—it was supposed to bring you good luck. My siblings and cousins and I competed to look for it and the first one to see it made a wish. In retrospect, I think my mother talked us into searching the sky so we’d be out of her way while she was cooking!
2. Break the wafer - Another tradition we still practice is the breaking of the Christmas wafer. This is a Polish tradition passed down from my father’s side of the family. The wafer is an incredibly thin flatbread printed with Christmas scenes. It’s called an opłatek. To share it properly, you must hold your wafer and break a corner off someone else’s at the same time. This usually turns into a hilarious contest with my family (Who can break the smallest piece! Who can break the largest! Who can eat all the pieces fastest!).

3. Have dinner with your family - Another important family tradition is the food we eat: no meat on Christmas Eve. Since the majority of my extended family dislikes fish, this usually means we eat a lot of cabbage and pierogies—a type of Polish dumpling stuffed with cheesy mashed potatoes. For dessert, we eat a soft Italian cookie whose name I can’t pronounce and pizzelles (a type of crispy waffle cookie). The cookie recipe are from my mother’s side of the family. This year I may talk everyone into eating a salad, too. Our Christmas Eve meal is very, very beige looking. 

4. Snow on the mountain - On Christmas Eve, we usually drive north to my parent’s house. I live an hour south and the drive is often fraught with snow. The Appalachian mountains stretch through Pennsylvania and one of the largest and longest ridges in this area is Blue Mountain. I live on the south side of the ridge. My parents live on the north side. We have to drive over the mountain to get to Christmas Eve dinner. One time it snowed so hard half the road was shut down with fallen trees. Another time I remember sliding more than driving. And the most bizarre drive I remember was when it snowed and thunder-stormed at the same time! There’s nothing quite like fog, snow, and lightning at dusk as you drive into the teeth of winter. It’s become something of a tradition to pray for balmy weather and no snow!

5. Make your own tradition - Every year my family and I do something different on Christmas Eve. Sometimes we open one gift, sometimes we watch a movie, and sometimes (if there’s snow), I drag everyone outside and we build snowmen or go for a walk. It’s lovely to do the same thing every year, but it’s also fun to try something new, too!


Erin M. Leaf is the author of Angel’s Power

Ariel will do anything for her brother, even serve on the Angel Council. Unfortunately, her wings are changing colors, a sign of illness among the People. Even more alarming, no one else can sense the energy of the winds as she is beginning to, but she has no time to worry about it. Demons are loose on Earth.

When Suriel arrives to help them, Ariel’s immediate attraction to the sorcerer confuses her. She can’t afford to commit to anyone while her wings are damaged and the demons won’t wait until she’s better before attacking.

Suriel doesn’t expect to meet his soul-mate, but the moment he sees Ariel, he is lost. His power is unstable and he worries he’ll hurt her if she gets close, but Ariel draws him like no other. When she is injured in battle, will he put his fears aside and do whatever it takes to save her?


Eva's Flowers said...

Very nice traditions! It's really nice to hear how lots of families have such different traditions :)


amy bowens said...

Thanks for sharing your traditions. They are what makes the holidays special and memorable! This book sounds amazing I bought it just haven't had the time to read yet. Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

Life Without Frank said...

Nice traditions, ours seem to change every year. My husband is the epitome of "embrace change" ;)

sabai30705 at yahoo dot com

Jennifer Bell said...

I live in Louisiana where it absolutely never snows, so I am so jealous! But we have great family traditions too. Ours just mostly involve shorts:) Merry Christmas!

Marie Mattingly-Woods said...

We live in CA so no snow, but every other year we visit the in-laws so the kids get a white Christmas. We also open one gift on Christmas Eve. Marie.mattingly88@gmail.com

elaing8 said...

Those are great traditions.
Merry Christmas

ShirleyAnn said...

It's great to hear about other families traditions. Merry Christmas everyone!!!


Anonymous said...

I like your traditions. They all sound like a lot of fun.

Merry Christmas, Erin!!


Erin M. Leaf said...

Merry Xmas everyone! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading about my holiday traditions. It did indeed snow on the way home from my parents' house last night... we were slipping and sliding until we got over the mountain and home safe again. :-)